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MLB Midseason Report

Jose Abreu, AL Rookie of the Year
The 2014 All-Star game is in the books, with the American League coming out on top, 5-3 over the NL. The second half of 2014 is fast approaching and it will surely be full of some major surprises, exciting wild card races and great baseball. Here are some of my thoughts and predictions at the midway point of 2014:

Most Surprising Team: Milwaukee Brewers
Every year, the MLB sees a dark horse rise from its ranks and make a deep playoff run. So far, Milwaukee certainly has been that team, and they have the pieces to win the National League. Outfielder Carlos Gomez, infamous for his free swinging mentality and antics on the field, is seeing the ball extremely well at the plate. Gomez is hitting .304 with 14 homers at the break. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy is smashing the ball as well and also is one of the game'a elite defensive catchers. Along with third basemen Aramis Ramirez, underrated outfielder Khris Davis and oh yeah, Ryan Braun, the Brewers have all the offense they need. If the bullpen can stay healthy and strong, Milwaukee can certainly make a run in the NL.

Most Disappointing Team: Boston Red Sox
Tampa Bay could certainly be on this list (they join Boston in the cellar of the AL East) but come on, these are the reigning World Series champs! The Red Sox are 43-52 and 9.5 games out of first in the East. The team has not been able to recapture the magic of 2013 and the chemistry they had a year ago just doesn't seem to be there. Unless the Sox can make some moves before the deadline, this team will struggle to even have a sniff at the playoffs and defending their crown.

AL Rookie of the Year: Jose Abreu, DH/1B, Chicago White Sox
The past couple of seasons, Cuba has been a talent-rich pipeline for MLB teams. Reds reliever Aroldis Chapman, Oakland outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and exuberant Dodger Yasiel Puig are just some of the big names that have come from the country. Abreu is another, a power hitter who has been mashing the ball. Abreu leads the MLB in home runs with 29, and also has 73 RBI and a .630 slugging percentage. He has been a big reason why Chicago, despite a depleted roster, hasn't completely fallen out of the AL Central chase. Masahiro Tanaka certainly has been impressive for the Yankees but what Abreu is doing is absolutely crazy.

NL Rookie of the Year: Billy Hamilton, OF, Cincinnati Reds
There may not be a more exciting player to watch in baseball than Hamilton. The speedster is constantly stealing bases, even against the best catchers in the game. He can stretch singles into doubles and tag up and score even on shallow pop-ups. The Reds are sticking in the NL Central chase, and Hamilon is a big reason why. 

AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
The starter for the AL in the All-Star game, "King Felix" has been unhittable this year. The ace is rolling, with an 11-2 record, along with a 2.12 ERA. His variety of pitches and excellent movement have made him the best pitcher in baseball. Seattle is hanging on tight in the AL West, with Hernandez, they could continue making strides. Don't count them out of a Wild Card spot at all.

NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw, NL Cy Young 
No pitcher in baseball is as hot as Kershaw, who continues to improve. The southpaw also has an 11-2 mark on the year paired with a dominant 1.78 ERA. Pair that with a no-hitter and the Dodgers' success this year and it is tough not to give him the award.

AL MVP: Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels
There is no denying Trout is the best player in the American League and possibly the entire MLB at 2014's midway point. Trout is hitting 22 home runs, with 73 RBI, 10 stolen bases along with a .310 batting average. Mixed in with his excellent fielding and big arm in the outfield, Trout is having a monster season. With the Angels very much in the race in the American League, Trout has all the qualifications he needs to win the award.

NL MVP: Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado Rockies
Tulowitzki has always been one of the best players in the league when he is healthy but he has struggled with a number of injuries throughout his career. I mean, a 6'3" shortstop with considerable power, Tulowitzki has always had the tools to be great. This year, Tulo has been extremely impressive, hitting for contact (.345 batting average) and also showing his immense power (21 home runs, 52 RBI and a .613 slugging percentage). If Tulo continues to stay healthy, he should run away with the NL MVP award.

World Series Prediction: Oakland Athletics vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
With the addition of Jeff Samardzija from Chicago, the A's pitching staff just became very impressive. Scott Kazmir, whose career looked over before the year, Sonny Gray and a deep bullpen, the Athletics have the best collection of arms in the MLB. The offense is great as well with underrated stars Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss along with quickly improving Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland has all the pieces to run through the American League. The National League race is pretty wide open, no team appears to have the upper hand. Though, the Dodgers could easily separate themselves from the pack. They have the best 1-2 punch of pitchers inside the NL (Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke) and a number of exciting players on the offensive end. If Yasiel Puig can play smart and realize his full potential and the Dodgers stay pretty healthy, they can make a move in the NL.

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