Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for the games starting Monday, July 25 and ending Sunday, July 31. If you are a new reader, reference the week one column for category explanations.
This week’s proof that assigning wins and losses to a pitcher is an archaic practice that must stop
Good luck division
Chris Capuano improved his record to 9-10 despite yielding six runs in five and a third on eight hits and three walks. Homer Bailey gave up nine runs to the Mets offense and Capuano just had to hold on and make it out of the fifth.
Danny Duffy and Andrew Miller were torched in a wild game, giving up a combined 13 runs in seven and a third on 15 hits and five walks. Duffy also added a wild pitch and a hit batter. The decisions went to the bullpens.
Bad luck division
As was suggested in last week’s comments section, Braves reliever Carlos Martinez threw six shutout innings in the controversial 19-inning marathon between the Braves and the Pirates. At any point in his time on the mound he would have received a win had Atlanta found a way to score a run. But they did not do so until after he left having thrown 88 pitches and having struck out six and allowing two base runners. He had by far the biggest WPA in the game, doubling Scott Proctor and Jason Grilli.
I was worried that I would go the whole week without writing up a reliever who blew the save and witnessed his mates picking him up and handing him an undeserved win. But then on Sunday Drew Storen let Scott Hairston belt his second home run of the game and it set the table for the Nats to score a run on Bobby Parnell and Storen got the win.
Wes Littleton Award
Please hold the applause
Jason Motte entered the game up four runs with two on and one out. He faced Geovany Soto and Alfonso Soriano. Soto ended the game batting .241/.328/.404, Soriano .247/.286/.444. Should he have failed to secure either of those outs, Tyler Colvin’s .111/.176/.212 awaited.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Joe Carter Award
Casey Kotchman has hit well this year, though without the power you would expect from a first baseman. His .326/.384/.444 season line is what Oakland was hoping to get from Daric Barton. But this weekend, Kotchman rapped out eight singles, only one extra base hit, and he failed to walk, leading to a .321/.321/.357 line.
Martin Prado went .306/.306/.333 in 36 PA.
Nyjer Morgan went .286/.286/.333 for the Brewers.
Harmon Killebrew Award
Bobby Abreu went .238/.360/.476, powered mostly by four walks, a triple, and a home run in 25 PA.
Adam Dunn has had a lot of terrible weeks, so it was refreshing to see him walk seven times and homer to put up a .235/.458/.412 line, which is helpful.
Steve Balboni Award
Miguel Olivo was busy being Miguel Olivo. .063/.063/.063 is a bad week, but the nine strikeouts in 16 PA with no walks sounds awfully familiar to this Royals fan.
Pedro Alvarez needs a little less swing and miss in his game if he is going to help the Pirates much at all. The big Vandy product fanned 13 times in 32 PA and ended at .138/.242/.276.
Kyle Blanks had a rough one, going .000/.167/.000 with nine K’s in 17 PA.
Three true outcomes
Jayson Werth has an extra “Y” in his first name and a lot of TTO’s in his week. He hit one home run, walked three times, and struck out nine times in 21 PA.
Dunn went 1-7-8 in 24 PA.
Billy Butler missed one category, but made up for it with the power: 5-0-8 in 33 PA.
Paul Konerko posted a 3-3-6 in 19 PA.
Evan Longoria: 1-10-7 in 30 PA, which goes a long way to explain a very strange looking .100/.400/.250 line.
Aaron Miles showed dedication to making contact at all cost with no true outcomes in 26 PA.
The subject of Martin Prado came up in the Sanchez Award category. Related, he qualifies here with zero home runs and walks and only one strikeout.
Tsuyoshi Nishioka went zero-zero-two in 23 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: Ben Zobrist was great with six singles, three doubles, three home runs, and four walks for a .429/.520/.857 in 32 PA. He is the winner, but I have to mention Billy Butler and Alex Gordon who went .406/.412/.938 and .345/.486/.828 respectively.
NL: Jesus Guzman is really making the most of his first real shot at major league playing time. This week he went off for three doubles, two home runs, and four walks in 25 PA, most of which came at home in Petco. .429/.520/.857 is impressive. We’re still in the small sample size portion of the show, but a 27-year-old minor league free agent utilityman is batting .333/.378/.607 in 90 PA. He’s probably nowhere near MVP candidate good, but he does have a career minor league line of .305/.373/.480 in 3800 PA. Stranger things have happened.