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September 6, 2006

Prospectus Hit List

Week of September 3

by Jay Jaffe

If it's Tuesday, this must be... home? The past two and a half months have been a blur for me, a string of seven out of ten weekends away from home for everything from weddings to funerals and milestone birthdays to miles into the Wyoming wilderness. Catching up on baseball isn't always easy under these conditions, but thanks to a patchwork of Baseball Tonight, an Internet-capable cell phone (nearly as fast as my parents' 56K modem) and a dog-eared pile of out-of-town newspapers, my latest ten-day absence has left me with just enough notes to get through a quickie Hit List in the service of the rankings while cobbling away at something I think my readers will enjoy: a helpful look at Hit List history that will run later this week. Until then...
RkTeam
Overall W-L
Week W-L
Hit List Factor
Trend
Comment

1


Yankees
81-54
4-2
.605
Up
Topping the list for the first time since June 6, but not all the news is good. Poor, poor Carl Pavano is hurt again (this time as the result of a car crash) and probably done as a Yankee.

2


Tigers
84-53
2-4
.599
Down
Jim Leyland pauses a tirade to honor America, and by the time he's done, the Tigers have surrendered the top spot for first time since June 13. Maybe first-round pick Andrew Miller can help.

3


Mets
84-51
5-2
.587
Up
It wasn't pretty, but Tom Glavine's return is most welcome for a team that's virtually clinched a spot in the postseason (no lower than 99.99870 percent since August 25).

4


White Sox
79-57
3-3
.564
Down
Neck-and-neck with the Twins for the Wild Card, but currently on the short end as far as the Postseason Odds Report is concerned, because they play 15 of their final 26 on the road, including a final-weekend showdown with the Twins in the Hefty Bag.

5


Twins
78-57
2-4
.556
Down
Francisco Liriano could be in the rotation as early as next Thursday, but Brad Radke's got a stress fracture in his shoulder, as if the torn labrum and shredded rotator cuff weren't enough. Still, the Postseason Odds Report likes their chances better than those of the White Sox.

6


Dodgers
73-63
5-1
.540
Up
Derek Lowe pulls double duty as the Dodgers reel off seven straight wins and give themselves a bit of a cushion in the NL West.

7


Blue Jays
71-66
2-5
.538
Down
Alex Rios leaves the Blue Jays to take up juggling, quite a surprise given that his team has been doing all it can to maintain a circus-like atmosphere.

8


Athletics
79-57
5-1
.538
Up
A 21-6 August gives the A's a big leg up in the AL West and enables them to (finally) pass the Angels and Rangers on the Hit List; they can look to getting Huston Street and Rich Harden back soon.

9


Indians
65-70
5-1
.534
Up
Subbing for injured Travis Hafner, Kevin Kouzmanoff does his best Pronk imitation, hitting a grand slam on his first major league pitch.

10


72-65
3-3
.530
Down
Their postseason hopes are petering out by the day, having fallen from 24.7 percent on August 19 to 6.9 percent on Sunday despite a projected win total that's increased in that span.

11


Rangers
70-68
3-3
.525
Flat
In spite of a .305/.344/.517 month from deadline acquisition Carlos Lee, the Rangers are headed towards virtual elimination according to the Postseason Odds Report, their playoff chances having fallen below 1.0 percent.

12


Red Sox
73-64
2-5
.518
Down
Everything Falls Apart: Jon Lester has non-Hodgkins lymphoma, David Ortiz is hospitalized and misses eight games due to an irregular heartbeat, Manny Ramirez misses 10 out of 11 due to patellar tendonitis, Curt Schilling has a strained latissimus dorsi, Jonathan Papelbon is headed for an MRI on his shoulder... and the list goes on. Cue the entry of Kevin Jarvis and book golf dates for October.

13


Padres
70-66
4-2
.518
Up
Kevin Towers calls for the Boomer Schooner, bringing back David Wells for a final sunset cruise.

14


Cardinals
73-62
4-2
.508
Up
Wounded Birds: David Eckstein remains sidelined by a strained oblique, Mark Mulder is headed for surgery, and Jim Edmonds has been limited to seven AB since August 12 due to post-concussive syndrome.

15


Giants
68-69
3-3
.501
Flat
A four-homer week suggests that Barry Bonds is feeling better than he has all year, and the Giants' Postseason Odds have climbed back into double digits.

16


Phillies
69-68
4-4
.498
Up
Ryan Howard breaks Mike Schmidt's single-season home run record for a Phil, then scores a hat trick as the Phils remain in the Wild Card hunt, but he's no MVP. Now Jeff Conine, on the other hand...

17


Astros
67-70
4-2
.495
Up
Roy Oswalt signs a five year, $73 million contract that sets a new market and opens the 'Stros to all kinds of risks.

18


Marlins
68-68
5-2
.495
Up
The Marlins reach .500 and assert themselves as Wild Card contenders, prompting Joe Sheehanto ask why Miguel Cabrera isn't getting more MVP consideration.

19


Braves
65-71
4-3
.492
Down
Marcus Giles endures a heart scare, and while he's apparently OK, the Braves aren't so Chipper these days.

20


Rockies
63-73
2-4
.490
Down
Last year's first-round pick Troy Tulowitzki debuts and by week's end enjoys a 4-for-4 day; if Clint Barmes didn't threaten to go on an all-venison diet to protest the move, his .608 OPS suggests he ought to consider it.

21


Reds
68-69
1-5
.483
Down
More Dead Than Red: Cincy's on a 1-8 skid since tying the Cardinals for first place in the NL Central, and have fallen below .500 for the first time all year. You want a toe? Ken Griffey Jr. can get you a toe, believe me. There are ways, Dude.

22


Mariners
64-72
3-3
.475
Flat
Rafael Soriano takes a Vladimir Guerrero liner in the head, though the laws of physics say it could have been much worse.

23


Diamondbacks
64-72
1-5
.472
Down
Too snakebitten even for Joe Sheehan's tastes.

24


Brewers
62-75
0-7
.447
Down
A ten-game losing streak spells the end of any longshot Wild Card hopes the Brew Crew was harboring.

25


Orioles
61-75
2-4
.442
Down
And the Second Jeff Conine Epoch ends with every bit the fanfare that the first one did. Which means you can probably wait to break the news to your lone O's-rooting friend until after he wakes up.

26


Nationals
59-77
4-2
.439
Up
Frank Robinson is at a loss for words to describe the vortex of suck produced by Tony Armas Jr., but he'll tell you where to stick that poll.

27


Cubs
55-81
1-5
.415
Down
Michael Barrett's latest injury is pretty much the Cubs season in a nutshell.

28


Pirates
54-83
4-2
.410
Up
"Now that's the Shawn Chacon in the catalog!"

29


Devil Rays
55-82
3-3
.407
Flat
Top prospect Delmon Young is drilled in his major league debut, then homers later in the game and ends his first week in the bigs hitting .355/.364/.613.

30


Royals
51-87
4-2
.386
Up
The Royals take series from both AL Wild Card contenders for the week, as Dan Fox contemplates the mysteries of Mark Teahan and Kevin Goldstein continues to salivate over Luke Hochevar and Alex Gordon.


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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