With the first-half now complete (plus a week), I thought it would be an opportune time to issue the Fishcrazy First-Half Awards. Your feedback is welcome, especially before the trophies get sent to the engraver and the award checks get printed.MVP
1. Hanley Ramirez (.349/16/61) - Who else? He's the rock in an inconsistent lineup. Earlier this month, he set a team AND NL-shortstop record for most consecutive games with an RBI. He was voted an All-Star starter for the second time, and has rightfully earned pundits' praise as one of the top 3 hitters in the game.
2. Josh Johnson (8-2, 2.74) - What Hanley does for the lineup, JJ does for the pitching staff. Volstad has struggled at times, Nolasco was simply awful for two months, Miller remains an enigma, and Sanchez can't stay healthy and wasn't very good when he was. Through it all, there was JJ, who's thrown less than 6 innings only twice this year.
3. Burke Badenhop (5-3, 3.45) - Yes, it's something of an upset for a long-reliever to be in the MVP conversation. But on a team that's featured imploding starters and a chronically overused bullpen, Badenhop is the guy who performs expert triage. Volstad gets shelled for 8 innings against Boston? Badenhop's there to throw 4+ shutout innings. Anibal gets hurt after 3 innings versus Milwaukee? Badenhop throws <i>five</i> shutout innings. As of right now, he's still the best player we got for Miguel Cabrera.
1. Matt Lindstrom (6.52 ERA, 14 SV) - No, he's not Jorge Julio-level bad, but he's certainly been a major disappointment. When Gregg was dumped traded, we Fishstripers were delighted that he'd be giving way to the fireballin' Lindstrom. But Lindstrom has been mediocre at best. Opponents are hitting almost .300 off him, and he was pulled from his last save opportunity before going on the DL.
2. Dan Uggla (.227/16/50) - I realize that average isn't everything, and he's been unlucky on balls put in play. But being almost 100 points off his 2008 OPS is more indicative of the problem. He's had his share of homers this year, but hasn't had any sustained hot streaks and is on pace to hit the fewest doubles of his career.
3. Jeremy Hermida (.255/10/34) - Once a top prospect, Hermida was injury-prone and ineffective until he caught fire the second half of '07 and finished at .296. Then he fell back to earth with an inconsequential 2008. So which was the real Hermida? It seems '07 was the fluke: the walks are nice, but he's just not a very good hitter, especially not for a corner outfielder. (There's rumors of him being traded to Pittsburgh for Matt Capps. I'm all for it--let's get Carroll in the lineup.)
Dishonorable Mention - Nolasco (at 2-5 with a 9.07 ERA, he was a shoo-in for LVP, but his terrific rebound pushes him out of the standings); Cameron Maybin (.202/1/3) (he'd be higher, but expectations are scaled back for a 21-year-old-rookie)
BEST OFFSEASON ACQUISITION
1. Kiko Calero - see above.
2. Ross Gload (.282/3/15) - acquired for a player to be named, Gload's been everything you could want as a veteran off the bench.
3. Dan Meyer - a free-agent pick-up like Kiko, Meyer's been our top lefty all year.
WORST OFFSEASON ACQUISITION
1. Hayden Penn (1-0, 7.77) - we got him for spare parts, but still, he was simply terrible. If only his pitching ability could match his sideburns.
2. Scott Proctor - our medical staff didn't catch this??
3. Emilio Bonifacio - (.258/1/23) - at least he's given us something, unlike the top two. But he's not a net improvement over Olsen or Willingham--heck, not over Willingham alone.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
1. Chris Coghlan (.245/2/15) - in a weak crop of rookies, someone's gotta finish first. He's cooled since his average hit .275 in late June, but he's displayed a good eye (30 BB) and has held his own in the outfield. It can't be easy to learn major-league hitting while fielding a new position at the same time.
2. Emilio Bonifacio - Bonifacio has shown some flashes, and he's hitting a little better recently. And we'll always have those first couple of weeks in April. But that's about all I can say for him despite Fredi's adoration.
3. Sean West (3-4, 4.91) - He gave it a go, and was pretty darn good at times (namely, the 8 innings of shutout ball against San Fran). He's still a year away, but has nothing to hang his head about.