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Official Fish Stripes June Awards

No, June isn't technically over yet, but we're handing out the hardware anyway. Why, you ask? Well, it's simple - I'm heading to New York tomorrow and Grover is miffed about not being allowed to travel, so we need to get some content put together ahead of time.

Speaking of my upcoming travel schedule, there will still be daily content here (I'll be in New York from 7/1 - 7/5; I'd give you my flight details, but that would be TMI). However, content will be less frequent and likely less thorough (if the latter part is possible). I considered lining up an all-star cast of guest writers while I'm away, but instead I thought it would be good to put some pressure on the rest of you to contribute quality diaries. Write some good stuff and it will be added to the main section of the site.

Now, on to the awards...

Pitcher of the Month
Instead of using our proprietary Variance to Expectations (VtE) metric this month, we turned to David Pinto's invaluable Day by Day Database to look at June's stats.

That may not have been necessary, however, as the winner is fairly clear cut.

Valerio de los Santos and Jim Mecir put up decent enough numbers in June, but their innings were fairly low leverage and were few and far between. Something of a case could be made for Todd Jones (1.17 ERA and 5 saves), but he also wasn't the key to this past month.

Dontrelle Willis wins the pitcher of the month award for June. The D-Train was phenomenal. He went 4-1 in 6 starts and really should have been 5-1 (as he should have won his start in Anaheim, except that the bullpen coughed up two late homers to Vlad Guerrero).

Willis walked only 6 batters during June. That's just one per start (and allowed him to achieve a strikeout-to-walk ratio of nearly 5-to-1). Of all the positives I've taken away from Dontrelle this year, the biggest has to be the improvement he's made with his control and how he always goes after hitters - even when he falls behind.

He even hit .375 for the month. Dontrelle also racked up an ERA of 2.62 in June, which sub-par relative to his April and May performances.

Still, you should look for Dontrelle in Detroit on July 12th. Even if you're not in Motown, you should be able to catch Willis on Fox. He may not start the game, but he'll be there.

Player of the Month
The usual suspects contend for this award once again. Carlos Delgado and Miguel Cabrera were (once again) very good at times.

However, for the month of June, the player of the month award goes to... Luis Castillo. Luis's line of .333/.434/.427 (OPS of .861) is even more impressive when you consider that he's a) been playing hurt, and b) despite that, has continued to play great defense.

Luis doesn't make SportsCenter a whole lot. He doesn't have Dontrelle's flash, or Cabrera's big bat. But he has a lot of heart and simply just gets on base.

Compare the Marlins stats at the plate here.

Former Marlin of the Month
I'm cheating here, because I haven't really looked up all the former-Marlins' numbers. This projected full-year line is just too much to pass up: .385/.461/.717 (1.178 OPS), 55 2B, 49 HR, 139 RBI, 21 SB.

Those projections belong to Derrek Lee. He's 1st in the NL in hitting, 2nd in homers, and 5th in RBI. The folks at Baseball Prospectus will tell you that Lee isn't that likely to win the Triple Crown, and they're right, but it's still fun to watch.

Minor Leaguer of the Month
I don't know of the equivalent of Pinto's Database for minor league stats - or even where to find splits for minor leaguers, so I'm cutting corners here.

Jeremy Hermida was named to the AA All-Star team this month. If you don't know Hermida's name, you should start to get familiar with it. He's likely to earn a spot in the Marlins' outfield next season (as Juan Encarnacion is set to be a free agent after the year and likely won't be back - besides, Hermida will have earned the role by then). Hermida is hitting over .300 in Carolina, and he's already established a career high in single season home runs. He is also leading the club in runs batted in.

Diary of the Month
Wiggins definitely would win the "greatest quantity" award this month, but there's no such thing. The ladies always tell me it's about quality, not quantity. Wiggins and I hear that, but are still trying to grasp the concept.

Moving on, the diary of the month clearly has to go to the Fishfan24 for the Rally Marlin introduction. In some ways this may seem as if I am overlooking the numerous high quality diaries from earlier in the month, but I think that we'll all look back later in the year and reflect on how monumental the Rally Marlin really was.

Comment of the Month
Again, there were a number of strong contenders this month. Sadly, many of the best were deleted. On a positive note, some of the more inflammatory comments helped to spawn a spin-off site, which is a sure sign that this site has jumped the shark (and if it hasn't done so, it's only because there was nothing to jump).

But the comment of the month for June goes to Craig, who dropped in this gem.

Email of the Month
Once again, this month's email of the month came in right under the wire. Last night's win was nice, but this line serves as a sobering reminder of the reality of the Marlins' current situation:

Well they finally led the Braves in this series in the 30th inning.

The Rally Marlin inspired great things last night, but that doesn't erase the fact that the Marlins were dominated by Horacio Ramirez and Jorge Sosa on Monday and Tuesday. It's not like the Marlins ran into John Smoltz and Tim Hudson. The Fish's bats were shut down by an unproven (but highly touted) guy and a journeyman who was effectively given up on by the Devil Rays just this spring. Hopefully last night's game will serve as a turning point, but I'm not optimistic that one game is enough to turn the tide.

SPECIAL CATEGORY: Top Reason Beergod Will Regret Bailing
Somehow I neglected to mention the biggest reason that Beergod will regret bailing on this weekend's trip to New York: After the trip, when/if he returns to the office banging his Thundersticks and smelling of beer, I will not defend him the next day when his boss and/or co-workers call me asking for an explanation of his state.

Laugh if you will, but I have actually received such phone calls and have defended Beergod in the past. That actually happened the morning after #3, 4, 5, and 6 from the original list.

Prize Details
This month our prize winners receive Fish Stripes' t-shirts. Wait until next week when the store goes live and then contact me (preferably via email) with your preference for a shirt. We'll get a shirt off to you right away. If you won the Comment, Diary, or Email of the month award, just let me know what shirt you want, the size, and where to send it.