Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for Monday, May 14th through Sunday, May 20th. Please see the week one column for award definitions and explanations.
This week’s proof that assigning wins and losses to a pitcher is an arcane practice that must stop
Good luck division
Ivan Nova and Jason Hammel combined to throw ten and a third, allowing 10 runs on 14 hits, walking six, striking out seven. Normally at least one would get the loss while the other would escape with a no-decision or even a silly win. This time thanks to a Luis Ayala blown save, they both came away without the loss.
Bad luck division
Felipe Paulino gave the Royals seven shutout innings against the division leading Orioles. He struck out nine, walked two, and gave up only five hits with a game score of 74. Kelvin Herrera and Jonathan Broxton combined to blow the save and send Paulino home with a no-decision.
The very first pitch Matt Thornton threw was slapped for a single, which blew the lead for the White Sox. The south side offense then rebounded to reclaim the lead and Thornton walked away with a win against the neighbors just up the Red Line.
Wes Littleton Award
Sean Marshall recorded his seventh save of the season by protecting a three run lead against the Mets seven, eight, nine, and leadoff batters. That’s Justin Turner, Mike Nickeas, pinch hitter Scott Hairston, and pinch hitter Andres Torres.
Please hold the applause
Josh Outman was inaccurately named Tuesday. The Rockies reliever entered the game protecting a two run lead, got Jeremy Guthrie out of a jam with two on and one out. When he returned to the mound for the next inning, he walked two, then induced a groundout from Brandon Belt before allowing Melky Cabrera to drive in both base runners with a double. He was lifted and Matt Belisle allowed Cabrera to score on an Angel Pagan single. He was charged with three runs after entering with a two run lead and still got the hold. How did he do that? The Rockies scored another run in the half inning between Outman ending the sixth and starting the seventh. Cabrera, the base runner he bequeathed to Belisle, was the tying run. Therefore, when he left the game, the Rockies were still in the lead and thus he got the hold.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
P.J. Walters faced 27 Detroit batters. He struck out only two of them. He walked three. Three more smacked home runs. Of the remaining 19, only one plate appearances ended with a hit, and that was a single. Walters got the win as the bullpen held serve and his three home runs allowed were all solo shots, in no small part because of the good luck on balls in play.
Joe Carter Award
Adam LaRoche drove in seven runs over the course of the week, but batting average problems drug down his overall production and the seven runners he batted in posted OPS’s that were 270-464 points higher than the .763 LaRoche provided the Nats.
Luke Scott collected five RBI in 26 PA for the St. Petersburg Rays, but his .240/.300/.240 line was not impressive unless you are comparing that to what I would do against professional pitchers.
Josh Donaldson knocked in six, mostly via four extra base hits. But that was the sum total of the positive contributions he made to the Athletics offense, as witnessed by his .200/.192/.440 line.
Starlin Castro drove in five but ended the week at .222/.207/.333.
Brayan Pena smacked five hits in 16 plate appearances. He did not draw a walk. None of his hits went for extra bases. He hit .313/.313/.313.
David DeJesus went .296/.296/.407 and was unsuccessful in both of his stolen base attempts.
Continuing with the current and former Royal theme, Alberto Callaspo gave the Halos a .286/.286/.333 in 21 PA.
Justin Smoak’s only non-batting average related contribution was a home run and a walk in 25 PA. .280/.280/.440.
Jordan Schafer batted an empty .278/.316/.389.
Harmon Killebrew Award
Adam Dunn’s resurgence continues in classic Adam Dunn style. He only collected six hits in 32 PA, but walks and home runs put his line at .231/.375/.577.
The OBP isn’t a national treasure, but given the current state of offense at shortstop, we would all take Jed Lowrie’s .227/.320/.545.
Joey Votto went .217/.400/.522 for the Reds.
Giancarlo Stanton went .217/.357/.391 in 28 PA.
Steve Balboni Award
Will Middlebrooks struck out 13 times, most in the majors for the week. .222/.222/370 was the inevitable result.
Something is wrong with Rickie Weeks. He is striking out in over a third of his at bats and hitting .154/.288/.287. This week was no different, unless by different you mean worse. He fanned 12 times in 23 at bats and ended at .130/.167/.261.
At this point, if Pedro Alvarez is smacking home runs, he is almost useful. When he is not hitting home runs, his complete inability to make contact makes him an OBP sink, which combines with his poor defense to make him unusable. This week Alvarez whiffed 12 times in 22 at bats and posted a .136/.208/.182 line.
Mike Napoli struck out 10 times in 22 PA, leading to a .150/.227/.150 line and a lot of very disappointed fantasy owners who spent a lot of auction dollars or a high round pick on him.
It’s a small sample size, but I would be remiss if I failed to point out that Mike Nickeas was set down on strikes an astounding eight times in 13 PA this week.
I would document the struggles of Jay Bruce, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Carlos Pena, Robert Andino, Drew Stubbs, Brandon Crawford, Wilson Betemit, Adrian Gonzalez, Clint Barmes, Seth Smith, Alex Liddi, and Howie Kendrick, but will just leave it at mentioning them here, otherwise we would both be here until it was time for next week’s awards. There were a lot of batters who struck out an alarming number of times this week and posted terrible overall batting lines.
Three true outcomes
It’s all about Dunn. Three home runs, six walks, and 12 strikeouts in 32 PA.
In only 11 PA, Xavier Nady went two-two-three.
Ichiro Suzuki posted a zero-zero-one in 31 PA.
Cesar Izturis went zero-zero-two in 26 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: I will go with co-winners this week. J.P. Arencibia smoked two doubles and four home runs to go .360/.385/.920 while playing catcher. Mike Trout went .444/.516/.741 thanks to 12 hits, including a triple and two home runs. He also walked four times in 31 PA and was successful in four of his five stolen base attempts.
NL: To heck with it, I’ll be a fence sitter in both leagues this week and use it as an excuse to point out that Martin Prado went .519/.548/.852 and Jonathan Lucroy gave the Brewers a .400/.444/.800 week.