(Note to anyone trying to send me e-mail: it probably will bounce for the
next 12 to 48 hours. Thanks for your patience. –JSS)

Walking through the parity league…

  • Robb Nen has been alternating dominant seasons with so-so ones
    since 1996, but his early results so far indicate that the streak may end.
    Ten baserunners and 23 strikeouts in 14 innings are about as good as it gets
    for a relief pitcher.

    Nen threw fewer innings last year, 66, then he had in his previous
    high-performance seasons. That may be a factor, although we don’t know
    enough about reliever workloads to say for sure.

  • Injuries to
    Mark Kotsay,
    Tony Gwynn,
    and Mike Darr
    opened the door, and it now looks like
    Rickey Henderson has no
    intention of walking back through it. The runs record and 3,000 hits, which
    both looked like longshots two weeks ago, now appear to be attainable by
    August, maybe sooner. As a shameless Rickey fan, I hope he gets them while
    leading the Padres deep into the NL West race.

  • After I wrote the column
    on guys with low BAs who are having big seasons,
    I received mail in praise of
    J.D. Drew,
    who at the time was
    hitting under .250. Well, Drew has now mixed in some singles and is hitting
    .280/.425/.646. Most impressively, he appears to finally have an everyday
    job and is batting fifth in most of Tony LaRussa’s lineups. Memo to TLR:
    It’s about freaking time.

  • I still don’t know how to solve Rick Ankiel‘s problems, but I do
    know it’s not just about the walks anymore. The league is hitting .275 off
    him and he’s giving up a home run every three innings, plus he’s not even
    averaging five innings per start.

  • Aramis Ramirez:
    .283/.360/.616. Sometimes, you just have to get
    the hell out of the way and let a guy play.

  • The weird thing about the Phillies is that they’re off to a good start
    without getting anything from their best players.
    Scott Rolen,
    Bobby Abreu,
    Pat Burrell,
    and Mike Lieberthal
    are way below their established performance levels, while only
    Travis Lee
    has an OBP above .350.

    If you’re the Braves, that’s a thought that has to keep you awake at night.

  • Look past the record: 1-4 Tony Armas Jr. has been one of the
    better pitchers in the NL this season.

  • DiSars update:
    Marquis Grissom
    is up to 74 at-bats without a
    walk, and getting more playing time. Never, ever, discount veteran presence.

  • I don’t want it to sound like I’m pushing the panic button, because I
    really enjoy watching this guy pitch, but since his 13-strikeout, 127-pitch
    win over the Cardinals, Wade Miller has eight strikeouts (against six
    walks) in 15 innings.

    I’m just sayin’…

  • By the way, if
    Brad Ausmus
    got all the credit when Jose
    has his one good start, why doesn’t he at least get some of the
    blame now that Lima has imploded again? Or take heat for the fact that
    Scott Elarton has sucked so far?

    If you wonder why we discount the case for catchers impacting pitcher
    performance, this is a good example of why. It, like "chemistry"
    and "veteran leadership" and all that fun intangible stuff, is
    simply something that gets pointed to when it’s convenient, to make a good

  • The Florida Marlins are a quality right fielder away from winning the NL
    East. If there’s a GM that should be calling the Diamondbacks every single
    day about
    Erubiel Durazo,
    it’s Dave Dombrowski.

  • One of the most underrated great trades of the 1990s: then-Rockies’ GM
    Bob Gebhard sending
    Eric Young
    to the Dodgers for Pedro Astacio. Astacio has been one of the most
    reliable starters in the game since the deal, a fact masked by his home park.

  • Deion Sanders:
    .235/.278/.412. Yeah, what do the computerees know?

  • If Barry Larkin
    doesn’t go into the Hall of Fame right quick, they should just convert the place into a landfill.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus.

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