The figurative second half of the 2013 season begins tomorrow when the Yankees travel to Boston to take on the first place Red Sox. With the first half in the books, we decided to look back at who would have gotten the team MVP award if it was handed out just for one half of baseball. Most of the answers are similar, as you may guess, but we'd also like to hear from you. If you were handing out an award to the Yankees' best player pre-All-Star break, who would you give it to? Vote in the poll below and justify your answer in the comments section.
Tanya Bondurant: The only answer for me is Robinson Cano. In a lineup full of has-been, hasn't-yet-been, and never-was, he's been an overwhelmingly large chunk of the offense. If there is one player that the Yankees could not afford to lose, it would be Cano. Without him, more so than any other player, they'd be doomed.
Jason Cohen: Cano - he's literally the only intimidating hitter in this lineup. Gardner and Ichiro have been good and Cano has struggled at times, but he is the home run threat in the lineup and it's a wonder why teams even pitch to him at all. Without him the Yankees could be in last place.
Andrew Mearns: Cano is such an easy answer to this question that I thought it could be too obvious. Perhaps another player might be doing better than him in some other way that could be construed as "most valuable." Cano is the clear leader in almost every statistical category; his 143 wRC+ is by far the best on the team, and he's tops in both fWAR (3.6) and rWAR (4.7). Both WAR leads are at least a full win better than his contenders, Hiroki Kuroda and Brett Gardner. WPA tends to help when determining overall impact on game scenarios, allowing for a better definition of the other side of the classic debate over "most valuable," but Cano is again the winner across the board, with a +2.88 to Gardner's +1.19 and Kuroda's +2.57. Although Kuroda has done yeoman's work stabilizing the rotation, Cano is the one constant, legitimate threat in this meager lineup, and he's literally been there every day. Honorable mention goes to Jack Daniels.
Jesse Schindler: It has to be Robinson Cano. He is, by far, the best hitter on the team, and he continues to play very good defense at second base. Robbie will get paid a lot of money this winter and he is showing why thus far.
Greg Kirkland: Mo. One, because I'll never have the chance to vote for him again. Two, because my job is to watch baseball and when you see how many other closers blow games and how many extra innings games there have been this year, you appreciate Mo that much more. Three, he's having a career year even for him. Four, DON'T LEAVE US MO!! *weeps*
Matt Ferenchick: I think the first half MVP has to be Robinson Cano, because who else is there really? Yes, there's Kuroda. But even with the offense as crappy as it is, without Bob this team is nowhere. Quills the Porcupine is my third place choice.
Craig Edwards: Thought about saying the rotation, but that is sort of a cop-out. That really just leaves Robinson Cano. According to Fangraphs, Cano's WAR is 3.7. The rest of the Yankees with more than 30 plate appearances have combined for 3.6 WAR. Cano is 20 runs above average on offense. No other Yankee is above 3.1 runs above average.The pitching staff together has accumulated a lot of value, but nobody is more important to the Yankees than Robinson Cano.
Joe Flynn: I know I should say Robinson Cano...but what am I, a robot? I'm giving this totally subjective fake award to the Bronx Buddha himself, Mariano Rivera. He's the best closer in baseball, and he'll still be the best closer ten years after his retirement, when he is finally elected and proclaimed Pope Mariano I. More importantly, he allows Yankee fans to pretend they still have the best team in baseball - if only for one inning a night, two or three nights a week.
Michael Brown: Robinson Cano - He's been an oasis of great offense in a desert of suck.
Mason Stark: Hiroki Kuroda. He's given up two or fewer runs in 12 of his 19 starts, and allowed more than three runs in only three games. That's a pretty important accomplishment when you're pitching on a team that's vying for the American League worst offense with the Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros.
Derek Albin: Robinson Cano is easily the team MVP. He's simply the most irreplaceable player on the roster, and the Yankees would surely be left for dead without him.
Chris Kirby: Robinson Cano. If the entire team was healthy and they hadn't sustained any injuries, Cano probably still would be the team MVP. Now that they've missed four starting position players for the vast majority of the season, he's even more important. Almost every single stretch this season where the Yankees have played well have coincided with Cano being on fire. He's the team's only current power source, and he'll need to continue playing at this level if the Yankees want to make a second half push.
Jim Griffin: Without a doubt it's Cano. He's almost single-handedly keeping the team afloat offensively.
Chase Thomas: My choice is the easy choice, but more importantly the right choice: Robinson Cano. The Yankees offense has been terrible, but it's frightening to think where this team would be without Cano's production this season.
Cano obviously gets the bulk of the mentions, with Rivera picking up the second-most, and Kuroda getting one vote from the staff. Who do you consider to be the MVP of the first half for the Yankees and why?