Monday, August 1, 2011

Player of the Fortnight

The last time we checked player rankings for the past two weeks, on July 10th, our Players of the Fortnight were Jose Bautista, CC Sabathia, Aramis Ramirez, and Madison Bumgarner. Let's take another look now; on the Fangraphs...

NL Batter of the Fortnight
Justin Upton, Diamondbacks
There's been excitement around
Justin Upton since before the draft.
If you've been paying attention to National League ball the past two weeks, this shouldn't be a surprise.

J-Upt's wOBA was over 80 points higher than the next best hitter.

NL wOBA Past 2 Weeks
Justin Upton .603
Ryan Braun .521
Troy Tulowitzki .502
Chase Utley .497

Much of Justin Upton's dominance this season may be attributed to his lower strikeout percentage.

Justin Upton K% by Season
2007: 24.3%
2008: 29.0%
2009: 23.3%
2010: 26.6%
2011: 17.6%

Because of his combination of speed and ability to make solid contact, Justin Upton has always had a very high Batting Average on Balls in Play. His BABIP this season is .333 and .342 over his entire career. So, cutting down on strikeouts will positively affect his production even more than many guys who hit lost of popups and flyballs, or aren't fast enough to beat out infield hits.

Honorable mention: Braun, Tulowitzki, Utley, Dexter Fowler, Cameron Maybin, Freddie Freeman, and Dan Uggla

NL Pitcher of the Fortnight
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
We xpect multiple Cy Young
awards for Clayton Kershaw.
This was another easy selection. Kershaw went 2 - 0 in 2 starts, leading the league in FIP, xFIP, tERA, and SIERA, while finishing 4th in ERA and 5th in K/9.

If you're leading in those four defense independant pitching stats, striking out over 11 per 9ip and walking less than 2 per 9ip, you're going to win this award every time.

Honorable mention: Yovani Gallardo, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Zack Greinke, Ian Kennedy, and Johnny Cueto

AL Batter of the Fortnight
Hideki Matsui, Athletics
Crouching Matsui
Hidden Godzilla
Getting hot at the right time could have done more for the A's chances at trading Matsui, yet he didn't go anywhere. In fact, the last I heard about Matsui about 10 days ago was that no-one had called Oakland's front office about him. Perhaps, he'll make it through to a contender in a waiver deal this month.

Stranger things have happened.

Over the past fortnight, Hideki Matsui has crushed American League pitching to the tune of a .511/.547/.809 triple-slash line. It's a small sample size, of course, but 24 hits in 47 at bats is impressive at any level, let alone the Major Leagues.

Honorable mention: Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Napoli, Ben Zobrist, Cliff Pennington, Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, and Billy Butler

AL Pitcher of the Fortnight
Justin Verlander, Tigers
Veterans seeing Verlander on the
schedule may choose to call in sick.
Of the four awards handed out here today, this is the one that is most open to interpretation. Advanced stats say that other guys may have pitched better, as Verlander is ranked 13th in FIP, 9th in xFIP, and 4th in tERA and SIERA. I'm a little sad to say it, but for once it looks like Win-Loss record is making a difference. The most effective pitching performance may have been by on of the players listed in honorable mention.*

Verlander went 3-0 in 3 starts, including a match-up with Cy Young Award competitor Jered Weaver on Sunday that he thoroughly dominated, taking a no-hitter into the 8th inning, and constantly lighting up the radar gone late in the games.

*Special apologies to Ervin Santana!

Honorable mention: Ervin Santana, Justin Masterson, and CC Sabathia

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