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May 2, 2011

Prospectus Hit List

It's 1998 All Over Again

by Tommy Bennett

RkTeam
Overall W-L
Week W-L
Hit List Factor
Comment

1


Yankees
16-9
4-3
.637
Down

My Way Home: The Yankees come out a game ahead after a week at home, with heartening performances from Bartolo Colon (8.0 7 1 1 1 6) and A.J. Burnett (14.0 12 5 5 2 6). Kevin Millwood opts out of his contract and Jorge Posada sinks deeper into his miserable start, meaning the 2005 jokes may be overstaying their welcome. Posada's time runs short as Jesus walks for the first two times this year.

2


Indians
19-8
6-0
.633
Up
Touch the Sky: The Indians move on up with a perfect week in which they outscore their opponents by 22 runs. They lead the majors in just about every type of Pythagenwhat, from Base Runs to third-order win percentage, but they are dinged here by PECOTA's pessimism. Justin Masterson puts up a pair of quality starts and even inspires some silly headlines. Carlos Santana shows signs of life (3 HR), and Shin-Soo Choo begins to find a groove‚ two developments that bode well should guys like Travis Hafner (inflamed ankle) cool off.

3


Angels
16-12
4-2
.571
Up
Stronger: Joel Piniero (7.0 4 1 1 1 3) and Scott Downs (three scoreless innings) return‚ better late than never. Dan Haren (5.4) and Jered Weaver (4.9) are locked in a battle atop the AL K/BB leaderboard, trailing only Brandon McCarthy for the number one spot. Ervin Santana's results (33 K, 10 BB on the season and a 6.0 4 4 1 2 5 effort this week) begin to catch up to his peripherals, giving the Angels four viable starters to go with a bullpen that sports a 2.58 ERA on the year. The offense ... well, Vernon Wells does something good, so be thankful for what you have.

4


Rangers
16-12
2-5
.570
Down
The New Workout Plan: Neftali Feliz winds his way back from a shoulder injury and announces he's done with starting. The Rangers miss Feliz's services as Darren Oliver yields three runs in a tie game. Despite the five-loss week, the Rangers stay atop the AL West, with Michael Young (.296/.333/.519) and Elvis Andrus (.375 OBP with 4 SB) leading the way. Most encouraging is the latest outing from Colby Lewis (8.0 6 2 2 1 6 with increased velocity).

5


Rays
15-13
4-2
.547
Up
Diamonds from Sierra Leone: Just about everyone except David Price unearths a gem in support of a 4-2 week, including Wade Davis (6.2 7 2 2 3 5), Jeremy Hellickson (6.1 7 3 3 1 3), Jeff Niemann (7.0 2 1 1 1 2), and especially Big-Game James Shields (8.0 6 1 1 1 12). The offense has a rougher go of it, as the legend wears off Sam Fuld (.083/.241/.167). Still, Ben-Z drops a nice guest verse and puts his OPS in the sky (raising it by 162 points in one day) en route to leading the Rays to a doubleheader victory and sweep of the Twins. Meanwhile, Rays fans close their eyes and imagine Evan Longoria, back from the DL.

6


Red Sox
12-15
2-4
.539
Down
Say You Will: The Sox stay stuck in neutral, sending Fenway faithful into apoplexy at managerial decisions as much as team performance. Despite the 2-4 week, the team is outscored by only three runs, though even that is surprising with six games against Baltimore and Seattle. Carl Crawford shows no signs of thaw with a three-hit week. It's not all heartbreak, though, as John Lackey (6.0 7 2 2 4 3) turns in a quality start, his third in as many tries. Still, Clay Buchholz gets peppered (6.2 12 4 4 2 5) to death when he isn't suffering from "intestinal turmoil," and Red Sox fans can certainly sympathize.

7


Athletics
14-14
3-3
.531
Down
We Don't Care: The A's prove scoring runs can be overrated, as they plate more than 3 just once all week and still manage a split against division rivals Rangers and Angels. Bumps in the road from Brandon McCarthy (5.1 14 7 7 1 3) and Brett Anderson (5.0 9 7 7 4 3) put a chink in the Athletics' run-prevention armor, but nothing can interfere with Coco Crisp's sense of style; joke's on you‚ he's still alive. The name of the stadium remains uncertain, but O.co goes best with Coco and Gio.

8


Blue Jays
13-15
4-3
.524
Up
Who Will Survive in America: Canada's team now underperforms its third-order win percentage by three games. Jose Bautista piles on yet another impressive week (.350/.594/.800) and propels the Jays to fourth in the AL in home runs. Adam Lind catches fire (.429/.438/.857 and four home runs on the week), too, and Brandon Morrow (6.0 6 2 2 1 6) is ready to shoulder—forearm?—his share of the pitching load. No matter how it's sliced, a winning week on the road against the cream of the AL—Rangers and Yankees—represents more than just survival.

9


Royals
15-13
3-3
.495
Flat
Can't Tell Me Nothing: It's feast or famine for the Royals, who maintain their winning record for at least one more week. Swept by the unbeatable Indians, only to pay the favor forward to the disappointing Twins, the Royals seem to be the bearers of cosmic fortune as much as anything else. Alex Gordon (.273/.370/.636) cannot be slowed down: he posts a five-XBH week. Jeff Francoeur continues his hitting ways (.250/.280/.625) but manages to notch another week without a walk. First baseman Kila Ka'aihue looks like a new man, but his chances may be limited. Concerns about the rotation mount, as Jeff Francis turns in his second straight Disaster Start (3.0 10 6 5 0 1).

10


Mariners
13-16
5-1
.482
Up
Everything I Am: Don't get carried away, but the Mariners win five of six to bring them within shouting distance of .500 and the rest of a weak AL West field. Critical are strong starts from unexpected places: Erik Bedard (7.0 5 1 1 0 3) and Doug Fister (5.2 5 0 0 5 4) each chip in a solid outing. Felix Hernandez (13.0 10 5 4 3 14) continues to prove by comparison that everything he's not—inefficient, timid, unsure—makes him everything he is. Maybe somebody reminded Chone Figgins of what that was like, as he knocks his way back into usefulness (.346/.393/.462). Heck, even Miguel Olivo (.346/.333/.615) comes along for the ride, albeit in characteristic fashion.

11


Tigers
12-16
0-6
.467
Down
All Falls Down: The Tigers drop six straight and stand 7.5 games out of first place—last year they didn't fall that far behind until August. Miguel Cabrera (.318/.464/.682) does what he can, but Magglio Ordonez (.087/.087/.087) looks totally lost. Austin Jackson suffers a .200/.286/.200 week and improves his batting line. Worries about Brad Penny reassert themselves after yet another lousy start (7.0 9 4 4 1 3), this against the lowly Mariners offense. Not all hope is lost, as the odds report gives Detroit nearly a one-in-three shot at the playoffs.

12


Orioles
13-13
5-1
.459
Up
POWER: An eight-homer week puts the team at .500 for the first time in two weeks. Luke Scott leads the way with a .389/.429/.944 effort, perhaps because his concerns have been allayed. Game-winning hits from Nick Markakis (who nevertheless struggles at .200/.259/.240) and Vladimir Guerrero (ditto at .280/.280/.400—he still has yet to take a walk this year) help lift the team on separate nights. Strong pitching from rookie phenom Zach Britton (12.0 10 2 2 5 3) and crafty veteran Jeremy Guthrie (6.0 7 0 0 1 6) show success without power pitching remains possible even in the AL East.

13


White Sox
10-19
2-5
.425
Down
Bring Me Down: Losers of five straight, the White Sox need more than 140 characters to describe their frustration. Consecutive midweek blowouts at the hands of the Yankees and Orioles send Edwin Jackson's (4.0 4 6 6 5 2) and John Danks' (6.0 8 5 5 1 3) seasons in the wrong direction. A bright spot is new closer Sergio Santos: he strings together three scoreless appearances, which in this bullpen counts as major success, and even tries to learn from the great one.

14


Twins
9-18
0-6
.333
Down
Welcome to Heartbreak: Carl Pavano is not pleased with either himself (5.1 12 7 6 0 0) or the team. Joe Mauer can't come back fast enough, as replacement Drew Butera fails to record a hit all week. Jason Kubel is the only guy hitting (.381/.458/.476), and his contract is up after this year—it's only a matter of time before the trade rumors start circulating. Francisco Liriano (3.0 6 7 7 4 4) is totally toast, his release point is off, and he will be replaced in the rotation by Kevin Slowey.


The Prospectus Hit List rankings are derived from Won-Loss records and several measurements pertaining to run differentials, both actual and adjusted, from Baseball Prospectus Adjusted Standings through the close of play on every Thursday.

1 comment has been left for this article.

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