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The stars are shining bright here at the Sports of Boston First Half Fantasy Baseball Awards. In fact the award show just may take home the award for longest award show name. Wow, I don’t know who to thank. The first half had it all. Ups, downs, lefts, rights, you name it baby. This award show is highlighting those who have exceeded expectations, disappointed us greatly, and anybody else who has just plain performed pretty gosh darn good. I say we take our seats and sit back as we get things started with the first award of the evening.
BEST FANTASY ROOKIE
Oh simple youth. Not every rookie can make an impact. Those who do can pay off big when they are drafted late or if they are picked up in your free agent pool for no additional cost. The nominees are:
-Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays
-Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds
-Kosuke Fukudome, Chicago Cubs
-Geovany Soto, Chicago Cubs
-Joba Chamberlain, New York Yankees
And the winner is…Geovany Soto!
Soto has come into 2008 on a rampage. After a brief stint with the Cubs in 2007 where he hit .389 in 18 games, Soto picked up where he left off. He leads all catchers with 56 RBI. Soto also has 16 HR on the season and a great eye at the plate with 42 walks. He is currently batting .288 and just came from the All-Star game where he was the first NL rookie in history to start at catcher. If he keeps this up, he will be the NL rookie of the year.
BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK
We could call this the “Wal-Mart Award”. Why? Because we are giving it to the player who was the best bargain on draft day silly. Who gave us great numbers at discount prices? The nominees are:
-George Sherrill, Baltimore Orioles
-Milton Bradley, Texas Rangers
-Rick Ankiel, St. Louis Cardinals
-Jason Giambi, New York Yankees
-Rich Harden, Chicago Cubs
And the winner is…Rich Harden!
A tough choice here. Everybody passed on Harden due to his history of injuries and notoriety of breaking down. Those who have taken the risk have been rewarded. Harden has put up Cy Young-esque numbers with 2.19 ERA and a 5-1 record in 14 starts. The wins didn’t come due to a shallow Oakland offense but now a move to Chicago looks to finally give him some W’s. Harden has 102 K’s in just 82.1 IP for a staggering 11.15 K/9. Stop worrying about if we will get injured and just bask in your glory.
BEST PLAYER WHO PROBABLY WENT UNDRAFTED
These are the men nobody wants. You’d rather be stripped naked and paraded around in front of family and friends while they hurl raw vegetables at you. There is a reason they go undrafted. That is until they have a great game and you rush to add them for their current hot streak. Then before you know it, this player has been a permanent fixture in your everyday roster. The nominees are:
-Nate McClouth, Pittsburgh Pirates
-Edinson Volquez, Cincinnati Reds
-Ryan Ludwick, St. Louis Cardinals
-Jorge Cantu, Florida Marlins
-Carlos Quentin, Chicago White Sox
And the winner is…Edinson Volquez
The man traded for Josh Hamilton was basically unknown until 2008. Teammate Johnny Cueto was the name coming out of Spring Training but Volquez quickly outshined him. Volquez has made 19 starts and has given up three runs or less in all but one. His 2.29 ERA is tops in the NL and his 126 K’s are good enough for 3rd best in the NL. He is currently at 12-3 and has impressively only surrendered 5 home runs this season.
WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY
You could have bought a corvette with the money you wasted on these players. This award is given to the player who we thought would give us big production but instead decided to be a bigger disappointment than the Patriots going 18-1. The nominees are:
-Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia Phillies
-Victor Martinez, Cleveland Indians
-Alex Rios, Toronto Blue Jays
-Erik Bedard, Seattle Mariners
-Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers
And the winner is…Victor Martinez!
Oh the humanity! Martinez was ranked as the best catcher in all of fantasy baseball coming into to 2008. As a catcher, he already had two 100+ RBI season and three 20+ HR seasons under his belt. He also qualifies as a 1B, so clearly he he was depended on to deliver similar numbers. Currently, Martinez is on the DL after undergoing elbow surgery. Before the DL stint, Martinez stunk up the batters box with a .279 avg and just 21 RBI in 54 games. As for that 20 HR power, Martinez did his home run trot only in his mind. He has hit zero longballs in 2008. That’s right, ZERO! No power, no average, no offense. Victor Martinez is one of the biggest flops of 2008.
THE ADRIAN BELTRE AWARD
In 2004, an infielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers was relatively unknown outside of the Dodger fanbase. Then, this player decided to explode offensively for the biggest year of his career. This was coincidentally his contract year. That man was Adrian Beltre. In 2004, Beltre’s line was: .334, 48 HR, 121 RBI. These numbers are nowhere near what he has done in the rest of his career and he won’t do it again until the next time his contract is about to expire. Many feel a player is driven to put up big numbers solely because he is playing for a big money payoff when the offseason comes a knockin’. The following are players who are in contract years and look like they are playing for that cash money. The nominees are:
-Pat Burrell, Philadelphia Phillies
-Adam Dunn, Cincinnati Reds
-Milton Bradley, Texas Rangers
-Ryan Dempster, Chicago Cubs
-Ben Sheets, Milwaukee Brewers
And the winner is…Ben Sheets!
Another close one to call but in the end, Sheets gets the trophy. It’s not like Sheets has not shown flashes of brilliance in the past. However, during his contract season he has all of a sudden decided to stay healthy and become the dominant man he was a few short years ago. Sheets has a 10-3 record with a minuscule ERA of 2.85 and 108 K’s. He is on pace to surpass his innings pitched total from 2005, 2006, and 2007 while at the same time having a much better ERA than any of those seasons.
OH YOU TEASE!
Every season we draft players or we spend high waiver priorities on them in the hopes that they will help us. At first they show us they are worth it and then as quickly as they arrive, they quickly let us down. We give this award to the player who teased us with a hot start and the fizzled away. The nominees are:
-Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds
-Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds
-Miguel Tejada, Houston Astros
-Aaron Harang, Cincinnati Reds
-Justin Upton, Arizona Diamondbacks
And the winner is…Jay Bruce
What an entrance! In his first week in the majors, Bruce annihilated NL pitching with a .577 avg, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 7 R, 6 BB, and 2 SB. Clearly he wasn’t going to keep this pace up the whole year but, it seemed that the uber prospect had arrived and this year’s Ryan Braun was upon us. Since then, he has hit .212 with 3 HR and 14 RBI. He has been up and down in the batting order which has just added to his inconsistent hitting at the plate. Congrats to Jay Bruce, the biggest tease of 2008.
BEST FANTASY PLAYER
Ah yes, the Best Picture award of fantasy baseball. Many have come this season but only one man stands alone atop the mountain of fake baseball teams and fantasy GM’s. The nominees are:
-Lance Berkman, Houston Astros
-Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves
-Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins
-Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers
-Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers
The envelope please. Drum roll: and the winner is……….IAN KINSLER!
Wow, what an upset. Every award show needs some controversy people, that’s how we maintain an audience. Ian Kinsler has been nothing short of phenomenal. As the leadoff man in Texas, Kinsler leads the AL with a.337 batting average and has 14 HR, 58 RBI, and 23 SB (only been caught stealing once). In addition, he also has 84 runs and a .397 OBP. Kinsler’s value of also being a 2B added to his victory seeing as 2B is widely regarded as the shallowest position in fantasy baseball. For those of you crying Berkman, he only lost out on this award because although he has had an amazing year (.347, 22 HR, 73 RBI), he has dipped a bit in July by hitting only .211 with zero homers and 5 RBI. Kinsler’s July has been his best month where he is hitting .447 with a homer, 8 RBI and 3 SB. It was close but, Kinsler has hit .300 or better in every month and during the final leg of the first half, Berkman just couldn’t keep up in July. Give it up for Ian Kinsler, the best fantasy player of the first half!
I know you all won’t agree with me. But hey, life can’t exist without a little conflict now can it? Well, I am spent. See you Tuesday morning for the wrap-up.
Tags: Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, Ben Sheets, Edinson Volquez, Evan Longoria, Fantasy, George Sherrill, Geovany Soto, Ian Kinsler, Jason Giambi, Jay Bruce, Joba Chamberlain, Josh Hamilton, Kosuke Fukudome, Lance Berkman, Milton Bradley, Nate McLouth, Rich Harden, Rick Ankiel, TGIF, Victor Martinez