CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Lies, Damned Lies: Sno... (04/13)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: W... (10/04)
Next Column >>
Prospectus Hit List: T... (04/20)
Next Article >>
Prospectus Q&A: Tim Wi... (04/15)

April 13, 2007

Prospectus Hit List

Friday the 13th Edition

by Jay Jaffe

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

Welcome to the Friday edition of the Hit List, and thanks to those of you who expressed concern about its whereabouts when Tuesday came and went with nary a potshot at Eric Milton. We're working with a new timeslot that should help this author maintain some much-needed sanity through summer travels (I like weekends, too). Small sample sizes abound in this first regular season edition of the list, and we haven't yet let these teams outrun those pesky PECOTAs that produced our preseason rankings; the "week" column below is their projected won-loss record, which has also been factored into the current rankings. It's too early to jump to conclusions about the young season; better to just kick back and give thanks for InDemand going extra innings to keep us stuffed to the gills with baseball. And speaking of thanks, take a moment to remember Jackie Robinson's courage this weekend, a reminder that sometimes baseball gives us the best that human achievement has to offer.
RkTeam
Overall W-L
Week W-L
Hit List Factor
Trend
Comment

1


6-3
86-76
.677
Up
The Mets open the season with a statement-making sweep of the team that ended their 2006, but as cold as it is, that dish doesn't classify as revenge. The pitching staff has held opponents to a 2.39 ERA and 54 hits in 79 innings. The 40 walks in that span are cause for alarm, particularly the seven that came from Oliver Perez, who remains as enigmatic as ever.

2


4-2
90-72
.637
Up
Snow Job: a blizzard wipes out the Indians' four-game set with the Mariners, including a game that was one strike away from being official (Clue #1: when the hitters think Paul Byrd is Johan Santana, conditions are unplayable). That's no consolation for Victor Martinez and his strained quad, though it may be karmic restoration for the Indians forcing a few too many SufferFests on their fans. The wandering Tribe is forced to pound Bud in Milwaukee for their series against the Angels.

3


6-3
86-76
.637
Up
Chris Young is getting the headlines for his contract, his coursework and his confounding of expectations, but the real story here is the bullpen. Thus far, they've tossed 28.1 scoreless frames and allowed just 16 baserunners. Meanwhile, freshly inked Adrian Gonzalez--Young's Texas trade-mate--has picked up where he's left off, hitting .314/.375/.600.

4


6-4
86-76
.587
Up
No Cucamongaphobia: Jered Weaver and Bartolo Colon sailed through their rehabs for the Halos' High-A club--Weaver returns on April 16, Colon heads to Salt Lake City--and anytime I get to mention Rancho Cucamonga and make a 30-something-year-old Sesame Street reference in the same sentence, it's a good day. The real story is the Angels' reminder that there's no such thing as too much pitching, not when nominal sixth and seventh starters Joe Saunders and Dustin Moseley have combined to allow six runs in 24.1 innings.

5


5-4
86-77
.585
Up
Ben Sheets makes an Opening Day statement with a 104 pitch two-hitter, and freshly profiled Geoff Jenkins is off to a flying start (.400/.455/.767), though Ned Yost appears to be letting nominal platoonmate Kevin Mench steal at-bats from Corey Hart. Meanwhile, in the 'Now It Can Be Told' department (RIP Kilgore Trout): a much-ballyhooed rookie's one-game cameo last summer was a product of draconian rules governing the introduction of new mascots. Wurst ruling ever...

6


5-4
79-83
.574
Up
How to Recognize a Small Sample Size, Lesson #476: "Royce Clayton" and "torrid" can credibly appear in the same sentence, as the Toronto shortstop is hitting .364/.440/.545 so far. Second baseman Aaron Hill is even hotter (.387/.441/.645 ), but the real question is whether this new double-play combo required Hill to get a divorce from his bride, Russ Adams, who's slated for a summer in Syracuse. Or maybe Hill's a practicing bigamist; for all I know that kind of thing may fly north of the border...

7


7-2
82-80
.572
Up
Bobby Cox's bunch is back to being the bullies of the NL East, taking three straight series from intradivision rivals. Jeff Francoeur's hitting .313/.333/.594 (yes, he's already drawn that elusive first walk), Tim Hudson looks like the guy in the catalog (0.64 ERA and just five hits allowed in 14 ininngs), and Kyle Davies comes up big with injuries sidelining Lance Cormier and Mike Hampton, the latter for the whole season. Was that Colorado school that enticed Hampton so much back in 2001 built on an ancient Indian burial ground? The tally on his contract so far is $80 million for 17.7 WARP3, and $28 million for nothing but rehab in 2006-2007.

8


4-4
92-70
.564
Down
Despite failing to get five innings from any of their starters the first time through the patched-up rotation (combined ERA 9.97; first quality start: Carl Pavano), not to mention some spottiness afield, the Bronx Bombers outhit most of their mistakes; yes, they already have the AL's best run differential. Leading the way is Alex Rodriguez with six homers in a seven-game span, answering all those nagging questions the best way possible: with his bat, not his mouth.

9


5-4
71-91
.551
Up
Will Ferrell's stint masquerading as Adam Dunn (.176/.307/.346 over the final two months last year) has apparently come to an end. The big Red's hitting .353/.436/.735 with four dingers so far, and has even made three appearances in the #2 spot in the order. Meanwhile, Josh Hamilton bops his first two major league homers, and if you're scoring at home, this appears to be another feather in the cap for Krivsky the Good, the GM who snagged Bronson Arroyo and Brandon Phillips on the cheap last spring. As opposed to Krivsky the Bad, who's probably phoning the Marlins about Jorge Julio this very minute.

10


7-3
88-74
.538
Flat
Blessedly teal-free for the first time in their history, the Snakes have already put together the majors' longest winning streak (six games) despite Chris B. Young joining Carlos Quentin and Randy Johnson on the shelf due to a groin strain. Leading the way is the rotation, which has put together a 2.69 ERA thus far, with special guest Micah Owings (1.59 ERA in 11.1 innings) making a strong case to stick with the big club, even after Johnson returns.

11


4-4
91-71
.538
Down
He didn't win his Fenway debut, but thus far Daisuke Matsuzaka's been all that and a bag of rice chips, putting up a 2.57 ERA and 14/2 K/BB ratio in 14 innings, and even unveiling the gyroball. Josh Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon have answered some early questions about their expectations as well, though it's worth noting the latter has just two appearances to date. On the other side, the Boston offense is distinctly lacking in sock; aside from J.D. Drew (.393/.419/.571), they're hitting just .219/.308/.326.

12


5-4
80-82
.533
Up
Miguel Cabrera's crushing a lot (.406/.512/.906), and Mike Jacobs is looking more like the September 2005 model than last year's disappointment, but Hanley Ramirez's hammy is already barking, and Jeremy Hermida won't be back until sometime after Godot makes his major league debut. As for the pitchers, the Jorge Julio experiment has predictably gone awry, while rookie Rick Vanden Hurk joins esteemed company.

13


6-3
91-71
.527
Down
Now playing in Small Sample Size Theater: Ramon Ortiz (1.80 ERA in 15 innings) outpitching Johan Santana (2.77 ERA), mitigating a rather addled rotation plan that includes Aruba's Round Knight of the Dinner Table, Sidney Ponson, who was pummeled by the Yanks. Other than that, few surprises here thus far; Rondell White hitting the DL qualifies as sun-rising-in-the-east news, as does the offense's difficulty in scoring runs (14 in their last six games). When Luis Rodriguez is the answer to your DH vacancy...

14


6-3
80-83
.523
Up
What parking lot magnate Frank McCourt doesn't know about traffic patterns in Chavez Ravine could fill Dodger Stadium... sometime after the fourth inning. Between the lines, the news is better: Brad Penny has been money (0.68 ERA, though just four K's in 13.1 frames) and the deep staff has held opponents to four runs or less all but once since Opening Day. And though the injury bug has nibbled, with Rafael Furcal remaining on the sidelines and Matt Kemp taking up residence there, Jason Schmidt dodges a bullet.

15


6-3
85-77
.519
Down
Memos for Jim Leyland: 1) even if he runs well for a catcher, batting Ivan Rodriguez leadoff against lefties won't help unless he starts drawing the occasional walk (0 in 35 PA thus far), and we all remember his hard-line stance against those pesky critters. 2) This Chad Durbin thing, well, what do you expect from a guy with a 6.21 ERA in 342 career innings? Though as craptacular Durbins go, he's hardly the worst offender of the week. Meanwhile, Justin Verlander's shaken off a troubling spring; he's yet to allow an earned run in 13 innings, though his five hits and eight walks make for a puzzling line.

16


4-5
79-83
.513
Up
The good news is that the Rockies' rotation has put up a combined 2.76 ERA, lasting less than six innings only once, and allowing more than two runs just twice; Jason Hirsch is fitting in nicely, and even Rodrigo Lopez looks like a major league pitcher these days. The bad news is a bullpen that's allowed at least one run in every game but one, and the even worse news is an offense that's hitting a meager .239/.314/.340, with no regular managing an OPS above 778. Guess they're taking those humidor-conditioned baseballs on the road these days...

17


4-4
72-90
.501
Up
Jose Contreras' Opening Day shellacking and 20 runs surrendered in their first two games fed the confirmation bias following their dismal PECOTA projection. Since then--and with the help of some kicking and screaming from Ozzie Guillen--the Sox staff has allowed just 12 runs in six games. The offense, however, is off to a cold start (.223/.316/.363), though Scott Podsednik is riding an encouraging hot streak (.364/.462/.545). And when was the last time you saw a walk-off hit by pitch prior to A.J. Pierzynski's game-winning plunking? Answer: September 16, 2005.

18


5-4
82-80
.493
Down
For all of the handwringing, the defending champs' remade rotation has acquitted itself well thus far, putting together a 2.88 ERA through the season's first eight games. But the degree of difficulty increases as Chris Carpenter hits the DL due to bone chips and impingement in his elbow. A lube job, not surgery, is the prescription for now, but suddenly that five-year, $63.5 million extension looks even crazier than it did back in December.

19


3-5
86-76
.492
Down
The Tribune Company buyout means the Cubs will be sold at the end of the season, which could be a good thing--that's 99 years with more related-party transactions than World Championships--or a bad one--team and ballpark might be ">sold separately, and you can be damn sure batteries won't be included. The sale appears to have waylaid Carlos Zambrano's new contract, and while Alfonso Soriano is off to a slow start (.200/.243/.314), this winter's other big-ticket items--Ted Lilly (2.77 ERA and 14/2 K/BB in 13 innings) and Aramis Ramirez (.406/.441/.531)--are off on the right foot. Meanwhile, here's the link to the WMPBNI (Weekly Mark Prior Bad News Item).

20


4-5
80-82
.479
Down
Ian Kinsler's ripping the ball (.320/.414/.840), but the rest of the Rangers have managed just a .228/.316/.340 performance. Home run #589 or not, Sammy Sosa's slow start (.143/.172/.250) should provide a reminder that what happens in 'Zona stays in 'Zona, even if Sosa is one of those rare birds whose spring stats herald some improvement--that's improvement on the 2005 Baltimore model. Meanwhile, the rotation has been bombed for a 5.66 ERA, and Jamey Wright is still suffering from the incurable condition of being Jamey Wright.

21


4-6
80-82
.463
Down
They're the owner's of the AL's least-productive offense thus far, averaging just 2.8 runs per game on .239/.306/.326 hitting, with only two homers. But maybe Bob Geren will turn out to be a quick study; moving the Deadball Era-esque Jason Kendall out of the leadoff spot and getting Nick Swisher into the #2 hole should add runs to the ledger. Encouraging news: Rich Harden's excellent performance thus far (1.38 ERA and 13 K's in 13 innings), leading a rotation that's put up a combined 1.98 ERA.

22


4-5
76-86
.443
Down
Thus far they've been the Cardiac Kids, living and dying on late-inning heroics (Xavier Nady's opening series against the Astros) and failures (Salomon Torres' consecutive blown saves against the Cardinals). Overall, the offense (.225/.291/.366) truly offends, though getting Freddy Sanchez back in the lineup should help. The rotation, particularly breakout candidate Ian Snell (2.08 ERA and 14 K's in 13 innings), has kept them in ballgames while hinting that they may be ready to take the next step forward.

23


2-7
88-74
.441
Down
Like other migratory birds, Carthartes skipperis (the managerial vulture) returns north in springtime to circle its prey. But don't blame Charlie Manuel for a scary bullpen that's been "remade" with Antonio Alfonseca and Francisco Rosario; that would be Stand Pat Gillick's department. Suddenly the idea of "Adam Eaton, setup man" doesn't sound so daft, does it?

24


3-6
77-85
.437
Down
Elijah Dukes becomes the third player in two years but just the 14th in history to homer in his first two major league games, joining a distinguished list that includes Kevin Kouzmanoff, Todd Helton, Sam Horn, and Joe Lefebvre. Meanwhile, three other fresh faces--Akinori Iwamura, B.J. Upton, and Delmon Young--are putting up OPSes north of 1000 at this writing. And then there's the pitching, which has Joe Madden contemplating plucking out his eyeballs every other inning.

25


3-5
81-81
.431
Down
With his closer apparently still suffering from Post Pujols Stress Syndrome, Phil Garner has already flipped his Lidge, but it's ol' Scrap Iron who's the real underperformer here. Batting Craig Biggio in the leadoff spot while he poses for that Cooperstown plaque is the last thing this addled offense needs. Well, except for a Brad Ausmus clone to fill in on the days when the genuine article needs to sit--now that would be gratuitous.

26


4-6
74-88
.429
Down
Daniel Cabrera has been on (14.2 IP, 14/4 K/BB, 3.07 ERA), and the bullpen withstands a torching by the Yankees to take their first series. But otherwise, the O's look like patsies, and injury-riddled ones at that. Ramon Hernandez starts the season with an oblique strain, Jay Payton continues to be MIA (not that his healed hamstring won't ultimately hamstring the lineup), and Jaret Wright is already back to his Exploding Pinto act. 'O' is for "Only 153 More Games of This."

27


3-2
73-89
.383
Down
A streamlined Felix Hernandez dazzles on Opening Day, and upstages Daisuke Matsuzaka in the latter's home debut, while Jeff Weaver pitches like he never left Anaheim (or New York). Meanwhile, the Human Rain Delay proves that his talents apply to other forms of precipitation. Maybe he can do something about the hailstorm of runs befalling the rest of the staff. But probably not.

28


3-7
65-97
.365
Down
The beatings continue, but morale has improved. Zack Greinke's comeback nearly upstages Daisuke Matsuzaka's debut; through two starts, Greinke has put up a 1.38 ERA and 12/1 K/BB in 13 innings. Gil Meche shines in his debut (but don't ask about the sequel). And after a 1-for-24 start to his big-league career, Alex Gordon connects for his first home run.

29


2-7
78-84
.338
Down
Swept at home by the Dodgers--that's eight straight home losses to their historical foes--the Giants aren't off to a Barry good start. Bonds is hitting .192/.344/.346 and being dissed by Hank Aaron. Zito is knocked around to the tune of an 8.18 ERA. And the average age of the lineup creeps ever higher.

30


2-8
66-96
.259
Down
It's addition by subtraction for the Nationals' offense, as they lose both Cristian Guzman and Nook Logan on Opening Day. Still, things are dire for a team that took until Thursday to pitch or send a batter to the plate while holding a lead, and has a negative run differential that's nearly double that of any other team. The Jason Bergmann and Co. one-hitter notwithstanding, if John Patterson (9.35 ERA through two starts) can't pull it together to head a rotation that might bring new meaning to the phrase Slaughterhouse-Five (RIP, Kurt Vonnegut), this team might be 1962 Mets bad.


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

Related Content:  The Streak,  The Who,  Rotation,  Era,  Bad Start,  Year Of The Injury,  News,  Quad-a

0 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Lies, Damned Lies: Sno... (04/13)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: W... (10/04)
Next Column >>
Prospectus Hit List: T... (04/20)
Next Article >>
Prospectus Q&A: Tim Wi... (04/15)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article What You Need to Know: July 3, 2015
Premium Article The Call-Up: Henry Owens
Premium Article The Call-Up: Richie Shaffer
Premium Article The Call-Up: Luis Severino
Premium Article The Call-Up: Jon Gray
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Monday, August 3
Premium Article Rubbing Mud: The Non-Transaction Analysis

MORE FROM APRIL 13, 2007
Premium Article Lies, Damned Lies: Snowbound Schedule
Premium Article Under The Knife: Scratched Starts and Career...
Future Shock: Minor League Miscellany
Premium Article Prospectus Matchups: The Masses Rejoice!
Protrade Market Movers

MORE BY JAY JAFFE
2007-05-04 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: One Month Down
2007-04-27 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: Bunches of Bunching
2007-04-20 - Prospectus Hit List: Three Weeks In
2007-04-13 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: Friday the 13th Edition
2007-04-02 - Prospectus Hit List
2007-03-26 - Premium Article Hope and Faith: How the Los Angeles Dodgers ...
2007-02-26 - Premium Article Grumpy Old Men
More...

MORE PROSPECTUS HIT LIST
2007-05-04 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: One Month Down
2007-04-27 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: Bunches of Bunching
2007-04-20 - Prospectus Hit List: Three Weeks In
2007-04-13 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: Friday the 13th Edition
2006-10-04 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: Week of October 2
2006-09-26 - Prospectus Hit List: Week of September 26
2006-09-19 - Prospectus Hit List: Week of September 19th
More...