Originally written on Next Impulse Sports  |  Last updated 10/30/14
Clayton Kershaw is the first-half N.L. Cy Young winner.Photo Credit: SD Dirk, Flickr, Wikimedia Commons, 2010 The 2013 Major League Baseball season resumes Friday night, July 19. We can reflect on the best performances of the season so far with unofficial claims to first-half awards. Only official qualifiers may get the Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards; the Rookie of the Year may go to someone who came up late but has still made a tremendous impact — especially if he appears likely to meet the minimum qualifications by the end of the season. Here are National League awards for the first half of 2013. All statistics are as of July 18. Cy Young – Clayton Kershaw It is a tough choice between the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw (8-6, 1.98 ERA) and Arizona Diamondbacks’ Patrick Corbin (11-1, 2.35). It goes to Kershaw for his monthly splits. Only in June has he had an ERA over 2.00, and it was still 2.65. His offense did not support him early on or he might have a record much closer to Corbin’s. Kershaw also leads the National League in WHIP at 0.91 and is second in innings pitched with 145.1 and strikeouts with 139. He is well on pace to secure his second National League Cy Young award. Now that the Dodgers are scoring more runs, Kershaw will be vital in their push to overtake Arizona for the division title. Most Valuable Player – Allen Craig St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina’s name makes it into nearly every discussion about league MVP and rightfully so. If not for teammate Allen Craig’s first-half performance, Molina would win the nod easily.  The Cardinals first baseman, Craig has both the presence to win it and the numbers to support this claim. Craig makes his hits count when his team needs them the most. He is second in the league in hitting at .333 and RBI with 74 (on only 10 home runs). Most impressively, though, is his slash line with runners in scoring position: .489/.500/.689 in 90 at bats. Performance like this for the rest of the year should make him the N.L. MVP for real come November. Rookie of the Year – Yasiel Puig At first, it looked like the Braves’ Evan Gattis would take this award. He got hurt in mid-June and has played in only one game since. Then came Yasiel Puig. He gets the top first-half rookie award not just for the attention he has received but for his performance. In just 38 games, Puig leads all National League rookies at .391. His slash line is .391/.422/.616. He also has eight home runs and 19 RBI in that short span. Defensively, Puig has a vacuum for a glove and a bazooka of an arm. He has made the highlight shows numerous times for his defense alone. He could also contend for the National League MVP award by the end of the season. On June 1, the Dodgers were in last place in the N.L. West, 7.5 games out. Since his call-up, they have moved into second place, just 2.5 games behind Arizona. Manager of the Year – Clint Hurdle For the past few seasons, the Pittsburgh Pirates have had great first halves but fell off in the second half to finish with yet another losing record. That will not happen this year. Manager Clint Hurdle will make sure that the Pirates break the string of 20 straight losing seasons and even contend for a National League postseason berth. He has his team in second place in the N.L. Central, just one game behind St. Louis, with nearly the same roster he had last year and without a standout such as Craig, Kershaw, or Puig. He just knows how to win games. He manages the roster effectively, and with a dominant closer in Jason Grilli, any late lead he has is safe. The second half promises even more excitement as teams make trades and pushes toward the postseason. These players and others will provide what fans hope to see; hard-core baseball in the season’s final two and a half months. We will soon see which teams come out on top and which players and manager will win these awards when they become official after the season. Additional Sources:                               Major League Baseball, Sortable Pitching, Hitting, and Top Rookie Statistics, mlb.mlb.com as of July 18, 2013. Follow Raymond on Twitter @RayBureau. Like Raymond’s “Baseball Bureau” page on Facebook. Article found on: Next Impulse Sports
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jets call themselves the best 3-12 team in NFL history

Cam Newton calls out 'classless' Panthers fans

Report: 49ers to part ways with Harbaugh after season finale

Brad Stevens shoots down rumors he's headed to Hoosiers

Jameis Winston cleared in code of conduct case

Sherman: Patrick Peterson would be benched on Seahawks

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Fans struck by lightning after Buccaneers-Packers game

Report: Philip Rivers playing through painful back injury

Report: Bears could have interest in Jim Harbaugh

Report: Shanahan interested in coaching next season

Report: Michigan has its eye on several NFL coaches

Report: Titans, Jay Cutler have mutual interest in trade

10 takeaways from NFL Week 16

Tony Romo leads Dallas Cowboys to NFC East title

Ole Miss QB arrested after fighting, threatening bouncers

WATCH: Marshawn Lynch's ridiculous TD run

WATCH: Steelers' Gay draws flag for taunting teammate

WATCH: Three players ejected after Giants-Rams fight

WATCH: Dominic Raiola stomps on Bears player's ankle

WATCH: Arian Foster throws TD pass, drops scoreboard taunt

WATCH: Johnny Manziel leaves with injury after taking big hit

NHL has warned 22 players about diving

Nick Mangold wears NYDP hat to honor fallen officers

Five things we learned from the first day of bowl games

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Jets claim to be best 3-12 team ever

10 takeaways from NFL Week 16

Cam Newton calls out 'classless' Panthers fans

Raiola stomps on Bears player's ankle

Bears interested in Jim Harbaugh?

Shanahan to return to 2015?

Browns interested in drafting Mariota?

Mullen wears funny Christmas sweater

RG3 returning to Redskins?

Tom Izzo hot after bad loss

Kings, Nets talking Deron Williams trade

WATCH: DeSean mocks Eagles

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.