As we plunge forward into the second half of the season, your staff at The Good Phight has decided to give out awards for the first half. All sorts of awards. We’re giving out a lot of awards. Everyone got to pick their own awards, so we’ve got awards of all kinds!
Do you have any awards to give out? Put them in the comments!
(I’ll stop using the word “awards” now.)
MVP: Odubel Herrera - I’d be surprised if anyone says anything different here. What do you say about a former Rule 5 pick who becomes an All Star in just a year and a half? Not only that, he’s turned himself from a mediocre second baseman into an above average center fielder. That usually isn’t done. Plus, he’s hella fun to watch.
Cy Young: Jerad Eickhoff - I know his start in Colorado wasn’t great, but he has been a rock steady horse since coming to the Phillies last year. If he ends up being the fourth-best player in the Cole Hamels trade, the Phils are going to have to build a statue for Pat Gillick and Ruben Amaro.
Most Maddening Player: Maikel Franco - When he’s hot, there is no one in baseball more fun to watch. And just before the All Star break, he was on fire. But when he’s not going well, Franco can be a very tough player to see struggle. But he’s still really young, and hopefully his performance will even out. And hopefully, his defensive range improves a little as the year goes on.
Biggest Surprise: Cameron Rupp - If you would have told me Rupp would be 6th in fWAR among MLB catchers with at least 200 PAs this year (1.4), would be 2nd in slugging percentage (.507), 4th in wRC+ (120) and 4th in OPS (.836), I’d have asked you which brand of glue you were sniffing. I still don’t know if he’s a Major League everyday catcher, but he’s not doing anything to harm his long-term future.
Biggest Disappointment: First Base - Tommy Joseph is showing signs of coming out of the deep funk he was in, and hopefully it’ll take hold. But I really thought Ryan Howard and Darin Ruf could form a decent platoon at first base. Boy was I wrong.
Unsung Hero: Pete Mackanin - Tell me, is this team where it is with Ryne Sandberg as the manager? Pete is potentially the leading contender for NL Manager of the Year, given what he’s been able to accomplish with this crew, which frankly, isn’t terribly talented. Mackanin is convincing me he might be the long-term solution to run this team.
MVP – Odubel Herrera – He is easily the most exciting player to watch on this team and is actually quite good. You’d really have to twist my arm to have anyone else here. Please don’t twist it.
LVP – Ryan Howard – It’s painful to watch him play. The occasional dinger is fun, but this has been “final season of The Office (US)” bad.
Cy Young - Aaron Nola – He was their best pitcher for the first two months of the season and was dealing like a true front of the rotation pitcher that most (including myself) didn’t think he was capable of doing. Was he bad in June? Sure, but I don’t care.
Cy Yuk – Adam Morgan – The once promising prospect, sidelined by some horrible injuries, makes it to the major leagues to be…not great. Well at least not the 2016 season. 49 earned runs in 66.1 innings.
Biggest Surprise – Cameron Rupp – The behemoth of a man has done very well for himself at the plate and has exceeded everyone’s expectations. His work behind the plate may remain divisive, but I’m starting to feel he can be a fine backup to eventual heirs Andrew Knapp or Jorge Alfaro.
Biggest Disappointment – The bar is so low regarding expectations for this team. I’d probably vote myself for not getting to any regular season games this season. Shame me please.
Favorite Moment – I feel most would say the 16 strikeout performance by Vinny Velasquez, but I’m going to acknowledge the TGP meet-up at the Phillies Futures Game this preseason. They are such a fun bunch and I hope we can do it again next year.
MVP - Odubel Herrera - Herrera decided he wanted to walk so he walked. He decided he wanted to strike out less, and he did that too. Not only has he been the best player on the team this year, he is in the conversation for the best young player in their rebuild. And oh by the way he is the most fun player ever.
Cy Young - Jerad Eickhoff - Hear me out on this one because the numbers aren’t great both on the surface and down a level. The Phillies rotation has had its ups and downs and so has Eickhoff, but he is settling in as a major league pitcher now and leads the team in innings and has been that stabilizing piece they need every 5 days.
Biggest Surprise - Jeanmar Gomez - Gomez is not a particularly good or dominant pitcher, but the bullpen was supposed to be one of the worst of all time and it looked like it might be after the first week. Gomez has allowed Mackanin to build some stability in the bullpen while the other pitchers work through their issues, and it has come with the reward of some wins.
Biggest Disappointment - Aaron Altherr’s Injury - I am not going to blame bad players for being bad, so I am not going to be disappointed with any players on this team. Altherr had an incredibly exciting debut last summer and to lose him for the first 4 months of the year really got things off to a bad start. This team has surprised big time, but they could have been legitimately decent if they broken camp with a healthy Altherr and Asche.
He Is Who We Thought He Might Have Been Once - Cody Asche - After missing the first two months of the season, Asche is hitting a solid .259/.317/.473 over 35 games this year. His walk and strikeout numbers are more in line with his minor league numbers, his power is probably a bit high, but it has come with the higher strikeouts. He isn’t great in LF, but he is no longer a complete disaster. His platoon splits are hard to judge because he is playing almost exclusively against RHPs. So in the end he is what he is, which seems to be a platoon OF who probably could fake 3B or 1B if called on, not a bad piece to have on your roster.
- Best Hashtag: #MaikAndEick
- Looks Like He Gives the Best Hugs: Cameron Rupp
- Best Walk Up Song: Tommy Joseph (Shining Star - Earth, Wind & Fire)
- Best Cliff Lee Impression: Vincent Velasquez
- Most Likely To #MakeBaseballFunAgain: Odubel Herrera
- Most Likely To Make Me Want To Physically Fight Vin Scully: Ryan Howard
- Best BFF Duo: Freddy Galvis and Cesar Hernandez
- Greatest Source of Schadenfreude: Jonathan Papelbon
The Winner of the First Half’s Chase Utley Award for Outstanding Rival Trolling is.... Chase Utley
Jekyll and Hyde Award: Aaron Nola. Who the hell is this guy? He starts out the season with a curveball that can (and does) get any hitter out, but in his last five starts he’s looked more hittable than Kyle Kendrick. Through his first 12 starts, Nola had a 2.65 ERA and was striking out 5.67 batters per walk. In his last 5 starts, his ERA is at 13.50 and, while he’s still striking out guys, he’s walking them much more as well with a 2.63 K:BB. He just hasn’t been the same. His track-record and prospect pedigree suggest he’ll be closer to the pre-June Nola than the June-and-on Nola, but I still find myself worried.
Heroic Bat Flip Honor: Odubel Herrera. I don’t think I’ve seen many guys on this team flip bats. Ryan Howard’s staredown of home runs is the closest anyone else comes to violating the unwritten rule against showing a pitcher up. Odubel, on the other hand, gives zero shits about the unwritten rules. He’s going to have fun and if that means he’s going to pimp the fuck out of his home runs, then that’s precisely what he is going to do. The players are what make baseball fun, and Herrera is well on his way to becoming one of those players who contributes to the cause.
Breakout Player: Hector Neris. Even with some recent regression, Hector Neris comes back from the All-Star break with a 2.87 ERA and 10.91 strikeouts per nine innings. Four months ago, that sentence would have made a whole lot more sense with Ken Giles as its subject. Now, we barely blink an eye when we talk about how good Neris has been. He’s done it, as everyone and their mother has observed, by throwing his splitter more—a pitch that looks like it’s coming straight in before dropping off into oblivion. Whether he can keep this up or become victim to the home run perils that have plagued his brief career is still an open question, though one that becomes less open with each passing whiff.
Obi Wan Kenobi Award: J.P. Crawford. It might not be entirely intellectually honest to say that the future of the franchise hinges on the successful development of J.P. Crawford, but it wouldn’t be the craziest thing you could say either. So, while Crawford may not, strictly speaking, by our only hope, he is certainly our best hope. Things could work out if he busts, but it would be a whole lot harder that way (Note: THERE’S NO WAY THAT HAPPENS. J.P. CRAWFORD IS INVINCIBLE) When he arrives in August or September, he might be amazing, or he might struggle, or he might be merely fine. The important thing is that he made it and is getting experience so he’s ready when we need him in 2017 and 2018.
“Go Away! Come Back! Go Away!” Award: Peter Bourjos. That hot streak he hit before the All-Star break was massive and un-ignorable, but that doesn’t mean I have to like him. Before that, I was fine with twanging him into the ether using a custom fit trebuchet. I’m sure that he’ll inspire those feelings once again, and very very soon, for he is Peter Bourjos, and he is Not A .400 Hitter.
Best Hair, or Best Impression of a 70s Ballplayer: Freddy Galvis. Have you seen his hair lately? It’s a thick, luscious, curly, pouffy afro, and I cannot get enough of it. I wish he could play without a hat so he could let all that hair out. It’s glorious. He can hit .210 for all I care, just as long as he has that hair.
Thanks for the Heart Attack Award: Aaron Nola. Good lord, dude, could you have given us more of a scare? WE NEED YOU. I know he’s young and still learning and it was probably just dead arm, but that period where he was bad was really scary.
Thank You for Not Sucking Award, Pitcher Edition: This one’s a tie between Jerad Eickhoff and Jeanmar Gomez. I had hoped that Eickhoff would be able to maintain his great form from last year and improve on it, and he definitely has. Fun fact: In an alternate universe, Jerad and Jeanmar star in their own sitcom called (of course) “Jerad & Jeanmar” where we watch them humorously experience life and love as two incredibly adorable baseball players.
Thank You for Not Sucking Award, Hitter Edition: Odubel Herrera, all the way. Not that I thought he’d suck at all after last year’s amazingness, but he spent most of the first half hitting over .300 and showing greatly improved plate discipline. He’s fun, he’s wild, he’s always learning, and he plays with an infectious enthusiasm that the Phillies have desperately needed. I LOVE YOU ODUBEL.