Rookie of the year for the Cubs: Christopher Morel
Morel has been one of the most electric players on the team. The energy he brings to the clubhouse is unique, it’s hard not to like him. He’s batting .266 with an OPS of .815. On top of that, he’s recorded 9 homers along with 26 RBIs and 8 SB. The rookie has been one of Chicago’s more reliable offensive weapons, while also supplying versatility on the defensive end; logging games at 2B, 3B, SS, and CF.
Choosing between Morel and the other Chicago rookies was tough, but his biggest competition was definitely Seiya Suzuki. Suzuki has had the hotter bat lately, but Morel has simply supplied more to the team on and off the field. Either one could’ve received the award, but my pick is Christopher Morel.
Reliever of the year: David Robertson
Robertson has been the most effective pitcher out of the bullpen, posting a 1.93 ERA in 33 appearances. Since his transition into the closer role, he has recorded 13 saves in 18 opportunities. Nobody on the Cubs has been as consistent as Robertson. He’s been one of the few pitchers for Chicago that has continued to provide dominance out of the pen.
His performance during the first half of the season has resulted in a lot of trade rumors involving his name. One of these teams is the Mets. Coincidentally, Robertson recorded a save yesterday (his 150th) against New York that snapped a 9 game losing streak for the Cubs. It would be a shame to see Robertson go, but depending on what the Cubs get in return, it could be a beneficial trade.
Former @BryantStampede/@AlabamaBSB standout David Robertson became the 89th pitcher in @MLB history with 150 saves by working the ninth of the @Cubs' 3-2 win over the @Mets on Sunday. Robertson has 13 saves this season. pic.twitter.com/U7c2Oih907
— Mark Inabinett (@AMarkG1) July 18, 2022
Cy Young award: Keegan Thompson
There isn’t a clear frontrunner for this award, but Thompson has stepped up as a quality starting pitcher for the Cubs. He started the season as a long-reliever, during which he didn’t allow more than one earned run in any outing. His performance as a reliever was enough to bump him up to the starting position.
Thompson has posted a 3.43 ERA in 12 starts and 8 relief appearances. The righty has been a key part of the pitching staff, with a 7-4 individual record. There wasn’t much competition for this award, unfortunately, but Keegan Thompson has stepped up to the plate and provided some much-needed quality starts for the Cubs.
Most Valuable Player: Nico Hoerner
This is a bold pick, for sure. But, Hoerner has been just as good as Contreras and Happ. The 25-year-old has shown a lot of improvement this season in a lot of categories. He is batting .307 (best on the team) with a .767 OPS. While he may not supply the power that Happ and Contreras do, he still has 27 RBIs and 9 SB. He’s an offensive reliability, but his defense is what puts him above other candidates. Luke Parrish of Fansided breaks down Hoerner’s outstanding defense:
So far in 2022, Hoerner has been one of the best defensive shortstops in MLB. He ranks sixth in baseball in outs above average (OAA) which is also tied for the league lead among all shortstops. His fielding percentage has taken a slight drop since shifting from second base over the shortstop but his .974 percentage is good for 12th in all of baseball.
Hoerner deserves more recognition than he gets. The big power bats are usually the ones that people talk about, but many tend to overlook the defensive stars of today’s game. You could make the argument for any of the 3 players mentioned to be the MVP of the first half, but I’m going with Hoerner.
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