If you are new to the awards, see Week 1's column to see the award definitions.
This Week's Proof That Assigning Wins and Losses to a Pitcher is a Silly Practice that Must Stop
Good Luck Division, Bad Luck Division, and Vulture Division:
The divisions are merged this week both in tribute to interleague play and because all of the following happened on Saturday night, the perfect storm of ridiculous win/loss accounting.
Frank Francisco entered Saturday's game with his Rangers down a run to the Brew Crew. He gave up 2 more runs in his inning of work and still got a win for his troubles because his former teammate Francisco Cordero gave up 4 runs, handing the Rangers a victory. Brandon McCarthy and Joakim Benoit gave Adam Morris's favorite team 8 good innings and got nothing but the satisfaction of a job well done. Francisco comes in and sucks and he gets the golden W. He's your vulture of the night while McCarthy and Brewers starter Ben Sheets get tough luck no decisions despite their 12IP, 1R, 11K, 2BB, 9H.
Tim Hudson got lucky escaping a no decision despite allowing 5 runs in 2 innings. How he did that with no extra base hits allowed I'll never really figure out.
Jason Jennings and Jon Garland blessed the Astros and White Sox with a combined 14IP, 2R, 10K, 2BB, 14H, and matching no decisions.
Rodrigo Lopez and Jeremy Guthrie combined for 15IP, 4R, 8K, 2BB, 12H, and matching no decisions.
Jeremy Bonderman got a win despite getting smacked around for 6 runs in 6 innings.
Josh Sowers and Matt Belisle combined for 10IP, 8R, 10K, 4BB, 12H, but neither collected the loss.
Finally, Derek Lowe went the full 9 innings, allowing only 1 run on 4 hits and received the loss because Nomar Garciaparra and company got shut out by Shaun Marcum, Scott Downs, and Casey Janssen.
There is very little justice in wins and losses, which is a big reason why the whole concept needs to be thrown in a lake.
The Rico Brogna Award
Jeremy Hermida drove in 6 runs this week, primarily with a grand slam on Friday night, but he hit a mere .143/.296/.333 on the week and didn't help his team as much as you'd think.
Season to Date: Carlos Lee has 1 more RBI than Milwaukee's Prince Fielder, but Fielder has a 32 point advantage on Lee in OBP, a 128 point lead in slugging, and a 42 point advantage in OPS+. Lee is hitting pretty well this year and I can't blast him too much. .302/.350/.523 is pretty decent. But he's currently 5th in baseball in RBI.
The Harmon Killebrew Batting Average is for Wussies Award
There really weren't as many candidates as usual this week. Just about everybody who did well enough to qualify as a positive contributor hit over .300. Therefore it goes to Orlando Hudson by default. Hudson added to his usual stellar defense at second base by hitting .250/.423/.400. He only rapped out 2 singles, but smoked 3 doubles and drew 6 walks. Hudson has developed something of a batting eye this season. He's never been completely clueless about drawing walks, but in 63 games, he's already drawn 34 walks, a pace which would destroy his career high of 61 in a season, a mark he set last year.
Season as a whole: With a .263/.414/.455 line, Travis Hafner isn't hitting for the power we're used to, but his 54 walks in 213 at bats is nice and makes him a huge OBP source in the heart of their lineup.
The Rey Sanchez Batting Average is all I've Got Award
Miguel Cairo hit .292/.280/.333 on the week.
Season: Freddy Sanchez isn't related to Rey, but they have one thing in common. Their offensive game is limited to hitting a single 2 and a half or 3 out of every 10 trips to the dish. Sanchez is hitting .296/.328/.365 on the year. He has drawn 10 walks and hit exactly 1 home run in 233 at bats. Secondary skills are important!
The Steve Balboni Award
Victor Diaz struck out 7 times in 12 at bats, but one of his 2 hits was a home run and he drew a walk, which makes his line a .167/.231/.417. That's one hell of an outlier week.
Leader in the Clubhouse: It's spooky how similar Sammy Sosa and Craig Monroe's numbers are. They obviously both quality for the award.
Sosa: 215 AB, .242/.299/.447, 14 2B, 10 HR, 17 BB, 60 K
Monroe: 210 AB, .243/.296/.448, 16 2B, 9 HR, 17 BB, 59 K
3 True Outcomes Alert!!!
Carlos Pena had 19 at bats on the week, hit 2 home runs, walked 9 times and struck out 7 times. Of the 10 balls he actually presented to the defense, 7 of them found a gap. That is a long, long way from sustainable.
Reader "TheJay" from Brew Crew Ball sent me the heads-up that both Joe Borchard and Dave Ross currently have more strikeouts than total bases. Borchard has 53K's and 48 total bases. He also has 4 homers and 20 walks in his 170 plate appearances. Ross has 52 K's with his 47 total bases, 12 walks, and 6 bombs.
This Week's Dumbest Thing Ever
This Week's MVP's
AL: Gary Sheffield was on fire all week, posting a .417/.513/1.000 line with 4 home runs, a triple, and 6 walks in 24 at bats. There are good reasons why the Tigers went 4-2 last week
Season: Sheff's teammate Magglio Ordonez complimented that production by going .421/.478/.526 himself, bringing his season totals to .367/.439/.668.
NL: Alfonso Soriano had an extremely slow start to the season, but he's been on a bit of a roll recently, capped off by a .433/.486/.933 week. He also had 4 homers and a triple, but he also added a double to the party and drew 3 walks in 30 at bats. The Cubs also won 4 games last week, but they had an extra opportunity as they played a 7 game schedule.
Season: Barry Bonds has slumped a little bit and his .276/.484/.551, while still impressive, just isn't as valuable as some other NL players who have been similarly productive over more plate appearances while playing more defensively oriented positions. To be more specific, I'm talking about Hanley Ramirez, who is hitting .320/.389/.496 with 20 steals (to only 4 CS) and 8 home runs in 250 at bats while playing Gold Glove caliber defense at shortstop.
Least Valuable Player
AL: Season totals only this week for the LVP's. And Jason Kendall is still well out ahead of the field in the category. He's just killing the A's in their efforts to catch up to the Halos.
But even though Kendall is winning, we should note Joe Crede, who struggled through the first couple months of the season in agonizing pain. He didn't help his team by trying to stay out there. He might be done for the year if he opts for surgery to "fix" his back. If this is it for 2007 for him, he exits the season batting just .216/.258/.317, which is brutal for a corner infielder playing his home games in a hitter's park.
NL: I had noticed until recently how bad Felipe Lopez had been this season for the Nationals. He just doesn't have the defensive chops to make up for .231/.277/.329, not that anybody really is that good with the leather.
Most Valuable Pitcher
AL: Dan Haren's VORP: 40.2, his closest AL competition for the title (James Shields): 29.8. That speaks for itself.
NL: Jake Peavy retains the title. We're midway through June and he's only allowed 1 home run all season.
This Week's Completely Made-Up Award
The "How is that Possible?" award goes to Robert Kubica, who not only managed to go through one of the most gruesome looking crashes in recent memory, but actually walked out of the hospital Monday morning with nothing more than a sprained ankle. I would imagine he also got his bell rung.
I hope to see Kubica race here in Indy this coming week.
As an aside, I for one welcome our new Grenadian-English overlord.
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.