Let's start off with a couple of random items I have written down in my notebook.
1. Why would MLB clubhouses serve alcohol in the first place? I'm by no means a prohibitionist, but I've never had a stiff drink at work. After an exhaustive 30 seconds of thought, the only people I've even known who openly drank at work were strippers. Aside from that, my only remaining comment on the subject is that people really should just call a cab.
2. This weekend I went to one of my alma mater's final home games of the season. Kudos to the Great Lakes Valley Conference for going to wood bats. I really wish the NCAA would make this switch throughout at least division one. If I'm the scouting director of a ML organization, I'm begging my boss to throw the NCAA an annual allowance to help offset the cost. It sure would make scouting a lot easier as scouts wouldn't have to play a guessing game to figure out whether certain college players can make the transition to wood bats.
If you are new to the awards, see Week 1's column to see the award definitions.
This Week's Small Sample Size Warning
J.J. Hardy is slugging 134 points higher than Albert Pujols.
This Week's Proof That Assigning Wins and Losses to a Pitcher is a Silly Practice that Must Stop
Good Luck Division:
Bartolo Colon allowed 5 runs in 6 innings to the Royals but got bailed out by Zach Greinke's struggles (6 runs in 5 IP, 10 H allowed).
Major League Leader:
Dontrelle Willis. In the USA Today Sports Weekly that showed up in my mailbox on Wednesday, they had their own awards for the season to date. The Duke of the High Leg kick came in 5th in their NL top pitcher voting with 5 points in a 5-3-1 system. That is why this column exists. Willis current sports a 5.44 ERA with 3 quality starts out of 7. That hasn't kept him from going 5-1 to start the season.
Before he went on the DL, Joel Zumaya relieved Bobby Seay on Tuesday night vs. Baltimore with 2 baserunners charged to Seay on base in the top of the 7th. He allowed 1 of the 2 to score, blowing the save. Danys Baez bailed him out by giving the Tiggers 2 runs shortly after that and Zumaya got the W. Detroit has 9 wins out of the bullpen this season in 30 games. Their starters only have 9 wins as a crew.
Bad Luck Division:
I don't make it a habit to say good things about Carlos Silva, but it wasn't his fault that the Twinkies lost on Friday. He threw 7 innings, giving up 1 run to the Red Sox, but was outgunned by Tim Wakefield, who fluttered his way to 7 scoreless and got the win. Nevertheless, one player on the Minnesota roster was given a black mark that night. That player wasn't Josh Rabe or Nick Punto.
Your leader: Ian Snell. The indignity of being a Pirates starter is that even when you start the season with 5 quality starts in 6 tries and a well deserved 2.31 ERA, you still have a 2-2 record because of pathetic run support. Somewhere Jack Wilson is whistling, shuffling his feet from side to side, and generally acting innocent.
The Rico Brogna Award
Raul Ibanez drove in 7 runs on the week, but hit .292/.346/.333. That line gets him an honorable mention for the Rey Sanchez Award below.
Season to Date: Craig Monroe is tied for 20th in the ML in RBI's with 22 and 119th in OPS at .726, behind Craig Biggio's corpse and future Hall of Famer Ryan Theriot.
The Harmon Killebrew Batting Average is for Wussies Award
Chipper Jones hit .250/.455/.875. All 4 of his hits on the week were for extra bases (a double and 3 homers) and he walked 6 times.
Season as a whole:
Chipper's longtime partner in crime Andruw Jones has a season line of .229/.376/.457 with 14 of his 24 hits going for extra bases and 23 walks in 105 at bats.
The Rey Sanchez Batting Average is all I've Got Award
Aubrey Huff: .292/.292/.333 with no walks and a solitary double in 24 at bats for the week.
Season: I'm too lazy to check, but I think this is the second time I've given Nomar Garciaparra this title. Then again, it might have been the Brogna. I don't remember. .288/.333/.381, but with 20 RBI's, he qualifies for both of them.
Random Off Topic Notes
As a basketball fan, while it hurts to see my adopted hometown team melt down the way the Pacers did this season, I'm happy to see the team I've rooted for since I was 10 years old make it back to the second round. It makes it even better since I have additional built-in rooting interests in Deron Williams (Go Illini) and Mehmet Okur (a personal favorite even when he was with the Pistons). They still desperately need a shooting guard, but things are going well.
Also, this was a big weekend for off the map sports that used to be huge. Still, don't ask me about the Kentucky Derby or the de la Hoya/Mayweather fight. Not only did I not watch either event, I do not know anything about either sport and refuse to pretend like I do
The Steve Balboni Award
Andruw may be the leader in the Killebrew award, but this season his K rate caught up to him as he whiffed 7 times in 21 at bats, dragging down a week where he hit a homer and drew 5 walks. .143/.308/.286.
Clubhouse: Dan Uggla remains the leader as he now stands at .231/.326/.438. Check out the isolated walk and slugging. 121 AB, 31 K.
3 True Outcomes Alert!!!
Chipper gets a pair of awards this week as in his 22 plate appearances, 12 of them provided no reason for a fielder to move. 6 walks, 3 punchouts, 3 round trip tickets to home plate.
Leader: Ryan Howard climbs into the lead thanks to his 29 BB, 39 K, and 5 HR in 95 at bats.
This Week's Dumbest Thing Ever
Things I'd rather do with my time than watch "NBN"
Be Paris Hilton's cellmate
Get Russell Crowe drunk before ripping into the concept of aussie rules football and Mark Webber's skill as an F1 driver
Conjugal visit for Ugeth Urbina
Put thumbtacks in my shoes and go for a lap around the neighborhood
This Week's MVP's
AL: Troy Glaus hit .400/.483/.960. The fact that the Jays lost 6 straight was not his fault.
NL: Price Fielder blistered the ball to the tune of .440/.533/.960
ARod and Bonds have big leads in their respective leads. That hasn't changed since last week so I'll just get that out of the way and call attention to another pair of top performers.
We're used to Vlad Guerrero putting up nice batting lines, but now he's walking. He has 19 free passes to only 11 whiffs in 102 at bats. I haven't scouted him out. Does anybody know if they're just pitching around him to get to the weak hitters surrounding him or is this a genuine breakthrough. .363/.468/.686 is tasty.
Miguel Cabrera is the most overlooked star in the game today, at least as far as media attention is concerned. He's hitting .353/.442/.618 and I don't remember many people making a big fuss over him. Then again it could be that I'm just not watching enough TV since USA Today Sports Weekly, which I mentioned earlier, has him at #4 in the NL MVP voting, which sounds about right.
Least Valuable Player
This category replaces the Hacktastic!!! category. I felt like Hacktastic Award veered too close to the Balboni Award. So this category probably does a better job of really encapsulating the "This Guy is Really Sucks Right Now" spirit that the Hacktastic was intended for. I'm only going to give the season leaders. No one week artists here.
AL: To borrow an expression from Bill Simmons, Jason Kendall's back must be hurting, what with that huge fork sticking out from between his shoulder blades. .170/.221/.179 is off the charts awful.
NL: Adam LaRoche isn't finished as a ballplayer, but he's struggled all season. He's better than .167/.271/.284, but that's his line right now.
Most Valuable Pitcher
AL: Not only does John Lackey have a 2.60 ERA while striking out roughly a batter per inning, he's done so with a .368 BABIP allowed.
NL: Jake Peavy: 46 IP, 56 K, 15 BB, 30 H, 1.75 ERA
Least Valuable Pitcher
NL: Mike Pelfrey: 1 quality start and that one barely squeaked in under the wire at 6 and a third innings, 3 runs. Even then Joe Smith erased 2 baserunners who were Pelfrey's responsibility. He just hasn't been very good.
AL: Jeff Weaver! Here's the rundown of his 5 starts this season:
2 innings, 1 K, 2 walks, 7 hits, 7 runs, all earned
6 innings, 3 K, 1 BB, 10 H, 7 runs, all earned
3 innings, 3 K, 0 BB, 7 H, 3 R, all earned
1/3 of an inning, 0 K, 1 BB, 7 H, 6 R, all earned
5 2/3 IP, 3 K, 3 BB, 9 H, 6 R, all earned
This Week's Completely Made-Up Award
I'm giving the "That's Not Sustainable" award to:
Livan Hernandez, who has a more than respectable 3.20 ERA despite walking 28 and striking out 21 in 45 innings.
Matt Morris, who similarly has walked (18) more batters than he's struck out (15) and carries a mediocre K rate (39 IP), but still has a more than reasonable 3.20 ERA.
BJ Upton, who has a .371 batting average despite 37 strikeouts in 97 at bats.
Finally, ARod, who has been great, but he's on pace to strike out 145 times this season. Nobody bats over .350 when they strike out that often. .300? Sure, that I can see happening. .350? Not so much.
Here's Where You Come In
I need your help. Please drop me a line nominate players for awards maybe entire team for awards. Make up your own award. Point out something stupid that your local color commentator said during a recent game. I can only watch so much baseball in a week, even with the miracle of MLB.TV. I have to use you as a crutch.