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First Half Report Card

By Garrett Monaghan

Well, the All-Star Break is here, the first half of the regular season is in the books, and it's time to hand out a few awards and do some soul searching.

First Half MVP: Derrek Lee
Runner-Up: Ryan Theriot

It's hard to pick an offensive player who has really lit things up, but Lee's been the closest thing the Cubs have to a powerhouse run producer. His batting average (.280) isn't quite what you'd hope to see out of a middle-of-the-order hitter, but his power numbers are shaping up to be a lot better than they've been the past few years.

Theriot has been trying to take his game to the next level this year by adding a bit more power. It's worked to an extent, but it's come at the cost of a drastically increased number of strikeouts. He's still the best opposite field hitter on the team and the only real stolen base threat the Cubs have. His defense isn't anything special, but Theriot is on pace to be one of only three National League shortstops with double digit home runs and stolen bases this season.

First Half LVP (Least Valuable Player): Alfonso Soriano
Runner Up: Geovany Soto

Soriano is doing more than his fair share this year to get Jim Hendry fired, and he's on his way to a truly horrific season on all fronts. Between committing seven errors and posting a .233/.298/.413 line on the season, and then announcing that he "wouldn't have come ready to play" if he'd known he wouldn't be in the starting lineup, Soriano has been a detriment on every front.

Soto's had an interesting season on and off the field as well. In between testing positive for performance reducing drugs during the World Baseball Classic and missing time with shoulder soreness and an oblique strain, Soto has dribbled his way to a .230/.336/.396 line. He's shown good patience at the plate, and his defense has been fine, but Geo just hasn't hit. Sophmore slumps aren't unusual, especially among catchers, so it may not be anything to worry about in the long-term, but the Cubs had to expect more out of Geo this year.

First Half Rookie of the Year: Randy Freakin' Wells

Anyone who could pick Randy Wells out of a police lineup before the season started, raise your hands. Ok, you two are lying. Wells has to be one of the biggest surprises the Cubs have gotten this year, and maybe the only pleasant one of the bunch. Originally called up to make a start or two, Wells has proceeded to force Sean Marshall to the bullpen and stake a claim to being the most reliable pitcher on the staff. Despite a 4-4 record, which is in no way his fault, Wells has posted a 2.72 ERA, made 9 quality starts out of 12 total starts, and only coughed up 17 walks in 76 innings. Wells doesn't have great stuff, but he may have the best idea of how to pitch of anyone on the team. He pounds the strike zone, works quickly, and changes speeds exceptionally well.

First Half Cy Young: Ted Lilly

Lilly's been the team's most consistent starter all season, and deserves to be even better than 9-6 on the year. Ted's still on the way to a terrific season, and he always seems to come up big when the Cubs need him most. Aside from a tendency to give up gopher balls at an impressive rate, there's really nothing to complain about when it comes to Ted.

First Half Cy Yuck: Rich Harden

After being nearly unhittable after the Cubs acquired him last season, Harden has gotten pulverized so far this year. Harden has a .222 career OBA and only surrendered 11 home runs all last season. So far this year, those numbers are up to a .271 OBA and 16 home runs. Harden has been striking guys out at his usual clip, but his stuff has looked flat and he's giving up more fly balls than usual. If he can figure it out in the second half, Harden will give the Cubs an even bigger boost. If not, they'll be missing an important piece of the rotation.

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