MVP- Edgar Renteria. Renteria doesn't have the best offensive stats and hasn't been the best defensively so far for Atlanta, but he has been the one consistent player for the Braves at the plate so far. Through injuries to Chipper and poor seasons from Brian McCann and Scott Thorman, Renteria has hit no matter if he is in the second or third spot in the order. He has been the RBI man when needed and the guy to move the runners over and get on base. His defense has been superb and he is on pace to set career-highs in homeruns and hits. The All-Star voters may have not recognized his season so far but the Braves would be out of the NL East race without it.
Cy Young- John Smoltz. There really wasn't any question here. Tim Hudson has had a pretty good year but no one has been as good or consistent on this pitching staff as the veteran right-hander. He has compiled a 9-5 record with an ERA barely over three so far and as the ace of a rotation in disrepair for most of the season, has had to pitch through pain more than a couple times. Fortunately his trip to the DL wasn't anything serious so he should be heading up the rotation again in the second half.
Reliever of the Year- Rafael Soriano. Peter Moylan gave him a run for his money but Soriano has been one of the most dominating relievers in baseball so far. His 2.79 ERA, while good, isn't indicative of how well the right-hander has been out of the pen. Soriano has given up runs in two games that have really mattered when he came in and all the rest have come in games where it was a complete blow-out one way or another. Hitters are batting significantly below .200 against him and he has allowed only 24 hits and 8 walks in 38.2 innings. That WHIP of 0.83 is good enough for sixth in baseball among pitchers with 35 or more innings. I would bet on Soriano taking the ninth inning duties at some point this season as he is the apparent heir to the role.
Rookie of the Year- Yunel Escobar and Jarrod Saltalmacchia have both made great cases for being named the Braves best rookie so far this year, but neither took the honor. So far this year that distinction goes to 28-year old reliever Peter Moylan. Moylan struggled last season everywhere he pitched but has been one of the most consistent pieces in the Braves pen this season. He has emerged as a guy who can be a long reliever, setup man, or groundball specialist and has a 2.12 ERA in almost fifty innings out of the pen for Atlanta.
Minor League Player of the Year- Tommy Hanson. The biggest breakout of any Braves prospect, Hanson has rocketed to the top of prospect lists. Great command and great stuff make the 20-year old a top-of-the-rotation possibility for the future. Despite a miserable record, Hanson has a 2.54 ERA and has struck out almost 11.5 batters for every nine innings pitched this year to go along with a .196 BAA. Hanson was barely on anyone's radar and has now quite easily passed up every other Braves pitching prospect to earn the top spot.
We're at the All-Star break and it is time to look at the Braves top performers so far in the 2007 season. The Braves find themselves only two games back of the Mets in the East despite losing Mike Hampton and Mike Gonzalez for the season, Chipper and Chad Paronto for significant amounts of time, and with both Andruw Jones and Brian McCann playing significantly below their ability and what was expected of them.