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May 14, 2010

Prospectus Hit List

Turning the Page

by Jay Jaffe

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

1


Rays
24-10
4-3
.673
Flat
Gone Batty: A three-game losing streak sees the Rays fall victim to their second perfect game in less than a year, but they retain the top spot. Camouflaged by some terrific pitching (2.5 runs per game this month), the offense is struggling somewhat (4.1 per game). B.J. Upton's 4-for-41 funk sinks his line to .218/.301/.378, Carlos Peņa's 2-for-42 tailspin drags his line to .183/.312/.357, and Pat Burrell's 3-for-26 lump dips him to .213/.304/.350, and raises the possibility of a DFA move, particularly in light of Scott Boras' "Free Hank Blalock" campaign. Meh. Free Hank Blalock to go to one of the other 13 teams would help the Devil Fishies more.

2


Yankees
22-12
3-4
.666
Up
Tex Time: While helping to secure a series win, Mark Teixeira scores a hat trick in Boston, becoming just the second Yankee to homer three times in a game versus the Red Sox (after Lou Gehrig) and the fourth player do so for three different teams (after Johnny Mize, Dave Kingman, and Alex Rodriguez). It's also Teixeira's second four-hit game since the calendar turned on his wretched .136/.300/.259 April; he's hitting .300/.375/.580 in May. Also lending a hand of late-particularly amid a slew of injuries that claims Nick Johnson and sidelines Jorge Posada-is backup catcher Francisco Cervelli, who matches Teixeira with five RBI on his big day; he's hitting .408/.482/.490 while rocking the Great Gazoo helmet.

3


Twins
22-12
3-3
.618
Up
No Idle Threat: After failing to receive a single run of support in either of his previous two starts, Carl Pavano makes a whopping three stand up as he subdues the White Sox. It's Pavano's fourth straight quality start; he's got a 3.30 ERA, a 34/7 K/BB ratio and just three homers allowed in 46 1/3 innings, and now ranks 13th in the league with a .599 Support Neutral Winning Percentage. Teammate Francisco Liriano is fifth at .663, not to mention eighth in ERA (2.36).

4


Tigers
20-15
4-2
.551
Up
Ex-Yank Factor: As the Tigers pay tribute to the late Ernie Harwell, Johnny Damon homers in his first game against his old team, kicking off a rain-soaked series in which the Tigers take three out of four from the Bronx Bombers. After starting the year in a 3-for-23 funk, Damon's hitting .293/.405/.439. Meanwhile, former Yankee farmhand Austin Jackson has cooled off a bit; he's still hitting .345/.390/.466, but he's on a 199-strikeout pace, with an unsustainable .481 BABIP.

5


Blue Jays
20-16
4-3
.547
Up
I'll Remember April: Travis Snider's double and homer drive home all three runs in a win over the Red Sox helping the Blue Jays avoid a sweep. After looking as though he might be PCL-bound after a .155/.277/.338 April, Snider's hitting .366/.395/.659 this month. Meanwhile, Adam Lind is pining for his past production; he's just 3-for-44 in May after a solid April (.286/.359/.484). The Jays are hitting an uneven .235/.305/.448 as a team, but they've outhomered opponents 52-28, a margin that's double that of the majors' next closest team.

6


Rangers
20-15
6-1
.541
Up
Farm Boys: After putting up an 0.93 ERA in six Triple-A starts, Derek Holland makes his 2010 MLB debut by throwing six shutout innings against the A's to help the Rangers retake the AL West lead. Holland replaces injured Matt Harrison in a rotation that despite the routine flaying of nominal ace Scott Feldman (5.84 ERA, .367 SNWP) still ranks fifth in the league in SNLVAR. Homering to back Holland is another one of the team's prized blue-chippers, Justin Smoak; he's hitting just .197/.316/424 since being recalled but slugging .510 since his 1-for-15 start.

7


Red Sox
18-17
4-3
.515
Down
Backing Off Beckett: Despite falling to the Yanks in Fenway in lopsided enough fashion that their run differential remains in the red, the Sox win seven out of nine to climb above .500. Still, it's hardly clear their problems are over. Josh Beckett takes a nine-run pounding-the third time in four starts he's allowed at least seven-then is scratched from his next start due to back spasms, perhaps via conniptions induced by the .364 BABIP behind him which push his ERA to 7.46. The team wastes a strong fill-in effort from Tim Wakefield, and while they do get a rare good start from the mercurial Daisuke Matsuzaka, they still rank just 11th in the league in SNLVAR.

8


Athletics
18-17
3-3
.490
Down
Bradenia At War: After continuing to make such a mountain out of Moundgate that Billy Beane has to make a phone call-thereby proving that some people do indeed talk plenty in the 209-Dallas Braden throws the 19th perfect game in major-league history, a 4-0 whitewashing of the Rays. He does so on Mother's Day, with the grandmother who raised him in the wake of his mother's death in attendance, but said granny only reinforces the Braden family's pathological obsession with Alex Rodriguez, exclaiming, "Stick it, A-Rod!" when interviewed immediately after the perfecto. Stay classy, 209!

9


White Sox
14-20
2-4
.449
Down
Bench It Like Beckham: As the Sox continue to sag further in the AL Central standings, Ozzie Guillen sits Gordon Beckham and threatens to send him to the minors. The 23-year-old second baseman is "hitting" just .191/.304/.252 while leading the league in bad body language. He's not the only one sentenced to ride pine; Carlos Quentin (.180/.308/.360) grabs some bench as well, though a third sub-Mendozoid starter, A.J. Pierzynski (.196/.255/.294) gets to play on. The Sox's .230 batting average is last in the league, but thanks to walks and power, their .251 True Average ranks them a less abysmal 10th.

10


Mariners
13-21
2-5
.415
Down
Sleeping in Seattle: A report of Ken Griffey Jr. napping on the job surfaces, leading to chest-thumping media boycotts, closed-door meetings, accusations of lying, crying, and even cover-ups-all part and parcel for a ballclub whose season seems destined to end in tears after so much winter optimism. What's unavoidable is the fact that neither Junior (.200/.261/.225) nor clubhouse enforcer Macho Mike Sweeney (.176/.263/.206) are getting the job done as the team's DH, but that's just one of four positions where sleepwalking Mariners are posting OPSes below 600. Also unavoidable: the ritual sacrifice of the hitting coach of a club averaging 3.3 runs per game.

11


Indians
13-19
3-2
.406
Up
Branyan's Binge: After starting the year 7-for-35 without a homer, Russell Branyan belts three in two games against the Royals to help the Indians win their first series since April 16-18; they'd lost six since then. Amazingly enough, Branyan's outburst puts him just one behind Shin-Soo Choo for the team lead. The Indians are second-to-last in the AL with just 18 homers and a .363 SLG this year due to disappointments like Grady Sizemore (.298, zero homers), Matt LaPorta (.256, zero homers), Jhonny Peralta (.371, two homers), and Travis Hafner (.371, three homers).

12


Royals
12-23
1-6
.386
Down
Claiming His Earthly Reward For a Job Poorly Done: On a day when the Royals halt a seven-game losing streak and Zack Greinke finally gets enough run support to claim his first victory of the year, the joy is upstaged by the firing of manager Trey Hillman. While the blame for a good portion of his plight rests with GM Dayton Moore for paying non-Monopoly money to Yuniesky Betancourt, Willie Bloomquist, Jose Guillen, Kyle Farnsworth, Jason Kendall et al, the move was hardly unwarranted, particularly after Hillman's latest bit of managerial malpractice: letting fragile Gil Meche throw an MLB-high 128 pitches and surrender the go-ahead run five batters into the eighth inning. Shocking nobody with his uninspired choice of a replacement, Moore tabs Ned Yost, a man who knows all about the ways in which managerial malpractice can cost a guy his job.

13


Angels
15-21
3-4
.368
Down
Bad Wood, Continued: Losers of 10 out of 13, the Angels continue to look decidedly un-Angelic. They've been handily outhit (.227/.282/.344 to .302/.388/.497) and outscored (3.7 to 6.2) during this slide, with Hideki Matsui (.125/.205/.125), Bobby Abreu (.204/.310/.286), and Brandon Wood (.135/.135/.216) the most egregioius offenders with the lumber. Wood's now hitting .168/.184/.238 with a 31/2 K/BB ratio overall, and while it's tempting to laud the team for showing patience with their pedigreed prospect, the fact that Mike Scioscia can't turn around and ask Maicer Izturis to take him to the bridge isn't helping matters.

14


Orioles
11-24
4-3
.363
Down
Corey, Corey What's the Story? Up from the minors to replace Nolan Reimold, Corey Patterson homers to start a five-run comeback in the eighth inning against the Mariners, then guns down the potential tying run at the plate to seal the victory. As for Reimold, he's demoted to Triple-A in spite of a .300/.365/.500 showing over his last 22 plate appearances, work that admittedly only lifts his overall line to .205/.302/.337, but a performance which is hardly the Achilles heel of an offense featuring four of nine regulars-including Luke Scott, whose grand slam is the big blow in the aforementioned rally-with True Averages lower than his .237.


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.

Jay Jaffe is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jay's other articles. You can contact Jay by clicking here

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