Friday, August 3, 2012

The Best (and Worst) of July

Atlanta finished July by tying their season best of seven consecutive wins.  That streak allowed them to close the book on July with a season-best 18-8 record.  Sadly, the Nats were only one game worse than that record so Atlanta didn't gain much on the Nationals for the month, though they were able to open a lead in the second Wild Card spot.  Not to spoil anyone's fun, but the Cardinals have been one of the most unluckiest teams up to this point so...don't be surprised to see them make another run.

Regardless, it's time to hand out some Walk-Off Walk awards for July.  Course, I'm three days late, but internet issues led to that.

Top Rookie of the Month - N/A - With the injury to Andrelton Simmons and the demotion of Randall Delgado, pickens were slim here.  

Worst Pitcher of the Month - Jair Jurrjens - It was difficult for anyone to even compete in this category because, by large, success was experienced by the majority of the staff last month.  However, one guy truly stuck out like a sore thumb.  Jurrjens has, outside of a couple of outings, been horrible this season and July was more of the same for him.  A K/9 rate of 3.38, a FIP over 5.00, and a lost rotation spot.  That is how you see your career with the Braves head south in a hurry. 

Dishonorable Mentions - Tommy Hanson, Anthony Varvaro

Worst Position Player of the Month - Dan Uggla - What can you say about Uggla's struggles except that every time he has a hit, I am reminded of a line out of Little Big League.  "Kid, don't you think there's a problem when you get that excited over a seeing-eye single?"  Right now, it's like that with Uggla.  He's still playing pretty solid defense, especially for him, and is doing everything you ask from a baseball player except hit the ball.  Last month, his slash line was pretty brutal.  .115/.281/.179.  All you can say is "cool, he's walking."  Now, recently, Uggla has started to turn things around a bit.  Hope it continues.


Dishonorable Mentions - Paul Janish, Eric Hinske

Best Pitcher of the Month - Ben Sheets - I hate giving this title to relievers and while Craig Kimbrel deserved back-to-back months as Best Pitcher, I am giving this to Sheets.  Over three starts and 18 innings, Sheets gave up just one run.  He was lucky over the month with over 94% LOB rate, but he was also extremely successful with a 3 K/BB rate.  Sheets was a big second-half pick-up for Atlanta and the Braves need him to continue for their season to be as successful as they would like.  So far, so good.

Honorable Mentions - Craig Kimbrel, Mike Minor

Best Position Player of the Month - Brian McCann - A tough choice because Chipper Jones was superb over July as well.  McCann was my choice last month for worst position player, but he turned it around and led the Braves in just about every offensive power-related category.  9 HR, four more than Jason Heyward.  21 RBI, 2 more than Freddie Freeman.  .296/.354/.704 with a .408 ISO and .434wOBA.  There are few catchers that can do that over a month and McCann has done it several times over his career.  Before July, I spoke several times of how important McCann and Freeman were to the Braves' hopes of getting to October, let alone catching the Nats.  Both had tremendous July's to go with Chipper's effort.  Last month's choice for this category was Heyward and he was solid in July, but not nearly to the level of the other three.

Honorable Mentions - Chipper Jones, Freddie Freeman

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