Time to give the Chippy’s for the first month of the season and with a little truth in advertising, this also covers the first three games of the season which occurred at the end of March. But I did not want to call these for the month of Mapril….. We will give these out and then look back at who won this award last season, if awarded.
Starting Pitcher of the Month. Justin Verlander. This was a tough one to figure, but JV set the tone for the pitchers from the very first game as he put up a 4-0 record with a 1.36 ERA, a 0.731 WHIP, 10.9 Ks/9 IP and 1.8 BBs/ 9 IP. And he started off great in May, too.
Runners-up. Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton. These two pitchers would have won this award on most teams and most months. Cole has been an unlucky 2-1, while putting up awesome numbers like 1.73 ERA / 0.792 WHIP and an insane 13.2 K/9 IP and 1.7 BB/ 9 IP. Morton has been an excellent 4-0 with a 1.72 ERA / 0.982 WHIP / 11 K/9 IP and 3.2 BB/ 9 IP. And except for one bad inning, Lance McCullers would be right with these two pitchers. In 2017 – Dallas Keuchel won the combined starting and relief pitching award.
Everyday Player of the Month. Carlos Correa. CC has combined an excellent .330 BA/.398 OBP/.932 OPS slash with 20 runs scored and 21 RBIs. He had not committed an error through the first month of the season.
Runner-up. George Springer. His slash is lower than Correa’s (.267/.343/.826) but his 24 runs scored lead the team, 6 HRs are tied for the top and 19 RBIs are just behind Carlos’s total. In 2017 – No lie, the very clutch and on fire Evan Gattis won this award.
Relief Pitcher of the Month. Chris Devenski. He’s appeared in the most games (13), has the best ERA (0.73 if we ignore James Hoyt‘s 1/3 of scoreless pitching), second in WHIP (0.811) and has a win and a save on the season. He has also only allowed 1 of 9 inherited runners to score.
Runner-up. Collin McHugh. Considering he has been given a totally new role, he has been spotless with a 0.84 ERA, 0.656 WHIP and a tremendous 14.3 K/9 IP along with a 1.7 BB/9 IP. The only question about Collin is will he ever get a spot in this rotation. In 2017 – This award was not given, but if it had been it would have gone to Devo.
Biggest Surprise (Positive). Max Stassi. He has totally earned his spot in the catching “rotation” with a solid .256 BA/.356 OBP/ .817 OPS along with 2 HR and 7 RBIs in only 39 ABs.
Runner-up. McHugh. There was a real concern he would flounder in a basic demotion from the starting rotation, but he has been even better in the bullpen than he was last time he pitched as a starter. In 2017 – It was Brad Peacock, who only got the opportunity to pitch with the big club due to the self same McHugh’s injury in spring training.
Biggest Surprise (Negative). Tie. Jake Marisnick and Derek Fisher. This is more than regression. There is a lot of disappointment tied to both JFSF’s slash (.143 BA/.156 OBP/.458 OPS) and Fisher’s (.184/.226/.635). I tied them because I expected less of Marisnick than Fisher and I got it.
Runner-up. Joe Smith. The veteran pitcher has only thrown 9.1 IPs, but they have been a rotten 9.1 IPs (9.64 ERA / 1.714 WHIP). In 2017 – The two men from Puerto Rico, Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltran shared this “honor” last April.
Best Imitation of a Power hitter by a non-power hitter. Josh Reddick??. Sure he can hit homers, but hitting 6 early on had him on a pace for 44 dingers at one time. No runner up. In 2017 – This was won by Marwin Gonzalez
Most Likely to Get Replaced in the Rotation. Dallas Keuchel. This is not happening anytime soon, but he is the only one who might be a consideration. No runner up. In 2017 – This was won by Mike Fiers
Special Recognition Award. Brian McCann. Along with his catching partner, Stassi, he has been the only ray of sunshine in a dark end of the lineup. His .271/.397/.804 slash is especially strong considering who is (not) hitting around him in the lineup. Also want to give special kudos to him for scoring 12 runs in only 23 games. This has included somehow scoring from first on doubles twice this season for the man who looks like he is running while carrying Dan P on his back. First time Award
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