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May 3, 2005

Prospectus Hit List

Week of May 1, 2005

by Jay Jaffe

Rk Team
Overall W-L
Week W-L
Trend
Comment
1 Marlins
14-9
3-1
Up
Only given up more than four runs twice - a washed-out trio of games in Colorado didn't hurt. D-Train keeps a-rollin' all month long: 5-0, 1.29 ERA and a top-five VORP among pitchers. Surprisingly useful: Juan Encarnacion, hitting .288/.380/.538.
2 Orioles
17-7
5-0
Up
Victorious in eight straight, and continuing to sock away wins with majors' most potent offense (6.0 runs a game, .297 Equivalent Average). Homers in four straight for Miguel Tejada, now hitting .374/.417/.737.
3 Dodgers
16-8
3-3
Down
Newton's Third Law of Early Season Statistics holds that for every hot streak comes an equally brutal slump, but the Dodgers survived a 1-6 skid to reclaim NL West lead. More Newton: since his 0-for-25 start, J.D. Drew is hitting .368/.506/.632.
4 White Sox
18-7
3-3
Down
Patched infielder shortage with an unlikely cast: Jermaine Dye and Joe Crede at shortstop, Chris Widger at third base, and within a hair's breadth of activating manager Ozzie Guillen, who might have sacrificed with nobody on just to show us chumps how it's done. Ominous and not completely unrelated sign: team .318 OBP (24th).
5 Twins
15-9
5-2
Down
Johan Santana's unbeaten string ends at 17, but things are hardly bleak. Sizzling return from the DL for Justin Morneau (.414/.400/.655 ), Jacque Jones ranks second in Equivalent Average among AL hitters (.361), and Joe Nathan has yet to yield either a run or a walk. Late sour note: Juan Rincon's positive test puts him on the shelf for 10 days.
6 Cardinals
15-8
3-3
Down
The big bats get the attention, but staff ERA of 3.34 is fourth-best in majors, and Matt Morris (2.12 ERA, 19/3 K/BB in 17 innings) looks considerably improved over last year's model.
7 Red Sox
13-11
2-3
Down
Offense is clicking, second in majors at 5.67 runs/game. Rotation is considerably thinner with David Wells and Curt Schilling on the DL, not to mention "Charles" Bronson Arroyo's pending suspension for tough-guy antics.
8 Braves
15-10
4-2
Up
Succeeding despite poor performance of Brian Jordan-Andruw Jones-Raul Mondesi outfield of doom (.225/.284/.364). Starters ERA is now only 2.83, led by Mike Hampton (1.67), who's also hitting .357.
9 Tigers
11-12
4-2
Up
Tied for second in AL in Defensive Efficiency Ratio. Please take note of Exavier Prente "Nook" Logan--names this great don't come around often, and at .396/.420/.542, neither do good times like these.
10 Nationals
13-11
4-2
Up
Starter John Patterson is fourth in NL in ERA (1.65) and sixth among MLB pitchers in VORP (13.9). And while complaints about the grounds crew at RFK may be valid, it's far better to fold a tarp unsuccessfully in springtime than to fold the tent successfully in fall.
11 Giants
13-11
5-1
Up
Armando Benitez wins the Meat Falling Off the Bone award for this week's most visceral injury description. With last year's bullpen horror fresh in mind, his absence hurts the entire team on multiple levels. On a brighter note, their 5.21 runs/game is second-best in NL.
12 Astros
10-13
2-3
Down
Offense continues to sputter--second-fewest HR in all of majors--but Lance Berkman could be in lineup by Friday. On the downside, Roy Oswalt's sprained foot puts a dent in a rotation that's kept them afloat during drought.
13 Blue Jays
14-12
5-1
Up
Last week's winners of the Golden Anvil award for the biggest fall in the rankings get the Platinum Jet-Pack award this week for soaring up ten notches, not to mention the satisfaction of spanking the Yankees in the Bronx. Who needs walks when you're hitting .400? Not Shea Hillenbrand (.410/.438/.552, one free pass).
14 Mets
12-13
2-4
Down
Cliff Floyd (.368/.430/.632) is putting the hurt on somebody else for a change, but Victor Zambrano (5.81 ERA, 5.81 BB/9) and Tom Glavine (5.67 ERA, 5.33 BB/9) are just painful to watch.
15 Diamondbacks
15-10
4-2
Down
Roughed up the Dodgers to grab the NL West lead, then gave it right back. For a team that lost 111 last year, that counts as progress. Doing nicely: Brad Halsey, acquired in Randy Johnson deal (3.21 ERA, 18 K and only two walks in 28 innings).
16 Cubs
12-12
3-3
Down
Neifi Perez (.366/.408/.549) is A) inhabiting Bizarro World; B) possessed by the spirit of Honus Wagner; or C) discreetly peeking back at the catcher for pitch locations. We shave with Occam's Razor around here, and await the pitcher who sends Neifi sprawling for his wayward glances. Bad news: Kerry Wood to DL for shoulder tendonitis, out three weeks.
17 Angels
14-11
3-3
Down
Nice rebound from Bartolo Colon, who blanked Twins for 7.1 innings after surrendering three homers to Alex Rodriguez and 10 runs (five earned) in previous start. Lost on the interstate between Los Angeles and Anaheim (or is it Los Angeles?): Steve Finley (.149/.227/.322).
18 Mariners
12-13
3-3
Flat
It's Ichiro Suzuki, Richie Sexson and the Seven Dwarves - the M's are tied for last in AL with just 16 homers, spread out among only five players. Backstopped: Miguel Olivo and Dan Wilson "hitting" a combined .155/.191/.190.
19 Brewers
11-13
4-2
Up
Insane week for Lyle Overbay (.818/.857/1.909 in just 14 plate appearances) helped to offset 2-fo-25 tailspin for Carlos Lee. Meanwhile, J.J. Hardy looks ready for a trip to Nashville (.148/.278/.180), and we don't mean the Grand Ole Opry.
20 Padres
11-14
3-3
Flat
Padre opponents have hit just .200/.278/.284 with three HR in Petco, compared to .306/.361/.497 with 17 HR elsewhere, and that includes only two games in Colorado.
21 Athletics
13-12
4-2
Flat
Eric Chavez (.208/.294/.323), Jason Kendall (.247/.320/.280) and leftfield platoon of Eric Byrnes and Charles Thomas (.157/.263/.253) are the worst offenders in an offense that ranks last in the AL in scoring (3.60 runs/game) and EqA (.236).
22 Rangers
12-14
2-4
Down
Department of doubletakes: David Dellucci tied for ML lead with 22 walks, in only 80 plate appearances. Whatever he's selling, Alfonso Soriano still ain't buying (4 walks in 115 PA).
23 Yankees
10-15
2-4
Down
Alex Rodriguez (.429/.520/1.190/5 HR) aside, Yanks hit .233/.297/.301/1 HR on the week, scoring only 12 runs in the five games outside Tuesday's historic spectacle. Posted first losing April since 1991, the year Bernie Williams was a rookie hitting .238/.336/.350. Through Sunday, he's at .236/.317/.303. The more things change...
24 Indians
9-15
1-4
Down
This week's Golden Anvil winner, falling nine spots. It's nice to hand out long-term deals to key players, but much nicer to see some return on that investment before this year is written off. Positive sign: C.C. Sabathia's 0.92 ERA through three starts since returning from the DL.
25 Phillies
11-14
3-3
Up
Powerless in Philly: Jim Thome (.203/.347/.304) is just one of six regulars slugging under .400, with only Pat Burrell (.553) and part-timers Chase Utley (.519) and Kenny Lofton (.510) showing some muscle.
26 Reds
10-14
1-5
Down
Uncle, Milton! Gopher-prone starter has allowed 10 homers--four in Wrigley last Monday--in 26.2 innings while posting a 6.75 ERA. Keystone flops: D'Angelo Jimenez and Rich Aurilia hitting a combined .209/.276/.295/-2.9 VORP.
27 Rockies
6-16
0-4
Up
Staff issued 23 walks in three-game sweep by Dodgers, descending below 1.0 K/BB ratio and prompting jealousy out of Clint Hurdle for George Stallings' fate.
28 Devil Rays
8-17
0-6
Down
Welcome to a winless week. Sweet Lou might enjoy opening a can of Whoop Ass on Curt Schilling, but this team has more urgent problems that require a manager's attention. Like starters (6.36 ERA, 4.38 BB/9, 4.88 K/9), for starters.
29 Royals
7-18
2-4
Flat
Grand slam for Ken Harvey in his third game up from Omaha may have temporarily vindicated decision to farm out Calvin Pickering, but it didn't budge them from their lofty perch here. Bright spot: Rule V draftee Andrew Sisco, who's struck out 20, allowed only 15 baserunners and two runs in 18 innings out of the bullpen.
30 Pirates
8-15
2-3
Flat
Scoring over one run per game less than the next-worst NL team (2.96, compared to the Braves' 4.00) and sporting a team OBP of .299, slightly lower than the PECOTA projection for the cast and crew for Pirates of the Caribbean II--and yes, that includes 62-year-old Keith Richards, who's no Julio Franco.

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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