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May 24, 2011

Prospectus Hit List

St. Louis Supreme

by Tommy Bennett

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

1


Cardinals
29-20
6-1
.572
Up

Deuces Wild: Two victories each against the Phillies and Astros at home lead the Cardinals to the top of the list. Jake Westbrook (8.0 4 0 0 3 3) continues a roll that has him sporting a 2.78 ERA over his last six starts. Not to be outdone, fellow groundballer Kyle Lohse (8.0 6 1 1 1 3, 8.0 5 1 1 1 5) pitches another a pair of nearly identical gems, bringing his ERA down to 2.06—he has eight quality starts in ten tries. Albert Pujols hits his first home run in a month, a stretch that has his slugging percentage down below his career on-base percentage. Some have identified a possible hamstring injury as the culprit.

2


Phillies
29-18
4-3
.565
Down
Peaking: The Phils play two and a half weeks without meeting a team with a losing record and go 8-9 in that stretch. The offense doesn't help, scoring just nine runs in six games before Monday night's 10-run outburst. Monday also marks the return of Chase Utley, but he is the only member of the lineup who fails to record a hit. Perhaps the best sign of all: Utley has grit. In actual news, the four-headed beast posts a collective 42.0 36 8 8 9 35 line, which translates to a 1.71 ERA and 3.9 K/BB ratio.

3


Braves
26-23
2-4
.554
Down
Logjammin': The Braves head west and find they left their runs back in sunny Atlanta; they score just 2.3 runs per game on the week. The Diamondbacks and Angels greet them at the door with open arms and touch up stud horses like Tim Hudson (3.2 7 8 8 3 2) and Craig Kimbrel (blown save in the eleventh). Atlanta also loses Nate McLouth to the DL with an oblique injury and calls up Jordan Schafer, who hopes to show that the movie can be as good as the long-forgotten preview. McLouth's teammates Jason Heyward and Brandon Beachy are already on the DL, and Chipper Jones (right knee) and Tim Hudson (back) are flirting with the same.

4


Giants
27-19
5-1
.537
Up
Bait: Sweeps of the Dodgers in L.A. and at home versus Oakland make the Giants the hottest team in California. The 5-1 week is fueled by yet another stellar Tim Lincecum outing (9.0 3 0 0 0 6) and—finally!—a spectacular outing from Madison Bumgarner (8.2 6 1 1 2 3) that earns him his first win. As the trade rumors swirl, especially around Jose Reyes, top prospect Zach Wheeler tries to stay patient. Last year's late-season acquisition, Cody Ross, heats up, hitting .333/.478/.556 on the week.

5


Marlins
26-19
2-3
.527
Down
Miami Vise: The Marlins get squeezed by a middling Pythagorean record, and their star pitcher hits the DL with a tight shoulder. With the team's main squeeze sporting a .225 TAv, things could get uncomfortable. At least HanRamirez shows signs of life with a seven-hit, two-home-run week. Stress release comes in unpredictable places, as Javier Vazquez (7.0 3 0 0 2 7) dominates—who but?—an AL East team.

6


Rockies
23-22
2-4
.516
Up
Base Camp: The Rockies are swept in Milwaukee and go 2-4 in a week in which they outscore their opponents 22-19. Ubaldo Jimenez (8.0 2 3 2 5 4) does not yet have his fine form back despite the two-hitter, and the team is forced to turn to the likes of Clayton Mortensen (6.2 5 3 2 3 5). Jhoulys Chacin is the highlight (7.0 4 1 1 1 9), but look out for a newly hot Carlos Gonzalez, who hits .333/.368/.611 on the week. The biggest question mark for the Rockies is their odd home/road split. Only a lack of starting pitching explains this team's erratic nature.

7


Brewers
25-23
5-2
.510
Up
Old Tricks: A 5-2 week pulls the Brewers within three games of first place, their best standing since May 2. A sweep of Colorado at home and a pair of splits in two-game series in SoCal versus the Dodgers and Padres let the Brewers show off their new toys. Shaun Marcum (8.0 4 1 1 2 8) and Zack Greinke (6.0 8 4 4 0 9) pile on the strikeouts, but Yovani Gallardo (13.0 10 3 3 4 18) outshines them both. Corey Hart blasts three home runs in a game to become the first Brewer to do so since Geoff Jenkins in 2003. Never one to be left out of the fun, Prince Fielder (five XBH) adds a home run of his own to give him 11 on the year.

8


Reds
25-23
1-6
.502
Down
Black Box: The Reds hit a tough spot in their schedule as they draw the Indians and the Pirates. Edinson Volquez (8.2 10 10 9 5 12) craps the bed, calls out his teammates for failing to score runs (?), and is promptly demoted to the minors (!). Bronson Arroyo, the scion of consistency, delivers his worst outing of the year (2.2 10 9 9 1 2). Nothing in Cincinnati makes sense, but at least Jay Bruce can really hit (.444/.500/1.000 with three home runs).

9


Diamondbacks
23-23
6-0
.479
Up
Nice Kitty: The Diamondbacks' weekly record looks like the cat fell asleep in the northeast part of the keyboard, as they go undefeated against the Braves and Twins. Key to that run is the offense, which musters 5.5 runs per game. Kelly Johnson (.231/.259/.462) hits a grand slam for his fifth home run of the year, but power remains his only true weapon. Juan Miranda (.500/.571/.944) is hotter than a Havana summer, lifting his season OPS by more than 175 points. The staff is a mixed bag, surviving a bad game from Ian Kennedy (7.2 6 4 4 1 3) and benefitting from another stellar outing from the no-longer-mustachioed Josh Collmenter (6.0 2 0 0 0 1), a bizarre specimen whose two earned runs on the year are eclipsed only by his solitary walk, all in 26.0 IP between the pen and the rotation.

10


Mets
22-24
3-2
.457
Up
Take the 4 to the 7: The Mets lose the Subway Series but win the week despite being outscored 12-17. R.A. Dickey (6.0 4 1 1 3 6) outduels Freddy Garcia to silence the Yankees. Justin Turner (.368/.429/.579) continues to be the solution at second base; he strikes out just once all week. Despite moderate success on the field, the Mets are once again a laughingstock. The Times headline reads, "Madoff Trustee and Mets Owners Differ on Issue of Cooperation"—a better question might be, "With Whom Do Mets Owners Agree on Issue of Cooperation?" Fred Wilpon hits a new low by ripping his own players and devaluing his own asset. At least Mike Pelfrey is enjoying himself. Sad news as Gary Carter announces doctors have found small tumors on his brain.

11


Cubs
20-25
3-3
.437
Down
7-10 Split: The Cubs tread water during a stretch that has them playing nothing but good teams for two and a half weeks. As a reward, the Cubs have the Mets, Pirates, and Astros on their upcoming calendar. But deeper problems give rise to concern: Ryan Dempster (5.0 8 5 5 2 3) fails to put his early season woes behind him, the Matt Garza Incredible Strikeout Parade (6.0 5 3 0 4 3) reaches its lowest point of the season, and nearly any Blake DeWitt at-bat is too many.

12


Pirates
22-24
4-1
.436
Up
Jelly Roll: A good week follows a bad one, as the Pirates pick up much of the ground they lost on the hard road to .500. They do it by taking four out of five from the Reds and the Tigers, two of baseball's better teams. Jeff Karstens (6.0 3 1 1 0 4) and Kevin Correia (6.2 7 2 2 0 4) join Charlie Morton (9.0 5 0 0 2 5) in one of the better weeks for Pirate pitching in some time. Neil Walker (.263/.318/.579) keeps on hitting very well for a second baseman. The Brandon Wood experiment, however, does not go well: in 13 games with the Buccos, Wood's line stands at .217/.308/.283 with 0 HR.

13


Nationals
21-26
1-5
.424
Down
Omigosh!: Stephen Strasburg throws off the mound! Feels great! Less filling! The Nationals could use the help, as a 1-5 week all but throws them out of pretend contention (pretention?). Tom Gorzelanny (5.0 8 6 6 1 6) reminds us not to get too worked up about a half-dozen starts, as one bad outing raises his ERA from 3.56 to 4.25. The team does manage 17 runs in its one win on the week, led by Danny Espinosa (.263/.391/.632) and Wilson Ramos (.222/.318/.500), who each fell just a double shy of cycles.

14


Dodgers
21-28
2-5
.422
Down
Pulling Out: Clayton Kershaw goes six strong (6.0 4 1 1 2 7) before inexplicably being pulled—yet again—for a pinch hitter after only 84 pitches. Two-plus innings later, Kenley Jansen coughs up the lead and the game. And this is against the Astros (see below). Andre Ethier suffers the quiet desperation of a man no longer in the hit-streak spotlight: in his last 10 games, Ethier is hitting just .065/.194/.065 (good for him with the walks). At least Ted Lilly (7.0 7 3 3 0 5) shows signs of life.

15


Padres
19-29
1-6
.414
Down
Hard Times: The Padres finish an unbelievable week in which they average one run per game—their high is two. Hey, it could be worse: the Friars eked one out (1-0, natch) against the Brewers thanks to Aaron Harang (8.0 6 0 0 2 4). It's officially time to start being worried about Mat Latos (6.0 8 4 4 1 4), who has just two quality starts all season. Even the mighty Heath Bell has a dent in his armor after the Cardinals reach him for two runs in the ninth inning of a tie game.

16


Astros
18-30
3-4
.372
Up
The Big Suck: It's just May and the Astros are 10.5 games out of first in the NL Central, a division that historically has been very forgiving on unceremoniously lackluster performances. They do sneak in a series win over Toronto, mostly by stranding 20 Blue Jays baserunners in their two victories. Michael Bourn is back to his high-flying OBP and SB ways (.310/.394/.345 with 4 SB), so it's not all a drag.


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.

5 comments have been left for this article.

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