SARATOGA, NY–With 162 games in a Major Leage Baseball season, many feel that the early months of the season are pointless and the important baseball games aren’t played until after the All-Star Break. Well… They’re wrong. While a team can’t win the World Series in April or May, they can certainly lose it. Therefore… Here are the MLB Quarterly Awards:
Best Team: There are a few teams in the conversation for the top spot in baseball at the quarter-pole, but none are more deserving than the Detroit Tigers. At 26-12, the Tigers sit with the best record in baseball while playing in one of the toughest divisions in the game. Wait, what? The AL Central is one of the toughest divisions in baseball? Yup. The Al Central holds three teams with a winning percentage of .500 or better, which is better than the AL West and NL Central. The Tigers are playing dominant baseball with one of the best starting rotations in the game and an extremely potent lineup; a winning recipe for success.
Biggest Disappointment: Through the first quarter of the MLB season, no team has been more of a disappointment than the Boston Red Sox. Before you jump down my throat and call me a Yankees homer with this decision, hear me out. Sure Boston only sits 2.5 games behind the AL East leading New York Yankees, which is an extremely small margin compared to both the Pittsburgh Pirates (8.5 games back) and the Cincinnati Reds (7 games back,) but we’re talking about the team who won the World Series last year. The Red Sox were entering the season with a similar lineup from last year and shouldn’t have skipped a beat. But wait, “Isn’t losing Jacoby Ellsbury a big loss?” You ask. Yeah, you would think so, but if you ask most Red Sox fans, they’d say that they don’t miss him too much because his “personality” didn’t fit the culture of the clubhouse. Either way, the Sox are in the middle of a four-game losing streak and it’s not looking too pretty.
Most Potent Bat: One could make an argument for Los Angeles Angels young gun Mike Trout as the winner of this award, but no one is swinging a more potent bat than Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Not only does Tulo lead the National League in batting average, but leads the NL in home runs too. It’s nice to see Tulo swinging a nice bat this season considering he only played in 126 games last year. If Tulo can keep this up or stay close to this pace for the entire season, he’s well on his way to his fist NL MVP.
Mr. Unhittable: Many were very cautious of how Yankees new arm Masahiro Tanaka would fair in the States, and so-far, so-good! Tanaka ranks in the top five in both wins and ERA in the American League at this point, and that’s not even his most impressive stat. Tanaka is one of four pitchers in the AL with a Wins Above Replacement score at 2.0 or higher. Considering Tanaka is facing major league hitters for the first time in his career, his impressive numbers are even more eye-popping.
Biggest Splash: It’s a shame that Jose Abreu went on the 15-Day DL Sunday, because the Chicago White Sox rookie was making a HUGE name for himself in the majors. Abreu has been one of the few bright spots for this AL Central team, leading the AL in home runs and RBIs. The big question will be if the first baseman can keep up his hot bat wen he comes of the disabled list from his tendinitis in his left ankle. If he can, a rookie of the year award may be coming his way.
Best Bat Flip: Bat flips may rub some people the wrong way, but when someone crushes a ball out of the park, why can’t they flip their bat and admire what they have done? Los Angels Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig has definitely earned this award. What makes Puig’s bat flips so amazing, is that the next bat flip is always better than the previous. You may feel indifferent about the Cuba slugger’s game, but you have to respect his bat flip.
Mr. Unlucky: It’s extremely hard not to feel bad for Chicago Cubs ace Jeff Samardzija. Smaradzija, who currently has the second best ERA in all of baseball is yet to win a game. Samardzija has pitched four shutouts and two games of one-run baseball which is only good for a record of 0-4 (it’s unbelievable, I know.) One can only hope that this unlucky ball player will be traded in the near future so his 1.62 ERA can be put to good use.