Sunday, August 30, 2009

August Awards

This week I will give my August Awards. These are who I would give my awards to as if the season ended today. Note all stats are as of 8/29.

Also, thanks to Scott Lucas for letting me fill in for him last week in writing the daily minor league report when I was in Hickory watching the Crawdads. If you didn’t get the chance to read those reports, I’ve included the description of the Crawdads game I saw below, along with a little more information from the trip.

Rangers Awards:

Rangers MVP: Michael Young, TEX (.327 AVG, 22 HR, 66 RBI): Michael leads the team in at-bats, hits, batting average, and walks. He’s also 3rd in home runs and tied for 2nd in RBI’s.
Runner-up: Ian Kinsler, TEX (.247 AVG, 28 HR, 73 RBI)

Cy Young: Scott Feldman (13-4, 3.87 ERA, 86 K): Scott is tied for 4th in the AL in wins, and he wasn’t even a starter in April, which is pretty incredible. He’s also 3rd among Rangers starters in ERA and is 2nd on the team in innings pitched behind Kevin Millwood.
Runner-up: Kevin Millwood, TEX (10-8, 3.63 ERA, 99 K)

Rookie of the Year: Elvis Andrus, TEX (.267 AVG, 5 HR, 26 RBI): Not only is he tied for 5th among AL rookies in batting average, 1st among AL rookies in stolen bases, tied for 4th in home runs, and tied for 5th in RBI’s, but he also has a shot at winning a Gold Glove. As a rookie.
Runner-up: Tommy Hunter, TEX (6-3, 2.95 ERA, 44 K)

AL Awards:

MVP: Joe Mauer, MIN (.372 AVG, 25 HR, 79 RBI): Joe missed the first month of the season and he’s still my AL MVP. He leads all of baseball in batting average at .372, a very, very high batting average. He also has 25 home runs, tied for 11th in the AL, and he has 79 RBI’s, 13th in the AL. Even though his power numbers don’t crack the top 10, his batting average makes up for that.
Runner-up: Aaron Hill, TOR (.289 AVG, 31 HR, 85 RBI)

Cy Young: Justin Verlander, DET (14-7, 3.38 ERA, 211 K): Justin leads the AL in strikeouts with 211, and is only behind Tim Lincecum in all the majors, and it’s pretty hard to have more strikeouts than Tim Lincecum. He is also tied for 2nd in the AL in wins, and is 7th in the AL in ERA. To me, that’s a Cy Young Award winner.
Runner-up: Scott Feldman, TEX (13-4, 3.87 ERA, 86 K)

Rookie of the Year: Elvis Andrus, TEX (.267 AVG, 5 HR, 26 RBI): Not only is he tied for 5th among AL rookies in batting average, 1st among AL rookies in stolen bases, tied for 4th in home runs, and tied for 5th in RBI’s, but he also has a shot at winning a Gold Glove. I think that should make him the AL Rookie of the Year.
Runner-up: Nolan Reimold, BAL (.276 AVG, 12 HR, 39 RBI)

Manager of the Year: Jim Leyland, DET (68-59, 1st place): If the season ended now, the Tigers would have gone from last place in 2008 (yes, even behind the 75-87 Kansas City Royals) to 1st place in 2009. Even though, they are in a weak division (the Rangers would be in 1st, so it’s really not fair), that’s still a pretty big jump, and that deserves Manager of the Year.
Runner-up: Ron Washington, TEX (71-56, 2nd place)

NL Awards:

MVP: Albert Pujols, STL (.316 AVG, 41 HR, 108 RBI): You can tell that he is struggling (for him) right now, because I actually had to put some thought into this one. It was between him, Prince Fielder, and Ryan Howard. But Pujols leads the 3 of them in batting average and on-base percentage, leads all of baseball in home runs, but is last between the three of them in RBI’s, which made it competitive.
Runner-up: Prince Fielder, MIL (.305 AVG, 36 HR, 118 RBI)

Cy Young: Tim Lincecum, SF (13-4, 2.33 ERA, 222 K): Tim is tied for 4th in the NL in wins (which for him is actually not so good), but to make up for it, he leads all of the majors in strikeouts, and is one of only two players with over 200 strikeouts so far this year. He is also 2nd in the NL in ERA at 2.33, behind only Chris Carpenter.
Runner-up: Chris Carpenter, STL (14-3, 2.20 ERA, 115 K)

Rookie of the Year: Andrew McCutchen, PIT (.295 AVG, 10 HR, 43 RBI): I know, a Pirate getting an Award. Amazing, huh? Doesn’t happen very often. But, Andrew deserves it, as among NL rookies he is 2nd in batting average, tied for 3rd in home runs, 2nd in RBI, 3rd in SB, and 2nd in slugging percentage. I think that’s a solid resume for getting the ROY.
Runner-up: Garret Jones, PIT (.289 AVG, 15 HR, 30 RBI)

Manager of the Year: Jim Tracy, COL (52-29, 2nd place) The Rockies were 20-28 when Tracy took over. Now they are 72-57. The Rockies were 8.5 games back of the wild card when Tracy took over. Now they are leading it by 2 games. The Rockies were 12.5 games out of the division lead when Tracy took over. Now they are 4 back. I think that pretty much explains my pick.
Runner-up: Bruce Bochy, SF (70-59, 3rd place)

I just got back from a week-long trip to Myrtle Beach with my parents, sister, and grandparents. My dad and I made the five-hour drive from Myrtle Beach to Hickory during the week for a one-night stay so that we could see a Hickory Crawdads game. The Rangers moved their low-A team to Hickory this year and we wanted to check it out. The Crawdads’ stadium is pretty old and fairly plain but a nice place to see a game. If you’re in the area, I recommend it. We saw the game (described below), stayed in a Quality Inn less than a mile away, and then drove back to Myrtle Beach the next morning. We also caught a little baseball action in Myrtle Beach, seeing a Pelicans game (the Pelicans are the Braves’ high-A team). It was a good trip and a good way to spend the last week before school. Here is my report from the Tuesday August 19th Crawdads game:

There was an announced crowd of 976 at L.P. Frans Stadium but there couldn’t have been more than 300 people in the stands. The Crawdads beat the team that must have the lamest team name (Drive) in the South Atlantic League. Cody Podraza went 2-for-5 with an RBI, and he was very aggressive on the base paths. He got on in the 1st after working an 8-pitch single. He then stole 2nd off the Drive catcher, who for the evening bounced 3 out of his 5 throws to 2nd base (and most of his warm-ups too). He took 3rd when the catcher's throw to 2nd just barely trickled by the 2nd baseman, when most players would have just stayed at 2nd. He also advanced from 1st to 3rd on an error by the 3rd baseman, where the ball didn't go far at all from bag, and just made it safely.

After Matt West made a two-base error on a ball that went right through his legs, he made up for it by getting an RBI single to cut the lead in half, which Eric Fry then turned into a tie game in the very next at-bat with an RBI single.

In the 9th inning, when the Crawdads were down 5-2, Cody Podraza singled in Leonel De Los Santos with one out to make it a 5-3 lead for the Drive. Podraza then stole 2nd again, followed by a Michael Hollander walk. Pinch-hitter Edward Koncel then struck out on three terrible pitches. Cristian Santana then came up and, with a 3-2 count and the team down to its final strike, he hit a no-doubt-about-it walk-off home run over the left field fence to end the game at 6-5 Crawdads.

Jared Bolden went 3-for-4 with 2 stolen bases in the game.

Jake Brigham started the game and went only 5 innings, allowing 3 runs, all earned, on 6 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 3. Carlos Pimentel then came in and pitched 4 very solid innings. He allowed 2 runs, but neither of them were earned, as in the 8th, Eric Fry, the RF, and Michael Hollander, the 2B, had a near collision that turned an out into a double, followed by a bloop single, and a ball thrown away to let the runner on 1st to go to 2nd, leaving men on 2nd and 3rd with 0 outs. He then got two outs, leaving both runners right where they were. He followed that by inducing a ground ball that would have gotten him out of the inning, but Michael Hollander booted it, costing the Crawdads two runs, on his 2nd rough play of the inning.

If it weren't for a perfect throw from Cristian Santana to nail a runner at home in the 9th to end the inning, he never would have been able to hit his walk-off home run.

Interesting facts about watching a game at the Crawdads’ stadium:
- Cristian Santana has the worst walk-up music ever. And this is on a team that, as a whole, has the worst walk-up music ever. Only two players have walk-up songs that aren’t painful.
-After the 5th inning, they have every kid in the entire stadium run across the outfield. I don't get the point of it, really.
-They have 56 ads on the outfield wall.
-If I counted right, 91 Crawdads have made the majors including: Jim Abbott, Chad Bradford, Joe Crede, Brendan Donnelly, Jon Garland, Adam LaRoche, Carlos Lee, Nate McLouth, Aaron Myette, Magglio Ordonez, Pete Rose Jr., Aaron Rowand, Chris Shelton, and Chris Young.
- The stadium is named after the founder of the Pepsi company.

Come back next week for a playoff race special.

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