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June 11, 2010

Prospectus Hit List

Beasts of the East

by Jay Jaffe

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

1


Rays
39-21
3-3
.638
Flat
The Jingleheimer Schmidt Factor: John Jaso goes 3-for-5 with a double, a homer and five RBI while leading off and DHing, a novel solution to the Rays' sudden glut of catchers. With Dioner Navarro (.204/.284/.276) and Kelly Shoppach (.211/.360/.263) both scuffling before and after the latter's trip to the DL due to a knee sprain, Jaso's providing the offense with a nice shot in the arm, hitting .298/.413/.452 with an 11/19 K/BB ratio. Meanwhile, Carlos Peņa bashes five homers in a four-game span; he's fifth in the league in dingers (13) and 11th in walks (33) but still mired below the Mendoza Line (.186/.306/.412).

2


Yankees
37-23
3-3
.635
Down
Swish Smash: Nick Swisher homers, doubles and collects five RBI in a rout of the Orioles. Thanks to reworking his swing with hitting coach Kevin Long, he's been the Yankees' second-most productive hitter this year, batting .305/.393/.537 for a .324 True Average, good for seventh in the league. Meanwhile, the man who ranks fourth at .346, Robinson Cano, collects three hits in three straight games and now has 11 multi-hit games in a 15-game span. His .376/.419/.616 line has him in the top three in all three triple slash categories. Also hot: Javier Vazquez, who takes a no-hit bid into the seventh against the Blue Jays and now has a 2.73 ERA in five starts and one relief appearance since taking an 11-day break from the rotation.

3


Twins
35-25
4-2
.579
Up
Slow Train Coming: Kevin Slowey continues to roll, tossing seven shutout innings against the Royals. He's allowed just four runs over his last four starts and ranks 24th in the league with a .546 SNWP; Carl Pavano and Francisco Liriano rank even higher; the latter is 11th in SNWP (.597) and ERA (3.10), not to mention third in strikeouts per nine (9.4).

4


Red Sox
35-27
4-3
.565
Flat
Laptop Thief on the High SIERA: Clay Buchholz winds up on opposite ends of a pair of 11-0 blowouts this week, shutting out the Orioles, then getting beaten by the Indians, though the real damage in the latter contest comes against the bullpen. Buchholz has strung together six straight quality starts via a 1.48 ERA, and his .593 SNWP ranks first on the team after Jon Lester's shellacking. He's fifth in the league with a 2.52 ERA overall, but SIERA suggests that figure could be two runs higher due to his 1.5 K/BB ratio.

5


Blue Jays
34-27
3-3
.559
Down
Cecil the Stopper: Brett Cecil holds the Yankees and the Rays to one run apiece in his two starts, halting the Blue Jays' three-game losing streak in the latter. He's allowed just six runs over his last five starts (35.1 innings) and ranks an impressive fifth in the league in SNWP. The Jays' front three (Shaun Marcum, Ricky Romero and Cecil) have been outstanding, but the real question regarding their season is whether the offense can maintain its torrid pace.

6


Rangers
33-27
5-2
.546
Up
Smoakin' Hot: Justin Smoak goes 3-for-3 with a homer to help the Rangers take a three-game set from the Rays and maintain their AL West lead. Smoak's hitting .400/.514/.667 thus far in June, and while his overall line is just .222/.339/.389, he's second on the team in walks despite not debuting until April 23. Meanwhile, Josh Hamilton is in see-ball, hit-ball mode, having not walked since May 25. Not that anyone's complaining as he homers four times for the week, raising his line to .436/.450/.846 this month even while battling knee inflammation.

7


Tigers
30-29
2-4
.519
Down
Tigers in the Tank: Outscored 36-19 on the week, the Tigers' run differential slides into the red. The D-Train may be a D-Back, but the rotation as a unit remains a dismal 13th in the league in SNLVAR due to even worse performances from their promising young bucks. Rick Porcello is tagged for 14 runs in 8.2 innings across two disaster starts, bumping his ERA up to 6.09. He's striking out just 4.0 per nine and has been scorched for a .346 BABIP while yielding a .324/.380/.476 overall line to opposing hitters. Meanwhile, Max Scherzer's 6.30 ERA is even higher than Porcello's, though at least he's missing bats at a clip of 7.5 per nine.

8


Athletics
32-30
3-4
.499
Up
Walking the Ill-Conceived Walk: A 3-6 skid knocks the A's down to third place in the AL West, and they can thank manager Bob Geren for one loss, as his innovative stratagem of intentionally walking ailing pinch hitter Justin Morneau to put the potential winning run on base with one out, nobody on, and the score tied in the ninth backfires like a Wile E. Coyote gambit. On a positive note, Trevor Cahill spins his sixth consecutive quality start; he's now 10th in the league in SNWP at .601.

9


Angels
33-30
5-2
.471
Up
Go Go Godzilla: Hideki Matsui homers twice in a three-game sweep of the Mariners as the Angels climb above .500 for the first time since April 28. Matsui has already got six multi-hit games this month while hitting .400/.467/.625. Also heating up is Erick Aybar, who enjoys two four-hit games within a four-day span, joining Mike Napoli in quatro-splendorificness in the former and falling a homer short of the cycle in the latter; he's on a 15-for-33 tear. The Angels will need much more of the same, as they still rank just ninth in the league with a .255 True Average.

10


White Sox
26-33
3-3
.451
Flat
This week on As the Sox Droop, the South Side's long-running soap opera: Ozzie Guillen takes umbrage when the team drafts son Ozney-no, not the one with the Twitter account-- in the 22nd round because his bonus won't be high enough; after all, Kenny Williams Jr. went in the sixth round two years ago. Meanwhile, Kenny Williams Sr. threatens to break the bums up, with A.J. Pierzynski, Paul Konerko, Bobby Jenks and J.J. Putz some of the likely trade candidates. Pierzynski, despite suffering an acute case of bat death (.221/.258/.343), has been linked to the Rangers, but he becomes a 10/5 man next week and could refuse a trade. Konerko has been linked to the Angels in the wake of Kendry Morales' injury, and the relievers to the Phillies given Brad Lidge's infirmities, leaving open the question as to which sucker will take Juan Pierre (.253/.315/.279) off their hands.

11


Royals
25-36
3-3
.437
Up
Zack Rocked: Zack Greinke is battered for six runs in five innings by the Twins. It's his second disaster start out of four; he's yielded 18 earned runs in 20.1 innings during that span, bumping his ERA from 2.72 to 4.05. The Royals have lost eight of his last nine starts, scoring less than three runs per game for him, and he still has just the one win. No need to clear a spot on the mantle for that second Cy Young award just yet, but at least the Royals are 13-13 on interim skipper Ned Yost's watch.

12


Mariners
23-37
1-6
.406
Down
Deposed King: As the Mariners' ship to nowhere continues to sail onward, it's worth admiring the weirdness afoot in their rotation. The team boasts three pitchers in the Support Neutral Winning Percentage top 10, none of them named Felix Hernandez. Doug Fister (.647) ranks third in the league, not to mention second in ERA (2.45), though he's now on the DL with shoulder fatigue. Cliff Lee (.622) is sixth while boasting an astounding 57/4 K/BB ratio, and Jason Vargas (.604) is ninth. As for Hernandez, he's 25th at .545, to little or no avail; the Mariners have lost eight of his last nine starts, giving him just 21 runs of support during that span.

13


Indians
23-36
4-3
.393
Up
It Never Rains, But It Pours: Having received just 20 runs of support from his offensively challenged team in his previous eight starts, Justin Masterson gets 21 in his two starts for the week. He works around six walks in a 10-1 drubbing of the White Sox, then throws a two-hit shutout at his former team as the Indians pile up 11 runs. They add eight more against the Red Sox the next night, rallying back from an early 5-0 deficit and a blown save by Kerry Wood to take a split in the four-game series.

14


Orioles
17-43
2-4
.325
Down
New Bird on the Block: The Orioles' losing streak reaches 10---two on interim manager Juan Samuel's watch-before they stop the bleeding with an 11-inning win over Boston. The Birds then collect the second win of the Samuel era as they debut Jake Arrieta, who tosses six innings of three-run ball against the Yankees in his major-league debut, walking four but whiffing six, and taking advantage of his team's first multi-run inning since May 22. The Orioles' third-best prospect coming into the year, Arrieta's also the third member of their presumptive future big three along with Brian Matusz (5.10 ERA, .4666 SNWP) and Chris Tillman (5.54 ERA, .399 SNWP), both of whom have taken their lumps as the O's remain in last place in the SNLVAR rankings.


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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