Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for Monday, July 8 through Sunday, July 14. Please see the week one column for category explanations.
Next week’s awards will be a first half retrospective, updating all of the season leaders in each category. The shortened All-Star week will be put to good use as an opportunity to look through a wider lens.
This week’s proof that assigning wins and losses to a pitcher is an archaic practice that must stop
Good luck division
Ryan Dempster and Erasmo Ramirez allowed seven runs each. Dempster made it through only three and a third. Ramirez pitched four and two thirds. Neither took the loss, which went to Tom Wilhelmsen, who allowed one run in a high leverage situation late in the game.
Dillon Gee and Barry Zito combined to yield 10 runs in 12 and two-thirds innings. They were peppered with 16 runs and walked 10. But they split the runs allowed down the middle and each salvaged a no-decision.
A Heath Bell blown save took Hyun-Jin Ryu off the hook for the loss after the Dodgers starter was shelled for five runs in five innings on seven hits and two walks. Following Ryu’s disaster start, Dodgers relievers tossed nine shutout innings and the Dodgers won the game in extra innings.
Todd Redmond lasted all of four innings, allowing three runs on four hits and a walk. He allowed solo home runs to Chris Davis and Adam Jones. He escaped with a no-decision thanks to an implosion by Jason Hammel.
Bad luck division
CC Sabathia pitched nine innings, holding the Royals to three runs on seven hits and two walks, striking out six. He took the loss as James Shields and a pair of relievers held the weak Yankees offense to one run in the game.
Gerrit Cole limited the Athletics to two runs in seven innings on five hits and two walks, striking out four. He was given the loss as the Pirates managed only one run off Dan Straily, Sean Doolittle, Ryan Cook and Grant Balfour.
Josh Johnson got the loss despite going seven innings, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks and striking out six batters. Ubaldo Jimenez and the Cleveland bullpen combined to shut out the Blue Jays.
Tyler Chatwood allowed one run in eight innings at Dodger Stadium the day after Kershaw pitched brilliantly and took the loss. Chatwood took the loss as Zack Greinke shut out the Rockies. Chatwood’s 71 game score went to waste as the guys from Denver could manage only two hits and a walk off Greinke.
Cole Hamels was in line for the win, having thrown eight innings, allowing two runs on eight hits to the White Sox, walking none, striking out seven. But Jonathan Papelbon blew the save and Hamels received a no-decision.
After Trevor Rosenthal put runners on first and second, Edward Mujica failed to end the eighth inning before allowing those runs to score, resulting in a blown save. The Cardinals subsequently tallied four runs off Kevin Gregg to give Mujica the win.
Following Ubaldo’s -0.32 WPA start, Cleveland ran out five relievers, all of whom posted a positive WPA. Of the five, Rich Hill had the lowest WPA at .06. He was fortunate enough to have been the most recent Indians pitcher when Tim Collins blew the hold, retiring only one batter. Hill got the win.
Wes Littleton Award
Jonathan Papelbon played a dangerous game on Monday, entering the game with a three run lead and allowing a single and a double to Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman and then watching those two score on consecutive sacrifice flies before ending the game by retiring Chad Tracy.
With a three-run lead to protect, Jim Johnson came in with the seven-eight-nine spots in the Blue Jays order coming up next. He sat down J.P. Arencibia and Emilio Bonifacio, allowing a Brett Lawrie single before ending it by retiring Jose Reyes.
Please hold the applause
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
David Price struck out three of the 32 Astros he faced and the opposing starter, Jarred Cosart fanned two of the 26 Rays he faced. They combined to allow three runs on 10 in 17 innings. Six double plays were turned in the game. Only two balls in play found their way into a hit against Cosart despite him walking more batters than he struck out.
Joe Carter Award
It isn’t that Brandon Phillips hit poorly. He ended the week at .286/.355/.357, which judged against National League second basemen hitting .256/.317/.392 as a whole and with Phillips himself hitting .266/.320/.413 this season, sounds pretty good. But the thing is that with 10 RBIs, he drove in two more batters than anybody else in baseball this week. Two more than Adrian Beltre, who hit .407/.467/.778. Two more than Chris Davis, who accumulated 19 total bases in 28 plate appearances. Double what Alfonso Soriano drove in, despite Soriano’s two doubles and four home runs. So Phillips was blessed with a lot of opportunities in a week where he hit like Brandon Phillips, which is to say better than your average middle infielder, but not one you will be telling your grandchildren about.
Somebody named Brock Holt plated seven runs for the Red Sox while batting .308/.345/.308 in 28 PA.
Alcides Escobar drove in six with a .241/.258/.345 line in 30 PA.
Michael Bourn reached safely via hit eight times in 26 PA. But he went the whole week without reaching base via hit by pitch or base on balls and only one of his eight hits advanced him past first base. He hit .308/.308/.346.
Holt’s .308/.345/.308 fits here as well.
Erick Aybar went .300/.318/.350 in 21 PA, which is better than what you would expect to see out of a shortstop but worse overall than you would expect from somebody who was reaching via hit at that rate.
Jose Tabata posted an empty .280/.280/.320 line in 25 PA.
Harmon Killebrew Award
Miguel Montero has had a rough season, but his secondary skills showed their worth this week as half of his four hits were home runs, he walked four times, and ended up with a .222/.391/.556 line in 22 PA.
Chase Headley’s slugging percentage is nothing to write home about, but while it is one of the stranger looking lines, there is a lot of value in .227/.414/.318 in 29 PA.
Harper posted a ,192/.344/.346 line in 32 PA. He reached base by way of a hit five times and via walk six times.
Steve Balboni Award
Arcia struck out 12 times in 22 PA and subsequently posted a .045/.045/.045 line.
Arcia’s teammate, Parmelee fanned nine times in 19 PA and went .056/.100/.056.
Plouffe struck out 10 times 25 PA and posted a .280/.280/.440 line.
A fourth Minnesota batter, Justin Morneau, struck out eight times in 27 PA and while .240/.296/.400 isn’t the train wreck that you see above, it isn’t good at all and Morneau doesn’t seem to have the secondary skills anymore to deal with that kind of contact problem.
Evan Longoria whiffed nine times in 30 PA and ended the week at .148/.233/.296.
Also striking out nine times was Carlos Gomez, who did it in 27 PA and posted a .080/.143/.200 line.
Eduardo Nunez struck out nine times in 22 PA and went .190/.227/.190.
Among other batters with a lot of Ks and not a lot of production were Alex Gordon, Jonny Gomes, Ryan Zimmerman, Delmon Young, Austin Jackson, Jose Bautista, Dan Uggla, Josh Hamilton, Mark Reynolds and Nolan Reimold.
Three true outcomes
Chris Davis is still doing Chris Davis things as he posted a four-two-11 TTO line in 26 PA.
Giancarlo Stanton went two-eight-eight in 29 PA.
I for one am shocked: Adam Dunn posted a one-six-seven in 29 PA.
Miguel Montero’s Killebrew was powered by his two-four-seven in 22 PA.
He failed to homer, but Joey Votto did go zero-nine-seven in 31 PA.
And Headley posted a very Votto-like zero-seven-nine in 29 PA.
Alexei Ramirez did not homer or walk and struck out only once in 35 PA.
Tabata went zero-zero-two in 25 PA.
Brandon Phillips posted a zero-two-zero in 30 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: Every season a random batter who is a perfectly fine player but not a star by any measure will go out and have a crazy week. This was one of those weeks as Alejando De Aza went .414/.469/.793 in 32 PA. Half of his 12 hits went for extra bases. And to add to the Brandon Phillips point in the Carter section, he drove in four runs.
NL: Shin-Soo Choo reached base safely 17 times in 33 PA. He ended the week batting .448/.515/.621. He even stole two bases with zero caught stealing.