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 Milwaukee Brewers' 2016 season.
MVP: Ryan Braun
If you wanted to give this award to Jonathan Lucroy we'd have no qualms with it, but Braun leads the team in batting average at .312 and is tied for tops in slugging percentage (.514) and also has 13 homers, 35 runs and 44 RBI. Lucroy is hitting .304 with a .491 slugging pct., 11 HR, 42 runs and 42 RBI. Milwaukee has a better record with Braun (33-38 compared to 31-44) in the starting lineup, so that gives him the edge in our book.
Jeffrey Phelps/APJeffrey Phelps
MVp (Most Valuable Prospect): Orlando Arcia
At this point it is just a matter of when the soon-to-be 22-year-old (in August) shortstop gets called up. Arcia has acquitted himself well at Triple-A Colorado Springs, batting .270 with a .407 slugging percentage. He's also a plus defender who won a minor-league Gold Glove last season. See you in Milwaukee soon, Orlando.
Cy Young: Junior Guerra
Amazingly, this 31-year-old waiver claim from the Chicago White Sox has turned into Milwaukee's best and most consistent starting pitcher. Guerra is tied for the team lead in wins with six and leads all Brewers starters in ERA (3.06), WHIP (1.069) and K/9 (7.9). Not bad for a guy who wasn't even on the opening-day roster and had never started a game in the majors before this season.
Top newcomer: Jonathan Villar
Like with MVP, this could have gone more than one way. Guerra certainly is a candidate as is Chris Carter (22 HR, 51 RBI, .514 slugging pct.). But Villar has been Milwaukee's most consistent player all season and brings a Carlos Gomez-type excitement to the basepaths. After beginning the season at the bottom of the lineup, Villar's play forced him to the leadoff role, and he has continued to shine. He leads Milwaukee in on-base percentage (.380), doubles (21) and runs (44) and is hitting .298 with a .421 slugging percentage. Did we mention he leads the majors in steals with 31, potentially just the second Milwaukee player to accomplish that feat?
Milwaukee has had a good bullpen this season and the best of the bunch might just be Thornburg, who has a 2.57 ERA, 0.943 WHIP, .168 opponent batting average and 12.3 K/9 in 35 innings this season. Another bullpen unsung hero worth mentioning is 33-year-old Carlos Torres, who has come out of nowhere to post a 3.07 ERA, 1.250 WHIP and 9.0 K/9 in 38 games.
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY SportsRichard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Mr. CF (for now): Kirk Nieuwenhuis
One of the big storylines in spring training was who would win the starting job in center field, with five players vying for the spot. Nieuwenhuis has started 50 games in center, by far the most of any other player. Keon Broxon, who is back in Triple-A, has 19 starts in center, Ramon Flores 17 and since-cut Alex Presley one. Nieuwenhuis doesn't exactly have a stranglehold on the spot. He's prone to hot and cold streaks and is hitting .209 with five home runs and seven steals on the year.
APMorry Gash/Associated Press
Smooth move: Aaron Hill trade
Milwaukee Brewers general manager David Stearns made a trade with Arizona in the offseason and in part he had to take aging Aaron Hill, whose best days seemed behind him. However, after a slow start Hill got hot in June and was batting .283 with eight home runs when he was traded to Boston for two minor leaguers, one of whom is now considered a top-20 prospect for the Brewers. Not a bad trade for a guy who was basically a throw-in. Oh, and another player Stearns got in that deal with the Diamondbacks is 20-year-old Isan Diaz, who is tearing it up at Single-A Wisconsin.