CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
The Week in Quotes: Ma... (05/30)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: S... (05/24)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: N... (05/31)
Next Article >>
Collateral Damage: A W... (05/30)

May 30, 2011

Prospectus Hit List

AL: The Cream Rises

by Tommy Bennett

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

1


Red Sox
30-23
5-2
.601
Up

Central Tendency: The Red Sox enjoy another slate of games against the AL Central, cruising to the top of the division and the Hit List. In May the Sox sport a 10-3 record against their Midwestern prey. The second game of the team's doubleheader nearly doesn't make it on TV, but a last minute rescue by ESPN salvages the situation. Carl Crawford heats up with two four-hit games, three home runs, and two triples. Help comes from unusual faces like Al Aceves (6.0 5 1 1 2 6) in addition to the usual guys like Josh Beckett (6.2 5 1 1 3 6) and Jon Lester (6.0 3 0 0 1 7). David Ortiz (.308/.357/.654) comes off the bench to carry the team with some vintage late-innings heroics. Jacoby Ellsbury is up to nineteen steals with another four on the week, and his bat is useful too.

2


Yankees
28-23
3-3
.597
Flat
Usurpation: Slipped from first place, the Yankees manage to pull out a victory against the Mariners to go sweepless in Seattle. It has definitely started to drizzle on the Bombers, though. Jorge Posada has another bad week (.091/.167/.182), putting his playing time in further jeopardy. Fellow veteran Derek Jeter (.192/.323/.269) continues to bat leadoff and increasingly plays DH. Sloppy starts from Ivan Nova (3.2 5 4 4 3 1) and A.J. Burnett (5.0 4 2 2 5 6) against a weak Mariners offense underscore the team's biggest weakness.

3


Indians
31-19
2-4
.566
Down
Mess With the Bull: The Indians get the horns from the elite of the AL East, as they lose consecutive series against the Red Sox and Rays. The pitching is exposed in the process, as Justin Masterson (5.0 8 7 6 5 0) and Mitch Talbot (3.0 12 8 8 2 1) take the brunt of it. Grady Sizemore returns, again, but looks lost at the plate: he runs his 0-4 streak to three games and caps it off with a four-strikeout performance against the Rays on Sunday. Sizemore isn't alone: Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Santana continue their struggles as well. Before the midsummer swoon sets in, maybe Indians fans should reminisce—I mean go way back.

4


Rays
28-24
2-3
.563
Flat
Down but Not Out: The Rays lose a pair in the Motor City before finding their luck in sunny Cleveland, where they take two out of three. Still, the team relinquishes control over first place in the process. Down but not out, Jeremy Hellickson (7.0 3 0 0 2 6) and David Price (7.0 4 0 0 2 12) come roaring back to secure the series win over the AL's winningest team. Role players like Sean Rodriguez (.313/.389/.438), Casey Kotchman (.429/.400/.714), and Johnny Damon (.364/.391/.455) lead the way. For his part, Damon might be most useful batting second, where his ability to avoid the double play is especially valuable.

5


Rangers
28-25
4-2
.549
Up
That Has Made All the Difference: A pair of series against teams at the bottom of this list gives the Rangers the bump they need to remain in the top five. The ageless Michael Young (.350/.400/.700) leads the way with a four-XBH week, while the surprising Mitch Moreland (.444/.476/.611) stays dangerous. The pitching is dicier, particular at closer: Ron Washington pulls Neftali Feliz from a save situation and replaces him with Arthur Rhodes—and it works. On the road not taken, Alexi Ogando (15.0 12 5 5 4 10) proves his continuing worth in the rotation.

6


Athletics
27-27
5-2
.539
Up
Returns: The greatest surname in baseball appears for the second time in a box score this year and posts a useful, if backwards, 6.0 6 2 2 5 2 line. Andrew Bailey comes off the DL to pitch a scoreless seventh in a two-run game. Sadly, nothing seems to help on offense: the team doesn't have a single player with an OPS north of 800. Josh Willingham does his best (.304/.385/.652) to change that and Coco Crisp (.292/.370/.375) is useful enough in other ways (2/2 in SB attempts; plays a mean center field) to compensate for the lack of power. Still, losing to the A's offense is enough to send not one but two Orioles starters back to the minors.

7


Blue Jays
27-26
4-3
.530
Up
Graded on a Curve: With an 18-13 record against teams not in their own division and yet to play a series against the Orioles, the Blue Jays once again suffer at the hands of the scheduling gods, who give them a road series in the Bronx as punishment for dropping a home series to the Astros. In Chicago, the Blue Jays win often—if not early. Jose Bautista (.333/.484/.625) has a merely Bondsian week to lower his season OBP below .500 and SLG below .800. Yunel Escobar (.321/.367/.536) continues to far outperform Alex Gonzalez. After a hot start, replacement outfielder Eric Thames (.176/.263/.235) hits the wall. Kyle Drabek (6.0 8 3 3 3 3) is the only pitcher in the league with a single-digit uniform number, but is still leading the league in walks issued.

8


Angels
28-27
4-3
.522
Down
The Legend of Paul Branyan: The Angels' game log looks like a Win-Loss checkerboard, as they trade outcomes all week. The last four are each decided by one run, including a heartbreaking 0-1 loss in 10 innings in Minnesota. Poor Jered Weaver holds a master class (9.0 2 0 0 2 7) and gets a no-decision for his troubles when Hisanori Takahashi yields the deciding run. One beneficiary of all these close games: Jordan Walden, who tallies four saves on the week despite giving up two runs in Sunday's outing. The team adds the itinerant Russell Branyan to the fold in an attempt to boost the offense, but so far the results (.091/.083/.091) have been unimpressive.

9


Tigers
26-26
3-3
.516
Down
132-Pitch Metaphor: In a 3-3 week, Justin Verlander washes out the taste of a bad start (6.0 9 6 6 0 2) with a 132-pitch curiosity (7.2 4 0 0 2 3)—but by all means, Jim Leyland, let's make sure we don't give Joaquin Benoit (four scoreless outings on the week) whole innings to pitch. Verlander's second start is an allegory for the Tigers' season: gutsy if not excellent, a little ill-considered, and ultimately just shy of the goal. The team trades Scott Sizemore to the Athletics for David Purcey and in so doing acquires yet another fireballer for the pen. The Ryan Raburn era at second base (part 2?) begins with an oh-fer.

10


Mariners
26-26
4-2
.498
Flat
Smoak But No Fire: The Mariners' win streak is snapped at six, but they are nine for their last 11 following a series win against Yankees. Most surprisingly, the team pulls out a win despite a bad Felix Day (7.0 6 4 4 5 4) thanks to some Adam Kennedy (?) 12th-inning heroics versus Mariano Rivera (!). Michael Pineda's (5.0 4 2 2 5 6) ROY watch takes a hit thanks to the patience of the Yankees lineup, but he avoids the loss and stays at 6-2 on the year. The heat dissipates from Justin Smoak (.167/.259/.292) and Ichiro Suzuki (.115/.148/.154) still hasn't found any of his many swings (maybe he should ask Adrian Gonzalez where they went). Jack Cust has a very, well, Custian week (.294/.400/.588).

11


White Sox
24-31
2-5
.486
Down
Head Over Heels: The White Sox are not as bad as they look, in part because they have played 17 games against the top four teams on this list. Still, a 2-5 week does nothing to turn the boat around and in fact drops their playoff odds more than six percentage points to about one in five. If they are to punch that ticket, they need better from John Danks (4.0 9 9 9 1 1) and Edwin Jackson (6.2 9 6 6 1 7). Philip Humber (7.2 6 1 1 1 3) harkens back to the days when it was believed he might be useful. The depths of Adam Dunn's (.091/.310/.227) mystery know no limits; he's on pace for just 15 home runs. Alex Rios is doing his best (.207/.233/.310) to remind everyone why he was freely available less than two years ago. On the bright side, Ozzie Guillen has a Twitter account.

12


Orioles
24-27
3-3
.451
Flat
It Beats NOT Beating the Royals: The Orioles make a strong case that they're better than the Royals by sweeping the latter in three games at home. Most impressive is Jake Arrieta (6.0 5 2 2 3 7), who now has quality starts in four of his last five outings. Brad Bergesen (5.2 9 3 2 2 5) and Chris Tillman (4.1 6 2 1 3 2) head to the minors after unimpressive but not awful starts against the A's. After a brief hot period, Vladimir Guerrero (.240/.269/.240) cools down again, and it's not clear that Nick Markakis (.167/.259/.167) ever was hot in the first place. It might be time to start thinking about the number four overall pick in the June draft.

13


Royals
23-29
1-5
.449
Down
Perchance to Dream: A 1-5 week amidst a 3-12 skid dashes the Royals' hopes of contention and most likely of a .500 season. The team allows 44 runs in six games; the only win comes by virtue of a 12-run outburst from the offense. The Alex Gordon (.241/.290/.552) mirage is running out of water, and the shrine of Eric Hosmer (.226/.226/.355) ceases to grant miracles. Alcides Escobar is a miracle of his own (.158/.190/.158): a worse hitter than Yuniesky Betancourt. The team's only constant from years past, Joakim Soria (two blown saves on the week) is in the middle of an enormous funk right when the team would want his trade value to be at its peak. The hot start can't hide the fact that this year's Royals team is not better than those of the past four.

14


Twins
17-34
2-4
.377
Up
Ah, Summer in Minnesota: Look on the bright side: the Twins still draw almost 40,000 fans for home games against the Mariners and Angels despite being the undisputed worst team in baseball. A 2-4 week is right on pace with their season winning percentage, and it is a week in which they are shut out once and held to one run once, both for the fifth time on the season. Michael Cuddyer's (.235/.278/.294) time at second base raises the possibility that it's the infield positions themselves that are the cause of the decade-long struggles in the middle infield, rather than the players who have occupied them. At least mighty Jim Thome still does his thing once a week, as he mashes two taters—career numbers 592 and 593—on Monday then rests for the remainder of the week.


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.

Related Content:  The Streak,  The Who,  The Process

3 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
The Week in Quotes: Ma... (05/30)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: S... (05/24)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: N... (05/31)
Next Article >>
Collateral Damage: A W... (05/30)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Fantasy Article Player Profile: Kendall Graveman
Fantasy Article Closer Report: Week 14
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of July 3-6, 2015
Expert FAAB Review: Week 14
Premium Article Some Projection Left: Ask The Industry: Inte...
Premium Article Rubbing Mud: The Present and Future of the S...
Premium Article Raising Aces: The Return of Fern

MORE FROM MAY 30, 2011
The BP Broadside: The Evolving Prospectus
Fantasy Beat: Carty in Context
Divide and Conquer, NL East: The Three Disap...
Prospects Will Break Your Heart: U Got the L...
On the Beat: The Clouds Part in Seattle
Collateral Damage: A Wing and a Prayer
The Week in Quotes: May 23-29

MORE BY TOMMY BENNETT
2011-06-20 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: AL: Sox Hanging On
2011-06-14 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: NL: Stellar Pitching
2011-06-06 - Prospectus Hit List: AL: The Colon Train Chu...
2011-05-30 - Prospectus Hit List: AL: The Cream Rises
2011-05-24 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: St. Louis Supreme
2011-05-16 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: Indian Spring
2011-05-10 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: Beasts of the East
More...

MORE PROSPECTUS HIT LIST
2011-06-07 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: NL: Something Brewin'
2011-06-06 - Prospectus Hit List: AL: The Colon Train Chu...
2011-05-31 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: NL: The Valdez Non-Disa...
2011-05-30 - Prospectus Hit List: AL: The Cream Rises
2011-05-24 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: St. Louis Supreme
2011-05-23 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: The Tighten Up
2011-05-18 - Prospectus Hit List: Braving the Storm
More...

INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2011-06-03 - What You Missed: 5/30-6/3
2011-06-01 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit and Run: Westward Huh?