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August 24, 2005 12:00 am

Prospectus Today: AL Cy Young

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Joe Sheehan

There's a good chance that the AL Cy Young Award will end up in the hands of a compromise candidate in a fractured vote.

This isn't a relievers thing, either. Despite the midsummer murmurs about Mariano Rivera and the great work being done by Huston Street, there's no AL reliever who's likely to end up in the mix. Relievers garner Cy Young Awards largely on the basis of massive save totals, microscopic ERAs and a muddled starter pool. While the latter exists, neither Rivera nor Street has the kind of mainstream numbers that are likely to sway voters.

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The Cubs take a big jump, while the Marlins fall off a ledge. Plus, how do you silence Fenway fans? That and more in this week's Prospectus Hit List.

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July 19, 2005 12:00 am

Under The Knife: The Heat Is On

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Will Carroll

Updates come hot and heavy in July, as Will checks in with news on Adam Eaton, Milton Bradley and the Red Sox infield.

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January 14, 2005 12:00 am

Prospectus Matchups: Into the Headlines

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Jim Baker

Jim Baker's unique spin on the latest baseball news.

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July 14, 2003 12:00 am

Prospectus Today: Sunday Baseball

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Joe Sheehan

The Angels are back to their old tricks. They scored eight runs on seven singles, two doubles, one home run and two walks. For the second day in a row, they bunched their hits, putting together a four-run inning late in the game. It looked a lot like last year's team, actually: runners in motion, guys scoring on hard-hit singles, no double plays. The Angels are just eighth in the AL in run scoring (and seventh in EqA) after finishing fourth in runs (and fifth in EqA) last year. Just as they did last year, they're scoring more runs than you would expect given what they've done at the plate, with 450 as opposed to a "projected" total of 437. One of the big differences between last year's team and this one has been their propensity for hitting into double plays. Using (1B+BB+HBP-SBA-SAC) as an estimate of runners on first base, the Angels hit into a double play every 13.7 opportunities in 2002; in 2003, that figure is one every 10.0 opportunities. A team dependent on putting the ball in play has to avoid making two outs when it does. The other key element for the Angels is their defense. They have a flyball staff that needs good outfield defense to succeed, and for almost two months, they played without center fielder Darin Erstad. Erstad is largely overrated for his good batting averages and "intangibles," but he may be the best defensive center fielder around. The Angels' run prevention works because of him, and they missed him badly while he was out. In his absence from April 20 through June 8, they allowed 189 runs in 42 games, an average of 4.5 runs per game. The rest of the season, they've allowed 198 runs in 50 games, or just 4.0 runs per game. That's the difference between being disappointing and being a contender, and a big part of that improvement is directly attributable to Erstad's range in center field.

The pitching matchup wasn't anything special: Kyle Lohse, who I'd just dumped from an AL-only Yahoo! team after eleventeen awful starts in a row, against John Lackey, who actually had been pretty good over the last couple of weeks. Lohse looked terrible; his velocity appears down, and he can't locate anything. Every now and then he'd put it together for a batter--he made Tim Salmon look bad twice--but mostly he looked like a pitcher who needs to be replaced.

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