Just running through the AL stats, a month into the season:
- Garret Anderson isn't nearly as good the Angels, or many Angels fans, think he is, but geez, the guy is consistent. He's at .315/.336/.528, which makes him an above-average AL left fielder. Anderson is only good when he's at or near the top of his range, but frankly, he does spend an awful lot of time there. There's value to health and consistency, and Anderson has both of those in spades.
- You know what's going to be fun? Picking All-Stars from the Orioles and Devil Rays. At least the Tigers have Jeff Weaver, and Mike Sweeney can always be the token Royal. The Orioles, though, are going to have some faceless guy having a good first half, like Jay Gibbons or Tony Batista, while the Devil Rays' best players have been no-defense slugs like Steve Cox and Ben Grieve. I love Paul Wilson, but he might have two wins by late June.
- I'm real interested to see what Shea Hillenbrand does going forward. He walked seven times against 91 April at-bats, and while that's still a below-average walk rate, it represents a big step forward from last year. Hillenbrand also hit for more power this April, and by all accounts was using a different approach at the plate. Improvement, or one-month fluke? I'd split the difference, and expect him to end up around .290/.330/.465. That won't hurt the Sox.
Here's another way to look at the Red Sox' improved defense:
Despite a 22% dropoff in their strikeout rate, the Sox are allowing 8.6% fewer non-homer hits per inning than they were a year ago. Given the extra balls in play, that's a staggering amount, and a credit to the upgrades made over the winter.
- Be concerned: the White Sox have three starters striking out fewer than six men per nine innings in Dan Wright, Jon Garland, and Jon Rauch. And they don't have the defense to get away with that.
- I've seen most of Jeff Weaver's starts, and I can't figure him out. He sure does have a strange line, though: 40 2/3 innings, 46 hits, but no home runs and just 15 strikeouts.
Chuck Knoblauch: .176/.253/.265; Michael Tucker: .195/.326/.325; Neifi Perez: .232/.250/.333; Brent Mayne: .200/.292/.273.
Finish the job, Mr. Glass.
Chad Bradford is a right-handed reliever. Corey Bradford is a wide receiver. Chad, baseball. Corey, football. Chad, throws balls. Corey, catches them. Chad, white. Corey, black.
(Sorry. That was getting to me.)
- I was way wrong about Carlos Pena. He's now at .258/.330/.589, and has quintupled his walk rate since the first ten days of the season. Kudos to Billy Beane and Art Howe for not overreacting–the way some clown on the Internet did–to Pena's terrible spring.
- The Texas Rangers have the third-best rotation in the American League.
- He has to be unhappy with the Jays' overall performance, but two of J.P. Ricciardi's early moves are really paying off. Eric Hinske is hitting .307/.392/.455, while Rule 5 pick Corey Thurman has been the team's best reliever.