THT Awardsby John Barten
June 28, 2008
For award definitions and background on the column itself, please consult the Primer.
All weekly stats are for the period of Friday, June 20 through Thursday, June 26. All season totals are through the June 19.
This week’s proof that assigning wins and losses to a pitcher is an idiotic practice that must stop
Good Luck Division:
Radhames Liz allowed five runs in two innings of work. Jeff Suppan took the loss because he gave up six runs in less time.
Bad Luck Division:
Roy Halladay and Zach Duke went 14 innings with no runs in a game that went scoreless until the 12th frame.
Kevin Slowey and Jake Peavy: 12 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 13 K, 0 W, 0 L
I bring up Nate Robertson and Todd Wellemeyer’s 11 inning, one run duel not only to mention the fact that they each got hosed by having to face each other on good nights, but also just to state for the record that I’m as perplexed by the redemption of Wellemeyer that happened last season as I’ve been over any breakout I can remember. It is not like he didn’t have extended trials. Three different organizations had more or less given up on him. He goes to the Cardinals and he suddenly becomes a sub-4 ERA guy with average command? I really don’t get it at all and I will likely never get used to the idea.
Vulture alert! Vulture alert!
Heath Bell got a blown save and a win courtesy of Fernando Rodney,
Joe Borowski did the same thing, stealing the credit from Cliff Lee, who was pretty good that day.
Make that a table for three as Jon Rauch pulled the same trick. He even managed to avoid trashing his own ERA as the two runs he allowed to tie the game were charged to Luis Ayala.
The Wes Littleton Award
With two out in the bottom of the ninth, the Cubs had four run lead with runners on the corners. In comes Kerry Wood, who struck out Nick Swisher to end the game and collect a save. Fangraphs? 1.2 percent Win Probability Added.
Salomon Torres made a three run lead into a one run lead, but managed to work out of a jam of his own making, so he got a save for his efforts. An ERA of 18.00 is something to be rewarded.
Please hold the applause
Jesse Carlson threw three pitches protecting a three run lead and got a hold.
Dennys Reyes threw two pitches. He received credit for the hold.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Nick Blackburn and a pair of relievers struck out three Diamondbacks, yet yielded only one run on four hits.
How do you strike out 10 batters in six innings and still give up nine hits?
Belated small sample size warning
Sure it was one of the worst performances in recent memory, but it’s still worth noting that even in late June, we’re still in a place in the schedule where it is possible for a pitcher to add almost a full run onto his ERA in one ridiculously bad start. Also, I wonder where the negative nine game score that Bronson Arroyo put up ranks in the pantheon of merciless shellings. Yes, that is a hint.
Hey, didn’t you used to be…
The Joe Carter Award
Chad Tracy, Vernon Wells, and Aaron Rowand each collected five RBIs on the week. Tracy hit .227/.261/.364. Wells hit .308/.310/.346. Rowand hit .250/.308/.375.
Season: David Murphy of the Rangers has 51 RBIs hitting behind Milton Bradley, Michael Young, Ian Kinsler, and Josh Hamilton. He’s hitting an unspectacular .272/.305/.456. He should work on his patience as he’s drawn only 17 walks.
Speaking of which, Mike Jacobs, with 47 RBIs has the slugging thing down this season, hitting 18 home runs and 12 doubles. But his 11 walks, coupled with his .236 batting average are making him a one-dimensional OBP sink in the Marlins lineup at .267.
The Rey Sanchez Batting Average is all I’ve Got Award
Wells’ .308/.310/.346 line is a classic Sanchez nominee. The Toronto center fielder rapped out seven singles, but managed only one extra base hit, a single, and didn’t draw a single free pass.
Season: Does Jose Lopez have a nickname? Did the clever commenters at Lookout Landing come up with anything reflecting his complete and total inability to get on base despite hitting a very acceptable .296 average? Maybe a funny, animated Photoshopped graphic that doesn’t meet THT standards (specifically no using the f word)? You just can’t walk 11 times in 311 at-bats unless you hit .330, preferably with some power.
This Week’s Dumbest Thing Ever
On the Dumb Scale, this doesn’t quite rank up there with drunkenly telling a cop that he should take off the badge and see how tough he really is. Nor is it in league with throwing a lit cigarette out a car window in an area with a significant wildfire risk. But assaulting your boss certainly is pretty high on the list of dumbest things you can do.
Since I’m bringing up Shawn Chacon, this seems like a good opportunity to renew my yearly request that we standardize certain common names. Shaun and Derek are notoriously maddening for me since they’re everywhere and it seems as though no two are spelled alike. So I don’t really care if it is Shawn, Shawon, Chone, Sean, or Shon. And I don’t care whether we’re going with Derrick, Deric, Derek, Daric, or any other variation that you can come up with. Pick one and go with it.
The Harmon Killebrew Batting Average is for Wussies Award
David Wright collected only four hits all week, but they were good ones. Two of them were home runs. He also walked five times for a .250/.429/.625 line.
Season: How about Justin Upton? His batting average is down to .240 (as we talked about last week), but he’s walked 43 times in 242 at-bats and is sitting at .240/.357/.430. That’s not half bad for a guy who can’t legally buy a glass of wine.
The Steve Balboni Award
Adam Dunn and Pat Burrell are both players who have elicited some heated debates among their respective fanbases centered around their chronic three true outcomes approaches. Well, TTO gives and TTO takes away as when you strike out a lot, you’re going to have some ugly looking weeks simply courtesy of the few balls you do put in play not finding grass to land on. Dunn struck out 10 times in 21 at-bats. Three of his four hits were doubles and he drew two walks, which would have made for a nice week if it weren’t for his average dragging him down to .190/.261/.333.
Burrell was more of the same as among his four hits were a triple and a homer, and he also walked twice in 21 at-bats. But he struck out eight times and had a .190/.250/.429 line.
Season: Ryan Howard is another guy who I wish had a large stable of nicknames. When you mention a player every week in the same spot in the awards, you feel like you’re endlessly repeating yourself. Howard has struck out an alarming 109 times in his 300 at-bats, etc. He’s hitting .213/.307/.457 yadda, yadda, yadda. I really don’t have anything new to report here.
What I can talk about and not feel like I’m an endless bore is Michael Bourn. Bourn is in dangerous waters for a guy with his skill set. He’s struck out 68 times in 282 at-bats. When you are a batter with little to no power, but tons of speed, it behooves you to play to your strengths. Put the ball in play and let your speed work. Striking out in 25 percent of your at-bats limits youbest qualities, leading to his current .238/.292/.319 line.
3 True Outcomes Alert!!!
Brad Hawpe did pretty well in all three categories, hitting two bombs, walking seven times, and striking out five times in 24 plate appearances.
Jim Edmonds didn’t have as well-rounded a TTO week, but he had the two positive outcomes covered, giving out four souvenirs, walking seven times, and striking out once in 21 plate appearances.
Season: Dan Uggla has 23 home runs, 36 walks and 90 strikeouts in 326 plate appearancesfor a 45.7 TTO percentage.
We here at the awards love Deadspin and we will miss Will Leitch. So in tribute, for this item only, we will use the royal we.
This Week’s MVP
AL: Brian Roberts did pretty well for himself this week with five doubles and a triple to go with three walks in a .440/.500/.720 line.
Evan Longoria wasn’t far behind with his .360/.429/.880 week, featuring four doubles and three home runs.
Season: Still Milton Bradley. Let’s move on.
NL: Aramis Ramirez smashed the ball with his .435/.480/1.000 week.
Season: Still Lance Berkman. Nothing to see here. .367/.450/.705 speaks for itself.
AL: Evan Longoria’s good week didn’t hurt him in this competition, but it wasn’t particularly close to begin with. The Long Beach State product is hitting a robust .261/.337/.518, good for 19th in the AL in OPS.
Runners up: Jacoby Ellsbury is having a reasonably solid rookie season, going .275/.352/.388 and putting in some very nice defensive work in center field.
Third is Aaron Laffey, who is carrying a very shiny 2.83 ERA. I don’t trust it though because he’s only struck out 30 men in 70 innings. Nevertheless, at this point, even if it is not sustainable, he has the results.
NL: Geovany Soto and Kosuke Fukudome have been outstanding thus far. Soto is hitting .277/.365/.504, Fukudome .299/.404/.450.
Runners up: Two more teammates, Joey Votto and Jay Bruce have each Wally Pipped inferior veterans. Votto is batting .284/.351/.486 and leading NL first basemen in out of the zone plays defensively.
Bruce is hitting .288/.362/.450 and only has 111 at-bats to his name thanks to arriving late on the scene.
That is this week’s awards. Come back next week. And please enter some submissions. We’ve had a bit of a slump recently on that front.
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