ChippalattAwards for April


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

Do you agree with these awards?

Want to make awards of your own?

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84 comments on “ChippalattAwards for April

  1. Dan, thanks for the new post, and thank you for the endless devotion and obvious hard work to keep the conversation going. But as for me, it is hard for me to even let my mind consider awards – even with tongue in cheek – when the team is embarrassing itself not only with pitiful offense and shoddy bullpen work but also with pathological emotional outbursts and childish preoccupation with what somebody we are not playing today posted on twitter. Thanks for trying to take our minds off the ugly beat-down we are taking from the Yankees. But as for me, we are going to have to actually win a series against a playoff-quality team before I personally can even entertain the idea of awards.

    Debbie Downer lives here.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Dan: Looks pretty spot on to me but conspicuous in his absence is Altuve who only looks sub-par when compared to himself. I’m scratching my head over why McHugh is getting garbage innings. If Hinch is concerned about Giles emotional state he could swap his and McHugh’s roles and I bet you’d be surprised at how well Collin might perform. There is a long history of starters shifting to closer in MLB. John Smoltz and Dennis Eckersley come to mind and the woeful 2012 Astros did it with Brett Myers. McHugh has a quiet business like manner and is pretty unflappable and some may interpret that as indifference but I think the guy is a competitor and so far has been underutilized.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Mr. Bill – I know where you are coming from Mr. Bill – it feels a little hollow right now to hand out awards – though I actually had started working on this before the first loss and finished before the second loss of the series. But the ChipalattAwards must go on…. I don’t like Giles completely losing it – the only positive being that we know he cares, but it shows that he may be too emotional to be a good closer. The Twitter battle about pine tar…..that is just the modern world. Last year everyone went crazy over Bergman’s twitter deal (I think it was Twitter) with a fan and how he was not mature enough and should be sat down or whatever. He actually played better after that and got on a roll.

    Dr. Bill – I like this idea. Collin has been dealing and he has the right demeanor. He might melt down anyways, but at least we know his breaking pitch does not flatten out.

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    • I am for having Collin take over Giles 9th inning closer role. If the game is close and Giles comes in, I turn the game off. You can count on him starting off with three balls and then having to deal with a hitters count. He can be nails for a bit and then he throws his breaking stuff that does not break. I think he might be serviceable to us, but not as a closer. I don’t think he has the temperament for the losers role.

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  4. Right now I feel like the fan base is repeating how they felt last season when the Indians came in to MMP and swept the Astros back in Mid-May. The team looked in disarray, offense and pitching out of synch, etc.

    The very next game Brad Peacock made a spot start and threw 4.1 innings of 1 hit, 8 K ball. The bullpen backed him up with 4.2 IP of hitless ball and the Astros won an unlikely 1-0 game that sent them on a 13-1 streak.

    Lance McCullers could turn things around big time with a strong outing (assuming the bats finally wake up) and a win today would give them a split of the series and could get them on a roll.

    If they lose today, they have a rough row to hoe heading to Arizona – this would be a good day to wake up and play like the team we saw last year.

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  5. So, speaking of awards . . .

    Assuming the F.O. decides to add another pinch hitter/position player for our first series in a NL Park:
    a. who at Fresno gets the short-term ‘Baker’s Dozen’ Award? Dave’s nephew? JD? Tony Kemp? Ted?
    b. what pitcher with the big club gets the ‘Temporary Reduction in Force’ Award? And is that Award delivered via demotion to Fresno or creative DL usage?

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    • Promotion – Should be …. Tyler White who hit well last year at the major league level and is raking at AAA right now. Might be ….JD Davis because he is hitting almost .400 at AAA and they always seem to diss White. Could be…Tony Kemp who is hitting well and is the most versatile position-wise of the bunch. Won’t be ….Ted who is hitting fine, but not dominating.

      Joe Smith is found to have a bruised ego and a strained psyche and goes on the 10 day DL…..

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  6. In light of Fresno’s rain-out last night, today will be a double header day in Salt Lake City. The first game against the Bees is a ‘breakfast club’ affair, scheduled to start at 11:35 am our time [9:35 out there]. The Grizzlies are sending Rogelio Armenteros to the mound. He really needs a good outing!

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    • Corbin Martin gets his first start for CC. Here’s hoping he can continue to pitch well and gives the Astros something to look forward to. In another month, Forrest Whitley will be eligible to pitch again and the Hooks will have two top prospects on the mound there.

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    • Sometimes you find a diamond in the rough like Morton. Other times it’s a dry hole as with Smith (2yrs – 15MM) or Rondon (2 years 8.5MM). I sometimes think we might have pulled the trigger too quickly on those deals. I would love for these guys to turn it around but I’m not optimistic.
      I’m going to beat up on Gattis and Marwin some more. While I like both, the thing is playing winning baseball. Maybe Marwin is trying to hard but he sure looks lost at the plate as of lately. Yes he has 16 RBI’s but what has he done for us lately? Gattis, well I’m over this. And least we forget JFSF, the human K machine.
      We talk about all of this talent in the minors but can’t give them a shot because we’re in for a few million dollars. As many have pointed out we seem to be lacking that “leader” who can kick some butt to get us back on track. Finally, give the damn ball to Collin McHugh more often. He sure can’t be any worse than some of those guys we’re not too fond of as of lately.
      On that note I think I’ll start my Cinco de Mayo celebration early. There’s a bottle of Patron in my cabinet that needs some TLC.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. You know you are watching the PCL when . . .
    – 10 of the 18 position players start sporting BAs of over .300;
    – both highly-touted starting pitchers begin the game with ERAs around 5.00;
    – you start the game wondering not which team will score first, but which team will reach double digits first.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The Super Futility Player Award goes to Marwin Gonzalez.
    The Hunter Fan Award goes to Jake Marisnick.
    The Front Porch Over-Swing Award goes to Jose Altuve.
    The What the Hell Am I Doing Here Award goes to Derek Fisher.
    The Lonely Man Award goes to Gary Pettis.
    The Thrown Under The Bus Award goes to the starting rotation.
    The I Should have Socked Myself In The Face, Too Award goes to Evan Gattis.
    The I’m Going To Make More Errors Than The Rest Of The Team Combined Award goes to Alex Bregman.
    The Anyone Seen The Pine Tar? Award goes to Joe Smith.
    The I’m Scared To Make A Change Award goes to AJ Hinch.
    The I’m Ready To Go 14 Innings, Coach, Award goes to Justin Verlander.
    The I Don’t Want A Fastball Down The Middle Award Goes to Carlos Correa.
    The I Can’t Hit A Fastball Down The Middle Award goes to George Springer.

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  9. Lineups for the game that starts in about a half hour

    Astros
    Springer RF
    Altuve 2B
    Correa SS
    Gurriel DH
    Reddick LF
    Bregman 3B
    Gonzalez 1B
    McCann C
    Marisnick CF
    McCullers P

    Yanks
    Jeter SS
    ARod 3B and PED distribution
    Gehrig 1B
    Ruth LF
    DiMaggio CF
    Mantle RF
    R. Jackson DH
    Berra C
    Randolph 2B
    Whitey Ford P

    Well at least this is how the Yanks seem this series….

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Garrett Stubbs of the Fresno Grizzlies just laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Tyler White to second, and into theoretical scoring position, with one out. Play stopped for 20 minutes while the PCL umpiring crew, which had not seen a sacrifice bunt since 1969, reviewed the PCL rule book to see if that was still even legal. Film at 11:00.

    Liked by 3 people

    • In the strange world of the PCL, sacrifice bunts turn out to be a formidable offensive weapon. Well, especially when that sac bunt is followed immediately by two walks and a 3-run triple.

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  11. Based on “watching” the game on Gameday – the Astros did not look very selective – especially Altuve who made an out despite getting 4 pitches outside the strike zone. Wild Lance has shown up in the 2nd with no out walk and HBP. Buckle in for a bumpy ride?

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    • I think I’ll just keep watching the Grizzlies. Wake me up when the Astros wake up from their nap, wipe the drool off their chin, and decide to come out and play.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Went out for awhile, came back and sat down to watch the game. After seeing the score, I decided to go get that root canal that the dentist says I need.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Too much analytics. How about some old fashion baseball. Astros are in the rumba offense. 1,2,3 kick….1,2,3 kick (or in this case … 1,2,3 return to the field).

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  14. Actually a decent performance by Lance save the troublesome walks, but still good enough to win (unless we have no offense).

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    • Agree Dave. I don’t care if he can run faster than the “Flash”. He can’t put the ball in play then somebody else gets a chance. We should have scored at least 5.

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    • Now it is 4-3 Astros headed to the 8th
      Gurriel and Reddick with singles off Tanaka and then he hit Bregman.
      Chad Green comes in and singles by MarGo and McCann knock in 2, then a passed ball scores another, Fisher pinch hits for Jake and strikes out (took the first ball right down the pipe). Springer brings in the go ahead on a grounder. Altuve makes an out.

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  15. Nephew has his OPS up to 1.124. He went 2 for 2 and they walked him twice in the opener and now he’s walked both times up in the night cap. I think they are avoiding him.

    I’m hoping they stay with Devenski in the 9th with Peacock and McHugh both warm in the pen. And maybe Verlander in the tunnel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Do you remember back when Hinch said something to the effect he didn’t think it was necessary to define a closer? The Giles appearance where Sanches hit the HR and Harris in today’s game make be believe he was not telling the truth.

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  16. Harris really nice brain fart Hinch geez. He needs to get a bull pen plan , this hodge podge throw a dart at a board every night, not a good enough plan for WS Championship team

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  17. Devo comes in and does a great job. Harris has allowed the 1st 3 batters to reach. What the hell is wrong with Hinch? Going to be PO’d if we lose. I just turned it off.

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    • Does anyone else remember when they put in rules to protect the fielders? Shouldn’t that slide at 2B have been reviewed for interference at least?

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  18. The most disheartening loss in a long time – the kind of game they always won last year when they were the kings of the late innings.

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  19. Devin, Kevin, Billy, Dave, Sandy, Zanuda and you, Dan, have raised some questions about the manager. Would it be worth a topic?

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      • Remember, the definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over and expeting different results. No AJ isn’t stupid but some of these moves are questionable. Also, Keeping Fisher up here IS stupid but I don’t know whose calling that shot.

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    • He had a bad day yesterday. He made a decision that he did not need to make. That’s how I see it anyway. But he’s not going up to the plate with a bat. If our guys hit just a little bit, we win 3 out of 4.

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    • It’s a tough topic to really discuss in my opinion. Generally speaking, I think managers get far more credit for success than they deserve. It’s easy to point out their decisions that don’t work out. It’s also easy to complain when they go against the grain and it doesn’t work.

      However, I would question why Giles was sent out to get the save in game 2 and why Harris replaced Devenski in game 4. I assume Hinch formulated the plan in advance, communicated it to those players, and then stuck to it. Where that breaks down is guys, perhaps, won’t communicate when they don’t have it. They’ll say they’re good to go, but a rested arm is better than a tired one. Our bullpen is handicapped by Smith, Rondon, and Sipp…but there were still good arms to choose from.

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  20. With a bullpen is as erratic as this one
    why wouldn’t a manager stay with a guy that was getting outs instead of going to an unknown?
    Wasn’t like Devo was tiring after one quick inning.

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  21. The Astros headline says they found their offense but the bullpen betrayed them.
    The Astros didn’t find their offense. They had eight singles and a home run. They drew no walks and Tanaka went through them for six shutout innings before a reliever came in and gave up Tanaka’s runs.
    The Astros trailed for most of the game, including at the end.
    The Astros were absolutely pitiful on this homestand.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It should have said the Astros found a Yankees reliever who couldn’t locate his pitches and crossed up his catcher a few times.

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  22. Not sure if it is time to start a fire, douse a fire, fire somebody, fire everyone, burn someone at the stake, burn a steak, get every player a new flame. The team needs some combustion.

    Maybe have something similar to last year of burying Beltran’s glove. Burn everyone’s bat. Burn the bench in the bullpen.

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  23. And so we slip back into second place in the division. In the last ten games we’re 4 – 6. Doesn’t sound like a divisional champion to me. We’ve talked about how it’s early and there’s plenty of time. Well I think not. You’ve got three other teams that are right there with us. I don’t know how it will all turn out but there’s no joy in Astro land because right now we’re “striking out” as a team. No matter how good our starting pitching is. If we can’t score runs or hold a lead then we’ll be sitting around in November watching somebody else in the playoffs. Never wait until you reach a crisis mode. Do something about it now. We have scored 3 runs or less in 14 of 33 games. I think we should put out an APB for Collin McHugh because we never seem to see him when the game is on the line. If I were him I’d be getting pretty frustrated right now.

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  24. If you are looking for the root of the Astros offensive problems, look no further than Fangraphs.
    Remember how we laughed at their projections that every hitter on the Astros would regress to the negative except Carlos Correa. So far, Fangraphs is absolutely spot on. Most of them are actually lower than the negative projections. The two players who are above the projections, Stassi and McCann, are sliding downward from their hot starts and are now contributing to the terrible hitting of their teammates.
    If you dig further into the Astros stats, you realize that only the top 3 in the lineup are hitting anything at all and they come up to the plate with noone on base a big majority of the time.
    The World Champions have a left fielder who has come to the plate 16 times with RISP and is 0 for 15 with 1 sac fly and 11 Ks. But he has a backup outfielder who is a worse hitter than him.
    The Astros have their money, their rings, their glory and that is good enough for a GM who actually got out smarted by Fangraphs, and a manager who is like a grandmother, whose babies can do no wrong. Oh, they’ll be fine.
    And they have 130, 000 or so fans who paid almost twice the normal price for tickets in the last four home games to see their Astros lay rotten eggs.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. thriller, I’m sorry, but I can’t comfortably suggest that I’m thinking a ten game win streak is on the way. But at the same time, I’m really not that concerned. Thank God, I just don’t get as worked up over these guys as I used to. Maybe its the Diovan. Sometimes it annoys the heck out of me, but at this point does not screw up my sleeping habits. And again, I do think Luhnow will take whatever corrective measures are necessary if things start getting too far out of hand. Don’t forget, he got Verlander done at the wire. He won’t waste this rotation.

    Bottom line right now in my mind is that 5 or 6 hitters are pressing and trying to compensate for the non performers in the order. So the good hitters are under performing too. When will the best hitter in baseball start taking all those pitches away and just go with them? The starters have been remarkable, but even guys like Lance and Keuchel are getting cursed for pitching very serviceable baseball games especially if they end up being back of the rotation guys. They deserve a break today.

    And then we’ve got a shell shocked bullpen and maybe a skipper trying too hard to find the magic formula. I have faith in him. And the geek squad will help him make the right decision more often than not. But like I said yesterday, Devenski was really a no brainer in the 9th. And let’s face it. Giles is a knucklehead (not the good kind like me and Bill), but the looney bin kind. I don’t think he has the temperament to do that kind of a job every time out. Self nose punching is a tell tale sign of looneybinism.

    It will be interesting to see what move(s) get made first. I’m thinking Fisher. Maybe a DL for Gattis to bring Nephew up. Jake sure has got folks hoodwinked into believing we can’t win without him. We need to remember when he went down on September 13, it might have been the best thing that could have happened to us. He had just hit a very soft .210 in August and a very Jake like .167 in the early part of September. What a break! We might not have won the World Series with him!

    Liked by 1 person

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