THT Awardsby John Barten
April 21, 2009
Welcome to the awards.
For award definitions and background on the column itself, please consult the Primer.
All weekly stats are for the period of Monday, April 13 though Sunday, April 19. All season stats are through Sunday.
This week’s proof that assigning wins and losses to a pitcher is an idiotic practice that must stop
Good Luck Division:
Gavin Floyd allowed six runs in five frames, striking out two, walking six. He still got the win because Zach Miner imploded for eight runs. Then again, Edinson Volquez wasn’t much better. And then there is Joel Pineiro.
Koji Uehara was really awful as he was chased by the Rangers, getting tagged for seven in five innings. Uehara’s American career is off to a very odd start as the best of his three starts has been his one loss.
None of this is to mention that Daisuke Matsuzaka escaped with a no-decision when he lasted only one inning against Oakland, but only after being charged with five runs, all earned. Or Jeremy Guthrie and Brad Penny when they collaborated on a shootout at Fenway Park.
Bad Luck Division
Pity Kevin Millwood, who had a seven-inning, six-strikeout, four-hit, no-walk peach of a start ruined by C.J. Wilson, who somehow managed to get charged with six runs, three of them earned, while retiring only one batter. Oh, and Tim Lincecum. Poor guy
Johan Santana was let down by the defense behind him and by the Mets' bats as he struck out 13 Marlins in seven innings. But he was charged with two unearned runs on an ugly error by Daniel Murphy. And the Mets were shut out by Josh Johnson. Then, in his next start, Santana got the better of Yovani Gallardo, who threw seven shutout innings for a no decision.
Please tell me Clayton Kershaw can sue Ronald Belisario for some kind of malpractice.
Vulture alert! Vulturealert!
After Walter Silva was dinged for five runs in four and a third, Edward Mujica stopped the bleeding in that fifth inning. He threw one pitch, inducing a pop fly from Carlos Delgado, and got the win.
Jensen Lewis got a win and a blown save thanks to Kyle Farnsworth and Trey Hillman.
The Wes Littleton Award
Heath Bell would have had to be very, very bad to blow a save where he just had to retire two Giants before three of them were able to score. He succeeded. I for one am not giving him any gold stars.
Please hold the applause
Santiago Casilla got a hold and a loss in the same game against the Mariners.
Pedro Feliciano got a hold for throwing one pitch.
Multiple of the above categories
Brandon League with a win and a blown save. Not only that, but he blew the save by walking Ryan Garko and then plunking Ben Francisco.
And overlapping with the Brandon League blown save, Jesse Carlson was charged with the run that was scored on the Francisco hit by pitch. Carlson entered the game with a 7-6 lead and the bases empty after Brian Tallet was yanked for giving up a two-run shot to Victor Martinez. Carlson walked Travis Hafner, induced a fielder’s choice from Johnny Peralta, and then walked Shin Soo Choo. League replaced him and allowed one of the two inherited runners to score. Neither pitcher helped the Blue Jays move towards their goal of winning the game. But because of the quirks of the hold and win rules, they both got statistical pats on the back.
On the same day as the League/Carlson debacle, Dan Meyer, Kiko Calero and Matt Lindstrom had a similar story. Meyer gave up two runs in an inning, Calero was charged with one run after Leo Nunez allowed Calero’s baserunner to cross the plate. Then Lindstrom blew a one-run lead in the ninth, only to get bailed out by Jorge Cantu.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
As unlucky as Trevor Cahill and his relievers were that they were on the losing end of an Eric Bedard gem, they were very lucky to allow only one run when they struck out four Mariners in nine innings.
Kyle Lohse shut out the Astros (which does not seem like much of a challenge these days) while also striking out four.
In a reversal of those examples, Javier Vazquez somehow managed to strike out 12 Marlins, yet he still got dinged with three runs on five hits. He had no problems with walks or home runs. He allowed no homers and walked only one.
About the Yankees/Indians beatdown
There have been reams and reams of newsprint and electrons devoted to talking about how the Yankees got pantsed at their brand new home. I won’t go over things that have undoubtedly been rehashed over and over. I just have one tidbit for you today on that particular matchup.
Here is one way to recognize that you are having a bad day. If your best pitcher according to WPA still gave up three base runners per inning and a pair of home runs, you are probably having a very bad day.
I have a pet theory that I feel like running by you, my audience. My pet theory (among the many that I have) is that reality TV has killed the very concept of the “guilty pleasure”. It used to be that you would feel a bit sheepish when you mentioned that you actually got a chuckle or two out of Jerry Springer. There would be a bit of shame at work there, maybe some subversive sense of defying your own better judgment.
But the popularity of reality TV removes any kind of plausible deniability. And indeed people aren’t terribly embarrassed about enjoying pop culture that actually, well, for lack of a more descriptive term, sucks. It’s just not reasonable for anybody who spends 10 or more hours a week watching Rock of Love Bus and the Real Housewives of the Quad Cities to feel any kind of guilt when admitting that they paid money to watch Daredevil and didn’t feel ripped off.
The Joe Carter Award
James Loney hit a lowly .190/.308/.190 on the week. He amassed no extra base hits. But he still drove in five runs largely because his was about the only Dodger bat that was not white hot. The team line, including Loney’s stinker, was .367/.448/.605.
Season: Mark DeRosa is tied with Ryan Ludwick and Carlos Pena for third in all of baseball in RBI with 15, trailing only Andre Ethier and Nick Markakis by a single ribbie. The thing is, he isn’t within 200 points of OPS of anybody else in the top 10.
The Rey Sanchez Batting Average Is All I’ve Got Award
I have a pair of nominees here, namely Ty Wigginton and Bill Hall. Wigginton rapped out seven singles and no extra base hits, drawing two walks in 25 at bats for a .280/.333/.280 line. Hall hit .273/.304/.318 for the Brewers.
Season: Yuniesky Betancourt has yet to draw a free pass this season and has three doubles in 43 at bats. That does little to help his .302 batting average be of any use. .302/.302/.372 doesn’t pay the bills so to speak when your defense is rapidly deteriorating. Also note that for a corner outfielder with significant defensive issues of his own, Juan Rivera’s current .289/.308/.342 is a killer. With the issues that the Angels are having keeping Vladimir Guerrero on the field and the fact that they have received nothing at all from shortstop, second base or first base this season, they need Rivera to produce some power and OBP rather than flail helplessly.
The Harmon Killebrew Batting Average Is For Wussies Award
There were a lot of good Killebrew candidates this week. The most extreme of the lot were Coco Crisp, hitting .176/.462/.588 with nine walks and zero singles and Marco Scutaro, who hit .185/.353/.444. Scutaro hit two home runs and drew six walks.
Also of note, Nick Swisher, who hit .240/.345/.600, slamming a pair of home runs and three doubles in 25 at bats. And Shin Soo Choo, who overcame a modest .231 average with a pair of home runs, a double, and five walks.
Season: Mike Napoli is doing what Mike Napoli does, hitting .231/.333/.538, which is a pretty nice line for a catcher.
Troy Tulowitzki has nothing to be ashamed of either, despite his measly four singles in 38 at bats. He has five extra base hits and six walks for a .237/.341/.553 first two weeks.
Tulowitzki’s teammate Seth Smith has been in only for part time duty, but in his 21 at bats, he has struck out eight times, walked eight times, doubled once, and homered twice for a .190/.414/.524 line.
Mark Teixeira is at .206/.349/.529. And the aforementioned Covelli Crisp rode this last week to a .200/.373/.550 season total. He has three triples and only one single. There are still 11 days left in April and he has more walks than he had in any one month last season and only one fewer than he had going into July of 2008. It is already an odd year for Royals fans.
The Steve Balboni Award
Most of the time, Jack Cust is in the competition for the Killebrew. But when you are an extreme TTO construct, sometimes you end up the Balboni pile. Cust struck out nine times in 24 at bats this week, negating much of the value that his patience and power brings to the table. .208/.296/.375 is a rough week.
Season: Chris Davis is struggling thus far, and while he likely always will flail a lot of the time, he has struck out an alarming 18 times in 39 at bats. He’s hitting (some would say not hitting) .179/.238/.333.
Three True Outcomes alert!!!
Adam Dunn: 16 AB, 2 HR, 7 BB, 4 K
Adrian Gonzalez: 21 AB, 4 HR, 6 BB, 6 K
Grady Sizemore: 29 AB, 2 HR, 7 BB, 7 K
This Week’s MVP
AL: Ian Kinsler was virtually flawless for the Rangers, going off to the tune of .556/.600/1.000. Of his 15 hits, four were doubles, one was a triple, and two went over the fence. He also drew three walks and stole six bases, being caught only once.
Season: Kinsler probably has it for the season so far. .460/.518/.880 is pretty compelling. Adam Jones deserves a mention here, too, since he is hitting a staggering .372/.472/.698.
NL: Kinsler wasn’t the only second baseman who was blistering the ball. Orlando Hudson was busy himself, hitting .542/.621/.833.
Season: Ryan Ludwick is at .405/.444/.833.
Small sample size warning
We are still at the point in the season where anybody with three firing neurons is way ahead of me on the sample size warning, but we should have fun with this. Here are some fun facts.
Jason Bartlett is outslugging Albert Pujols by 36 points. John Buck is slugging .909. Twelve batters who qualify for the batting title currently are hitting over .400. Christian Guzman is batting .515. Marco Scutaro holds a share of the AL lead in runs scored. Endy Chavez is sixth in hits.
This week’s comments question
Describe the worst-played game you have ever seen.
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