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 Prospectus Today: NL A... (06/06)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: L... (05/30)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: C... (06/13)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Can Of Corn: Disappoin... (06/07)

June 6, 2008

Prospectus Hit List

Slinking, Streaking, and Slump-Busting

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.

RkTeam
Overall W-L
Week W-L
Hit List Factor
Trend
Comment

1


Cubs
39-22
6-1
.630
Up
Thanks to a nine-game winning streak, the Cubs build themselves a cushion in the NL Central. Jim Edmonds starts to show some life with a .500/.533/1.143 week, Alfonso Soriano keeps the big hits coming after a red-hot May (.345/.386/.672), and Carlos Zambrano helps himself at the plate with a standup triple amid a 3-for-3 day. Zambrano is second in the league in pitching VORP, and combined with his hitting, ranks fifth overall behind Lance Berkman, Chipper Jones, Albert Pujols, and Chase Utley.

2


Red Sox
38-25
6-1
.608
Up
The Red Sox recapture first place in the AL East by sweeping the Rays, but they lose David Ortiz to a torn tendon sheath in his wrist, a rough blow considering Ortiz had finally rediscovered his stroke (.318/.409/.617 in May after a .198/.300/.375 April). The injury could mean anything from a short stay on the DL to season-ending surgery, with the latter scenario stirring debate about whether the team should sign Barry Bonds. Meanwhile, Manny Ramirez becomes the 24th player to join the 500 Home Run club, and Manny Being Manny, continues the party at the 501 and 502 Home Run clubs over the next two days.

3


Athletics
33-27
4-2
.578
Up
Rollercoaster: After closing May with four straight losses to finish the month at 12-15, the A's begin June with four straight wins. Eric Chavez finally returns to the lineup after three off-season surgeries and shows some power, as do Travis Buck and Carloz Gonzalez upon being recalled from the minors; Buck homers twice while Gonzalez doubles for each of his first five major league hits. After averaging just 4.0 runs per game in May, this middling offense can use all the muscle it can get.

4


Phillies
36-26
5-2
.577
Up
Leading the Chase: An 8-1 run helps the Phillies take over first place in the NL East. They're suddenly getting better results from struggling starters Brett Myers and Adam Eaton. Myers, coming off a season-high 11 strikeouts, pitches 6 2/3 innings of no-hit ball, while Eaton strings together his third straight quality start; he's actually got seven in his 12 starts this year. But the biggest story remains Chase Utley, who homers in five straight games and seven out of eight; at 21 homers, he's halfway to the single-season record for second basemen.

5


Braves
32-29
3-4
.570
Down
After coming off the DL and blowing a save, John Smoltz announces that he'll undergo season-ending shoulder surgery. The 41-year-old hasn't decided if he'll retire, but even if he never throws another pitch, he's got a great Hall of Fame case and stands a very good chance of becoming the first Tommy John surgery recipient to grace Cooperstown.

6


Rays
35-25
3-3
.568
Down
Swept by the Red Sox, the Rays surrender first place in the AL East while losing Carlos Pena to the DL with a broken finger when he's hit by a Justin Masterson pitch. Batting just .227/.333/.430, Pena nonetheless leads the Rays with 11 homers, but severe contact problems had him on a 198-strikeout pace. He ranks just ninth among AL first basemen in VORP.

7


White Sox
33-26
3-3
.565
Flat
Blizzard of Oz: Ozzie Guillen rips his team's sagging offense and calls for change, while Kenny Williams accuses the skipper of throwing his boss under the bus and the usual pundits (yawn) call for his head. Crazy Ozzie certainly has a point, as the ChiSox's scoring has dropped from 5.0 runs per game in April to 3.9 since, but among the regulars skirting the Mendoza Line--Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, Juan Uribe, and Nick Swisher--Uribe's the only one who's disposable.

8


Diamondbacks
32-28
2-4
.561
Down
Slinkin' Snakes: With 12 losses in their last 16 games, not to mention a 12-20 showing since the end of April, the Diamondbacks continue their descent down the Hit List's stairs. They maintain a comfortable lead in the moribund NL West, and speaking of moribundity, the Arizona offense has been averaging just 3.4 runs per game while hitting .217/.295/.390 during their slide. Key offenders include Stephen Drew (.237/.258/.356), Chris B. Young (.185/.239/.338), and Justin Upton (.104/.232/.292), though the latter's overall performance (.266/.361/.467) is plenty respectable for a 20-year-old.

9


Cardinals
36-26
4-3
.555
Down
His degree of difficulty has been pretty low, but Todd Wellemeyer has now reeled off six consecutive quality starts and ranks sixth in the league in SNLVAR. Wellemeyer's developed quite nicely under pitching coach Dave Duncan; he came to the Cardinals with a 5.07 ERA and 1.27 K/BB ratio for his career, but has put up a 3.01 ERA and 2.09 K/BB ratio for St. Louis. Not too shabby for a waiver-wire pickup.

10


Blue Jays
32-30
2-4
.552
Down
After converting his first 11 save opportunities this year, B.J. Ryan blows two in a row. Despite Ryan's early-season limitations and the ineffectiveness and subsequent loss of Jeremy Accardo, the Jays can claim three relievers in the individual top 25 in WXRL (Ryan, Scott Downs, and Jesse Carlson), but this week's troubles knock the bullpen as a whole down to ninth in the league.

11


Angels
37-24
5-1
.521
Up
With five wins in a row, the Angels continue to coast in the AL West, but they've got cause for concern when it comes to Vlad Guerrero. He's already missed three games in a row after hurting his knee in a slide, adding injury to the insult of his lackluster .249/.316/.424 start amid an outfield that's been largely unproductive. Elsewhere in the lineup, the good news is Howie Kendrick's return from a six-week absence due to a hamstring injury, while the bad news is that he still ranks fourth on the team in VORP despite his lengthy vacation.

12


Mets
30-29
4-3
.515
Down
Pedro Martinez returns from a two-month absence due to a hamstring injury and offers hope that he can bolster both the Mets' weak rotation and dysfunctional clubhouse. Perhaps he can clarify the concept of "walk year" to Oliver Perez, who has allowed 14 walks and six homers and 15 runs in his last 11 1/3 innings following his latest meltdown.

13


Brewers
32-28
6-0
.513
Up
As Bill Hall gripes for a trade, platoon bedfellow Russell Branyan bashes four homers in a five-game span. The Three True Outcomes hero is hitting .321/.441/.821 since being recalled, joining Ryan Braun (.385/.429/.718) and Prince Fielder (.343/.400/.714) in powering the Brewers to a 9-1 tear that includes consecutive series sweeps of the Astros and Diamondbacks. Their run differential sits now in the black for the first time since the end of April.

14


Marlins
32-27
2-5
.511
Down
Hanley Ramirez breaks out of an 18-game slump (.211/.296/.282) with a pair of homers, just his second and third dating back to April 26. Not that the Marlins have been missing his power all that much; with Dan Uggla, Mike Jacobs, Ramirez and Cody Ross all in double digits, they're second in the league in homers and SLG, and first in the majors in ISO. Ross has hit all 10 of his homers since May 1 while collecting just six other hits; he's batting .250/.351/.719 in that span.

15


Yankees
30-30
4-3
.505
Up
Joba Chamberlain's time in the rotation gets off to an inauspicious start (2.1 1 2 1 4 3) that's followed by a bullpen meltdown and some second-guessing by Johnny Damon et al. over the wisdom of the transition. The real problem is that the aside from Chamberlain and a lights-out Mariano Rivera, the bullpen has been 0.26 wins below replacement level--a problem that points to GM Brian Cashman's failure to provide manager Joe Girardi with solid set-up alternatives.

16


Dodgers
28-32
2-5
.501
Down
The Dodgers have failed to capitalize on the Diamondbacks' woes, gaining just two games in the standings while going 6-10 since May 18. A big part of their inability to make headway thus far has been the collapse of Brad Penny. He's put up a 7.91 ERA and 23/21 K/BB since the beginning of May, failing to get a quality start in the six outings prior to his most recent start. On a more positive note, Chad Billingsley appears to be stepping into the role of staff ace, putting up a 1.80 ERA with six quality starts out of seven in that span while climbing into the SNLVAR top 20.

17


Rangers
31-31
4-3
.497
Up
The Rangers can't seem to clear .500, but amid their ups and downs, Josh Hamilton avoids the Sports Illustrated cover jinx by bashing homers in four straight games and winning his second consecutive AL Player of the Month award. With the AL lead in both homers and RBI, and just 16 points behind league leader Hideki Matsui in batting average, he's currently positioned for a run at the Triple Crown.

18


Indians
27-33
3-4
.477
Down
Tribe-ulations: Jake Westbrok joins Fausto Carmona on the shelf due to elbow inflammation or worse. He'd made just one start since returning from a back injury and has just five starts under his belt this year. Meanwhile, Cliff Lee continues to take his lumps; he's allowed 17 runs in his last 23 1/3 innings, raising his ERA from 0.67 to 2.45. For all of this, the Tribe rotation still ranks a close second in the league in SNLVAR, though without offensive support, they're getting nowhere in the AL Central.

19


Reds
29-32
4-3
.475
Up
The Homers Club: Ken Griffey Jr. bashes his 599th career home run, but a sore knee keeps him out of the lineup for three straight games, forestalling his opportunity to join Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, and Sammy Sosa at the 600 Level. Elsewhere, Jay Bruce (.432/.533/.757 through his first 10 games) goes long in three straight contests, including a walk-off, while Homer Bailey makes an uneven return to the majors (6 4 4 1 4 1).

20


Astros
31-30
1-5
.475
Down
Houston, Problem, Etc.: The Astros plummet seven games in the NL Central standings amid a 2-8 flop in which they're outscored 54-27. The offense hasn't mustered more than three runs in the last eight games; while Lance Berkman has remained hot in that span (.367/.406/.600) and Ty Wiggington has supplied some punch (.348/.483/.652) the rest of the team is hitting like Brad Ausmus with a wooden leg (.178/.207/.236). Ausmus, who himself is getting too many reps these days due to the wretched performance of J.R. Towles (.145/.270/.282), has helped create league's most powerful Vortex of Suck by tying his teammate for the eighth-lowest VORP in the league.

21


Orioles
29-30
3-4
.470
Flat
Adam Jones cracks a pair of game-winning extra-base hits, including his first home run since May 1. Power has been hard to come by for Jones, who's hitting just .256/.297/.372 so far while struggling to keep his VORP above zero. He's got plenty of company in both of those areas, as the Orioles have just two regulars slugging above .438 and are getting replacement-level production at four other positions besides center field.

22


Twins
31-29
3-4
.465
Down
When the Twins traded Luis Castillo to the Mets last July 30, they drew sharp criticism for waving a white flag, criticism that was only amplified by the anemic performance of the rookie who replaced him, Alexi Casilla (.222/.256/.259). After spending the first six weeks of this season in the minors, Casilla is hitting a torrid .343/.400/.500 while getting on base 20 times in his last 10 games, and the Twins have averaged 5.1 runs per game since his arrival.

23


Pirates
29-31
4-3
.451
Up
With the return of Ryan Doumit--mashing at a .350/.382/.573 clip before breaking his thumb--the Bucs option fellow backstop Ronnie Paulino. It's a surprising but not wholly unanticipated fall from grace for Paulino, who hit .310/.360/.394 as a rookie in 2006 but fell off considerably last year and was wallowing at .218/.287/.318 this season; the team is dissatisfied with his hitting, defense, game-calling, work ethic, and choice of toothpaste. When you lose your job to Raul Chavez and his career .179 EqA, it's time to reevaluate your priorities.

24


Tigers
24-35
2-4
.448
Down
Dontrelle 3:16: Not a passage from the New Testament, that's Mr. Willis' ugly K/BB ratio after he finally notches his first strikeouts of the year in his return to the rotation. The start comes at the expense of Armando Galarraga, the team SNLVAR leader, who follows Willis' outing by surrendering three runs in three innings in a tandem arrangement that won't be repeated. Hint for Jim Leyland: Nate Robertson's carrying an ERA above 6.00, a sub-zero VORP, and has just one quality start this year--might wanna think about skipping him next time instead. I'm just sayin'...

25


Giants
25-35
2-4
.437
Flat
A 3-for-36 slump has Omar Vizquel hitting a mere .197/.275/.239, but since he returned from knee surgery to replace Brian Bocock, the Giants have been a different team. They've gone an almost-respectable 11-13 while scoring 4.8 runs per game, compared to 14-22 and 3.4 per game beforehand. The improvement has less to do with Vizquel's veteran herbs and spices than strong showings by Bengie Molina (.388/.419/.576), Randy Winn (.323/.378/.606), Aaron Rowand (.330/.410/.549), Ray Durham (.324/.425/.441) and Jose Castillo (.317/.364/.500). Just don't ask what PECOTA thinks of those guys keeping that pace up.

26


Padres
25-37
4-3
.410
Up
Banks and Baek and What the Heck: Jake Peavy and Chris Young are still on the shelf, Mark Prior is back on the operating table, and a surprisingly resurgent Shawn Estes suffers a bad break, so the Padres had get creative with their rotation. The team takes a flier on Cha-Seung Baek, and while that hasn't paid off, the early returns on rookie Josh Banks have. After six shutout innings in the team's 18-inning epic last week, Banks goes the distance against the Giants. The patchwork Pads still rank second in the league in SNLVAR.

27


Royals
23-37
2-4
.401
Flat
Kyle Davies makes his 2008 debut and helps the Royals halt a 12-game losing streak--one that dated back to Jon Lester's no-hitter--while invoking the memory of the 1899 Cleveland Spiders. Brian Bannister helps make it a two-game winning streak while halting a personal slump that had seen him provide just one quality start out of six while yielding a 7.34 ERA. Still, it's been a particularly ugly stretch for the KC rotation, which has put up 6.19 ERA since the start of the slide, with the disaster starts outnumbering the quality ones, 6-4.

28


Rockies
22-38
2-4
.398
Flat
Pythagenpathetic: though they finally snap their 13-game road losing streak after a bench-clearing brawl, this team is traveling a groan-inducingly punny rocky road. They're just 10-24 away from Coors Field, averaging just 3.7 runs scored and 5.6 runs allowed per game with an actual winning percentage (.294) that's even worse than their projected one (.318). Blame the rotation: on the road, the starters have put up a 6.22 ERA with a 123/100 K/BB ratio, with Aaron Cook and Jeff Francis the only ones with ERAs below 6.75.

29


Mariners
21-39
1-5
.385
Up
Like a gallon of milk in the hot sun, the Mariners' season continues to sour. They've lost four in a row and 25 out of 33 dating back to April 30; their latest sends skipper John McLaren into an expletive-laced tizzy. Amid this skid, much of the attention has fallen on Richie Sexson, whose .200/.277/.400 performance is even worse than last year's. The M's have won just three of the last 21 games he's started, and he's got a 28/3 K/BB ratio in that span. But when the best alternatives at hand are Miguel Cairo and Jose Vidro, it's tough to blame McLaren for doing as Sexson does--take another blind swing, and hope for the best.

30


Nationals
25-36
2-4
.373
Down
Nats Meet Rats: The Nationals take up residence in the squalid Hit List basement after their offense musters just two runs in a four-game span. Not helping matters is the fact that five of the team's Opening Day starters are now on the DL, including Ryan Zimmerman, who has a small tear in the labrum of his non-throwing shoulder; while he may be able to play through the injury, his .257/.291/.427 performance suggests he may need surgery to return to top-flight form. Also bitten by the injury bug is Odalis Perez, who will miss a start due to shoulder tendonitis; though his record is just 2-5, he's third on the team and 27th in the league in SNLVAR.


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

0 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Prospectus Today: NL A... (06/06)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: L... (05/30)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: C... (06/13)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Can Of Corn: Disappoin... (06/07)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Fantasy Rounders: Miggy's the Bouncer
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: September 4, 2015
Premium Article Prospect Profile: Kevin Newman
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of September 3, 2...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: All Outfielders Go to ...
Premium Article The Call-Up: Corey Seager
Premium Article Pitching Backward: On Manager Analysis

MORE FROM JUNE 6, 2008
Premium Article Prospectus Today: NL All-Stars
Premium Article Prospectus Matchups: Hall Jones
UTK Wrap: Red Sox Wrist Shots and Meltdowns
Premium Article Prospectus Preview: Friday's Games to Watch
Fantasy Article Fantasy Focus: More Trade Issue Solutions

MORE BY JAY JAFFE
2008-06-19 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit and Run: 2008 Replacement Lev...
2008-06-13 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: Comebacks, Snappy and O...
2008-06-11 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit and Run: The Combo Platter
2008-06-06 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: Slinking, Streaking, an...
2008-06-04 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit and Run: How I Learned to Sto...
2008-06-02 - Prospectus Q&A: Marvin Miller
2008-05-30 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: Look for Lofton
More...

MORE PROSPECTUS HIT LIST
2008-06-27 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: Further Adventures in I...
2008-06-20 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: AL Advantage, 74-51
2008-06-13 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: Comebacks, Snappy and O...
2008-06-06 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: Slinking, Streaking, an...
2008-05-30 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: Look for Lofton
2008-05-23 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: Central Powers
2008-05-16 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: Strange Times
More...

INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2008-06-13 - Premium Article Prospectus Preview: Friday's Games to Watch
2008-06-12 - Premium Article Prospectus Preview: Thursday's Games to Watc...
2008-06-11 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit and Run: The Combo Platter
2008-06-11 - Premium Article Prospectus Preview: Wednesday's Games to Wat...
2008-06-10 - Premium Article Prospectus Preview: Tuesday's Games to Watch
2008-06-09 - Premium Article Prospectus Preview: Monday's Games to Watch
2008-06-08 - Prospectus Preview: Sunday's Games to Watch
2008-06-07 - Premium Article Prospectus Preview: Saturday's Games to Watc...