Here at Baseball Prospectus, we are dedicated to providing you with oodles of cutting-edge sabermetric analysis and keeping our finger on the pulse of the baseball world. With a slew of daily articles, it’s easy for one piece to get lost in the shuffle or for you to overlook a post while you’re busy hiding your monitor from your boss. Just in case this happens to be your situation, here’s what you might have missed this week at BP.
- Is this a remake of Major League, or are the Indians actually, y’know, winning? More importantly, how are they doing it? On the opposite end of the spectrum, why are the Twins and White Sox doing so poorly? You won’t be ejected or fined for ranting during the season about your favorite team’s successes or failures while checking out Tommy Bennett’s edition of the AL Hit List.
- When Lance Berkman was traded from the Astros to the Yankees last year, his baseball abilities looked less like the Big Puma on the Prowl than Fat Elvis finally leaving the building. However, the early returns on 2011 say Elvis is back atop the charts and raking. As Larry Granillo writes, Berkman’s return to Houston may have signaled liftoff for more than one NL Central first baseman, and another former Yankee in Chitown is rediscovering his power—but little else.
- Whilst thoroughly enjoying—er, desperately trying to escape from—a lovely visit to his parents’ place, Steven Goldman escaped to the solitude of the piano and rapped out “Paris 1919.” The ditty beckoned Rogers Hornsby, who was never much of a people person, to the forefront of Steve’s mind, spinning him through a mental expressway of personal relationships and Hornsby’s isolation and career.
- The 2011 batting lines of teammates Emilio Bonifacio and Hanley Ramirez point to scientists performing a miraculous body swap over the winter, but despite the month-long struggles from their shortstop, the Marlins continue to play well. The same can’t be said in Chicago, where the Cubs sing the blues once again on Jay Jaffe’s edition of the NL Hit List.
- A year ago, the Giants and Padres were marching along thanks to stellar pitching performances and surprising offensive output while the Rockies, who were expected to contend for the division title, puttered near the NL West cellar. This season, it’s the Rockies climbing mountains while the Padres and Giants pray for a higher power to intervene. What are the reasons for the strange starts on the golden coast? You’ll have to check out Geoff Young’s Tale of Two Aprils for the lowdown.
- With Joe Nathan’s return from Tommy John surgery not going as swimmingly as hoped, the Twins have turned to Matt Capps to slam the door. The right-hander has refined his approach since he first appeared in the bigs with the Pirates in 2005, and now he’s using video to help him understand his mechanics. David Laurila catches up with the 27-year-old to discuss how he and other players use video, how to make mechanical corrections, and what it takes to be successful.
- The moniker “Bronx Bombers” has been accurate thus far for the New York Yankees, who score 55.5 percent of their runs via the homer. But is the team overly reliant on waiting for the long ball to bail them out of trouble? Ben Kabak investigates the Bombers’ bopping ways and pops in with notes from around the AL East.
- Some performances through the first month of the season are expected; it’s not breaking news that Jeff Mathis struggles to even match the Mendoza line. However, teams are also suffering outages from usually reliable players. What are the underlying causes? Will these guys snap out of it? Joey Matschulat checks out the possibilities in the AL West.
- On the flip side, there have been several players who appeared to have passed their expiration date—Bartolo Colon, anyone?—but suddenly appear revived in 2011. Steven explores the curious case of Lance Berkman and considers others players who have had late-career encores.
- His career batting average is .313. He hit more than 20 homers in a season twice in his career. He’s on the march for 3,000 hits. Sounds pretty good, right? But in the last year, Derek Jeter’s lumber has been on dry ice and his defense has resembled a crumbling glacier. Despite those struggles, John Perrotto learns that the Yankees believe their Cap’n Clutch is going to rise again.
- Whenever you flick on a game, you’ll see players scorch foul balls into the stands while spectators either dive ‘n’ duck or slap on their gloves to grab the ball. But the speed of the game is incredible, and those who aren’t looking can pay a heavy price—in hospital bills. Jeff Euston argues that now is the time for major-league stadiums to extend the protective screens down the foul lines to protect fans from possibly devastating injuries.
Eric Hosmer is primed to make his big-league debut tonight, so if you have a prospect fancy, be sure to check out that game and take in a few more as well. Have a fantastic weekend, and we look forward to seeing you Monday!