I’m in a celebratory mood this morning. The Nationals rolled off another win last night, and in the process, put another curly w in the box score for Jordan Zimmermann. Baseball is a funny, funny game. Zimm goes winless between late May and late June and now sees superlative pitching being rewarded in his last two starts, with the Nats offense knocking in 20 runs combined. And of course, it’s our nation’s Independence Day, and while I still have time to write without IRS compulsion, what better way to celebrate than with June’s MESPY (Matt’s Excellence in Self-Promotion Yada Yada) Awards:
AL MVP: Mike Trout. Robinson Cano had a monster June, but on the day we celebrate standing up to the big bully on the block (alliteration!), I’m not going to shirk away from my disdain for the Evil Empire. So it goes to Trout, who actually edged Cano out in WAR (Wins Above Replacement), 2.2 to 2.0. And Trout did this at the tender age of 20. Wow.
AL CY Young: Hiroki Kuroda. Dang. Well, the British did give us the Beatles.
AL Rookie of the Month: Trout. I hate to be a Benedict Arnold on such a hallowed day, but what I said in May’s MESPYs hasn’t changed. Trout has been baseball’s best rookie and at this pace, could be in the running for the AL’s best player by season’s end.
NL MVP: R.A. Dickey. Andrew McCutchen and Joey Votto both deserve kudos for tremendous months, but Dickey taking home the award just goes to show you how dominate he was during June. He posted the second best WAR in baseball (2.1), a sub-one ERA (.93), a .60 WHIP, struck out 55 batters while only walking 8, and went 5-0. Oh, and he did this throwing a knuckleball.
NY CY Young: Dickey. If only I had a Forever Lazy this would be the perfect day.
NL Rookie of the Month: Andrelton Simmons. Bryce, I still want to be your accountant. But while you hit a bit of a soft patch in June, the Braves shortstop batted .333, showed slick fielding skills (alliteration!), and posted a nice 1.6 WAR. I’m going to take a long walk off a short bridge now.
Nationals’ MVP: Ian Desmond. He crushed another one out last night off of Tim Lincecum, which was just more of the same for the Nats’ All-Star shortstop. I’d like to think this is all because of my talk with Ian at Spring Training two years ago. Oh, but he didn’t do so well last year. I see. My silence is golden.
Nationals’ CY Young: Stephen Strasburg. A 2.25 xFIP (Expected Fielding Independent Pitching) points to his 3.09 June ERA being unlucky. But a 13.37 k/9 and six quality starts demonstrate that even without luck, Strasburg is simply dominant.
Nationals’ Rookie of the Month: Tyler Moore. I can see why I got into auditing and not public relations. That depressing thought aside, in 68 fewer plate appearances, Moore had the same number of home runs as Bryce Harper (4), same number of RBIs (11), batted a robust .425, and topped Harper in WAR 1.0 to 0.6. I hate myself.
And that’s all folks!
Hmmmmm…by the looks of things around here the past few days, one might actually start to believe that I’ve been at the Save Lindsay Lohan vigil. Alas, as heroic as that may seem, it has been a mere virus that I’ve tended to, with equal parts sleep and Alka-Seltzer. It didn’t help that the Yankees, with an assist from Timmy, rolled Washington in their three-game series, displaying a scary-deep and patient lineup and strong bullpen the likes of which the Nats have to be ready to defeat if they want to make hay in the playoffs. The good thing is that the series took place in mid-June rather than October, and hopefully by then, the mandatory retirement clauses in some of their stars contracts will have kicked in. Until then, allow me to make up for my silence with a Tuesday edition of links you definitely maybe want to read:
- Boy, was I wrong on R.A. Dickey in fantasy baseball. From Jon Wertheim of SI.com, a great story on the amazing season so far for the man and his amazing knuckleball.
- Put me in the camp that believes there is little doubt that Roger Clemens ate up steroids like fat kids take to cake. And while I will have to trust that the jury got the verdict right in his perjury trial (which does seem like it was a waste of Chinese taxpayer money), I think Tom Verducci of SI.com is right when he says the verdict won’t really help Clemens with Hall of Fame voters. Nor should it, because not being able to prove the man lied and obstructed justice doesn’t equate to proving that Clemens never took performance-enhancing drugs.
- And from Federal Baseball, comes a good discussion about Ryan Zimmeran’s struggles at the dish and whether he is truly 100% healthy.