THT Awardsby John Barten
August 16, 2008
Welcome to the awards.
Here we are at the end of another long week, whether you spent it admitting that you faked parts of the Olympic ceremonies, or dodging bullets, claiming you have a sasquatch corpse, hitting for the cycle, or like me, fighting off the poison ivy rashes that completely took over both arms. We all deserve the weekend.
For award definitions and background on the column itself, please consult the Primer.
All weekly stats are for the period of Friday, Aug. 8 through Thursday, Aug. 14. All season totals are through the 14th.
This week’s proof that assigning wins and losses to a pitcher is an idiotic practice that must stop
Good Luck Division:
Matt Harrison had a pretty ridiculous day, allowing six runs in five innings while Josh Hamilton and Ian Kinsler picked him up. Despite the incongruous 4-2 record and 7.07 ERA, this was the first really ugly win of the season for Harrison.
Jorge Campillo yielded five runs in 6.1 innings and still received credit for his seventh win of the season thanks to Martin Prado and Brian McCann abusing Doug Davis and Billy Buckner. At the same time, Jered Weaver was getting the win over the Yankees despite allowing five runs in six frames. True story.
It was a good week for starters winning despite themselves. Gavin Floyd decided to get a piece of the action. To be fair, he was pretty unlucky on balls in play. And Matt Thornton didn’t help him out much, allowing an inherited runner to score and get charged to Floyd.
Bad Luck Division
Jason Frasor ruined Jesse Litsch’s day. Litsch threw seven scoreless and Frasor blew the save.
Paul Maholm and Joe Blanton had quite a pitcher’s duel, matching each other out for out through seven frames before yielding to relievers. The pair struck out 17 batters and allowed six hits.
Vulture alert! Vulture alert!
Chris Sampson collected a blown save and a win in the same game. So did Rafael Perez.
Scott Schoeneweis’ only contribution to the win was getting John Baker to ground out with a man on first base to end the sixth inning. He got the win because he was lucky enough to time his appearance to happen right before Fernando Tatis, Damian Easley, and Daniel Murphy staged a three-run rally.
The Wes Littleton Award
Brian Stokes’ first career save was a True Littleton. He inherited a 12-run lead, but because he went four innings, he got credit for the save. Lovely.
Jonathan Broxton was protecting a four-run lead with one out to collect and two men on base when he entered the game. He walked Omar Vizquel before getting Randy Winn to fly out to end it and collect his save. He really wasn’t necessary. He contributed .014 WPA.
Please hold the applause
Kyle McClellan of the Cardinals entered Wednesday’s game up by three runs. He let two Marlins score on three hits in a third of an inning. That’ll be one hold thank you very much.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Jeff Suppan had some good luck on balls in play against the Padres. In eight innings of work, he struck out three batters and allowed four hits, which sounds only a little lucky until you factor in that two of those hits were home runs.
Kevin Slowey threw six innings against the Yankees, striking out only one. But he allowed only one run on three hits in the win.
In a reversal of those stories, Hiram Kyle Davies struck out seven in five rough innings. The Royals defense behind him let nine balls hit the ground.
I’ve mentioned it before. In really weird games, like the ridiculous Rangers/Red Sox tilt on Tuesday, the standard system of wins and losses going to pitchers is absolutely useless. The starters, Scott Feldman and Charlie Zink combined to allow 20 runs. Zink carries a 0-0 record with a 16.62 ERA. That really tells you all that you need to know.
You don’t see this very often. The Angels blew saves in not one, not two, but three consecutive innings. Unbelievably, not one of the three Angels who got charged with blown saves was charged with the loss because the Halo lineup came back to tie the game and put it into extra innings.
The Joe Carter Award
Jason Bay was a nice pickup for the Red Sox. But despite his six RBI, he didn’t do much to make them look good. .241/.290/.276 ain’t getting it done.
Another deadline deal player, Casey Blake had a similar story. Blake hit a pair of home runs on his way to six ribbies, but his .179/.200/.393 line wasn’t pretty to look at.
Season: Melvin Mora is tied for 17th in the majors in RBI with 81. But in 431 at-bats, he’s only 89th in OPS at .782.
The Rey Sanchez Batting Average is all I’ve Got Award
Freddy Sanchez rapped out seven hits in 25 at-bats. But six of them were singles and he failed to walk even once for a .280/.280/.320 line.
Ryan Zimmerman’s.286/.333/.357, Ivan Rodriguez’s .308/.308/.385, and Juan Castro’s .333/.316/.333 all received consideration.
Season: Darin Erstad has two home runs and 11 walks in 209 at-bats for a .292/.334/.416 line.
Elsewhere, Carlos Gonzalez is struggling to draw walks and is hitting .270/.305/.414. And Carl Crawford’s season comes to a close at a very disappointing .273/.319/.400.
The Harmon Killebrew Batting Average is for Wussies Award
Two of Carlos Quentin’s three hits this week went into the seats for a .200/.455/.600 line.
Also looked upon kindly were Jim Edmonds (.235/.350/.824) and Miguel Cabrera (.240/.345/.640).
Season: Adam Dunn has collected 32 bombs and 83 walks, which turns his .234 batting average into a .374 OBP and .522 SLG.
The Steve Balboni Award
Jim Thome hit three home runs and walked twice in 23 at-bats, but he struck out eight times and his batting average was a drag on his .130/.200/.522 line.
Season: Jason Varitek and Jeff Mathis share the dishonor. Varitek is in the final part of his career and his K rate has ballooned to the point where he has 95 whiffs in 325 at bats to end up at an anemic .212/.304/.338. Mathis is only 25 and he’s still trying to break into the everyday lineup, but that doesn’t keep him from having a very similar story to the season. Mike Napoli is the Angels catcher you think of when you’re looking for three true outcomes guys. But Mathis has nine home runs, 28 walks, and a staggering 72 strikeouts in 229 at-bats.
3 true outcomes alert!!!
In 30 plate appearances, Mike Cameron has hit three home runs, collected seven walks, and seven strikeouts.
Season: Ryan Howard has 33 HR, 58 BB, 155 K in 525 PA.
This Week’s MVP
AL: In 29 at bats, Nick Markakis hit four doubles, a triple, and a home run while walking five times to end up with a .414/.486/.724 line and a very successful week.
Season: Ian Kinsler takes back the title from Grady Sizemore with a .435/.444/.870 week. .319/.377/.515 is outstanding for a second baseman, even if he isn’t a particularly good defender and even if he’s playing his home games in an extreme hitter’s park. The fact that he leads the AL in plate appearances helps too. He has 130 more at-bats than Alex Rodriguez.
NL: David Wright smacked five doubles and two bombs on his way to .367/.394/.733.
Season: Yawn. Lance Berkman. I ask you, the reader to send me tidbits that I can use in next week’s column to talk about Lance. I get tired of just saying that he’s hitting ridiculously well this season. Give me some stuff that you can’t find just by clicking on his Wikipedia page.
See you next week.
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