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
On Friday, the Dodgers Chad Billingsley went 7 and 2/3, allowing 7 baserunners and only one run, but still got the L because the Fightin' Nomars got shut out by Doug Davis and the Snakes pen.
Good Luck Division
Compare Billingsley's fate with that of Odalis Perez, who lucked into a win on Wednesday, giving up 5 runs in 6 frames to the Brew Crew. He should send Claudio Vargas a thank you gift. Maybe he has an Amazon wish list.
Today's vulture was a submission by reader Tom Endicott, who points out that Javier Lopez threw a grand total of 2 pitches on Wednesday and came away with the pitcher's version of a gold star. He came into the game with 2 out in the 7th and induced a grounder to end the inning. After that the BoSox offense tallied 4 runs and he was well on his way to getting a vulture win.
The Rico Brogna Award
Jason Lane racked up 8 RBI despite hitting only .174/.259/.435. You'll hear his name again.
Season to Date: Garrett Atkins is tied for 13th in the Majors with 75 RBI. He's hitting .270/.335/.463 (79th in MLB) while playing half of his games on Planet Coors.
The Harmon Killebrew Batting Average is for Wussies Award
Mark Teixeira had a nice beginning to his career as a Brave with a .261/.370/.739 week. That's only 6 hits, but 2 of them were doubles and 3 were bombs. He also contributed 3 walks.
Season as a whole: Lance Berkman is hitting a very mediocre .260, but he's retained his walk rate and boasts a .373 OBP and a .451 SLG.
The Rey Sanchez Batting Average is all I've Got Award
Alfonso Soriano posted a .286 batting average, but that was 7 singles and a double to go with one walk for a .286/.310/.321 week.
Season: Yuniesky Bettancourt's line is .290/.313/.402 in 373 at bats on the season. He has a little pop for a shortstop, but 13 walks dooms him to be far less than what his batting average would have you believe.
The Steve Balboni Award
Here's Jason Lane again. The Astros outfielder hit a pair of home runs and drew a couple of walks in 23 at bats, but his 8 K's drug down his batting average and took his OBP with it for his previously mentioned .174/.259/.435.
Leader: Craig Monroe is really turning into Balboni personified. His .222/.265/.378 is plagued by 92 whiffs in 333 at bats. Last season was more of the same with his .255/.301/.486 and 126 K in 541 AB. He has a good amount of power and has a decent glove, but he just doesn't do enough to overcome striking out once every 4 times to the plate.
One thing that may help things is if the Tigers find the courage to platoon him. Monroe just can't hit right handed pitchers, striking out in 30% of his at bats against them in '07. This year he's really beating up lefties to the tune of .308/.323/.560. For his career he's .278/.322/.504 against southpaws.
3 True Outcomes Alert!!!
Adrian Gonzalez had 28 plate appearances last week with 1 home run, 7 walks, and 8 strikeouts.
Leader: Ryan Howard has passed Adam Dunn as the God of TTO this season. He passed Dunn in K's, and is now leading baseball with 131 of them, is 7th in walks with 73, and is 3rd in homers with 30. That's 234 TTO events in 422 plate appearances or 55%.
Please Stop Running
Willie Harris has done a commendable job in the Braves left field platoon, hitting .328/.397/.447. But he's stolen 16 bases this season while being caught 9 times for a 64% rate. That just isn't good enough. If you can't be successful 75% of the time, you really shouldn't try.
This Week's Dumbest Thing Ever
I really have no idea what Dave Littlefield accomplishes by trading for Matt Morris and his abysmal contract. Morris isn't much (if any) better than the pitchers he replaces. He's much more expensive. And he's old enough that he will be nowhere around the next time the Pirates are fighting for something more meaningful than 5th in the NL Central. It's a huge waste of organizational resources, especially when the team has been playing it cheap in the draft recently. This is one of the worst trades in recent memory.
This Week's MVP
AL: Robinson Cano was amazing all week, hitting .478/.556/1.087. He smoked 3 doubles, a triple, and 3 home runs to go with 3 walks in 23 at bats.
Season: Here's your ARod update. He's on pace for about 50 home runs and if the season ended today, he'd have a career high in OPS+ with 174.
In the grand scheme of things, it's small, but it's the kind of thing that the mainstream media would love to talk about if they didn't by and large loathe the guy, but the fact is ARod is a good baserunner. He steals bases at a high percentage, going 13 for 15 this season and 254 for 316 in his career for an 80% success rate.
NL: Kelly Johnson makes the week's MVP's a pair of second basemen. Johnson hit .522/.577/.826 in 23 at bats.
Season: Hanley Ramirez is having an amazing season, hitting .341/.394/.573 with 33 2B, 5 3B, 19 HR, 32 SB, 9 CS, and 34 BB in 431 AB as a SHORTSTOP.
Least Valuable Player
AL: Mike Piazza hit .167/.231/.167. That was 4 singles and 2 walks in 24 at bats.
Season: Can we officially call Nick Punto's .352 OBP last year a fluke? Have we done that yet? Have we made it official? If not, let's do that now. Punto is hitting an anemic .208/.297/.271.
I have a question here. Why do pitchers continue to walk Punto? It's nominally the only real skill he has at the plate. If you just fire some fastballs right down the pike, the worst thing that is likely to happen is a sharply hit single. He has 9 career home runs in 1383 at bats. Pitchers really should just throw it up there and dare him to hit it because there's no excuse for walking the guy.
NL: Gritty, gutsy, scrappy David Eckstein "hustled" his way to a .091/.192/.136 line this week.
Season: Miguel Olivo plays a defensive position in a pitcher's park, but that really only goes so far in explaining his .231/.250/.380.
This Week's Completely Made-Up Award
The You're Better Than This Award is Buster Olney's property this week. In the process of analyzing Tom Glavine's 300th win, Olney said on ESPN News "Tom Glavine may well be baseball's last 300 game winner." He should have added in a "for a while" in there at the end because there will be another 300 game winner. Olney gives several relevant reasons for why 300 wins continues to get harder and harder to achieve, such as teams protecting their investments by limiting their pitchers innings and not being shy about the DL, and the fact that pitchers get fewer decisions because of bullpens and 5 man rotations. But at some point, somebody out there will be a freak of nature who is really good for a really long time and he will collect his 300th win. That somebody is probably in pro baseball right now. We just don't know who it is yet. That person isn't going to do it for another decade or decade and a half, but it almost certainly will happen. Wording that the way he did makes Olney just plain wrong. He really is better than that. We've seen people declare the 300 game winner extinct as a species before. They were always wrong.
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.