If you are new to the awards, see Week 1’s column to see the award definitions.
This Week's Small Sample Size Warning
Willie Harris is batting .397/.466/.526 in 78 at bats this season. Yes, THAT Willie Harris, the one with the .251/.319/.312 career line. Sure, he spent a significant amount of time in Richmond. This still counts because it's Willie Freaking Harris and it's freaking June.
Hat tip to Tom Ferguson on that one.
This Week's Proof That Assigning Wins and Losses to a Pitcher is a Silly Practice that Must Stop
Good Luck Division:
C.C. Sabathia gave up 5 runs, all earned on 10 Tigers hits and a walk with but two strikeouts in his 7 and a third innings of work on Thursday night. Justin Verlander allowed 7 Indians hitters to cross the plate, handing the biggest pitcher in Ohio the win.
Major League Leader: How in the hell does Miguel Batista, he of the 5.43 ERA end up tied for 6th in AL in wins with 6 of them, the same as AL ERA leader Dan Haren, who may I add plays for a better team, one more likely to give him run support?
Wednesday night Dustin Moseley of the Halos relieved Jared Weaver with 2 out in the bottom of the 5th, Yunieski Bettancourt on first. Bettancourt was caught stealing to end the inning. Vlad Guerrero launched a 3 run home run shortly after that to put Moseley in line for the win that he eventually got. If the Yuni Bomber had decided to foolishly try and stretch his single into a double or if he had tripped over his shoelaces coming out of the box instead of trying to steal second, then Weaver would have won the game (he didn't deserve it either). It was as much dumb luck for Moseley as it was skill.
Bad Luck Division:
Mark Buehrle threw a very nice game, giving up 2 runs in 8 innings for the complete game loss to Roy Halladay and the Jays. The 2 runs came on solo home runs, the only 2 baserunners he allowed.
ML Leader: Jake Peavy has 7 wins, which one would think would make him ineligible for this category. No. Not this time. Peavy has 4 no decisions and a loss. In those 5 starts, he's given his team 35 innings with 41 K, 9 BB, and 9 R, for a 2.31 ERA.
The Rico Brogna Award
Lance Berkman drove in 6 runs on the week, but only produced a .100/.217/.250 line. I'm officially starting to get concerned whether there's something wrong with him.
Season to Date: Sammy Sosa has driven in 42 runs, good for 13th in baseball. He's only managing to get on base 30.6% of the time.
The Harmon Killebrew Batting Average is for Wussies Award
Sosa's teammate Mark Teixeira hit .263, but with a double, 3 home runs, and 8 walks for a .500 OBP and a .632 SLG.
Season as a whole: Ryan Church is quietly putting up a breakout season that is being disguised by his home ballpark and his batting average. His .259/.366/.449 line isn't bad at all. The BA is clearly lower than what you'd expect from a quality starting outfielder, but his peripheral skills are good enough to carry him. All the more impressive is the fact that RFK Stadium is killing his stats, as it would most hitters. He's hitting .216/.350/.381 at home and .304/.379/.511 on the road. I lobbied hard last season for him to be an everyday player SOMEWHERE. The sabermetric community hasn't had a raison d'etre since the old FREE ERUBIEL DURAZO days. It's not for lack of a solid candidate though. Church has been a solid candidate for such treatment for a couple of years now. The Brewers were edging dangerously close to making Corey Hart a similar candidate until they started actually giving him regular playing time recently.
The Rey Sanchez Batting Average is all I've Got Award
Kenji Johjima's week is a classic example of the award. .292/.320/.333.
Season: Raul Ibanez .284/.335/.383. He only has 1 home run on the season while being his team's primary left fielder. It's not like he's doing a whole lot else either. 16 walks, 11 doubles, 183 at bats. Bleh.
The Steve Balboni Award
Jeremy Hermida hit .214/.290/.393. In keeping with this award, good things happened here. He hit a pair of doubles and a homer to go with 3 walks in 28 at bats. Those 11 strikeouts sure will limit your opportunities to make that into a better stat line. Get the ball in play once in a while. Find those gaps.
Current Leader: Sammy with another mention. I mentioned his .306 OBP. That's a part of a .245/.306/.468 line. Sosa's maintained his power, but it's come at a big cost. He's struck out 50 times in 188 at bats, which is a primary factor in his mediocre rate stats. His walk rate is sub-optimal, but not alarmingly so with 16 of them on the campaign. His isolated power is still well above average. The problem is that when you bat .245, you have to be a monster in the walks and homer categories and not just pretty good. It's what doomed the man who this award is named after.
3 True Outcomes Alert!!!
Josh Willingham had 27 at bats this week and hit 2 homers, drew 4 walks, and struck out 9 times.
Leader: It's still Adam Dunn, who passed 200 at bats and has 14 homers, 30 walks, and 77 whiffs. But I'll save rehashing old lectures about him for another day and shine a spotlight on somebody I really didn't see as a candidate for this award until recently. Dan Uggla has 229 at bats with 12 homers, 26 free passes, and 56 K's for a .271/.351/.546. Like Sosa, that K rate is going to drag down his batting average and with it the rest of his rate stats. Anyways, you don't see many second basemen with this kind of profile.
This Week's Dumbest Thing Ever
Why do we put up with managers making themselves look like asses? When Lou Pinella goes off and wastes everybody's time ranting and raving about a call that was right in the first place? When a minor league manager hams it up to the extent of lobbing a rosin bag/grenade? It's not something that should be limited to a small fine and a 2 or 3 game suspension. They should at least sit out for a week or two. It makes for great video because it is fun to watch, but it really is ridiculous and shouldn't be tolerated by the sport's governing bodies.
This Week's MVP's
AL: Dustin Pedroia is on fire and I'm ecstatic about it. He hit .609/.640/.870 on the week. No home runs were in his stat line, but any time you are smoking that many line drives between outfielders, good things happen.
NL: Brad Hawpe hit .455/.571/.955. Sure all of his game were in Denver. That's still an eye-opening week.
AL: Magglio Ordonez is still in the lead after passing Vlad last week. He's at .362/.432/.681 and is doing a pretty convincing Stan Musial impression. But it's a tradition for me to not beat a dead horse week after week and focus on somebody who is down the ballot. This week that means David Ortiz, Mike Lowell, and Kevin Youkilis. The Red Sox have been far from perfect on offense. Coco Crisp and Julio Lugo have been awful. JD Drew's been bad. Manny's been alright, but not quite Manny. The 1B/3B/DH trifecta has been the driving force behind the BoSox run scoring.
Papi: 191 AB, .325/.437/.576
Lowell: 195 AB, .333/.393/.590
GGoW: 206 AB, .350/.433/.549
NL: Bonds is still cruising along. But here's what I noticed when I looked at the OPS leaders for the NL; Cecil Fielder's kid is coming into his own. Prince owns a .290/.377/.621 line with 19 homers and 26 walks. He is who we thought he was.
Least Valuable Player
AL: Carl Crawford had a nightmare week at .125/.125/.167. He even went 0-1 on the basepaths.
NL: Endy Chavez needs to do better than .167/.200/.208.
AL: Jason Kendall is still on the hook here with a .197/.238/.208 line. But Corey Patterson deserves some jeers with his ruinous .217/.274/.297. 1 home run all year and 11 walks in 175 at bats. He's just hacking away.
NL: Rich Aurilia started off the year well, but he's slumped down to .233/.276/.349 while playing mostly first base.
This Week's Completely Made-Up Award
The Cognitive Dissonance Award goes to Mike MacDougal, who managed to be "credited" with a hold and "charged" with a loss in the same game. That's sheer insanity. It doesn't make sense. On Saturday, MacDougal entered the game with runners on first and second and a 2 run lead. He induced a groundout from Lyle Overbay and then walked Frank Thomas before being relieved by Matt Thornton. Thornton decided to fight fire with gasoline and allowed all 3 runners on base to score. MacDougal got the hold because he entered the game in a save situation and was replaced with the game still in a save situation. He got the loss because when Thornton allowed those 3 runs to score, the first two were charged to Jose Contreras (the starter in that game) and the third, which put the Jays ahead to stay, was charged to MacDougal. Thornton got the blown save, but didn't get the loss. Also of note, although he allowed 3 inherited runs to score, he was charged with NO earned runs because the two baserunners he allowed were stranded by Adam Lind, who ended the inning by striking out.
This one inning is a microcosm of why this column exists. The web of different ways in which we track pitcher performance is just bizarre. At its edge, it is incoherent and ineffective.
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.