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
Bad Luck Division
I'll be honest, I have no idea who John Lannan is, but I do know he got screwed last week. The Nats lefty spun two gems on the road and came away empty handed. On Monday, he tossed 7 innings, allowing 1 run in PacBell/AT&T/Ma Bell Park, but he came away with a no decision because the DC lineup couldn't figure out Tim Lincecum and his friends. Then on Saturday, he was victimized by Brandon Webb's reign of terror, coming away with a loss despite another 7 innings with only one run allowed. For those of you who haven't done the math yet, that's 14 innings thrown with a 1.29 ERA and a 0-1 record for his troubles.
Good Luck Division
Contrast Lannan's luck with Horatio Ramirez, who "knows how to win" and gave his team a decrepit 5 inning effort, allowing 10 baserunners and 7 runs to the sub-par Orioles offense. He got the win because Daniel Cabrera isn't a good pitcher either. Furthermore in Ramirez's favor, the M's bullpen is a strength, while the Baltimore management team used free agency as their chosen method of building a bullpen, resulting in "proven veterans" Danys Baez and Jamie Walker giving the Ho a much easier victory than he ever should have expected.
Our vulture this week comes from reader Rich Poupard, who put it about as well as I could expect to do when he says:
Last night [Monday] in the game between the Tigers and the Devil Rays, Justin Verlander battled for 6 innings, Macay McBride got two batters out, and Fernando Rodney and Todd Jones each got through an inning. Zach Miner threw one pitch in the game - a strike in the 6th inning.
Miner got the win.
The Rico Brogna Award
Rockies utility infielder Jamey Carroll has 7 RBI in 14 at bats despite hitting .143/.250/.357. It was almost half of his season total in RBI (18) in one poor week.
Season to Date: Jeff Francoeur and Andruw Jones share the award. Both are among the NL leaders in RBI, Francoeur with 76, Jones with 74, but they owe much of that to batting behind Kelly Johnson (.395 OBP), Edgar Renteria (.392), and Chipper Jones (.403). Francoeur's batting a respectable, but hardly elite .309/.351/.466 and Jones is batting .214/.309/.414.
The Harmon Killebrew Batting Average is for Wussies Award
Ryan Howard only hit .250 this week, but 3 of his 5 hits were home runs and he walked 4 times in 20 at bats for a .250/.385/.700 line.
Season as a whole: Pat Burrell has a run of the mill .266 batting average, largely because of the 80 times he's whiffed in 319 at bats, but he also has 83 walks. .266/.418/.486 isn't bad.
The Rey Sanchez Batting Average is all I've Got Award
Jose Lopez singled 7 times in 22 at bats, but didn't collect an extra-base hit or a walk for a punchless .318/.318/.318.
Season: Memo to the Dodgers; RE: Nomar Garciaparra; When you have a corner infielder hitting .281/.327/.365, that's a problem. Down in Vegas, Adam LaRoche's little brother hit .411/.486/.922 in July. I'm just saying...
The Steve Balboni Award
Nelson Cruz had a double and 3 walks in 19 at bats, but he struck out 9 times, contributing to his .158/.273/.211 week.
Leader: I'm getting concerned about Jason Bay. The guy has 110 K's in 427 AB and is only hitting .255/.328/.431.
3 True Outcomes Alert!!!
Brad Hawpe smacked 3 bombs, drew 6 walks, and struck out 8 times in 19 at bats.
Leader: Josh Fields has 12 HR, 17 BB, and a staggering 75 K in 219 AB since getting called up. He's hitting .247/.304/.457, which sounds a lot like the guy he replaced, Joe Crede's career .259/.305/.446 line.
But just so you know, this isn't a fluke for Fields. Before coming up, he had 19 HR, 39 BB, 60 K in 205 AB with Charlotte for a .283/.394/.498 effort. And in 2006, also for Charlotte, he had 19 HR, 54 BB, 136 K in 462 AB for a .305/.379/.515 line. We know what he will do at this point. He will strike out a lot. He will draw some walks, and he will punish a hanging curve.
This Week's MVP
AL: Raul Ibanez had an inexplicably huge week, going off for a .481/.533/1.111 line in 27 at bats. He homered 5 times and added a pair of doubles and walks.
Season: ARod again. He's really, really good and he's having a really, really good year, even for him. I've heard some people call it a career year, but it's hard for me to really get behind that notion with full force provided that he has a number of similar seasons, such as his .358/.414/.631 in 1996 as a 20 year old, his .316/.420/.606 in 2000, .318/.399/.622 in 2001, .300/.392/.622 in 2002, .298/.396/.600 in 2003, and his .321/.421/.610 in 2005.
NL: Troy Tulowitzki posted a .483/.531/.931 line with 4 doubles, 3 home runs, and 3 walks in 29 at bats.
Season: I'm going with Jake Peavy. Batters are hitting .216/.277/.292 against him. That means that an average hitter becomes the equivalent of the worst regular in the Majors. Wrap your head around that for a second. Peavy has a 2.23 ERA, 164 K's, 44 BB, and 124 H in 157 and 2/3 innings.
This Week's Completely Made-Up Award
Edwin Bellorin and Rick Ankiel get the Welcome to the Show Award. As reader Steve Sheehan points out, Bellorin had what has to be one of the most unfortunate Major League debuts in history. The poor guy spends years in the minors, collecting 1823 at bats down there. He gets the call to replace the disappointing Chris Iannetta, and in his first ML plate appearance, he grounds into a double play and adding injury to insult, he strains his hammy trying to leg it out, landing on the 15 day DL. If there's a bright spot here, he at least is guaranteed a ML salary while he's on the shelf. I hope the guy sticks around for at least a little while once he's healed. For one, you don't want to go out like that. Secondly, he has an outstanding name that just rolls off the tongue.
We all know the Ankiel story. I include it here as a counter to the Shakespearean tragedy of Bellorin. He hits 3 homers (one in his debut) in his first week back in the show after years of exile learning how to be an everyday player. One word of caution thought, he won't hit for much average or draw many walks in the long run. His career line in the minor leagues is .266/.328/.546. He was hitting .267/.314/.568 in Memphis. On the plus side, he didn't have much of a platoon split this season.
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.