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 Preview: Fr... (07/04)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: F... (06/27)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: R... (07/11)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Future Shock: Michel I... (07/04)

July 4, 2008

Prospectus Hit List

Rays-ing the Bar

by Marc Normandin

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


Rays
52-32
5-1
.612
Up
Rays sweep Red Sox; fans seem pleased. Evan Longoria's fixed his early strikeouts issue, dropping his K% down to 26 percent and bringing his line up; hitting .417/.464/.625 against the Sox boosted his Tampa Bay street cred, if nothing else. Kudos to the Rays front office for scooping up Gabe Gross, who has hit .240/.336/.442 with a .931 RZR in right field that would be second in the AL if it qualified.

2


Red Sox
51-37
2-5
.610
Up
After the Rays swept them earlier in the week, the Sox recovered with a 7-0 win against their other rivals last night, with Jon Lester throwing his second shutout of the season in his first start at Yankee Stadium. The Captain has been a no-show at the plate for Boston of late, hitting .091/.276/.091, striking out in nine of his last 22 at-bats, including the well-publicized botched hit-and-run against the Rays.

3


Cubs
51-35
2-5
.594
Up
The Cubs have helped keep the Cardinals in this race by going 3-7 over their last 10, botching their interleague matchups and then losing two of three to the lowly Giants. Now they've packed up their poor road record to head to St. Louis; they could be in second place before the weekend is out, despite whatever the Hit List rank difference says. Aramis Ramirez has made his return though, after a brief trip to take care of personal matters.

4


White Sox
49-36
6-1
.590
Up
The AL Central has turned into an exciting division once again, with the White Sox and Twins both going 8-2 in their last ten and the Tigers trying to keep pace with a 7-3 run. Nick Swisher had lost his stroke during the early months of the season, but he found it again in Tampa at the end of May: he's hit .286/.377/.554 since May 29. A return to form by Swisher could mean the Sox have the ammo to hold on to the division by making the lineup above average.

5


Angels
51-34
3-3
.581
Down
The Angels go .500 on the week while the A's go 3-4, so ground is gained. That mediocrity is the story of this club, given their third-order WP% is .501. Entropy in Anaheim may be the A's best hope in the second half; the last month should have put them closer, with the Angels hitting just .252/.305/.370 since 6/1.

6


Phillies
47-39
4-2
.562
Up
Brett Myers was demoted to the minors and made his first start there, thanks to his loss of velocity. The Phils rotation needs him to sort his issues out, as they are ranked just 18th in SNLVAR as a team. They can win the NL East despite their lack of strong starting, but things will go more smoothly come Secret Sauce time if they have more dominating pitchers.

7


Yankees
45-41
3-5
.541
Up
More news off the field this past week than on it, with Hank Steinbrenner zeroing in on the lack of thump from the lineup, and Alex Rodriguez in the tabloids because of his marriage and a potential affinity for Madonna. That hasn't stopped him from hitting, though (.250/.382/.571 since last week's List). Jason Giambi's in on the fun too, with an aesthetically pleasing .250/.400/.500 showing; what's his line since he grew the 'stache, the source of his rediscovered power?

8


Cardinals
49-38
4-3
.532
Up
The bullpen saved the rotation this week; despite the starters giving up a line of .343/.420/.479, the pen was able to nail a few things down and hold these same hitters to .210/.258/.346. That's an uncharacteristic week for a pen ranked just 25th in WXRL, but the Cards will take what they can get.

9


Marlins
44-41
4-3
.532
Up
Hanley Ramirez (.355/.364/.710) and Cody Ross (.393/.414/.571) were the only two Marlins to contribute at the plate this week, with the team hitting a meager .244/.303/.391 combined. Ricky Nolasco was dealing, with 17 K in 15 IP along with just three runs allowed and only one free pass. He's been on fire since fanning 12 Rays in 8 2/3 earlier in the month, with 9.4 K/9 against 0.9 BB/9 and 0.3 HR/9 in his last 30 2/3 IP.

10


Orioles
43-41
3-4
.529
Down
The O's continue to hover around .500, impressive for a fourth-place club. Radhames Liz found himself promoted to the bigs last month, and had himself a mixed bag of starts: the 6.7 K/9 is decent enough, but his walk (4.2) and homer (1.8) rates leave a lot to be desired. Still, he's just 25 years old, and he's not Steve Trachsel.

11


Twins
47-38
4-2
.517
Up
Minnesota continues to play above their third-order win percentage, going 4-2 on the week, just a hair behind the 6-1 White Sox. Most of the lineup is hitting on all cylinders, but Delmon Young's .391/.417/.609 line deserves a nod, given his trouble with displaying power in the majors. He's hitting .330/.354/.495 since 6/1; he could use some more patience, but it's still impressive for a 22-year-old.

12


Diamondbacks
43-43
3-4
.512
Down
This latest bad week drops the former #1 Hit List darlings to an even .500 record, one that they are close to deserving of according to their third-order WP% and Hit List Factor. Randy Johnson had some serious issues with walks and homers during his short start Tuesday, lasting for just 3 2/3 and striking out six while giving up three a piece of dingers and free passes. Considering he gave up 23 runs in 30 1/3 June innings, it's starting to look like Johnson's running out of time in the majors, a bad sign for the struggling D'backs.

13


Brewers
46-39
3-4
.511
Up
It's tough to win games when your pitching staff gives up a .303/.374/.474 line--despite well-publicized late-game meltdowns the blame should be shouldered by both the rotation and the pen. The pitching has been pretty average, with the rotation just ninth in SNLVAR and the pen rated 14th in WXRL. At least J.J. Hardy has started to hit, slugging 1.032 in 31 at-bats his last seven games.

14


Athletics
46-39
3-4
.510
Up
It's a bit unfair that the Angels are outplaying their expected record while the A's, in rebuilding mode, are underachieving their own, but that's baseball logic in a nutshell. As is, the A's had good news this week, inking the 16-year-old Dominican Michael Inoa to a deal; you can introduce yourself to him by learning all you need to know thanks to Kevin Goldstein. The lineup struggled this past week, with Kurt Suzuki (.304/.385/.435, 23 AB) leading the charge, and Carlos Gonzalez the only other contributor to crack a .400 SLG (.414).

15


Mets
42-43
4-4
.509
Up
Another .500 week from the Mets, who, despite being loaded with star talent, are average in every way thanks to a poor supporting cast and injury issues. On the brighter side, Ryan Church returned from his concussion issues, and got right back to business with a .381/.409/.476 week. In other optimistic news, it looks like Jose Reyes has started to "get it" at the plate, which should help him become the player many expect him to.

16


Dodgers
41-44
5-2
.501
Up
There were some positives and negatives for the boys in blue, but they also lost Clayton Kershaw to the minors and Rafael Furcal to injury. The 20-year-old southpaw starter struggled with his command and walked 5.6 per nine, but he also kept the ball in the park and whiffed an impressive 7.7 per nine. Furcal's injury is a problem, given Dodgers shortstops have combined for a .244/.316/.371 line, and that's including Furcal's excellent start.

17


Rangers
44-42
4-2
.497
Up
All of a sudden the Rangers are two games over .500, thanks to an offense that cannot be stopped (.276/.349/.467 in June). Recent call-up Chris Davis hit .278/.350/.833 on the week, launching three homers in his first 19 at-bats. The sixth-best Rangers prospect has some serious pop.

18


Tigers
43-42
5-2
.489
Down
Joel Zumaya has done his part to help out since returning from the DL; he's appeared in six games and already has the highest leverage among active Tigers. Along with Fernando Rodney, Zumaya held opponents scoreless over six innings of relief this week, showing Detroit what they were missing out on in the first half. They're the key to a second-half surge, given the weak pen.

19


Blue Jays
41-45
3-3
.487
Up
As you know, it is July, and the trade deadline's right around the corner. In this time of need, the Blue Jays organization is accepting donations for hitters who may help them score runs they desperately need for a change. (Hitters must not walk too often, or else they will be deemed haters of the game.)

20


Royals
39-47
3-4
.477
Down
Gilgameche, possibly with powers granted to him by Shamash, was able to give up just five runs over 13 innings the past week despite striking out a grand total of two hitters. Things didn't go as well for Kyle Davies, who ironed out his BB/K issues some, but started serving up homers like it was going to trigger a substantial bonus in his contract. All told it was a rough week for the starters, but the lineup managed a .291/.354/.434 to keep things close and around .500.

21


Braves
40-46
1-5
.472
Down
Jeff Francoeur was optioned to Double-A in order to work on his swing, which could mean good things for the Braves in the long run. As of now though, a 1-5 week put a damper on their divisional chances, especially with three of the losses coming against the first place Phillies. The Chipper Jones Quest for .400 continues to falter, though it's more important for Atlanta that he avoided the DL, despite rumors to the contrary to begin the week.

22


Pirates
40-44
3-3
.452
Down
It's difficult to stand out in the sea of awful that the Pirates have trotted out to the mound this season, but James Barthmaier accomplished that with his 6/27 appearance, giving up seven runs in less than three innings. Tom Gorzelanny at least superficially has been pitching better, with a 4.66 ERA in June; a deeper look at his peripherals (23 K and 20 BB, 1.2 HR/9) shows that his issues haven't gone away just yet. With a team full of starters who can't seem to strike people out, converting just 68.3 percent of balls in play into outs hasn't done anything but exacerbate the pitching problems.

23


Rockies
35-51
3-4
.449
Down
Greg Reynolds hasn't been working out too well, but at least Ubaldo Jimenez has started to turn a corner. The third-best talent under the age of 25 in the organization pitched well in June with 6.8 K/9 and "just" 4.1 BB/9, while keeping the ball in the park and on the ground. Once he harnesses his control, Jimenez is going to be a scary pitcher to face at Coors, given his extreme G/F tendencies.

24


Indians
37-48
1-5
.449
Down
Another poor week keeps the Indians at the bottom of the division, and makes it more likely all we'll hear about for the next month is "C.C. Sabathia may be traded to [insert contender here] rumors." That's fantastic for teams who need a rental, given he's tied for 14th in SNLVAR despite pitching like he was possessed by a Jose Lima demon in the early part of the season.

25


Giants
38-48
4-3
.446
Flat
The lineup continues to disappoint, putting up a .224/.283/.360 line for the week. Having an entire lineup of Tony Pena's is no way to win ballgames, unless you can pitch like the Giants of course. Tim Lincecum (two wins and three runs allowed in 13 IP), Jonathan Sanchez (one run over 7) and Matt Cain (8 shutout innings) helped the team along to four wins and kept their trend neutral.

26


Astros
40-46
3-4
.437
Down
Runelvys Hernandez makes his return to the majors after a lengthy absence, but he was just as ineffective upon his return as he was when he left. Hernandez is replacing the dismissed Shawn Chacon, and although he struck out nine over 10 IP he also gave up seven runs and five walks. He was gunning it at 92.8 mph, after failing to average over 89 mph his past two years in the majors, so maybe there's more promise this time around.

27


Reds
40-47
4-3
.420
Down
Johnny Cueto fought his homer demons and beat them back this week, throwing 13 1/3 innings with just a single bomb to the stands. He also struck out 10 and walked just four while picking up two of the Reds' four wins this week. On the offensive side, Jay Bruce picked up the pace again, hitting .273/.333/.545; the Reds' top prospect has hit an impressive .286/.358/.466 during his first month-plus in the majors.

28


Mariners
33-52
5-2
.415
Down
The pitching was nothing to write home about this past week, but Ichiro Suzuki (.516/.545/.516) and Adrian Beltre (.387/.424/.613) decided the Mariners were going to win some games for a change. Even with the five wins, the M's are trending downward thanks to an overall poor(er) performance; sadly for Seattle, Hit List gives lucky breaks less weight than reality.

29


Padres
33-53
1-5
.399
Down
A 1-5 showing is no way to spend your week, but at least the Padres succeeded off the field. They signed five of the top international prospects for $5 million, which is pretty impressive if even half of them pan out as well as they are profiled to. Granted, this doesn't help the Padres much right now, but given their recent play, there's not much that could.

30


Nationals
34-53
3-4
.368
Up
Half of the Nats decided hitting at replacement level was lame this week, while the other half thought it would be prudent to hit under replacement level in order to balance out the good being done elsewhere in the lineup. The result, despite big weeks from Elijah Dukes (.250/.344/.607), Cristian Guzman (.400/.464/.520) and Ronnie Belliard (.238/.333/.619) was a combined line of .248/.322/.362.


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.

0 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Prospectus Preview: Fr... (07/04)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: F... (06/27)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: R... (07/11)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Future Shock: Michel I... (07/04)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article Some Projection Left: Say Something, I'm Giv...
Premium Article What You Need to Know: September 1, 2015
Fantasy Rounders: Riding High on Madison Ave...
BP Wrigleyville
BP Boston
BP Wrigleyville
Expert FAAB Review: Week 22

MORE FROM JULY 4, 2008
Premium Article Future Shock: Michel Inoa 101
Premium Article Prospectus Preview: Friday's Games to Watch
UTK Wrap: Big-Ticket Bang-ups
Fantasy Article Fantasy Focus: Taking Stock at the Halfway P...

MORE BY MARC NORMANDIN
2008-07-10 - Premium Article Prospectus Preview: Thursday's Games to Watc...
2008-07-09 - Fantasy Beat: Midseason Retooling: Shortstop
2008-07-06 - Prospectus Preview: Sunday's Games to Watch
2008-07-04 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: Rays-ing the Bar
2008-07-03 - Premium Article Prospectus Preview: Thursday's Games to Watc...
2008-07-03 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Midseason Retooling: Second Ba...
2008-06-29 - Premium Article Prospectus Preview: Sunday's Games to Watch
More...

MORE PROSPECTUS HIT LIST
2008-08-01 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: After the Storm
2008-07-25 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: Penmanship
2008-07-11 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: Reshuffleuppagus
2008-07-04 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: Rays-ing the Bar
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...
More...

INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2008-07-13 - Premium Article Prospectus Preview: Sunday's Games to Watch
2008-07-11 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: Reshuffleuppagus
2008-07-11 - Premium Article Prospectus Preview: Friday's Games to Watch
2008-07-10 - Premium Article Prospectus Preview: Thursday's Games to Watc...
2008-07-09 - Premium Article Prospectus Preview: Wednesday's Games to Wat...
2008-07-08 - Premium Article Prospectus Preview: Tuesday's Games to Watch
2008-07-07 - Premium Article Prospectus Preview: Monday's Games to Watch
2008-07-06 - Prospectus Preview: Sunday's Games to Watch