MLB 6 pack: American League mid-season award winners

Rookie of the Half-season Award: OF Mike Trout, Angels

Runner-Up: P Yu Darvish, Rangers

After a bad start to the 2012 season, the Angels have been revived and are playing up to their preseason expectations, thanks in large part to the energy boost from rookie sensation Mike Trout. Through Sunday, Trout is batting .339 (1st in A.L.), has hit 9 home runs, accumulated 33 RBI, has 80 hits, has scored 51 runs (t-8th), and has stolen 22 bases (1st). What makes these statistics even better? Trout started the 2012 season in Triple-A, as Trout wasn’t called up until the third week of the season. Trout has nearly everything wanted in a potential baseball star, and even scarier? He is only a ROOKIE.

Manager of the Half-season Award: Buck Showalter, Orioles

Showalter (above) has turned around the losing culture in Baltimore

Runner-Up: Robin Ventura, Chicago White Sox

In a loaded A.L. East division, who would have thought that the Baltimore Orioles would have been in half-season post-season contention? The A.L. East, loaded with teams such as the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, and Blue Jays, the Orioles has no business being where they currently are. Through Sunday, the Orioles were in second place behind the Yankees. The Orioles aren’t scoring a lot of runs (11th in A.L.), but good pitching (4.03 team ERA) by career mediocre talent Jason Hammel and diamond-in-the-rough closer Jim Johnson has kept the Orioles in the hunt at the half-season mark. Showalter doesn’t have a whole lot to work with, but he is getting the job done in unappealing (yet winning) fashion.

Rolaids Relief Man Award: P Fernando Rodney, Rays

Runner-Up: P Jim Johnson, Orioles

Even though Orioles closer Jim Johnson has been one of the best stories in baseball this season, an argument could be made for the outstanding play of Rays’ closer Fernando Rodney. Through Sunday, Rodney has converted on 22 of 23 save opportunities (3rd in A.L.), has only given up four earned runs, 22 hits, and has struck out 35 batters while accumulating a 1.01 ERA. In comparison, Johnson has given up only 18 hits, but has allowed five earned runs, struck out 22 batters, and has accumulated a 1.30 ERA. Rodney has been the most underrated pitcher in baseball this season, as the Rays have struck gold once again with a veteran reliever-turned-closer.