If you are new to the awards, see Week 1's column to see the award definitions.
This Week's Small Sample Size Warning
Ramon Ortiz's ERA at 7 PM on Tuesday night was 3.80. By 8:30 it was 4.89. Beware any time of year when that kind of thing can happen that quickly.
This Week's Proof That Assigning Wins and Losses to a Pitcher is a Silly Practice that Must Stop
Good Luck Division:
Ramon Ortiz and Claudio Vargas faced off on Sunday and the only way to put it would be that they escaped with matching no decisions for their trouble. They each allowed 5 runs and combined for 3 strikeouts, 16 hits allowed, and 6 walks in 8 1/3 total innings.
Season as a whole: Daisuke Matsuzaka is tied for second in baseball with 6 wins and is all alone in 60th with a 4.06 ERA. He hasn't been bad, but he hasn't been 6 and 2 good either.
Adam Eaton doesn't make many good starts these days. So it's a shame when one of those rare occasions is ruined by a bullpen. On Tuesday night he the Phillies his 3rd quality start of the season and Brett Myers defecated all over it, giving up the lead. Carlos Ruiz bailed him out though with a walk-off shot. Myers got the undeserved win.
Bad Luck Division
On Monday night it happened again. Last week I mentioned that Dan Haren and Gilgameche the Royal had an epic struggle where both pitchers dominated and neither got the scarlet W. Well this week they met up again and once more they dominated. Haren went 8 shutout innings, striking out 8 with 4 hits and 4 walks allowed. Meche went 7 scoreless frames, striking out 5 with 7 hits and 2 walks. Neither got a decision.
Current Season Leader: Bronson Arroyo has a 2.64 ERA in 61 innings pitched. He gets demerits for allowing 6 unearned runs to go with his 18 earned, but that still doesn't make him deserving of a 2 and 4 record.
The Rico Brogna Award
Emil Brown drove in 7 runs on the week, but hit .276/.300/.448 while playing an outfield corner. Pass. You could also go for Jose Guillen, who drove in 6, but has an even worse .217/.280/.435.
Season to Date: Sammy Sosa has come back and proven he can still do what he could always do, hit home runs. Still, everything else has atrophied as his power has driven in 32 runs, the 14th most in baseball, but he's hitting .259/.314/.497, which isn't very good for an everyday DH playing half of his games in Arlington.
The Harmon Killebrew Batting Average is for Wussies Award
Pat Burrell smoked the ball to the tune of a .400 OBP and a .750 SLG. Never mind his .250 BA. More important is that 4 of his 5 hits went for extra bases and he walked 4 times in his 20 at bats.
Season as a whole: Johnny Peralta has hit .275/.358/.535 this season. .275 isn't bad, but when it's a shortstop who hits 10 home runs and draws 18 walks in 142 at bats, the contribution is much more profound than it would seem looking only at a batting average.
The Rey Sanchez Batting Average is all I've Got Award
Sean Casey hit .320/.320/.400 while playing first base. Flashy batting average, nothing besides that. Give me Burrell's .250 week for Casey's .320.
Season: This belongs to Jose Vidro and his .300/.349/.356. DH's have to do better than this.
The Steve Balboni Award
Geoff Jenkins hit .235/.278/.471 on the week. There were good things happening. He walked he hit for some power. But he struck out in half of his plate appearances.
Leader in the Clubhouse: Brandon Inge would be doing really well this season if he cut back on the K's. He has 16 walks and 8 homers in 141 at bats, but he's fanned 40 times, dragging down his numbers to .227/.317/.433, which makes him a modest asset at best for the cats.
3 True Outcomes Alert!!!
Jack Cust was last week's winner, but he outdid himself this week, with 10 BB, 10 K, 2 HR in 20 AB. That's over 2/3 of his plate appearances.
Your Fearless Leader: Barry Bonds only has 106 at bats this week, but has received 45 free passes and has 11 round trip tickets around the bases.
Also deserving attention is Chris Iannetta, who was brought to my attention by Kyle W. He has 72 at bats this season with 13 walks and 27 K's. He only has a single home run, but at this point in his career he has a clear talent for the walks and K's parts of the 3 true outcomes triangle. He has 149 career at bats with 26 BB, 44 K, and 3 HR for a clunky looking .228/.354/.349 line. This season's line is an ever-rare .194/.337/.306. Something is going to have to give. As I've discussed before, if you don't at least show yourself to be a nominal threat to smack an extra base hit, the pitchers will stop giving you the opportunity to walk.
This Week's Dumbest Thing Ever
No dumbest thing ever for this week due to the fact that after a weekend spent in Illinois with family my levels of cynicism and annoyance are alarmingly low. My heart's just not into heaping scorn on somebody(s).
This Week's MVP's
AL: It figures that the week after I trade Kevin Youkilis in a fantasy league he goes off for .407/.429/.815.
Season: It's still Vlad. But making a prominent spot on the ballot is Jorge Posada, who is having a very nice year, but is as under the radar as a star player on the Yankees can possibly have. He's hitting .382/.441/.618 and I haven't heard anybody mention it. Then again, I haven't been watching much Baseball Tonight lately for reasons of preserving my own sanity. So somebody may have brought it up. And I'm sure somebody on the Yes Network has said something in passing about how good he's been this year.
NL: A couple weeks ago I made mention of several sluggers who were not hitting for power, but were doing everything else right. David Wright was one of them and I said that I wasn't worried about him. He would pick it up. Well, here comes the cavalry. .409/.462/.100 on the week with a double, 4 homers, 3 walks, and he was even 2 for 2 on the basepaths.
Worth mentioning is Jeremy Hermida, who had his best year as a Major Leaguer fresh off the disabled list. Marlin fans have been dreaming of this kind of thing from him for several years now. .417/.500/.750 is tasty. He hit a pair of doubles, a pair of homers, drew a quartet of walks, and struck out four times.
Season: .290/.503/.636, Barry's just ridiculous right now. But I've already talked about him in the 3 true outcomes blurb and he's here every week. What hasn't been said about him at this point? So let's talk about a guy who does win this award, but is on the ballot, Hanley Ramirez. The kid is hitting .335/.411/.541 and if that and his nice glovework at short aren't enough, he's 15 for 19 stealing bases. Not bad at all.
Least Valuable Player
AL: Juan Uribe went 2 for 24 this week with no walks, no extra base hits, and 12 strikeouts for a .083/.115/.083 line.
Season: If Chone Figgins came back too early from his broken fingers, which from comments that he's made telling everybody that his fingers are killing him seems to be the case, then somebody needs to smack him on the back of the head and tell him not to do that. He isn't helping anybody but the A's by hitting .108/.159/.154.
NL: Miguel Olivo had 24 at bats and had 2 doubles to his credit. No singles, no other extra base hits, no walks.
On the season Adam Everett has been as bad at the plate as one could imagine a player being while still holding his job. .190/.250/.263. His career line in .245/.298/.355, which is no great shakes, but thus far in 2007, he's been sub-Rey Ordonez.
Most Valuable Pitcher
AL: It surprises me to see that I have yet to give this award to Dan Haren. He's been masterful all season. He leads the AL in ERA and is near the top in strikeouts. 1.74 ERA, 54 K, 16 BB. The A's got the blunt end of the Tim Hudson deal, but they made out like bandits with Haren, Kiko Calero, and Daric Barton for Mark Mulder's decline.
NL: Jake Peavy has been arguably better than Haren. I say arguably because the NL is certainly still less difficult that the AL and for all of the pitcher-friendly tendencies that the International House of Software Ballpark on the East Bay may possess, Petco Park is still much more friendly. That's not to say that Peavy hasn't been fantastic though. He's been almost unhittable all season. 60 IP, 71 K, 18 BB, 1.64 ERA. Un-fricking-believeable.
This Week's Completely Made-Up Award
I'm giving the Roster Apocalypse Award to the Rangers, A's, and Jays. On Wednesday, an injury to Victor Diaz caused the Rangers to move catcher Gerald Laird to left field while sliding Nelson Cruz to right, where Diaz was playing. They ended the game with Laird, Kevin Mahar, and Cruz manning the outfield.
That same night, the A's had an outfield with Shannon Stewart, Hiram Bocachica, and Jack Cust going right to left. Having Jack Cust play right field is about the surest sign of desperation there is.
Lastly, the Jays had second baseman Ryan Roberts making what I have to assume is his first and only appearance in the outfield as a pro. The Jays and A's are notable in that they've been ravaged by injury as badly as any teams I can remember. The Jays have what seems like their entire pitching staff on the DL. Troy Glaus's foot is cranky. They're down Reed Johnson just short of forever. Greg Zaun is out. The A's are out their entire outfield, their starting DH, their 4th outfielder, and the guy they brought in to fill the gap. The A's have less of an excuse since most of the players who are currently out have long histories of getting hurt, save Piazza.
The Rangers shirt was more a symptom of dealing with a short roster, made worse by having a full time DH and the now standard practice of carrying 12 or 13 pitchers at all time. In my prospect reports I tend to give extra points to players who have extra defensive versatility or at least the promise that they might be able to add that versatility if they get caught behind a better player. This kind of nightmare scenario tends to be why I do give some extra love to the Esteban German's of the world.
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.