Hardware shop: Projecting how awards will be divvied
Anybody who believes someone other than Detroit's Miguel Cabrera will win the American League Most Valuable Player Award is living on another planet.
Barring an unforeseen disaster, the Tigers' third baseman will be the first AL player to win the coveted award in consecutive years since the Big Hurt, Frank Thomas of the White Sox, did it in 1993-94.
Albert Pujols, while with the St. Louis Cardinals, was the last player to win an MVP Award in back-to-back years, 2008-09. No one has come close to equaling the four straight awards Barry Bonds of the Giants won beginning in 2001.
Considering the terrific season Baltimore's Chris Davis is having, my assumption that Cabrera will be a slam dunk may sound ridiculous.
I'm convinced, however, if the season were to end today, Cabrera would finish first and Davis second. On the other hand, it's unlikely the Tigers' third baseman -- unless he has a torrid second half -- will win the Triple Crown again, a feat he achieved in 2012 to become the first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
Cabrera is trying to become the first player since Ted Williams (1942 and '47) to win multiple Triple Crowns. No one has done it in consecutive seasons.
Why Cabrera and not Davis?
Start with batting average. Cabrera leads the Majors at .358; Davis' .311 average is not even among the top five.
Davis is slightly ahead in homers (37-31) and one up with 97 RBIs to Cabrera's 96. In the immensely important on-base percentage, Cabrera leads .454 to .386.
Cabrera, who's been out of the lineup the last few games because of a left hip flexor injury, overshadows Davis in the most important numbers.
And if the postseason were to begin now, the Tigers -- as AL Central champs -- would be preparing for the AL Division Series. Davis and the Orioles would be playing Tampa Bay in the Wild Card game.
This has always been a raging debate, but voting members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America place emphasis on MVP candidates who propel their teams to division titles. Cabrera, in the demanding position of third base, is doing that.
Davis is having a career year and may well hit 60 homers. Regardless, it's hard to believe, but Cabrera has been better. At least as July winds down.
As for the other awards:
National League MVP
The choice here is catcher Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals, the team with the best record in the Majors.
Molina leads the NL in batting with a .339 average, and although he isn't among the leaders in RBIs or homers, his contribution to the Cardinals cannot be underestimated. He's the best catcher in the NL, has become a fine hitter and seldom strikes out. Above all, no one handles a pitching staff better.
The race for this award will go to the wire. The Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez, Milwaukee's Carlos Gomez, Cincinnati's Joey Votto and even the Mets' David Wright will be in the mix.
AL Cy Young
I was convinced three weeks ago Detroit's Max Scherzer was a shoo-in, especially after going 13-0 and striking out everyone in sight. Now, I'm not so sure. My vote today would go to Scherzer based on his 14-1 record and 3.14 ERA. Tampa Bay's Matt Moore (14-3, 3.17) is very much in the mix, and by the time the actual voting takes place after the season, he could be on top. The Mariners' Felix Hernandez and the Rangers' Yu Darvish are also in the race.
NL Cy Young
The Mets' Matt Harvey has been lights out. He leads the NL in strikeouts with 157 and his 2.23 ERA ranks third. He's won just eight of 10 decisions, which will undoubtedly cost him in the final voting. The pick here has to be Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals. He's 13-5 with a 2.44 ERA -- a big reason St. Louis is No. 1 in the MLB.com Power Rankings.
AL Rookie of the Year
Boston infielder Jose Iglesias has played in just 58 games, but he's batting an amazing .343. By the time the official voting takes place, my guess is Tampa Bay's Wil Myers will be on top.
NL Rookie of the Year
The Cardinals' Shelby Miller, who's 10-6 with a 2.77 ERA, is today's winner. By season's end, though, Dodgers sensation Yasiel Puig may push him aside. Puig has played in only 44 games, but he's batting .376 with nine homers and 22 RBIs.
AL Manager of the Year
Boston's John Farrell. He's turned 2012's disaster into one of this season's top feel-good stories. From last place to first place in the AL East after all the problems the Red Sox had last season is a testament to Farrell's leadership.
NL Manager of the Year
Pittsburgh's Clint Hurdle. The Pirates haven't had a winning season since 1992, the last time they went to the postseason. They might not be able to overtake the Cardinals in the NL Central, but barring another late-season collapse, they should be one of the two Wild Cards.
Hal Bodley is the senior correspondent for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.