The Incredibly Serious 2012 HHS Awards

Or not.

Given the ridiculous amount of debate and discussion the 2012 AL MVP race has given us, I felt it was only appropriate to hand out a few offbeat awards of my own. Of course, the floor is open to all suggestions for awards, as long as we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Leave ’em in the comments section, kids.

Anywho, without further ado: here are a dozen awards I’m proudly giving out.

Rick Vaughn Award – Given to the pitcher with the highest Wild Thing Score (3*WP + 2*HBP + BB). Congratulations to this year’s winner, Ubaldo Jimenez, a fellow Cleveland Indian, who racked up a 159 WTS in 2012.

Mr. Indecisive – Given to the pitcher who racked up the most appearances without recording a decision. Randy Choate, LOOGY extraordinaire, is your winner here, pitching in 80(!) games this season without a win or loss, besting Trever Miller‘s record of 76 back in 2007.

Greg Jennings Award – Simply put, the player who puts the team on his back the most often in a season. For my purposes, that will mean games with a WPA (Win Probability Added) greater than or equal to 0.20. This time around there’s a tie between Allen Craig of the Cardinals and reigning Cy Young champ Justin Verlander, both of whom accomplished this feat 17 times in 2012.

Mendoza Maverick – The most valuable player that hits at or below .200 in a season. Brendan “Whole Lotta Glove” Ryan takes home the title this year leading the way with 3.3 WAR, and it wasn’t even close:

Rk Player WAR/pos BA G
1 Brendan Ryan 3.3 .194 141
2 Carlos Pena 0.4 .197 160
3 John Buck 0.4 .192 106
4 Aubrey Huff 0.2 .192 52
5 Andruw Jones 0.2 .197 94
6 Paul Janish -0.3 .186 55
7 Taylor Green -0.3 .184 58
8 Munenori Kawasaki -0.4 .192 61
9 Juan Uribe -0.4 .191 66
10 Aaron Cunningham -0.5 .175 72
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/8/2012.

In fact, Ryan’s 2012 campaign is the best season of all-time for those hitting at a Mario-esque clip.

Joe Carter Award – The worst player with 100 or more Runs Batted In in a given season. Hunter Pence of the Phillies and Giants managed to only scrape together 0.7 WAR while knocking in 104 runs. Interestingly enough, it’s a career high in RBI and career low in WAR for Mr. Pence.

Pitcher on the Precipice – The pitcher with the biggest FIP/ERA disparity. We have a repeat winner, which is a major statistical anomaly, as BAbip and the like should fluctuate year to year. That being said, a round of applause to Jeremy Hellickson for defying the odds not once, but twice. His FIP was an ugly 4.60, but managed a cool 3.10 ERA, a full run and a half lower, and good for 6th in the American League.

Pop Snyder Memorial Award – Given to the player with the lowest walk rate that still qualified for the batting title. Alexei Ramirez walked in only 2.6% of his PA (16 for 621), significantly lower than his still-poor 6.0% previous career rate. Pop Snyder, for your information, played in the late 19th century, and boasted an 18-year career while only walking 2.2% of the time.

Big Fish in a Small Pond – The player who had the lowest WAR to lead a team, surprisingly enough not a member of the Astros, although Lucas Harrell was close (2.8). This year’s winner is Rafael Betancourt, who led Colorado with a 2.6 WAR, the bright light in their otherwise bizarre and poor-performing pitching staff. Betancourt, by the way, is certainly one of the more underrated relievers of the last decade (probably due to not being a closer for the bulk of the time). Let’s go to WAR:

Rk Player WAR From To Age G SV
1 Mariano Rivera 30.8 2003 2012 33-42 603 365
2 Joe Nathan 21.3 2003 2012 28-37 604 297
3 Francisco Rodriguez 18.4 2003 2012 21-30 677 294
4 Jonathan Papelbon 17.2 2005 2012 24-31 466 257
5 Billy Wagner 14.5 2003 2010 31-38 467 241
6 Rafael Betancourt 13.6 2003 2012 28-37 603 58
7 Francisco Cordero 13.5 2003 2012 28-37 682 319
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/8/2012.

Fine Wine Award – The player who gets better and better with age. Darren Oliver, folks, has posted a 176 ERA+ in his age 37-41 seasons, most notably his 2012 campaign where he put up a 207 ERA+. Also, 5.4 WAA in those five years, whereas between the ages of 22 and 36, he put up a meager -1.7 WAA. Strangely, in the years that should have been his peak (27-33), he did the opposite of his recent years, limping to a -5.4 WAA while bouncing around (presumably painful for someone who’s been limping) to 6 teams in that span.

Jim Levey Award – Given to the player with the lowest WAR that still qualifies for the batting title. Also called the “Bench ‘im Already!” Award. To the frequent HHS reader, you’ll know instantly that the winner(?) here is none other than Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur. Due to a refusal to take pitches and sudden trouble with the leather (-14 fielding runs in ’12, +68 from 2005-11), he put up -2.7 WAR. Remember when he was a hot prospect and graced the cover of Sports Illustrated? That’s far off in the rear-view mirror, my friends.

The Pacifist – Given to the player that makes your humble writer anti-WAR. Let’s be honest here: Wins Above Replacement is an imperfect statistic, but as far as putting a number to a player’s overall contribution, it’s hard to beat. It’s better than, say, RBIs–if we blindly put faith in them, Juan Gone (Igor?) is a Hall of Famer. Although some people are really behind his candidacy.

But I digress. WAR is quite worthwhile, but there are certain players that put up such lofty totals that would make one question its validity. For instance, which MLBer has the most WAR from 2009-12? Well, ummm, errrrit’s none of these guys. Leading the way with 26.6 WAR, is none other than Ben Zobrist of the Rays.

The traditionalists look at the “classic” slash line and can’t comprehend why Zobrist is so highly valued. Their response can be found here. Seriously though, how can a player who averages 19 HR, 83 RBI and a .268 BA be a great player, let alone an MVP-caliber one? Because he does the little things. He can run well, draw a bunch of walks and play top-notch defense wherever you put him. That being said, would I consider the Zorilla among the 5 best players in baseball or the best AL position player in 2 separate seasons? Not a chance. Below, a breakdown of those last four seasons (offensively) and possibly his phone number in the last column:

Age Tm Year WAR/pos G HR RBI BB SO SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
28 TBR 2009 8.3 152 27 91 91 104 17 6 .297 .405 .543 .948 *496/783D5
29 TBR 2010 4.3 151 10 75 92 107 24 3 .238 .346 .353 .699 *9438/57
30 TBR 2011 8.4 156 20 91 77 128 19 6 .269 .353 .469 .822 *49/D
31 TBR 2012 5.6 157 20 74 97 103 14 9 .270 .377 .471 .848 946/D
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/8/2012.

And finally, the most ridiculous award of all…

American League MVP – Not Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera or Robinson Cano. Instead, I’m going with this little known, yet key part of the Baltimore Orioles’ success this season. One could say that’s an 11-WAR talent right there.

For whatever reason, I have a feeling that none of the players will step forward to claim their award. Except maybe Randy Choate. He seems like a decent guy.

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67 Comments on "The Incredibly Serious 2012 HHS Awards"

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BryanM
Guest

Re Darren Oliver – looks like the bouncing around preceded the limping, and probably caused it – )

Adam Darowski
Admin

Whoa, just noticed that Brendan Ryan has had 19 doubles FOUR YEARS IN A ROW. Dude. That’s gotta be some sort of award.

Doug
Editor

And his XBH line is identical the last two seasons at 19-3-3, and 19-3-2 in 2010.

Seriously, though, you have to wonder what’s happened to Brendan’s bat. His first 3 NL seasons, he was .273/.333/.373, 87 OPS+. Since then, it’s been .222/.290/.300, 68 OPS+. Are AL pitchers that much harder to hit against?

bstar
Guest

Adam Dunn hit exactly 40 HR four years in a row, 2005-2008.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

Fred Lynn hit 21 HRs four years in a row, from 1984-87, and 21 to 25 HRs from 1982-1988. Cal Ripken Jr had 25 to 28 HRs from 1982-1987.

Phil Gaskill
Guest

Ken Boyer had 24 homers four years in a row, 1961-64.

Luis Gomez
Guest

Vinny Castilla had two consecutive seasons of .304, 40 HR, 113 RBI.

bstar
Guest

I was looking for the guy who had exact TC numbers recently, good find. I thought J.T. Snow was somehow involved, but alas.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

Even his WAR was about the same in 1996/97:
3.0, 2.9.

James Smyth
Guest

Brendan Ryan became the FIRST PLAYER IN MAJOR LEAGUE HISTORY to record exactly 19 doubles in four consecutive seasons! He passes the immortal U L Washington, who had three straight seasons from 1981-83.

WHY WAS THIS NOT MAJOR NEWS WHEN IT HAPPENED?! EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN A DAY OFF FROM SCHOOL

MikeD
Guest

Babe Ruth downed exactly 1,920 hotdogs every year for four straight years. Amazing.

Doug
Editor

Hey, we’ve got two active posts right now, one “completely frivolous” and the other “incredibly serious” (or not).

HHS has all the bases covered.

Brent
Guest

Ugh, Francouer. Meanwhile, this guy languished in AAA all year: Wil Myers: 21 years old, .304/.378/.554.

MikeD
Guest

Brent, I hear you, but did he really languish all year? The Royals weren’t going anywhere, and they do have to pay Francuer quite a bit of money, so leaving him in AAA for a few more months, delaying his arbitration and potential free agency, while the big league club searches for and hopes for a way to move Frenchy isn’t exactly the worst thing in the world.

Just like the Angels leaving Trout in the minor league an extra month. That didn’t cost them anything. Oh, wait…

Doug
Editor
How about the John Belushi award, given to the first-year player who most aptly demonstrates he’s not yet ready for the Show. Also known as the Not Ready for Prime Time Player award. This year’s honoree is Josh Vitters, he of the 9 OPS+ and -1.3 WAR in 109 PAs. Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ Pos 2012 22 CHC NL 36 109 99 7 12 2 0 2 5 7 33 .121 .193 .202 .395 9 5 1 Yr 36 109 99 7 12 2… Read more »
John Autin
Editor

When did the polls close?!? I meant to stuff the Ricky Vaughn ballot box on behalf of Washington’s Henry Rodriguez, the wildest thing on two feet!

Career stats: 126.2 IP, 82 walks (5.8 BB/9), and an unfathomable 34 wild pitches.

His head-hunting could use some work (5 HBP), but still … his career WTS/9 dwarfs Ubaldo’s effort this year:
– Rodriguez, 13.78
– Jimenez, 8.10

Rodriguez’s career WP rate — 2.42 WP/9, or WP=26.8% of IP — is utterly unprecedented for anyone with 50+ career IP.

RJ
Guest

I’m utterly shocked Timmy Lincecum didn’t bag this award. I never thought I’d say this, but his lack of HBP really hurt him.

kds
Guest

Re: the Wild Thing award, the Nats’ Henry Rodriguez had 22 BB, 1 HBP and 10 WP for a 54 WTS in 29.1 innings. Now that they’ve taken the bone chips out of his elbow I think he may be very good next year.

Howard
Guest

Holy crap on a cracker! What possessed Joe Madden to pencil Carlos Pena’s name onto the lineup card 160 times last year?

Bryan O'Connor
Editor

I assumed that a significant number of those 160 pencilings were late-inning pinch-hit assignments against righties, but then I saw 600 PA and 1237 innings at first, so I guess they weren’t. Looks like he started 147 games, unless I’m reading fangraphs’ splits wrong. His backup, Jeff Keppinger, doesn’t inspire much confidence, but he did wOBA (that’s a verb, right?) .394 vs. lefties, to Pena’s .289.

Ed
Guest

How about the Walter Holke award for the worst .300 hitter? (Holke has the 2 worst WAR seasons all-time while batting .300).

This year’s winner would be Jordan Pacheco whose -0.6 WAR is not only the lowest this season, it’s the 5th lowest ever for a qualifying .300 season and only the 13th time ever that a .300 hitter has had negative WAR. The only other player since 1955 to have negative WAR while batting .300 is Gerald Perry in 1988.

John Autin
Editor

How about those swinging White Sox? First team since 1906 with 4 players at 500+ PAs and less than 30 walks: Ramirez, Pierzynski, Viciedo and Rios.

Rios batted .304 with a .334 OBP.
Dunn batted .204 with a .333 OBP.

bstar
Guest

Shall we call this one the Manny Sanguillen award?

Robbs
Guest

Or the Delmon Young award. Way (1,800 or so) less plate appearances than Manny but a walk to PA % of 4.05% to Manny’s 4.13%.

bstar
Guest

Yeah, but who’s got the cooler name?

GrandyMan
Guest

And Delmon Young also has 0.6 total WAR in his 3575 plate appearances. If he plays six or seven more full seasons, he’ll probably win the Alfredo Griffin Lifetime Achievement Award for most plate appearances with a negative career

GrandyMan
Guest

*negative career WAR.

Ed
Guest

There are only 16 qualifying seasons in MLB history in which a player has more intentional than non-intentional walks. Sanguillen and Gary Templeton have 3 each.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

Roberto Clemente in 1968:
51 walks, 27 intentional (led league).

and of course Barry Bonds in 2004:
a record 120(!) IBBs’s, out of a record 232(!) BB’s

donburgh
Guest

The Walkless Wonders?

Forrest
Guest

Love some of these… especially that Vaugn award for wildest pitcher. I don’t like the math for it tho. I know this is all not-so-serious and all, but, it got me thinkin’ about how to measure wildness. Instead of using plain ol’ BB’s, & arbitrarily multiplying WP & HBP, I was thinking… it wouldn’t be too hard to use Pitch/FX to actually guage who was throwing off the plate most often and how far off the plate they were. Basing a score on that, instead of BB, HBP, and WP, would definitely tell a better story for this. Hmmm…

John Autin
Editor

FWIW, Ubaldo Jimenez also tied for the worst percentage of strikes thrown, 59%, along with Zambrano, Romero and Liriano.

nightfly
Guest

Hm. That’s a pretty good list of decent pitchers who’ve had terrible years. The Steve Blass Award?

Luis Gomez
Guest

How about, for more strikeouts, the Adam Dunn award goes to… Adam Dunn!

Hartvig
Guest

I’m torn on the Pop Snyder award.

One part of me says that Damaso Garcia would be a far better known honoree and even though his career was about half as long as Snyder’s he actually had more PA’s.

The other part loves obscure references exactly like old Pop however. And how can you not love a guy who managed an 18 year major league career with an OBP of .254 and a SLG of .299, both of which were comfortably exceeded by Mike Hampton and scores of other modern era pitchers

Bryan O'Connor
Editor

Love this piece, Dalton. WAR has me beleiving in Zobrist. I might give the pacifist award to Jon Lester (3.3 fWAR, 4.82 ERA in 205 1/3 innings) and Jered Weaver (3.0 fWAR, 2.81 ERA in 188 2/3 innings). I’m a FIP believer, but it’s hard to trust any stat that says Lester was more valuable than Weaver this year. Baseball-reference had Weaver at 3.7, Lester at 0.4.

Brooklyn Mick
Guest

Bryan, any theories on why the large disparity between fWAR and bWAR rankings?

Also, as for Lester’s and Weaver’s respective FIPs, Lester was a 4.11 FIP and 3.82 xFIP compared to Weaver’s 3.75 FIP with an xFIP of 4.18. These seem to be pretty big adjustments.

Adam Darowski
Admin

Brooklyn Mick: The easy answer to the question is one you probably know—fWAR is based on FIP where bWAR is based on runs allowed (adjusted for DRS, opponent, and park).

Lester’s K/9, BB/9, HR/9, and K/BB numbers aren’t far off last year’s pace. But he was just getting hit all over the place. Hits are way up. FIP disregards that. bWAR doesn’t. Was he unlucky? Was he hittable? Sure seemed to be a combination of both last year.

RJ
Guest

The more I hear about pitching fWAR the more it sounds like nonsense. The goal is of a pitcher is to prevent runs, not accumulate strikeouts. If a guy strikes out the side, but allows 3 runs doing so, then he has not pitched well. fWAR can indicate potential ability, but it tells me far less about reality.

Adam Darowski
Admin

fWAR can indicate potential ability, but it tells me far less about reality.

I think that’s very true. They do serve different purposes. fWAR tries to get at “true talent” where bWAR is about “results”. It’s all in what you’re after.

If I’m evaluating a player’s career for a Hall of Fame case, I go by bWAR. If I’m looking at pitchers to acquire for next season, I go by fWAR.

Bryan O'Connor
Editor
I feel like I’ve said this too many times in these pages, but FIP is more than predictive. It isolates a pitcher’s contributions to team outcomes. Every time a ball is put in play, a pitcher ceases to have any control over the outcome of the play. Did he dictate the way the ball was hit? Sure, to some extent, but the outcome says more about randomness and what the fielders did than about what the pitcher did. A FIP-based WAR tells what happened on the field- it just doesn’t put all of it on the pitcher’s ledger. Some of… Read more »
bstar
Guest
I’m not making this a personal attack, Bryan, in fact I’ve held back quite a bit on what I really want to say as I’m sure you have. But just because you’ve said it a lot doesn’t mean you’ve convinced anyone on these pages. If someone is buying what you’re selling, I haven’t read any comments suggesting that. To believe in the analytical or evaluative power of FIP over simply a predictive one, you have to buy into the concept that every time a batted ball is hit, the pitcher has nothing to do with its outcome. Nothing. I’ve also… Read more »
Brooklyn Mick
Guest

I don’t get it Bryan. On the one hand you say you can’t trust the FIP based fWAR stat that rates Lester at 3.3 WAR and Weaver at 3.0 WAR, then you proceed to chastise the very people who also question FIP based WAR and its evaluative value.

People are going to ask questions, agree, disagree, etcetera, but to respond in a supercilious tone goes nowhere in terms of further the discussion. These pages should be more about helping others than be about being condescending. It’s about community.

John Autin
Editor

“… possibly [Zobrist’s] phone number in the last column.”

Benny, I get your numbers;
I need to rate you high;
Ben plays a range of numbers:
Four-nine-six, seven-eight-three-fiiiiiiiive….

Mike L
Guest

How about the Rabbit Maranville Award? 23 years. 17 “full” seasons, 15 with OPS+ of under 100, and 15 seasons of positive WAR. One Hall of Fame

bstar
Guest

Mike, there can only be one recipient this year: Omar Vizquel. Like Rabbit, only two full seasons with an OPS+ over 100 yet only one full season of negative WAR.

We can only hold our collective breaths about the Hall of Fame part.

Hub Kid
Guest

Wow- this post is great, Dalton! Stats and humor combined? that is serious stuff.

I am still chuckling at the “phone number” gag from Zobrist’s list of positions in 2009 at the end.

Brent
Guest

So is Chris Carpenter going to tie a record today or hold it on his own: Fewest wins by a pitcher in a season while getting a win in the postseason. Anybody know if anyone has done this before?

RJ
Guest

I thought maybe Matt Moore last year, but he had one regular season win to go with his postseason victory.

RJ
Guest

Ah, of course, K-Rod! 0-0 record in five appearances in 2002 regular season, but FIVE postseason wins. Not found a starting pitcher yet though.

RJ
Guest

David Price also grabbed a win in relief in the postseason before his first regular season win.

Brent
Guest

OK, Jason Stark said in his article that the only one is Virgil Trucks in 1945. And Carpenter will be the first whose team didn’t win any of the games in which he pitched in the regular season (Cardinals 0-3 in the games he pitched, I am sure the Rays won some of the games that D. Price pitched in and the same for the Angels and KRod)

RJ
Guest

Actually all five of K-Rod’s regular season appearances that year ended in Angels losses, although again we’re talking relief. So Carpenter looks like he’s the first to achieve that particular feat as a starter.

Richard Chester
Guest

Trucks did not play for the Tigers in 1945 until the last game of the season, three days after his discharge from the Navy. I don’t know how he gained eligibility for the WS.

RJ
Guest

What’s that about eligibility? Do you have to have a certain number of regular season appearances to be eligible for the postseason? I’m guessing, seeing as it was 1945, the unusual circumstances would have been taken into consideration.

Richard Chester
Guest

As far as I know to be eligible for the WS a player has to be on the team roster as of Aug. 31. Exceptions may be made to replace injured players, perhaps that’s how Trucks gained eligibility. Or perhaps there was a special rule for vets.

nightfly
Guest

The rules are certainly different now, as they’re different for eligibility for league leaderboards and such.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

@59-62 – Yes, the rules WERE different for returning WWII veterans;also I think the team rosters were expanded in 1946 to allow WWII vets to go back to their old teams.

GrandyMan
Guest

Not surprisingly, Randy Choate also the led the league in fewest innings per appearance in 2012, at .483. He is now the first pitcher to have less than half an inning per appearance in consecutive seasons (Jesse Orosco also did it twice, in 1999 and 2002).

Mike L
Guest

Fun fact about Randy Choate. 476 games, all in relief, six saves

GrandyMan
Guest

I was surprised to find that 35 pitchers have had at least 400 relief appearances and fewer than 10 saves. Less surprisingly, every one of these players debuted in 1988 or later.

The record for lowest save percentage for relievers with 400+ appearances belongs to Ray King, who had just 2 saves in 593 appearances between 1999 and 2008.

RichW
Guest

Memo from Joe Carter.

Stick and stones may break my bones… but I got two World Series rings basement dwellers. 🙂

RichW
Guest

Memo from Joe Carter.

Sticks and stones may break my bones… but I got two World Series rings basement dwellers. 🙂

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