TiGO’s 2012 Mid-Season Pirates Awards

Pitcher of the half

Melissa: It was a tough choice between James McDonald and AJ Burnett, but I had to go with AJ.  As we know, AJ had 2 rough starts, one in which he gave up 12 runs in 2.2 innings and the other in which he gave up 6 runs in 5 innings.  And despite those, AJ’s ERA is 3.68.  To lower it that much takes a lot.  He’s also a 10-game winner already.  He’s also been an incredible veteran presence in the clubhouse and a huge reason for our 2nd best pitcher’s success.

Rich:  I was a huge A.J. Burnett advocate when the trade was just a rumor and he hasn’t disappointed me!  A.J. has been great on the field and especially off it.  Burnett has helped in more ways than just his performance, especially with James McDonald.  I’m not so sure there is this James McDonald without A.J. Burnett, so I had to go with A.J..

Brad: Even though he has been roughed up a bit lately, I’m going with James McDonald. Coming into this season we knew JMac had good stuff. Did we know it was this good?

Bill: Three choices come to mind; JMac, Burnett and Grilli (how about the Bucs’ staff considering I left out the only Pirates pitcher to make the NL All Star roster, Hanrahan). I did a first half awards post for another website and picked James McDonald as my second choice for the Cy Young, so its hard not to go with him here and not look like a hypocrite. Rich makes an interesting point as well because Burnett has been awesome this year (2.59 ERA without the 5/2 STL start, 10 wins) and no doubt has had a major part in JMac’s emergence.

Well you can call me a hypocrite because despite the facts listed above I am still going to go with Jason Grilli. The guy has been absolutely lights out while anchoring the 8th inning and a pivotal part of the Pirates 41-0 record when leading after 7 innings.  His emergence as the setup guy to Hanrahan has allowed bullpen flexibility during middle relief as well .  Oh yea and his numbers are sick: 1.87 ERA, 0.950 WHIP, 14.4 K/9, .145 Opp BA, 3.6 K/BB and 1.0 WAR.

MVP

Melissa: Andrew McCutchen.  I feel like anything I can say has been stated already or I am not doing it justice, but Cutch is batting .362 with 18 homeruns and 60 RBIs, and we’re only halfway through the year.  And he’s only 25.  It can only get better from here.  We’re talking Triple Crown potential here, and if he keeps this up he better win MVP of the league.  However, I have to give some love to my boy Rod Barajas here too and the leadership and mentorship he’s brought to the team.  As Clint Hurdle said, “He brings a veteran presence to the catching position and a leadership role in the clubhouse.”  Yeah Cutch has better stats, but Barajas has been an incredibly valuable part of this team.

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