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April 26, 2005

Prospectus Hit List

Week of April 24, 2005

by Jay Jaffe

Rk Team
Overall W- L
Week W- L
Trend
Comment
1 Dodgers
13-5
4-3
Flat
Maintain top spot despite Rocky weekend in Colorado. En fuego week for Milton Bradley (.433/.469/.800 plus a game-winning HR vs. Milwaukee). Hot start by team will continue to buy ailing pitchers time; Sunday's solid outing from Brad Penny the first happy return.
2 Marlins
11-8
5-2
Flat
Staff continues to smother hitters (2.27 ERA, .595 OPS allowed), with Josh Beckett and Dontrelle Willis combining for 7-1 record with 1.26 ERA.
3White Sox
15-4
7-0
Up
Ran the table with seven straight wins. AL's top defense (per Defensive Efficiency Ratio of .729) holding up its end of the deal for Ozzie Guillen. Highest starter ERA: Jose Contreras with 3.48.
4Twins
10-7
2-3
Down
Starting rotation putting up off-the-charts 7.4 K/BB ratio, getting a boost with quick return of Carlos Silva (7 IP, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K vs. Tigers). New stadium on the horizon?
5Cardinals
12-5
6-1
Up
Strong week from Mark Mulder (18 innings, 6 hits, 0 earned runs) should keep vultures at bay. Albert Pujols (.357/.419/.571 on the week) starting to hit like Albert Pujols.
6Red Sox
11-8
4-3
Up
David Wells rounding into form with a string of 15 shutout innings, but the real love is showered on Tim Wakefield with "lifetime" club option.
7Orioles
12-7
4-3
Down
Not quite so willing to hunker down in third place as the beasts from the East would prefer. Sammy Sosa starting to look comfortable, while Brian Roberts (.364/.456/.727, a career-high 7 HR) might give Brady Anderson a run for his money.
8Mets
10-9
4-3
Up
Victor Diaz's insane week (.409/.552/.909) vaults him into VORP top 10. Pedro Martinez continues to dominate NL hitters: 29 IP, 11 hits allowed, 4 walks, 38 strikeouts, 2.17 ERA, 99.8 pitches per start. These aren't Art Howe's Mets.
9Astros
8-10
3-4
Down
Maintain high ranking due to ability to prevent runs, though inability to score, particularly for Roger Clemens (no runs in 33 innings, only one win despite 0.32 ERA in 28 innings), keeps their record sub-.500. Good news: Lance Berkman is headed to extended spring training and may begin rehab assignment by weekend.
10Braves
11-8
5-2
Up
Pitching staff rounding into shape under Leo Mazzone, with 2nd-best ERA in majors (2.90) and Tim Hudson looking especially at home (0.96 ERA in 28 innings, 6.1 K/9). Larry Jones is feeling Chipper with majors' top Equivalent Average of .397.
11Angels
11-8
5-2
Up
Cold corner: Angel third basemen hitting a combined .149/.194/.269, with Dallas McPherson (3-for- 19) yet to get on track. Meanwhile, another excellent bullpen is shaping up (2.30 ERA, 7.6 K/9 in 62.2 innings) with Francisco Rodriguez yet to walk a batter while striking out 14.
12Cubs
9-9
3-3
Up
Oh, Nomar! Garciaparra's torn groin muscle (eeeuch) exposes team's weak bench and folly of catering to Dusty Baker's whims. Hello, Neifi, goodbye sunshine.
13Nationals
10-9
2-5
Down
At current pace of 32,014 fans per home game at RFK, the Nats will surpass last season's Expo attendance on June 2, their 24th home game.
14Diamondbacks
11-8
5-2
Up
Bright spots: Troy Glaus leads NL in HR with 6, first good outing from Javier Vazquez (7 innings, 0 runs), who remains only starter with ERA over 4.00.
15Indians
8-11
3-4
Flat
Hard luck: Jake Westbrook and Kevin Millwood both winless despite combined 3.86 ERA in eight starts, thanks to offense with fourth-worst EqA in majors (.241). Hidden no-hitter by reliever Rafael Betancourt (9.1 hitless innings to start the season) ended last Monday.
16Tigers
7-10
2-3
Down
Snowtown: blizzard wipes out weekend pair with Twins. Carlos Guillen picks up where he left off (.400/.458/.554) after MVP-caliber season.
17Rangers
10-10
4-3
Down
Winner of the Golden Spacebar Fixed-Width Table Award for being first team to double digit wins AND losses. Closer Francisco Cordero (1.93 ERA) aside, rest of bullpen has been a nightmare (7.14 ERA) thus far.
18Mariners
9-10
3-4
Down
Adrian Beltre hitting a chilly .247/.282/.315, Richie Sexson a frigid .213/.294/.475. With ineffectiveness (Gil Meche and Joel Pineiro both above 6.00 ERA) and injury (Bobby Madritsch and likely Meche) at the back of the rotation, how long before BP's #3 Top Prospect Felix Hernandez gets the call?
19Giants
8-10
2-5
Down
Return of Moises Alou should boost sagging production of outfield. No such remedies are apparent for pitching staff (5.01 ERA).
20Padres
8-11
3-4
Up
Jeckyl and Hyde rotation: 2.01 combined ERA from Jake Peavy and Adam Eaton, 6.43 from Tim Redding, Brian Lawrence and Woody Williams. Second- worst Defensive Efficiency Ratio in NL (.680) isn't helping.
21Athletics
9-10
3-4
Flat
Rich Harden continues to impress with microscopic ERA (0.44) and good K/9 (9.3), but so long as Barry Zito (6.94 ERA) and hitters (AL-worst EqA of .233) lag, they'll struggle.
22Yankees
8-11
4-3
Up
Free Wang! Already-hemorrhaging starting rotation (5.32 ERA) "loses" Jaret Wright to DL (torn scar tissue in shoulder), while offense "loses" Ruben Sierra (partially torn biceps) as well. Yankees will dip into farm system to give prospects--utilityman Andy Phillips (who homered on Sunday), reliever Colter Bean, and starter Chien-Ming Wang--their long-awaited shots.
23Blue Jays
9-11
1-6
Down
Plummeted a whopping 19 rungs down the ladder in one week. Five-game skid might have been anticipated when Gregg Zaun--central casting's busiest backup catcher--emerged as the team's top hitter (.333/.437/.561) .
24Brewers
7-11
2-5
Down
Rough week: blew six-run lead over Dodgers, lost Ben Sheets to an inner ear infection. Shortstop J.J. Hardy struggling at .130/.259/.174.
25Reds
9-9
3-4
Flat
Split decision in crowded outfield: Adam Dunn and Wily Mo Pena hitting a combined .312/.390/.763 with 9 homers, while Austin Kearns and Ken Griffey, Jr. are a combined .212/305/.289 with 1 homer. Ouch.
26Devil Rays
8-11
4-3
Flat
Eduardo Perez had the week of his life, with two homers off of Randy Johnson and game- winning pinch-HR vs. Red Sox. Meanwhile, Up ton: top prospect has 12 errors in 18 games at shortstop in Triple-A.
27Phillies
8-11
2-5
Down
Jon Lieber 4-0, 2.73 ERA. Rest of staff: 4 -11, 5.76 ERA. Gavin Floyd (14.14 ERA, 12 BB, 4 K) demoted to minors.
28Rockies
6-12
4-3
Up
Like the long-running midnight movie staple, the Rocky Horror Bullpen Show continues: relievers a combined 1-7, 9.12 ERA, and nearly three Reliever Expected Wins Added (WXRL) worse than next team (-3.715 to -0.788 for Philadelphia). Byung-Hyun Kim (0-3, 9.64) fitting in all too well.
29Royals
5-14
1-6
Down
Demoted Calvin Pickering to Omaha after only 31 plate appearances (.148/.226/.259). Welcome to the no-plan plan.
30Pirates
6-12
2-4
Down
Like your mother telling you to zip up that jacket in the cold for the umpteenth time, we're prone to reminding you that April is too early to judge the true quality of a ballclub. This is not one of those times.

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 Sunday.

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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