THT Awards Expanded Editionby John Barten
May 31, 2008
Welcome to a special edition of the awards. We have moved from Tuesday or Wednesday mornings to Saturday. It’s pretty exciting to be one of the first features in THT’s expansion into the weekend.
For award definitions and background on the column itself, please consult the Primer.
All weekly stats are for the period of Monday, May 19 through Thursday, May 29. All season totals are through May 29. Because of the expanded week, we have one heck of a lot of ground to cover, so we’ll dig right in.
This week’s proof that assigning wins and losses to a pitcher is an idiotic practice that must stop
Good Luck Division:
Livan Hernandez escaped with a no decision in a game where he gave up six runs in 5.1 innings and surrendered 10 hits, striking out one.
Kason Gabbard got away with a bad game too, allowing six runs while walking six in 2.2 innings. But Fausto Carmona’s continuing implosion gave him a reprieve from the indignity of catching the loss. He walked away with a no decision.
Mark Hendrickson got the win by way of the Marlins offense knocking around Patrick Misch. Hendrickson gave up five runs on nine hits in five innings.
Season: Batters are going off on Kenny Rogers this season to the tune of .314/.386/.494, but he’s an even 4-4 on the season.
Bad Luck Division:
Jason Bergmann went seven scoreless innings and walked away with a no decision because Cole Hamels was brilliant and the Nats lineup isn’t brilliant in much of any measurable way. Oh, and Hamels didn’t get the win either because the Phillies offense waited until Jon Rauch was in the game to score a run.
Tim Wakefield deserved better than this.
Season: Greg Smith is giving up 3.13 runs per nine (counting the two unearned runs) and has a 3-4 record on the season.
Vulture alert! Vulture alert!
David Weathers got one out to end the eighth inning and he was credited with a win because Trevor Hoffman coughed up a run to give the Reds a one run lead, which Francisco Cordero protected.
The Wes Littleton Award
In the spirit of the original Littleton ludicrous three-inning save, I present to you Freddy Dolsi, whose name that sounds like it should belong to a 1930s-era shortstop or maybe a 1960s doo-wop singer. Dolsi valiantly held the line for three frames in a game where he successfully defended a seven-run lead.
According to the outstanding Fan Graphs, the Tigers had a 96.4 percent chance of overcoming the Mariners when Todd Jones entered the ball game with a four-run lead and one out in the ninth inning. Nonetheless, he got credited with a save.
That same day, Takashi Saito came in and struck out Ryan Freel with one on, two out, up by three runs in the bottom of the ninth and added the final 1.2 percent certainty of a win that the Dodgers needed.
Please hold the applause
Thanks to Rob Crowner for the suggestion on the new award title. We had several very good suggestions, but this was my favorite. If I had something to send Rob as a prize, I would. But our prize budget here at the Awards is non-existent. Thanks everybody.
I can’t beat up on Trever Miller too much. He got a hold in a game where he threw five pitches, but he got two outs with those five pitches. That’s a nice job of being efficient, though as a reliever who is primarily used in very short stints, he shouldn’t be too scared of running up a pitch count if it means striking a guy out.
Franquelis Osoria only needed three pitches.
Josh Fogg got a hold in a game where he had a 27.00 ERA.
Keiichi Yabu pulled the same trick on the same day.
Something that a reader mentioned a while back that I failed to include was that Arthur Rhodes and Alan Embree are fighting it out for the right to call themselves the all-time Major League leader in holds. I’ll be honest, I hadn’t given a moment’s thought as to who held that particular record until Seamus brought it up.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Tim Redding and a trio of relievers combined for a seven-hit shutout of the Phillies. They struck out four batters.
The Joe Carter Award
Carlos Lee collected 15 RBI but hit only .216/.250/.486.
Geovany Soto had seven RBI with a .216/.244/.378 line in 37 at bats.
Season: Emil Brown keeps sliding on the list. He’s tied for 16th in baseball with 37 RBI. But he’s not hitting much better either, with a .260/.288/.397 line.
The man who replaced him in the Royals lineup isn’t doing too much better and is clearly the runner-up for the “honor” with 36 RBI and a .246/.275/.424 performance on the year.
This Week’s Dumbest Thing Ever
It’s a crying shame. Adrian Sutil was in line for the first points in his F1 career and he gets rear-ended by Kimi.
The Rey Sanchez Batting Average Is All I’ve Got Award
What happens when you rap out 11 singles in 39 at-bats with only one double and one walk accounting for your secondary skills? Yunel Escobar can tell you that it gets you a Sanchez Award and a .308/.317/.333 line.
Matt Treanor had an even more classic Sanchez experience with his .308/.308/.308. That’s eight singles with obviously nothing going for extra bases and no walks.
And in what is likely the last time you’ll see him in this space, Prince Fielder hit .293/.318/.317.
Season: Jose Lopez is still dominating the season’s award with his .297/.308/.401.
The Harmon Killebrew Batting Average Is For Wussies Award
Fred Lewis had a nice week despite hitting .226 as he had a double, two triples, a home run, seven walks and three steals with a perfect record on the bases. His .226/.368/.484 line is nifty.
Pat Burrell is more in line with what you would expect to see in the space and true to form, all of his hits went for extra bases and he walked six times for a .207/.343/621.
Season: David Ortiz might not be eligible soon because his batting average is steadily climbing out of the cellar and has recovered to the point where .250 is only a decent day away. And I generally don’t include players who have averages above that mark. Still, Big Papi is hitting .249/.356/.473 and deserves one last tip of the cap before graduating from the category.
Elsewhere, there’s a thin line separating the Killebrew nominees from the Balboni nominees. Jim Thome is toeing that line as he’s a DH who plays his home games in a hitter’s park. And he’s currently batting .212/.340/.429.
The Steve Balboni Award
Speaking of the Balboni, Justin Upton had a remarkable week, probably the most striking Balbonian performance I’ve seen since I started the column. Young Skywalker had a double, a triple, a home run, seven walks, and zero singles. Why no singles? Because he struck out 21 times in his 31 at-bats. His .097/.263/.290 line is simply beyond words.
Nick Markakis would normally win with his .212/.257/.364 and 11 strikeouts in 33 at-bats. But you can’t top Upton this time.
Season: Ryan Howard hasn’t followed Papi into the land of the normal. He’s still striking out in 38 percent of his at-bats and is hitting .206/.315/.462.
Richie Sexson smells like burned toast and his strikeouts are a big reason why as he’s whiffed 53 times in 155 at-bats in a .200/.277/.413 season.
3 True outcomes alert!!!
Adam Dunn, Jason Giambi, and Jack Cust share the expanded week.
Dunn: 41 PA, 4 HR, 9 BB, 12 K
Giambi: 30 PA, 3 HR, 4 BB, 7 K
Cust: 34 PA, 3 HR, 6 BB, 11 K
Season: Cust is my choice for the season with his eight home runs, 41 walks and 53 strikeouts in 173 plate appearances.
This kind of loss eats away at a fan’s soul.
This Week’s MVP
AL: Magglio Ordonez hit .424/.486/.818 in 33 at-bats.
Season: Josh Hamilton wouldn’t get consideration from the writers as the Rangers are only a .500 team, but at .324/.369/.595, he’s been on the short list of best hitters in the AL and he’s playing an acceptable center field with a .841 Revised Zone Rating and a pretty high number of plays outside of his zone given the sample size. He’s much, much more than a good story. He’s a damn fine baseball player.
NL: I didn’t see this coming. We saw the weird Fred Lewis week. Ben Molina hit .571/.600/.943 with seven doubles in 35 at-bats.
Adam Dunn had a good week of his own. It’s not quite as fluky as the Molina breakout, but it’s not every week that he’s going to hit .433.
Season: Lance Berkman is just walking away with this thing as he’s at .384/.470/.758. He leads all of baseball in slugging by over 50 points. And he’s now in double digits in steals, which I continue to regard as one of the oddest fantasy baseball outbursts I can remember.
That’s not sustainable
Dan Uggla is hitting .307 with 58 strikeouts in 192 at bats. That’s good for fourth in the NL in strikeouts. You don’t hit over .300 when you fail to make contact in 30 percent of your at-bats. He’ll be fine because of his power and walk rate, but the batting average is a mirage.
Least Valuable Player
AL: Mark Grudzielanek and Tony Pena Jr. share the distinction. They hit .080/.148/.120 and .103/.103/.103, respectively.
Season: Pena is doing nothing well on offense and on defense, he’s been nothing special. If he keeps it up, .160/.181/.200 would be one of the worst offensive seasons in baseball history given adjustments for run scoring environment. His OPS+ is four. I don’t mean forty. I mean four.
NL: Corey Patterson hit .077/.077/.077, prompting the Reds to call up Jay Bruce, which may end up making him the Most Valuable Red this week as he obviously took one for the team. The Reds will be a much better team with the current phenom rather than the former phenom.
Season: Andruw Jones has been a marginally worse hitter than Austin Kearns this season, but his additional defensive value as a center fielder more than makes up for the few points of OPS. Kearns is hitting .187/.295/.267 and his game seems to have simply fallen apart.
That’s what I’m calling the Megaweek Edition of the THT Awards. And yes, I know that “the THT” is redundant. So check back in next Saturday where we’ll wonder what it will take to get Tony Pena sent to Omaha.
John Barten writes the THT Awards weekly feature. Please send suggestions, comments, corrections, and input to his email address. Follow him on Twitter at JohnMBarten