I had already named the All Troll Rookies of the half Year (which I am totally rethinking already-Jeff Nieman anyone?), but here we go with some awards. Some dubious, others honoring greatness, here we go… Oh and please excuse the lack of images, I was really rushed to get to work. That said, I probably overlooked a bunch of people and I did skip about of the awards I was planning on giving. Remember these are all midseason honors, I got lazy and stopped writing half year. They are all my choices and were all unanimous 1-0 decisions.
The Wes Ferrell Award for the best hitting pitcher goes to:
Cincinnati Reds pitcher, (and Dinged Corners fav) Micah Owings. So far this year he is .244/3/9 but he has been slumping a bit lately. According to baseball reference dot com, batting over 162 games, his career average would be .298/13/48 and the dude can pitch (6-9 4.94) a little, too.
The Greg Maddux Award for best free agent signings and the awards go to:
In the American League the choice is clear; you get a combination of a big bargain and big numbers with Russell Branyon signing to the Mariners. His numbers are .280/22/49 and they got him for 1.4 million. On the National League side, I went with a big price tag guy, but aside from his missed time with injury, he was the league’s top player when he was sidelined. Even at 7.16 million a year, Raul Ibanez .309/33/60 was a good signing.
The Wayne Garland Award for worst free agent signings, the winners are:
In the National League Willy Taveras and Edgar Renteria keep on coming to mind, but I think that the biggest bust is the Cubs signing Milton Bradley. He’s getting 7 million this year for a line of .243/6/21.
In the American League… I’ve cursed this signing every day of the season. The Tampa Bay Rays signing designated hitter Pat Burrell. His line of .232/4/28 is slightly better than Micah Owings, but hitting is all that Burrell does. He has spent 7 innings in right field this year, aside from that his only responsibility is hitting a baseball and he hasn’t done much of that. He also earns (steals) 7 million this year.
The “I don’t know why the bullpen hates me and everyone on my team hits like Pat Burrell every time I pitch” hard luck starters without winning records awards go to:
In the National League, the top-6 hard luck starters are:
Atlanta’s Javier Vazquez who is 6-7 with a 2.95 ERA and 136 Ks. Joel Pineiro of St. Louis who is 7-9 with a 3.20 ERA, 48 Ks and 3 complete games. Another Braves starter with a microscopic ERA, Jair Jurrjens who is 7-7 with a 2.91 ERA and 78 Ks. Colorado’s Ubaldo Jimenez who is 6-9 with a 3.81 ERA and 101 Ks. Rounding things out are two Arizona Diamond Backs, Doug Davis at 4-9 with a 3.41 ERA and 91 Ks and Max Scherzer at 5-6, 3.64 and 97 Ks.
For the American League, the top 6 hard luckers are:
Last year’s Cy Young Award winner, Cleveland’s Cliff Lee who stands at 4-9 with a 3.47 ERA and 93 Ks. Joining him is Oakland’s starter (who should’ve been their lone AS rep) Dallas Braden, his record being 7-7, 3.12 with 73 Ks. Next are two member of the Tampa Bay Rays including James Shields (6-6/3.42/90Ks) and Matt Garza (6-7/3/42/102 Ks). Joining them on the hard luck crew is Kansas City starter Brian Bannister (6-7/3.66/62 Ks) and Seattle’s King of Hard Luck Jarrod Washburn. Things are getting better in the run support department for J-Rod, he’s already beat his win total from last year when he was 5-14.
The Satchel Paige Award for accomplishments after your 40th birthday goes to 4 different players:
Starting with the youngest, Gary Sheffield of the New York Mets (.283/10/35) who at 40 joined the 500 home run club and is 4 away from passing Ernie Banks and breaking into the top 20 twenty all time. Next, the Red Sox’ Tim Wakefield who at 42 made the All Star team for the first team (Satchel Paige was 46 in ’52 when he made his first AS team) with a 11-3/4.31 record. Ironically, his ERA was lower (4.13) when he was 10-11 last year. Rounding out the awardees are Jamie Moyer (46) of the Phillies, who has a very high ERA of 5.99, but has managed to pace the defending Worlds Champs in wins (8-6) and his 254 wins place him in the top-50 All-Time. John Smoltz of the Red Sox (I don’t like seeing that in print) is 42 and his 3,011 strikeouts place him 16th All-Time. Lastly Randall K. Johnson (45) of the San Francisco Giants is also 8-6, but with a lower ERA (4.81), more Ks and 303 wins, good for 22nd All-Time.
The Mucho Molina award will be shared by Benji, Yadier and Jose, three brothers who can fly and catch.
The Rickey Award for best base stealer in each league goes to Carl Crawford of the Tampa Bay Rays, who was this year’s All Star MVP and is pacing the AL with 44 stolen bases. On the NL side (I thought the NL was the running league) Michael Bourn of the Houston Astros with 32. The Hack Wilson Award for most run production at the break will go to: On the National League side, the guy who has pretty much dominated every power stat, the St. Louis Cardinal’s Albert Pujols and for the AL…The Boston Red Sox left fielder who continues the legacy of great run producing outfielders in that goofy stadium, Jason Bay.
The Most Improved Hitter Award goes to:
On the NL side, the Arizona D-Backs RIGHT fielder, Justin Upton. He saw his batting average rise from .250 last year to over 300 this year. He has already set career highs in home runs (16) and RBI (51) halfway through the year.
In the American League we have a tie. Jason Bartlett (.347/8/39) has raised his average 61 points and his 8 homers are far more than he has ever hit before. Sharing the award is Toronto third baseman Scott Rolen (.320/6/35). His power has not picked up any, but he raised his average 58 points and threw in a 25 game hitting streak for good measure.
The Chili Davis Award for best switch hitter goes to:
In the National League, its gotta be the ambidextrous wonder from Venezuela, Pablo Sandoval .333/15/55 who easily beat out Carlos Beltran in a 1-0 vote here at Troll-quarters. In the American League, I’ve gotta go with Ben Zobrist of the Tampa Bay Rays at .297/17/52. Incidentally, these two are also my picks for Breakout Players of the Year, an award for guys with too many at-bats to be a rookie, but really just got the chance to play a full season. Nelson Cruz from Texas would probably share that one with these guys.
The Harold Baines Award for the best designated hitter goes to:
It’s a tie between Toronto’s Adam Lind .306/19/51 and Baltimore’s Luke Scott .305/18/51. That said, both these guys are way to young and able bodied to be designated hitters. Get back on the field guys!
The Most Improved Relief Pitcher Awards go to:
In the American League Seattle closer and travellin’ man, David Aardsma. Last year at Boston, the line on AA was 4-2/5.55/0 saves/49 Ks, this year he notched his first career save, already set career highs in strikeouts with 51 and cut his ERA in better than ½. He stands right now at 2-3/1.96 with 20 saves.
In the National League Heath Bell is the man. Last year he was 6-6/3.58 with 7 blown saves and zero saves. So far this year he has been an All Star with a 3-1 record, 1.69 ERA, 42 Ks, 23 saves with 1 blown.
The Most Improved Starting Pitcher Awards go to:
In the American League the previously mentioned Jarrod Washburn who went from 5-14/4.69 to 6-6/2.96 this year. He will share it with Detroit starter Justin Verlander (11-17/4.84/163Ks last year) who has improved to an All Star at 10-4 with a 3.38 ERA and 149 Ks at the halfway mark.
On the National League side we have another tie. Matt Cain of the Giants was 8-14 with a 3.76 ERA last year and this year he is off to 10-2 start with an insanely low 2.38 ERA. Fellow All Star Zack Duke of the Pirates was 5-14 with a 4.82 ERA last year. This year he is 8-8 with a 3.29 ERA.
The Mario Mendoza award for lowest batting average at the break goes to Jason Giambi who is far south of the border with a .192 batting average. He has knocked 11 home runs and 40 RBIs making him a more productive hitter than Pat Burrell, but still…
The Comeback Player of the Year award is a big one, but I have narrowed it down to one winner in the AL and a tie in the NL. The winners are: Toronto Blue Jays All Star second baseman Aaron Hill. Hill was off to a great start in his career his line was .291/17/78 in ’07, but an on field collision with David Eckstein in ’08 left him with a grade 2 concussion and ended his season (.263/2/20) before it really began. This year he is better than ever (.292/20/60) and started in the All Star game for the AL.
On the National League side we have 2 guys. Yovanni Gallardo of the Brewers was also off to a fine start in 2007 going 9-5/3.62/101 Ks, but a muscle tear in his knee limited him to 24 innings pitched in ’08. This year, after going winless for a year, he is 8-7/3.22/123 Ks. The most remarkable of all is Chris Carpenter who had not won a game since signing a huge contract with St. Louis. He was 0-2 combined in ’07 and ’08, sidelined with bone spurs and Tommy John surgery. Healthy and healed this year he is 7-3 with a 2.47 ERA in 13 games for the Red Birds.
The Holy Cow, How the Hell Did I Not Have This Guy in the Starting Line Up for the All Troll Team Award goes to Ryan Braun of Milwaukee, sorry Ryan!
The award for Why The Hell Did We (the Rays) Trade (or not re-sign) This Guy goes to, only the National League side, former Rays fan favorite Jonny Gomes. Gomes batted just .182 last year and was left off of the postseason roster, this year with the Reds he is doing great since being called up from AAA, he is hitting .311/5/16 and he makes about 6.6 million a year less than the guy who replaced him…
On the AL side it’s gotta be starting pitcher Edwin Jackson who was traded for Matt Joyce in the offseason. Joyce has great upside, but the Rays have a shortage of arms, not outfielders. Meanwhile Jackson has taken over the #2 starter role in Detroit, is in the top 5 in ERA and made the All Star team. Worst trade in Tampa Bay history? I think so.
I am intentionally skipping CY Young, MVP and Reliever of the Year, but I did have more awards of ridiculousness to include on this baseball free day, but alas work beckons…
Actually, I am going to leave the MVP and Cy Young up to fan voting. I will post the contest tonight, around 11 PM ET (right after work) and you will be able to simultaneously vote for your Cy Young and MVPs of the half season. You will also have the chance to win one of the lovely relics cards (your choice) shown above. No purchase or trivia answers necessary, but you must be a follower to win. troll out (for real this time)