THT Awardsby John Barten
August 09, 2008
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 Friday, Aug. 1, through Thursday, Aug. 7. All season totals are through the 7th.
This week’s proof that assigning wins and losses to a pitcher is an idiotic practice that must stop
Good Luck Division:
Shaun Marcum and Tommy Hunter (in his second career start) were lucky to escape with no decisions after they were abused for 12 runs in a combined 9.1 innings.
Miguel Batista got smashed around to the tune of six runs on seven hits and four walks in three innings. No decision.
Bad Luck Division:
Jake Peavy has a right to complain about his run support. Against the Giants, he went seven frames, allowing one run and nothing went for extra bases. He struck out seven and walked nobody. But there he was in the loss column because Barry Zito was enough to befuddle Tad Iguchi, Kevin Kouzmanoff, and Josh Bard.
With seven innings and one run allowed, 11 strikeouts and less than a base runner per inning, Tim Lincecum did his job. But Jack Taschner blew the save.
Justin Duchscherer and Tim Wakefield went six innings each, allowing one run between the two of them. The Red Sox bullpen blew Wakefield’s lead before the A’s bullpen finally handed the game back to Boston.
Felix Hernandez and Andrew Sonnanstine combined for two runs on nine hits, three walks, and nine strikeouts in 15.1 innings. Pitchers duels too often leads to no decisions.
Vulture alert! Vulture alert!
Edwar Ramirez blew the save by allowing four runs in an inning, but the Yankees lineup gave him an undeserved win.
Chad Gaudin did the same thing. And Bob Howry. And Francisco Rodriguez. And J.J. Putz.
The Wes Littleton Award
Please remind me that if I ever run into Jim Caple, I really need to buy him a drink. Jonah Keri, too.
Sure, Bobby Jenks was protecting a two-run lead rather than the three runs that I usually document. But the three outs he had to get in the ninth inning were Mark Teahen (.313 OBP), Ross Gload (.319 OBP), and John Buck (.314 OBP).
Please hold the applause
Joe Smith, one pitch, one hold. The game was also notable because Billy Wagner and the Mets bullpen blew yet another Johan Santana lead. The guy is 9-7 with a 2.85 ERA. It’s ridiculous.
Jaime Garcia earned a loss and a hold in the same game.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Normally, this game would go in the bad luck column given that Sidney Ponson threw seven scoreless. But he struck out one batter in that time and was only tagged for two hits, neither for extra bases.
The Joe Carter Award
Yunel Escobar drove in seven runs in his 28 at-bats. But that came with his .214/.207/.321 line.
Elsewhere, Brad Hawpe (seven RBI, .296/.310/.370) and Chris Davis (eight RBI, .208/.259/.375) were also ineffective despite flashy RBI totals.
Season: Jose Guillen has 73 RBI and a .290 OBP, primarily because of his 14 walks in 417 at-bats. But at least he’s slugging .453. Melvin Mora has driven in 70 and he’s hitting .256/.319/.427.
The Rey Sanchez Batting Average is all I’ve Got Award
Hawpe collected six singles, a double, and a walk in 23 at bats. His .280 batting average was useless in the face of his inability to produce extra base hits and walks.
Carlos Gonzalez had a similar story with his mostly empty .292 batting average. Five singles, one double, one triple, and one walk are not sufficient in 24 at-bats. His .292/.320/.417 line is pretty unspectacular.
Season: Delmon Young’s 20 doubles show some hope of power to come, but his 25 walks in 413 at-bats are not a particularly encouraging sign for his patience. .290/.336/.390 is not helpful when you play a corner outfield spot.
Garret Anderson is doing about what you’d expect from a guy with his skill set and the mileage on his tires. .290/.325/.431.
This week’s dumbest thing ever
If this isn’t the end of the Favre story, I may end up giving myself a lobotomy with a household drill and a metal clothes hanger. It would probably be less painful than the blanket coverage.
The Harmon Killebrew Batting Average is for Wussies Award
Adrian Gonzalez is one of my favorite players at this point because he’s so criminally underrated. This week he had four hits in 20 at-bats, but he slugged .500 with a .360 OBP thanks to a pair of home runs and five walks.
Season: I absolutely admit it. I had left Jim Edmonds for dead. I went so far as to taunt my Cubbie fan friends with his Padre statistics. I was wrong. .243/.341/.463 is not too bad.
Adam Dunn is a winner at .238/.381/.540.
And Chris Snyder’s .241 batting average is a little pedestrian, but a .784 OBP from your catcher isn’t half bad. Nine home runs and 39 walks in 232 at-bats is a good example of secondary skills.
The Steve Balboni Award
Michael Young isn’t known as a three true outcomes star, but he had a three true outcomes week and he suffered for it. Of his six hits, two were home runs. And he drew three walks in his 28 at-bats. But his 10 K led to a .214 batting average and his .290 OBP.
Ian Stewart struck out nine times in 17 at-bats. His only two hits were a double and a home run and he complimented that with three walks for a .118/.286/.353 line.
Season: Mike Cameron is striking out in 32 percent of his 283 at-bats. His batting average is sinking what would otherwise be a pretty decent season line. .257/.323/.484.
This is the weirdest baseball-related picture you’ll see this year.
Best. Headline. Ever.
3 True Outcomes Alert!!!
Carlos Pena hit a pair of home runs, walked eight times, and struck out seven times in 32 plate appearances.
Season: Adam Dunn and Ryan Howard are really owning this category. They share the Major League lead in home runs. In walks, Dunn is tied for second while Howard is a respectable 35th. And in strikeouts, Howard is all alone in the first spot while Dunn is seventh.
This Week’s MVP
AL: Placido Polanco has a great name and he had a great week with his .370/.433/.815 line. Of his 10 hits, seven went for extra bases.
Season: Grady Sizemore takes over for Ian Kinsler. Sizemore is hitting .273/.384/.537 with 25 doubles, 27 home runs, 71 walks, very good center field defense, and 27 of 30 on the basepaths. It’s too bad the Indians are still leading him off and it’s too bad that the Indians aren’t close enough to the playoffs for him to get some MVP press. He’s turned into an extremely good middle of the order hitter that would be an MVP candidate if he was at the helm of a contender.
NL: I declare a tie between Manny Ramirez and Ryan Ludwick. Manny hit .565/.615/1.130 with four home runs and three walks. Ludwick hit .480/.519/1.240 with six bombs and a pair of free passes.
Season: Lance Berkman is still here at .335/.434/.603 in 400 at-bats. He has accumulated 35 doubles, 22 home runs, and 66 walks. But Albert Pujols is closing in on him, and fast. At .350/.461/.614, he’s been better than Berkman on a per at-bat basis, but the almost 40 at-bat gap is still enough to edge Berkman ahead.
That is this week’s awards. By this time next week we’ll know whether any first round draft picks will be going back into next year’s pool.
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