As the second half gets ready to begin, we hand out hardware -- both baseball related and some just for fun -- from the first half of the Minnesota Twins' season.
Most Valuable Player: Miguel Sano
At one point Sano led the American League's third-base All-Star poll by nearly 200,000 votes, and it's not difficult to see why. He's hitting .276/.368/.538 with a .906 OPS and 21 home runs, and as recently as a month ago was flirting with .300 while riding a nine-game hit streak. Sano leads all Twins batters in hits (83), RBI (62), home runs and triples (3). If there's an issue here it's that Sano also leads the Twins with a whopping 120 strikeouts in 345 plate appearances.
Most Valuable Prospect: Zack Granite
The Twins' outfield of the future is positively stacked. Granite made his major-league debut last weekend after hitting .360/.412/.492 down in Triple-A, his best numbers as a pro. Granite was named the International League Player of the Month after posting positively obscene numbers in June, hitting .470 with a .527 on-base percentage, 55 hits, 23 runs scored, 16 extra-base hits and a 1.193 OPS. Woah *Low whistle*.
Cy Young Award: Ervin Santana
The leader of a rotation that thins out quickly after No. 2 starter Jose Berrios, Santana has made the leap from No. 1 pitcher to bona fide ace this season. He's 10-6 this season, and ranks fourth in the AL with a 2.99 ERA. Santana has shined outside of a few duds in late June, going at least six innings in all but two of his 18 starts, and leads the majors with four complete games. No other pitcher has more than two.
Top Newcomer: Jason Castro
Castro has been dealing with neck spasms lately and hasn't played since July 8, but has been an otherwise solid addition to the Twins' defense since signing a three-year, $24.5 million contract in November. The Twins were looking to upgrade on defense when they signed Castro after letting Kurt Suzuki walk in free agency, but his bat hasn't been up to par. Castro is hitting just .223/.317/.370 through 62 games.
USA TODAY SportsKim Klement
Unsung Hero: Chris Gimenez
Brought in to back up Castro, Gimenez has also been pedestrian at the plate, but has proven his value to the Twins in plenty of other ways. He's already made six appearances as a relief pitcher, the most by a position player of any stripe since 1967. The Twins have now taken to using Gimenez just about everywhere. He's appeared five times at first base, once at third and once in left field, in addition to his regular duties as a catcher and occasional reliever.
USA TODAY SportsBrad Rempel
Gold Glove: Byron Buxton
Buxton's bat is an ongoing question mark, but his defense more than makes up for his low average. Buxton leads the majors in defensive WAR at 1.9, and is currently tied with fellow center fielder Billy Hamilton of the Cincinnati Reds for the title of Fastest Man in Baseball per MLB's Statcast, who have clocked him at 30.1 feet per second on the base paths this season.
USA TODAY SportsDavid Richard
Play of the (Mid) Year: Byron Buxton scores from first base on a single
If you haven't seen this play yet, well, buckle up. The scene: July 7. Target Field. Bottom eight. Two outs. Brian Dozier at the plate. Buxton had taken a pretty generous lead at first base when Dozier sent what should have been a routine single skittering past Baltimore Orioles shortstop Rubin Tejada. Buxton flashed some truly game-breaking speed as the center fielder jogged over to play the ball, speeding from first to home plate in a blistering 9.47 seconds to give the Twins a 9-6 lead.
Fans of the Year: Josh Duhamel & Nick Swardson
FOX Sports North reporter Marney Gellner interviewed famous North Dakotan, Transformers actor and one-time high school rival Josh Duhamel during a Twins game last week. Duhamel was hanging out with friends Nick Swardson, Paul Lambert and Kyle Rudolph (that Kyle Rudolph) and things got … interesting. It's an experience that's best enjoyed via video. Roll the tape.