Hey all, it’s time once again for the annual mid-season awards. I have no idea if this is the first annual awards or second, or third, as I was not with this site last year and I’m too darn lazy to dig through the archives to see if Joe did something like this before.
But regardless, here they are. There is some collaboration of these things, you’ll find a few notes written by my cohorts, Matt and Zac. Then, just for fun (and because I was just catching up on what Samara has been doing at Roar of the Tigers) I added a few more categories.
Tigers first-half Most Valuable Player
“It’s gotta be Miguel Cabrera. He’s leading baseball in wOBA, and leading the Tigers in WAR, but more importantly, he’s getting the job done when it counts. No one in the game has a WPA (win probability added) above Miguel Cabrera‘s 5.0 wins. So, not only is he getting the job done in a purely statistical sense, he’s getting the job done in high leverage situations.” –Matt Snyder
“With a Tiger mentioned among the possible AL MVP candidates, it becomes an easy task to pick a team MVP: Miguel Cabrera. His numbers are well known so I won’t rehash them here and I don’t really feel that I need to do so to make my case. Taking Cabrera out of the Tigers lineup leaves a mediocre to below average offensive club. One could argue that removing Justin Verlander from the starting rotation could have a similar effect but hitters always carry more weight in MVP voting.” –Zac Snyder
(more after the jump)
Ditto those above. Cabrera is on another level of greatness that other Tigers can only dream of ever reaching. There’s a ton of statistical stuff to back this up, too. Cabrera is the MVP, no question, but damn does he need a better nickname or what? Cabby cannot stand people, resist the ways of Rod Allen! –Me
Least Valuable Player
“A few names came to mind but I have to go with Adam Everett. His LVP award was solidified in my mind because one, the Tigers decided to pay him to not play for them and two, because I honestly can’t think of one contribution he made to the team prior to his release. Dontrelle Willis actually put together a couple decent starts and Gerald Laird has rebounded with a few good games at the plate.” –Zac
“It was a toss up between Adam Everett and Gerald Laird. Everett was setting new records for futility at the plate, but at least he was fielding well. Laird, on the other hand, hasn’t done anythingwell. We all figured he wouldn’t hit much after watching him flounder at the plate last season, but I thought he would still play elite defense. That hasn’t been the case. His -0.6 WAR combined with Avila’s 0.6 WAR means we’ve seen replacement level play out of the Tigers’ catching corps this year.” –Matt
Okay, I’ll break the tie. The MCB award for LVP goes to….. Gerald Laird. Sure, Everett contributed nothing while he was here, but at least the Tigers caught on and stopped allowing him to ruin the season. Laird has been steadily destroying Tigers games all year long, and he’s still at it, giving him additional opportunities to screw things up –Me
Cy Young (apologies to the BBWAA, who get mad when you use this term)
“Jose Valverde has the freakish ERA, but I have difficulty giving the award to a relief pitcher (and plus, Joel Zumaya still has a higher WAR), so I’m gonna go with Justin Verlander for this one. Justin’s WAR of 3.1 says that he’s the been the most valuable Tiger’s pitcher. Without Justin Verlander the Tigers would not be this close to the division lead.” –Matt
“Justin Verlander and Jose Valverde have both been very good but Valverde has been the most consistent with his success and therefore gets my pick for Tigers first half Cy Young. Valverde also has the subjective advantage of putting up his amazing numbers on the heels of the Todd Jones and Fernando Rodney era that could have been sponsored by Rolaids while Justin Verlander is simply doing what we have come to expect.” –Zac
Oooh, another tie breaker! The winner is definitely Valverde. He’s been here just a few short months and already has become one of my all-time favorite Tigers. He gets the nod on celebration alone, but his numbers don’t hurt, either. I’m reminded of a line from the Offspring when he strikes out a batter; “Now dance, fucker, dance. Man he never had a chance.” You’re gonna go far, kid. –Me (and Dexter)
Cy Yuck (apologies to Jayson Stark for stealing his category)
“My first reaction is to nominate Brad Thomas but he has been surpassed on the yucky scale by Fu-Te Ni. Ni has allowed far more hits and runs in his 23 innings this year than he did in his 31 innings last year. Thomas has been frustrating to watch due to his propensity to miss the strike zone but he has at least been able to eat up a few innings when needed. Ni hasn’t even been able to do that.” –Zac
“Can I vote for Eddie Bonine without getting beat up over it? No? Well then it’ll be Fu-Te Ni for me. He just couldn’t get anyone out, and it wasn’t a fluke either; his FIP and xFIP were the worst of any player that made more than one appearance (Sborz and Figaro are off the hook here). It didn’t help that only 33% of batted balls were on the ground (team worst), and 23% were hit on a line (second worst). I guess you can’t get MLB hitters out by throwing meatballs down the middle. Go figure.” –Matt
So Ni wins the award without my vote, but I’m voting for Rick Porcello. Seriously, this guy was supposed to be the second ace on this team. Perhaps there’s some sort of curse on guys that start the home opener? Last year it was Galarraga who was terrible after April, this year Porcello? In 2008, Verlander started on Opening Day at home, and proceeded to have his worst season of his career. Something seems fishy here. –Me
“Brennan Boesch. The average Tiger fan had never heard of him until they announced his name during his Major League debut, but everyone knows him now. He’s qualified to appear on the statistical leader boards now, and he appears on just about all of them. Among American League outfielders, he ranks 2nd in average, 1st in on-base percentage, 2nd in slugging, 2nd in OPS, and 2nd in wOBA. Somehow, though, this isn’t good enough to make the All-Star team. The only reason he’s not the MVP, in my mind, is because Miguel Cabrera‘s on the team.” –Matt (Zac and I had basically the same thoughts as Matt here, so I’ll just leave this part alone.)
“Rick Porcello has not been able to bounce back from a rough start like he did last year when he was of the Tigers best pitchers as a 20-year old. There is still time for him to turn things around to become an important contributor down the stretch but he has been my biggest disappointment through the first half of 2010.” –Zac
“Ryan Perry. He was supposed to step up to claim the 8th inning setup role, but success hasn’t come for him this year. His average game-entering leverage index is still the highest of any Tiger pitcher, but he hasn’t been able to take advantage of the opportunities. He has the lowest win probability added of any of the relief pitchers (-0.69), and WAR pegs him as having a replacement level season.” –Matt
Porcello, again. Hey, it’s my blog and I can give out two awards to the same player if I want. He’s got all the talent he needs, there’s no reason to think he’ll continue to suck, but he sure has so far. –Me
Moment of the Half Year
Unanimous here, it was Armando Galarraga‘s one-hit shutout of the Indians. Or perfect game, whichever you and MLB want to call it. Sure there has been nothing but praise heaped on the show of dignity and sportsmanship by Jim Joyce and Galarraga in the wake of that game, but the fact remains that Joyce stole a chance at history from Galarraga. Just brutal. –Me
Worst Facial Hair
This one has to go to Ryan Perry. I hate the chinstrap on anyone, but Perry makes it look even more douchey than a frat boy. Perhaps if he were to try something new he might pitch better.
Worst Arm Tattoos
Jeremy Bonderman wins this in a shocking turn of events, as most assumed we’d never see anything worse that Brandon Inge‘s ink. He’s been a pleasant surprise on the mound this year, though, so maybe they worked.
There sure was a lot of talk last night about the passing of George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard this week. Not to take anything away from either man, but would it have killed someone at Fox to mention Ernie Harwell? I guess so. But we here at MCB will continue to mourn the loss of our voice, our friend. I asked Matt and Zac to add their thoughts here as they weren’t with the site when Ernie passed away.
“As I have reflected upon Ernie Harwell’s life and legacy, all I can say about him is he was a truly awe-inspiring individual. While Ernie was with us, we were separated from the history of the game by only one degree; he was our link to the past. Here was a man who had interview Ty Cobb, he had called games including Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, and Al Kaline, but one must look past the baseball world to see why Ernie was such an-inspiring man. He carried with him, and in him, all of the virtues that I want to posess. He wasn’t just a great baseball man; he was a great man. He was caring, he was faithful, he was humble, and he was kind. You can’t find an interview in which he didn’t mention how much he loved his wife, thank the fans for their support and affection, and praise the Lord for his blessings and gifts. I’ll miss Ernie because of his baseball mind, yes, and because he was our friend and icon, sure, but I’ll miss him most of all because he was a great role model.” –Matt
“Ernie Harwell meant a lot to me because he bridged generations. Grandparents, parents, and kids all have their favorite players and memories of their generation but Ernie Harwell was a constant thread woven through them all. He is the one part of Tigers history that we could all share and be proud of because of what he did and how he did it.” –Zac