Welcome to the awards.
Thanks for taking a moment out of your weekend to join us. Whether you spent your week hitting for the cycle, getting back the antique Ferrari that was stolen from you 15 years ago, or fretting over the fact that your fantasy football team has Matt Schaub and Trent Edwards at quarterback, 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. 29, through Thursday, Sept. 4. All season totals are through the 4th.
This week’s proof that assigning wins and losses to a pitcher is an idiotic practice that must stop
Good Luck Division:
Edinson Volquez could be another reverse ASADIIFP with this game, but he’ll fit here for right now. He got knocked around a little bit for 5.1 innings, allowing six runs on eight hits and three walks. He struck out six, so he certainly had some bad luck on balls in play.
Season: Radhames Liz is 5-4 with a 7.91 ERA and a 42/41 K/BB ratio in 60 innings. He has one quality start in 13 attempts. And batters are hitting .305/.407/.540 against him. That does not compute.
Bad Luck Division
Todd Wellemeyer (who still has me perplexed as a Royals fan) didn’t deserve the loss, having provided seven innings of one run ball against the Astros. But the Cards were shut out by Wandy Rodriguez and three of his closest friends.
Francisco Liriano and Dallas Braden were locked in a pitcher’s duel, combining for 13 innings with three runs allowed between the two of them, most of the damage coming from a pair of solo home runs. If you’re a longtime reader of the column, you know what comes next. They each got a no decision.
Season: Jeremy from Tampa nominated Edwin Jackson for this a few weeks ago, noting that Jackson has had an inordinate number of starts where he has received a no decision or a loss when he went five or more innings and allowed one or no runs. But to be honest, despite that I have a hard time backing his candidacy if for no other reason than because his raw run support numbers aren’t particularly bad and his 11-9 record isn’t that far off from what you would expect from a pitcher with a 4.07 ERA and a .269/.345/.430 line against.
No, I’ll mention Jackson, but save the most sympathy for somebody like Felix Hernandez, who is very aggrieved thanks to six quality starts where he’s had a no decision or a loss. He is getting no run support and his 3.18 ERA and .252/.324/.382 line against deserve better than a 9-9 record.
Vulture alert! Vulture alert!
Pitchers with a win and a blown save in the same game: J.J. Putz versus Cleveland, Dan Wheeler against the Orioles, Mike Lincoln against the Giants, Jose Arredondo over the Rangers, Trevor Hoffman against Colorado, Scot Shields over the Tigers, Jorge Julio versus the Marlins.
The Wes Littleton Award
Ladies and gentlemen, another True Littleton. Craig Breslow’s first career save will go down as a pretty flagrant abuse of the three-inning save provision. Breslow successfully “protected” an 11-2 lead.
Please hold the applause
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
The Joe Carter Award
I might get some Red Sox “fan mail” for this one, but newly enshrined deity Jed Lowrie hit .136/.300/.273 while driving in seven runs this week.
Fellow rookie rock star Denard Span drove in six while hitting .222/.290/.333. He even was very poor on the bases, going one for three stealing bases.
Season: Jose Guillen. Yawn. .250/.285/.425, 84 RBI.
Garrett Anderson is nothing special either this season with 73 RBI and a pedestrian .281/.316/.429 line and a lot more playing time than he really should. But I suppose when need intersects with nostalgia, there really isn’t much that can stop it.
See also: Kevin Millar’s 71 ribbies and his poor .243/.333/.415, which is awful for a first baseman.
The Rey Sanchez Batting Average is all I’ve Got Award
Brandon Wood hit .318 on the week. But only one of his seven hits went for extra bases and he failed to draw a walk to bring his line to .318/.318/.364. Maybe I’ll get Angels fan hate mail instead of Boston love notes.
The Harmon Killebrew Batting Average is for Wussies Award
Troy Glaus had only five hits in 22 at-bats, but two of them were home runs and he drew five walks. .227/.370/.500.
Season: Adam Dunn is the usual suspect, and rightfully so at .240/.393/.524. But let’s talk about Chris Snyder, who has turned into a pretty nifty catcher. It’s nice when your catcher walks 49 times and hits 13 bombs in only 284 at-bats. .239/.352/.447 is pretty sweet.
The Steve Balboni Award
Jack Hannahan is simply way over his head as an everyday major leaguer. He does some things very well. He draws walks and plays a very good third base. But two things that he is not good at cancel those two things out. He doesn’t hit for the power you need as a Major League third baseman, having a .394 career minor league slugging percentage. And he strikes out out so often that it is terribly difficult for him to maintain a solid batting average, and by extension OBP. This week was a good example as Hannahan struck out 11 times in 19 at-bats for a .138/.238/.211 week.
Season: Mark Reynolds has struck out 178 times in 471 at-bats, and despite 27 home runs and 53 walks, he’s still sporting a .240/.318/.476 line.
3 True Outcomes Alert!!!
Jayson Werth: 25 PA, 3 HR, 4 BB, 8 K
Season: Ryan Howard: 610 PA, 39 HR, 69 BB, 182 K
This Week’s MVP
AL: I joked about Jed Lowrie being crowned a new deity, but if it’s possible, Red Sox fans have anointed Dustin Pedroia a level beyond that. And this week it was warranted. The guy had 17 hits in 25 at-bats. In only one out of six games did he fail to record at least two hits. He raised his batting average by 16 points and his OPS by 42. He smashed four doubles and two home runs, drew four walks against no strikeouts. He even stole five bases without getting caught even once. .680/.700/1.080 is beyond description.
Season: Grady Sizemore hit .360/.448/.520 to keep his crown for now. He brought hits numbers up to .270/.385/.525.
As great as he’s been, Pedroia is not the AL MVP at this stage. With his .333/.378/.505 line, he’s a great second baseman. But he’s still looking up at Kevin Youkilis’ .315/.387/.560 in the chase for the Red Sox MVP. They’re both excellent down-ballot candidates. Nothing would please me more than to see Pedroia reach up and grab the award by way of merit. I liked him at Arizona State as a big sleeper and an absolute steal of a second-round pick in a year where the second round also included Yovani Gallardo, Kurt Suzuki, and Hunter Pense. But he has to be the actual best player in the American League, not just the best player on the best team.
NL: Manny Ramirez went .588/.654/1.294 with three doubles, three home runs, seven walks, and three strikeouts in 17 at-bats.
Season: The Albert Pujols train keeps on going. The only thing I’ll say about the man right now is that he has a 73-point lead in the NL in OPS.
We’ll see you next week.