Welcome to the awards.
For award definitions and background on the column itself, please consult the Primer.
All weekly stats are for the period of Monday, June 1 though Sunday, June 7. All season stats are through the 7th.
This week’s proof that assigning wins and losses to a pitcher is an arcane practice that must stop
Good Luck Division:
Bad Luck Division
Aaron Harang watched his bullpen blow a lead for him after he had given the team seven and two thirds of scoreless ball. Francisco Cordero sent the game into extra innings and Harang had to walk away with a no decision despite the Reds winning in the 12th.
Vulture alert! Vulture alert!
Joel Zumaya got a win and a save in the same game. The very next day, his teammate Brandon Lyon pulled off the same trick. Their opponent Bobby Jenks joined the party on Thursday. And Manny Corpas couldn’t bear to be left out by the AL Central guys.
Wes Littleton Award
Joe Nathan came into a messy situation when the Twins had given up five runs in a third of an inning in Oakland with the bases loaded. But let’s be frank here, he was protecting a five run lead and he was only required to get two outs with out machines Jack Hannahan and Rajai Davis at the plate and on deck respectively.
Please hold the applause
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Luke Hochevar’s complete game three hitter should be lauded for certain things. He only threw 23 balls in the game and induced 15 groundball outs. But the kid was extremely lucky on balls in play as he only struck out three of the 30 batters he faced. And of the three hits he gave up, one was a home run, meaning he didn’t even give his defense a chance.
Franchise milestone watch
Quietly, the Dodgers finally became the third team to cross the 10,000 win mark when Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp demolished Chris Young and the Padres. It should have garnered at least some attention. But for the most part the milestone went without anyone noticing.
Joe Carter Award
Jimmy Rollins drove in seven runs, five of them courtesy of a pair of home runs, but all other aspects of his offensive game were missing this week as he hit .179/.200/.393.
An idle observation
Ryan Zimmerman since his hitting streak ended on May 13 has hit .248/.367/.400 in 128 plate appearances.
Rey Sanchez Award
In a small sample, Matt Diaz collected four hits in 13 at-bats. That is all he did though as he finished the week at .308/.308/.308.
Season: Erick Aybar is hitting .288, but with only 13 extra base hits and seven walks in 163 at bats on his way to a .288/.320/.393 line.
Harmon Killebrew Award
Kevin Youkilis had only five his this week in 23 at-bats, but two of them were home runs and he chipped in seven walks for a tidy .217/.419/.478. He even stole a couple of bases for good measure.
I can’t give him a full endorsement because of the .240 OBP, but Adam Lind has a very significant power spike this week. Of his five hits, one was a double and three were home runs and his slugging percentage was a hearty .625.
Season: Carlos Pena has 21 singles, 33 extra base hits, and 45 walks in 275 plate appearances for a .240/.375/.569 line.
Steve Balboni Award
Mat Gamel struck out nine times in a mere 13 at bats for a .154/.154/.385 stinker of a week.
B.J. Upton continued his hacking ways of 2009 with 12 strikeouts in 30 at bats while struggling to a .200/.226/.200 line.
Gamel’s teammate Mike Cameron went .053/.182/.053 with nine whiffs in 19 at-bats.
Season: Chris Davis had a good week, going .286/.412/.429, but striking out eight times in 14 at-bats. He has struck out 92 times already and is hitting .208/.266/.431.
He doesn’t really enter the discussion for the award because he is hitting .281/.371/.576, but Mark Reynolds has a neon sign flashing warning above his head. He is only three whiffs behind Davis for the major league lead in strikeouts with 89 and his batting line is aided by an unsustainable .384 BABIP. If you are a Reynolds fantasy owner, you might seize on this opportunity to sell high before he starts slaughtering your team’s batting average.
Three true outcomes alert!!!
Jim Thome had a legendary TTO week with a trio of round trippers, eight walks, and seven strikeouts in 23 plate appearances.
Season: Carlos Pena is still in control here with 20 home runs, 45 walks, and 81 strikeouts in 225 at-bats. But he should be watching his back as usual suspect Adam Dunn is at 17-50-67 in 217 at-bats.
This week’s MVP
AL: Alberto Callaspo smoked 12 hits, two of them home runs for a .522/.542/.870. He did not walk and it was a batting average-driven week, but when your average is over .500 and you play up the middle, it works.
NL: Troy Tulowitzki hit .421/.571/1.000 with three home runs, eight walks, and three steals for a great all around week.
The names of the 2009 Rule 4 Draft
Somebody has picked up on the Royals habit of drafting an abnormal number of players whose names are alliterative. I mentioned this last June. But this year I have a new curiosity with my Royals’ drafting habits. In the last rounds, they draft in a kind of mnemonic order. In the 38th and 39th round, they drafted back to back Arthurs (Owens and Charles). Then in the 41st through 43rd you have “J” names Joey Lewis, Jonathan Keck, and Jeffery Soptic. Then you immediately go to Derrick Hudgins and Derek Spencer. Then you have Anthony’s in the 47th and 50th rounds.
On more general name-related draft shenanigans, here are the best names in the draft: Damien Magnifico (Mets 5th), Connor Powers (LAD 11th), Naoya Washiya (Nats 14th), Brooks Pounders (Pitt 2nd), Chadwin Stang (Mil 8th), Tobin Materchick (Det 28th), Malcolm Clapsaddle (Balt 34th), Michael Rockett (Det 13th), Connor Powers (LAD 11th), Tyson Van Winkle (Az 10th), Sequoyah Stonecipher (Fla 14th), Dom Altobelli (Rox 16th), and Sam Spangler (Pit 20). I am only half joking when I say that Mateychick and Clapsaddle have to be fictional names. Dom Altobelli sounds like he should be playing in the 1930’s. Sam Spangler should be the name of a character in a 1970’s buddy cop show.
I also express my disapproval of yet more creatively misspelled first names. Keenyn Walker (ChC 16th), Khris Davis (Mil 7th), Kevan Hess (Det 14), Mycal Jones (Atl 4th) and Trayce Thompson (CWS 2nd).