Shane breaks down who he believes will win each of the MLB player awards as we approach the end of June 2024

Aaron Judge is back to smashing ding dongs and is on pace for another 60+ season. Sure, Soto is the fresher name and better fielder, but that won’t stop these guys from voting for a 60+ home run masher. Soto getting injured bumps him out of the #1 spot, and Aaron Judge reigns supreme and appears to be the clear-cut winner almost halfway through the season. Bobby Witt Jr. is on the outside looking in while putting together one of the best seasons a Kansas City Royal has ever played. Bobby Witt Jr. can literally do it all and, with the new contract, he is handling stardom very well. Similar to Bobby Witt Jr. is Gunnar Henderson, the reigning AL Rookie of the Year. This Baltimore team is the sweetheart of the MLB currently, so they are a “must watch” every game which helps with Gunnar’s exposure while Kansas City will not get the same attention. It’s Judge’s trophy to lose at this point.

Mookie still struts his stuff out front as he compiles All Star-level stats while leading off for the LA Dodgers. In 2nd place we have Mookie’s teammate, Shohei Ohtani, who is staying close behind him as he currently is finding the long ball more consistently. Both have very similar hitting stats in hits and average, but Ohtani has 5 more homeruns than Mookie. Mookie has a slight advantage as he is a shortstop, and a great one at that, while Ohtani is limited to the DH spot. I still think all the noise around Mookie last year and the current media campaign will propel Mookie into the 1st spot at the end of the season. Ohtani betting news might play a factor, but I think the hype around Mookie is more at play than anything Shohei has done this season so far. Unless Bryce Harper can manifest the stats around all the hype on his name, it’s going to be a battle between Dodgers teammates.

I have been banging the Corbin Burnes Cy Young drum all season, but it seems the music Tarik Skubal is making sounds a lot better. The Detroit lefty is throwing heat off the mound and is putting together one helluva season statistically. You have to feel for Burnes a bit as he has been the frontrunner in the top 3 for most of the last 3 seasons, but he has no hardware yet. Tarik is going to keep that door shut this year, unfortunately. Skubal has the stats, and his Detroit team is competitive. Unless Corbin finds that heat streak or if Luis Castillo, the dark horse, connects for some quality months of pitching, Skubal is circling in on the trophy closer and closer with every start.

Zach Wheeler stays wheeling. He’s producing some great stats and spearheading this Phillies team with fellow pitcher Ranger Suarez. Ranger is due to slack and his godly numbers should become a bit human as he comes to earth a bit over these next few months. Wheeler just has the pedigree while putting together a statement season, while his top competitor, Spencer Strider, has been on the IL all season. Tyler Glasnow is doing well with the Dodgers in his first season since leaving the Tampa Bay Rays. Glasnow has some good stats, especially his strikeouts, but Wheeler is surpassing him in every category as the wins are starting to stack up.

Mason Miller, the hot shot and uber talented closer for the Oakland Athletics has been the favorite for two weeks? What a time. This dude is electric but there is a small chance that a closer will ever win a Rookie of the Year trophy, especially when there’s a stud New York Yankees pitcher in Luis Gil. Luis entered the scene after a really hot spring training, and he has carried that momentum halfway through the season. At this rate he should be a close lock as his stuff seems crazy consistent while getting run support from guys like Aaron Judge and Juan Soto.

WE HAVE A WAR OF PITCHERS! We have 3 studs fighting for dominance between Shota Imanaga, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and Paul Skenes. Shota has compiled one HELLUVA campaign so far but is starting to fall apart a bit as the sub-1 ERA has been breached finally. Yoshinobu was the early favorite before the season started but fell off with Shota’s dominance and a horrid MLB debut in the South Korea series to open the year. While Shota’s Chicago Cubs are staggering out of the gate, plagued with inconsistency and injuries, Paul Skenes’ Pittsburgh Pirates continue to lack run support for their young stud. Even Jared Jones, another Pittsburgh Pirate, kind of flirted with the Rookie of the Year race, but the Pirates hitting offers minimal support to assist a quality ROTY campaign. Paul Skenes can throw absolute fire. Shota is a lefty with solid control. Yamamoto has the complete arsenal, with a special slider/cutter hybrid. Yoshinobu also is on the Dodgers who should easily make the playoffs and give him run support. I’ve banged the Yamamoto drum since the beginning of the season, and I still think he has it – even though he’s in 3rd place right now.

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