The Nationals seemingly have not hit full steam ahead quite just yet but Harper certainly has been to this point. I always enjoyed the people who were "waiting" for Harper to arrive since he's been damn good already in his career, only that he has struggled to stay healthy at times, but he has done that and is on-pace for a record season for somebody only 23 years old. There has only been one player that has had an OPS like Harper has (1.168) before turning 23 and that was Ted Williams.
Runner-Up - Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
Cy Young - Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
We shall see in the end if Scherzer is worth his monster contract but with his performance in this season thus far, he has been worthy of every penny. Scherzer leads the Senior Circuit with Fielding Independent Pitching, WAR, WHIP, hits-per-nine and strikeouts-per-walk and has tossed a no-hitter while coming close to having two more. You can make a strong case for Zach Greinke receiving the award but I think Scherzer has been better.
Runner-Up - Zach Greinke, Los Angeles Dodgers
Rookie of the Year - Joc Pederson, Los Angeles Dodgers
Of all the award races, the two-man race for NL Rookie of the Year award has to be the tightest and toughest race to call. Kris Bryant has been terrific thus far in his rookie campaign but so has Pederson and I think he deserves the honor by the slightest of means thus far. Punish Pederson for his mediocre batting average all you want, as well as his high strikeout totals, I think his superior power and defense make the difference.
Runner-Up - Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs
Manager of the Year - Mike Matheny, St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals, and certainly their fans, deserve all the criticism they get from the sane baseball world for their ridiculous holier-than-thou attitude but nobody should deny Matheny the credit he deserves for his work this season. They have been without ace Adam Wainwright, starters Jaime Garcia and Lance Lynn and hitters Matt Adams, Matt Holliday and Jon Jay for significant portions of the season and yet they have the best record in all of baseball amid the toughest division in MLB.
Runner-Up - Joe Maddon, Chicago Cubs
My good friend Jonah Keri* makes a pretty good case for Josh Donaldson being the MVP but he certainly has had a brilliant season. That said, Trout has been sensational once again and he is still the best player in baseball, let alone the American League. He has by far the best WAR in the Junior Circuit, his numbers are great and if you are into winning, his team is in first place in the West.
Runner-Up - Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays
Cy Young - Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox
The Cy Young race in this league is a pretty tough one to call with Sale, Dallas Kuechel, Sonny Gray and Chris Archer all having tremendous campaigns worthy of the award. In the end, I give the slightest of edges of Sale, who has not had the benefit of a good defense behind him unlike the other pitchers named and thus leads the league in FIP, as well as in strikeouts, strikeouts-per-nine and WHIP.
Runner-Up - Dallas Kuechel, Houston Astros
Rookie of the Year - Carlos Correa, Houston Astros
Correa has only played in 32 games to this point but even in a limited sample size, he has proven himself to be the best rookie in the AL. In fact, you could make the case that he is the best shortstop already in the league. Jayson Stark brought up some tremendous stats that help make Correa's case as he is the first 20-year-old to collect 16 extra-base hits in the first 25 games of his career and that he is the first shortstop since 1900 to get seven homers during that same timespan.
Runner-Up - Lance McCullers, Houston Astros
Manager of the Year - A.J. Hinch, Houston Astros
Did you foresee the Astros sitting here at the All-Star Break on pace for 87 wins and just a few games off the pace of the best record in the league? You did not, so let's move on. Hinch, who was not a big success in his first go-around as a manager, has punched all the right buttons for this young and relatively inexperienced ballclub. There are a number of managers leading surprising contenders but none have been more impressive than the 'Stros in the AL.
Runner-Up - Joe Girardi, New York Yankees
*I've never met Jonah Keri