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July 25, 2000

The Daily Prospectus

Information Central

by Joe Sheehan

Some things you know, and some you don't know:

  • Since joining the rotation at the end of May, the Devil Rays' Albie Lopez has been one of the best starters in the American League. After last night's performance against the Tigers, Lopez has gone at least five innings in all of his 11 starts. His ERA as a starter is 3.63 and he has a 2-to-1 strikeout ratio as a member of the D-Rays' rotation. Through Sunday, his Support-Neutral Winning Percentage of .550 led the D-Rays.

  • The chase for .400 simply doesn't count until Labor Day, so don't call me with the batting averages of Nomar Garciaparra and Todd Helton until Troy Aikman's first concussion. Until then, keep in mind that from 1997 to 1999, players hit .400 for a single calendar month just 27 times. And of those 27, just two, Larry Walker and Mike Piazza, have had two .400 months.

  • Glenallen Hill is a severely limited player, kind of a discount-store version of Jose Canseco. That said, when the rest of the bench is Chris Turner, Clay Bellinger, Wilson Delgado, Felix Jose and Ryan Thompson, Hill looks like the 1988 version of Canseco by comparison. Brian Cashman may eventually regret some of his trades this year, but he has certainly improved the 2000 Yankees. What you hope he's learned, though, is the importance of using the offseason to bring in good minor-league free agents and major-league NRIs to establish some depth.

  • With his post-All-Star-Game Babe Ruth impersonation, Gary Sheffield has moved into the NL MVP discussion, and deservedly so. His .351/.489/.919 tear has pushed the Dodgers to within 3 1/2 games of the Diamondbacks in the NL West and pushed him to the top of Clay Davenport's NL EqR and Runs Above Position charts.

    While he gets respect for his power numbers and is being to get media recognition as one of the Dodgers' "leaders", it's hard not to think about how much better his numbers could be. Beginning in 1995, his home parks have...OK, let's just run a chart since the strike:

    Year    Park                              Park Effect
    1995    Joe Robbie (Florida)                      -5%
    1996    Joe Robbie                               -13%
    1997    Joe Robbie                                -8%
    1998    Joe Robbie/Dodger Stadium (L.A.)    -10%/-17%
    1999    Dodger Stadium                            -6%
    

    Sheffield hasn't played in a hitters' park since 1994, when Joe Robbie boosted run-scoring by 21% (in a shortened season).

Joe Sheehan can be reached at jsheehan@baseballprospectus.com.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
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