With only one more week to go in the regular season it's time to take a hard look at who has performed the best this season. The influx of new players into the league has provided a healthy remix of the awards season. So many players have hit and pitched well that it is in some cases neck-and-neck to see who will win particular awards. This year we are not doing hand-made trophies, we got actual trophies made by Sport Mart in Charleston. There are six awards that will be given out to various players this year:
- Cy Wiffle (our league's version of Cy Young or best pitcher in the league)
- Strikeout King (pitcher in the league with the most K's, this does not always end up being the Cy Wiffle winner)
- Home Run King (pretty self-explanatory - hitter with most HRs)
- Golden Slugger (hitter with highest batting AVG)
- Bronze Slugger (hitter with most RBIs)
- Playoff MVP (awarded to player who performed the best in the playoffs, presumably someone on the team that wins the championship)
Most of these awards have front-runners and this article will be analyzing them. The Playoff MVP, naturally, has no front-runner yet so that award will be excluded in the analysis. There are requirements to qualify for any of these awards. To be considered for any awards to do with pitching the player must have pitched no less than 25 innings. Hitters must have had no less than 50 at bats to be considered for hitting awards.
The Cy Wiffle award is the most coveting pitching award in the league. It's a tradition that has been carried over from the old league in Hurricane and many leagues have a similarly named award. But determining who gets the award is not as easy as determining who gets to be Strikeout King. The Cy Wiffle recipient has to have a good pitching record, low ERA, low WHIP, decent amount of K's, and not a lot of walks. Even considering all of those things it really comes down to opinion on who is the best pitcher out of the few that qualify. In all likelihood a captain's meeting will have to be held to hold a vote to determine the winner.
So far there are only two people to consider for Cy Wiffle : Kevin Lawrence and Thelmer Damron. Both of them have performed well all season and were mentioned back several weeks ago in the Best Pitchers In The League...So Far article. Kevin Lawrence has been the primary pitcher for the Holy Balls, pitching 31 innings. His 8-1 record (and 1 save) is among one of the most impressive pitching records in the league. His ERA is the third-lowest in the league (2.74) and his WHIP (Walks or Hits per Innings Pitched) is only 1.26. He is otherwise average in other statistics such as K's (13) and BB's (11) and he has 4 more games to show some growth in those areas but his reliable backfield and odd delivery can get the job done.
Thelmer Damron (Pink Penguins) has been refining his craft all season and has turned into one of the league's best pitchers. He can throw relatively fast and has a curveball that leaves many feeling foolish. His record is 6-2, not bad but more wins would help him with his chances on winning Cy Wiffle. The 4.00 ERA is also a little high but considering how a lot of games have had some high scores that's not bad, in fact it's the 7th lowest ERA in the league. His ball control is where he really shines, with 36 strikeouts (2nd only to Greg Sowards - who has 63), only 5 walks, and a WHIP of 1.60. Things could get a little more complicated if James Clagg pitches any more for the rest of the season. As it stands now, he has 28 innings pitched and has a 5-0 record with 3 saves. He has the 2nd lowest ERA in the league (2.32), a WHIP of 1.50, and 28 K's. He pitches another game or two and his name might be the one called for the award.
Strikeout King is the only award seemingly "in the bag" for any player. Greg Sowards (Beaver Fever) picked up where he left off from last season by sitting hitters down. He nearly double the amount of K's (63) than Thelmer Damron (who has the 2nd most K's in the league at 36) and will probably reach more than 70 before the year is done. Beaver Fever still have 2 games for Week 12 and 2 make-up games against Holy Balls to play before the regular season is complete. Sowards has averaged 3.15 K's per game and if he continues along that projected path he'll finish the season with about 75 K's. He's done this despite having a losing record (8-9), giving up more than 100 earned runs (102 total), and having a 6.80 ERA. His experience of over 10 years has really come in handy this season and the record he has set this year may be unbreakable for years to come, unless he breaks it of course.
Home Run King seems to be in the hands of James Clagg (Maroon $quad) since he has a league leading 33 home runs. Next in line is Kevin Lawrence (Holy Balls) with 23 home runs and Ryan Briers (Maroon $quad) with 20. Briers typically does not hit very many home runs in a single game but Clagg and Lawrence have made reputations for being multi-HR hitters. Clagg is still favored to preserve his lead especially if he continues to hit home runs. But if he plateaus out and Lawrence has a hot streak it could make things interesting. Clagg only has 1 make up game left while Lawrence has 2 make up games. So the award is Clagg's so long as he can keep hitting balls over the fence.
Golden Slugger (highest batting AVG) is a tight race between 5 hitters with a batting average above .700. They are led by Brent Thompson (.836) followed by Kevin Lawrence (.743), James Clagg (.733), Todd Ritter (.733), and Thelmer Damron (.706). Despite the tight race Brent Thompson will most likely walk away with this award. He has maintained the top spot in batting AVG on the weekly leaderboard for almost the entire season. At 47 years old, Thompson is one of the oldest players in the league but he's proven that age is not always a factor for talent. The guy HITS. He's only not reached base 10 times all year and has been walked only 5 teams. No one else in the league can say they've been on base more than this guy.
Bronze Slugger (most RBIs) appears to come down to Clagg and Lawrence again. Clagg has 68 while Lawrence has 57. Even if they both continue to hit a lot of home runs it will depend on how many people are on base when they do hit them. Out of all the awards this one will be a fight to the finish. Anything can happen with any of these awards and that's why no winners will be determined until the end of the season. The trophies themselves will be handed out at the league championship, below is a picture of what they look like.