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June 4, 2010

Prospectus Hit List

Nobody's Perfect

by Jay Jaffe

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

1


Yankees
34-20
6-3
.651
Up
Heating Up: Aside from a seven-run bullpen meltdown, the Yankees begin cruising through the easy portion of their schedule, beating up on the Indians and Orioles; they've now won eight of their last 10. Robinson Cano rips three doubles and three home runs (including a grand slam) amid a 17-game hitting streak which includes eight consecutive multi-hit games; his .373/.414/.632 line has him first, fourth and third in the three triple-slash categories. Also riding hot streaks: Derek Jeter, who's 20-for-45 since May 22, lifting his overall line to .302/.353/.427, and Nick Swisher, 16-for-39 since May 25, lifting him to .318/.399/.553.

2


Rays
36-18
3-3
.636
Down
Quiet Carl: The Rays down the Jays on consecutive nights thanks to a pair of bases-loaded ninth-inning hits, Sean Rodriguez's three-run double and Carl Crawford's grand slam. In an offense that's been more notable for its underachievers (Carlos Peņa, Pat Burrell), Crawford's quietly having a very nice season (.316/.371/.498). He's second in the league in EqBRR (4.4), and second among the team's regulars in TAv (.310), behind only Evan Longoria, though part-timer John Jaso's .316 deserves a nod, too. Speaking of underachievers, Jason Bartlett hits the DL due to a hamstring strain; he's hitting just .231/.327/.330, which is a lot more in character with his career than last year's .320/.389/.490.

3


Blue Jays
31-24
4-3
.577
Up
Late Losses: Manager Cito Gaston is too slow with the hook on back-to back nights as the Blue Jays squander a pair of ninth-inning leads against the Rays. The first comes when Shaun Marcum runs out of gas, the second when Kevin Gregg loses the strike zone and walks five hitters to produce one of the year's uglier pitching lines (0.2 1 4 4 5 2). The Blue Jays have now lost an MLB-high five games in which they led going into the ninth inning; remember that if and when they find themselves looking at the taillights of the division's big three.

4


Twins
31-23
4-3
.575
Down
Short at Second: Orlando Hudson doubles and homers to lead the Twins past the Rangers. He's hitting .305/.377/.421, but his week ends on a scary note, as he sprains his wrist on a game-ending play as he collides with Denard Span. With backup Alexi Casilla undergoing an elbow cleanup, manager Ron Gardenhire resorts to starting Michael Cuddyer at the keystone for the first time in five years. He homers to help the Twins beat the Mariners, while Gardenhire wises up and turns to the more keystonely Nick Punto and Matt Tolbert while awaiting the O-Dog's return.

5


Red Sox
31-24
4-3
.564
Up
Big Papi's Back: David Ortiz homers off Ben Sheets to carry the Red Sox past the A's. Though he's still striking out in 29 percent of his plate appearances, Ortiz now has 11 homers since the beginning of May, a span during which he's hit .356/.437/.793. The Sox are 20-12 in that span while scoring 5.9 runs per game, up from 4.5 in April. Though their injury stack in the outfield appears to have re-stacked itself, the Sox have won 12 of their last 16, lifting them back into third place in the AL East for the first time since late April.

6


Tigers
28-25
3-3
.543
Up
Nobody's Perfect: Armando Galarraga is deprived of a perfect game, one that would have been the 21st of all-time, the third of the season, and incredibly, the second of the week. The thief? A blown call by first-base umpire Jim Joyce on the potential final out; a calm and collected Galarraga retires the next hitter to end the game. Controversy rages as to whether Commissioner Bud Selig should overturn the blown call or expand the use of instant replay, and while the play stands, both Galarraga and Joyce show exceptional class in addressing the matter after it happens.

7


Rangers
28-25
2-3
.516
Down
Stray Sluggers: The Rangers' big boppers can't be stopped, but they can certainly be hurt. Vlad Guerrero is hit in the eye by a batting practice ball that ricochets around in the cage, forcing him out of the lineup for a couple days. As for Nelson Cruz, shortly after homering three times in five games, and just over two weeks after being activated, he winds up back on the DL with a hamstring strain, this time on the left side. Cruz is hitting a brisk .327/.405/.729, but oddly enough, the Rangers are scoring just 4.6 runs per game with him in the lineup, compared to 5.3 without him. In the grand scheme, this team's offense is just middling; their .259 True Average ranks ninth in the league.

8


Athletics
29-26
4-3
.494
Flat
A is for Aching: Winners of 9 out of 13, the A's are closing the gap on the division-leading Rangers even as their rotation continues to get banged up. After tossing 5 2/3 shutout innings against the Tigers in his first start in five weeks due to a flexor strain, Brett Anderson departs his next start after just two frames due to more elbow soreness; hopefully he's a ways off from Justin Duchscherer's season-ending surgery. Despite such injuries, the A's still rank fourth in the league in SNLVAR.

9


Angels
28-28
5-3
.453
Up
The Toughest Break: Kendry Morales hits a walkoff grand slam against the Mariners but fractures his tibia in the ensuing celebration; he'll need surgery and could be out until at least September. That's bad news given that Morales' .288 TAv is second on on a team that ranks 10th in the league at .251. As to who's on first, Mike Napoli makes some sense, though the team is rumored to be pursuing the Cubs' Derrek Lee or Xavier Nady.

10


White Sox
23-30
3-3
.452
Up
Sucktastic Starters: In a week that sees one perfect game and one near-miss, Mark Buehrle is anything but perfect; he's pasted for 12 hits and six runs in 5 1/3 innings, the fourth time he's given up at least five runs in his last eight starts. At least that's not as bad as Gavin Floyd and Jake Peavy, both of whom have given up at least five runs six times apiece; both have ERAs above 6.00 and SNWPs under .400. With performances like that, it's no wonder the Sox are last in the league in SNLVAR, as if their awful hitting (.250 TAv) wasn't enough of a hindrance.

11


Mariners
22-31
4-3
.451
Up
Goodbye, Junior: Hitting just .184/.250/.204 without a homer in 108 PA, Ken Griffey Jr. retires after 22 seasons, 630 homers, 2,781 hits... and one ill-timed nap. While the last 10 years of his career were fraught with enough injuries to cost him a shot at Hank Aaron's home run record, Griffey nonetheless ranks fifth on the all-time list, and sixth among center fielders in terms of JAWS; he'll grace Cooperstown soon enough. The Mariners pay tribute to his incredible career, then beat the Twins in 10 thanks to a generous call at second base, ironic given that the news about Griffey is quickly eclipsed by the happenings in Detroit.

12


Royals
22-33
2-3
.429
Down
Earthbound: After winning nine of their first 14 games under Ned Yost, the Royals check the names on the front of their uniforms and promptly lose five of six, with the skipper earning his first ejection from his new job. Also cooling off lately is Jose Guillen; after hitting .346/.366/.692 with seven homers through the first three weeks of the season, he's at .185/.301/.347 with five homers since, including his current 3-for-34 slump.

13


Indians
19-33
2-3
.358
Down
Lost Tribe: Losers of 13 out of 17, the Indians very nearly go down in the annals of history, as only a blown call on the 27th batter can prevent them from becoming the victims of Armando Galarraga's perfect game. Getting credit for a dubious base hit is once-touted prospect Jason Donald, who's been getting a chance to play amid the injury to Asdrubal Cabrera; he's shown some pop, as advertised (.278/.316/.481), and could merit a longer look in the middle infield given the uninspiring Mark Grudzielanek/Luis Valbuena tandem at the keystone. Meanwhile, it's bad news for Grady Sizemore, whose impending knee surgery likely ends his season.

14


Orioles
15-39
0-3
.330
Down
The Vultures Arrive: Amid an eight-game losing streak in which the Orioles score just 14 runs, manager Dave Trembley is put out of his misery today in favor of Juan Samuel. Trembley departs with a 187-283 record and a lower winning percentage than predecessors Sam Perlozzo (.427), Lee Mazzilli (.480), Mike Hargrove (.425), and Ray Miller (.485), the other pilots amid what's almost certain to become the team's 13th consecutive losing season. Expected to advance markedly beyond their recent mediocrity (PECOTA pegged them for a .481 winning percentage), the O's have simply been wretched, ranking last in the league in True Average, 13th in SNLVAR, and last in WXRL; ask Mary Todd Lincoln and surely she'd tell you they can't mount a convincing performance of Our American Cousin, either. Injuries to Brian Roberts, Felix Pie, and Mike Gonzalez haven't helped their cause, nor has employing hitless hacks such as Garret Atkins (.209/.261/.287) and Cesar Izturis (.225/.288/.254), but the most troubling aspect of this season is the performances of key youngsters such as Adam Jones (.249/.271/.387), Matt Wieters (.240/.314/.337), Brian Matusz (5.28 ERA, .461 SNWP), and Brad Bergesen (6.75 ERA, .352 SNWP) on whom the team's future rests.


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

Related Content:  The Streak,  The Who,  The Call-up,  Armando Galarraga

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