First-Half MVP: Barry Bonds. He’s his own man, he tells us with a dismissive wave of the hand. I wasn’t going to watch the Home Run Derby either way, but I understand a lot of people enjoy it. They’re disappointed, and Bonds didn’t win himself any Cub Scout Friendliness patches with the predictable blow-off. Bottom line: If sitting it out the Derby helps him put up a .295 / .512 / .589 line in the second half, too, so be it. Runner-up: Ryan Klesko.
First-Half Cy Young: Noah Lowry has more wins (irrelevant in my book) and a lower ERA, Matt Cain has a smidge lower ERA, but I’m picking Matt Morris. Lowry should probably win it, but Lowry seems to win on smoke and mirrors (and a frustrating amount of walks), while Morris has thrown together a lot of dominant games. His ERA is tainted by the stinker in Boston. Runner-Up: Lowry.
Rookie of the Half-Year: Obviously it comes down to two: Fred Lewis and Tim Lincecum. Lincecum has been spectacular at times, but for four starts he was spectacularly bad. Lewis in 107 ABs has been the Giants’ third-best hitter behind Bonds and Klesko. Gotta love a rookie who gets on base a lot and has some pop. Lewis is hitting the way Randy Winn should. Slight nod to Lewis.
Disappointment of the Half-Year: I’m looking at you, Rockstar. If you don’t like the pressure of the largest pitching contract in baseball history, give some of the money back and make it the sixth or tenth largest contract.
What’s really galling about Zito’s first half — 4.90 ERA, 104 IP, 100 H, 52 (!) BB, 66 K, 11 (!!) HR — is that when he signed, we said “OK, we know he’s not really an ace, but at least he’ll give the Giants lots of innings and sell a lot of merch.” He’s completed at least seven innings in only six out of 18 starts. And if he finishes the year with an ERA around 4, people will say, “See, he’s a second-half pitcher!” Runner-Up: Most of the rest of the starting lineup, but especially Ray Durham.