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BTB Awards Week 23

Pardon me if this is a bit short and poorly written this week. I feel like crap after I tweaked a hamstring working out this weekend and had an unfortunate dentist appointment this afternoon.

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

Gavin Floyd and Kenny Rogers combined for 11 innings of work where they allowed 2 earned runs, 8 hits, 4 walks, and struck out 12. No decision for either of them.

Also, John Lackey on Friday spun a marvelous 7 innings of work against the Indians, with 1 run, 6 hits, a walk, and 6 K's. He walked away with a no decision because Francisco Rodriguez blew the lead.

Good Luck Division

Don't tell Matt Cain about this because he may go and stab Ray Durham, but Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed 7 runs in 5 and a third on Monday against the Blue Jays but he still got the W.

Similarly Felix Hernandez got the golden W despite allowing 7 runs of his own in 5 innings on Sunday because Jeremy Bombedagain got lit up. It must be nice to get that kind of run support.

Vulture Division

After Brad Hennessey let a 1 run lead vanish with a James Loney solo shot, Dan Ortmeier went yard off of Jonathan Broxton to give Hennessey a completely undeserved W. When that happens, does the pitcher buy the rookie first baseman a steak dinner or something?

Reader Peter Sherwood mentions that on Thursday, Kelvin Jimenez threw all of 7 pitches...in the second inning of a 2-2 game and walked away with a win. Granted it was kind of a tight spot with the bases loaded and Jason Bay at the plate, but it was 7 pitches in the second inning for chrissake.

The Wes Littleton They Call that a Save? Award

Thank you to Jeremiah M for the submission on the new name. It's a winner since I poked fun at Littleton's cheapest of all cheap saves in the Rangers 30-3 win a few weeks ago.

On Sunday, we had four 3 run, 3 out saves. Chad Cordero, Joe Nathan, Mariano Rivera, and Billy Wagner all got the glory for something that an inferior pitcher should have been doing.

The Rico Brogna Award

Mike Lowell collected 6 RBI but hit a meager .222/.323/.333 on the week.

Season to Date: Jeff Francoeur with 91 RBI, but he's a right fielder hitting .294/.337/.443.

The Harmon Killebrew Batting Average is for Wussies Award

Rick Ankiel hit .261, but with a pair of doubles, 3 home runs, and 4 walks. This led to a .370 OBP and .739 SLG. And no, I'm not going to mention the HGH.

Season as a whole: Adam LaRoche had an extremely rough start in 2007, but he fought his way through it. His BA is still a little pedestrian at .269, but he has 56 walks and 21 home runs, which gives him a line of .269/.342/.460, which isn't spectacular by any stretch of the imagination, but it's not too bad.

The Rey Sanchez Batting Average is all I've Got Award

Casey Blake isn't a usual suspect for this award as his biggest asset rather than batting average, but hitting .292 with a pair of doubles and one walk in 24 at bats gets you to .292/.320/.375 and that gets you a Sanchez Award.

Season: We're still going with Delmon Young, who is hitting .293/.322/.416 as a starting right fielder. But let's give an honorable mention to Jose Vidro, who is hitting .313 and drawing walks with his .379 OBP, but he has 6 home runs all year and is the primary DH for the Mariners. He's slugging .393. That's an isolated slugging percentage of .080.

The Steve Balboni Award

Ryan Howard and Jonny Gomes share the award this week. Howard went .105/.261/.263 weighted down by 8 K's in 19 AB while Gomes went .188/.316/.375 with 7 K in 16 AB. They both did other things right. They both hit a home run and Howard drew 4 walks, Gomes 3. But you have to make at least some contact.

Leader: Josh Fields might be running away with this thing, hitting .234/.288/.446. He has power to spare with 18 homers in 316 at bats, but he's struck out 108 times.

3 True Outcomes Alert!!!

Rickie Weeks had 16 at bats and a pair of home runs, 9 walks, and 8 homers.

Leader: Ryan Howard with 38 HR, 87 BB, 175 K in 560 plate appearances.

This Week's Completely Made Up Award

I talked about Clay Buchholz's no hitter last week. But the thing that has to terrify the rest of baseball is the idea that the Red Sox and Yankees are trying out youth movements right now. For years they've been justifiably painted (especially the Yanks) as a collection of mercenaries. The organizations have epitomized big dumb money, once again especially the Yankees. But after producing some valuable commodities like Jon Papelbon, Melky Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Kevin Youkilis, Chien-Ming Wang, they've brought up Dustin Pedroia, Phillip Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, and Buchholz. It was one thing for the Yanks and BoSox to have more money than God when they blew a lot of it on flukes like Jaret Wright and Carl Pavano and the decline phases of Jason Giambi. But brains and money is an infinitely more dangerous combination. It's a completely different thing if they use that money more wisely by dumping a significant amount into the farm system and work the best talents from that system into the team.

This all being said, caveats about here. Even smart teams with good farm systems have uneven results, often going through droughts and deluges. And even those good organizations run into traps where they are prone to falling in love with particular players that they've produced, overlooking weaknesses. The Yanks have been masters at overlooking weaknesses, especially defensively where they stuck with Bernie Williams in center well past his expiration date.

It also bears mentioning that recently found wisdom didn't prevent the guys from the Bronx from paying way too much for Johnny Damon declining bat and glove or for Kei Igawa's overrated stuff or the Red Sox from making mistakes with Julio Lugo and JD Drew. And for all of the compliments I'm paying here to the Red Sox and Yankees farm systems, I still hated the idea of Andrew Brackman. It's certainly possible that this isn't a recognition of how to prevent errors of the past (A.K.A. throw money at it) but rather an extension of the big, dumb money strategy into the farm system coupled with an arrogance that will undermine these efforts in the long run. But if it is a genuine change in strategy towards actually listening to their scouts and trusting younger players instead of reflexively trading them and trying to build squads of 25 mercenaries, then they will go a long way towards accomplishing that state of perpetual competition for the top spot and prevent the kind of organizational collapses that led to the Yankee and Red Sox teams of the early 90's.

This Week's MVP

AL: ARod hit .565/.630/1.478 with 7 bombs, 3 walks, and 4 K in 23 AB. That's amazing

Season: ARod's MVP week has his season stats up to .318/.424/.672. It put him up over 50 home runs and up to 82 walks. He's even 22 for 25 stealing bases, which has made at least one of my fantasy league teams very happy.

NL: Where did this come from? Jack Wilson hit .615/.621/.077 with 6 doubles, 2 home runs, 2 walks, and 2 K. Unbelievably he's hitting .349/.401/.534 since the All Star break.

Season: ARod's crosstown rival at third base, David Wright is having an MVP caliber season of his own with a .315/.410/.539 line. He's doing this in Shea Stadium which is no mean feat and he has a pretty good glove. He's carrying 34 doubles, 27 homers, 84 walks, and he's stolen 30 bases, only getting caught 4 times.

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.