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Rk Team
Overall W-L
Week W-L
Hit List Factor
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1


Mets
10-4
4-1
.725
Up

Off to the races: Jose Reyes is hitting .356/.457/.593 and running riot over the rest of the league, with four triples, eight steals, and 18 runs thus far. Elsewhere, the stat sheet has a few puzzles. David Wright is riding a 26-game hitting streak going back to last September 17, though he’s yet to homer. And while the pitching staff has put together a league-best 2.40 ERA, their walk rate (4.65 per 9 IP) and the team’s insane .778 Defense Efficiency Ratio suggest a major correction up ahead.

2


Red Sox
9-5
5-1
.685
Up

The Sox pummel the Angels 25-3 over a three-game series, but runs are hard to come by for Daisuke Matsuzaka; Boston’s been outscored 5-1 over his last two starts. The rotation’s front four have been brilliant, posting a 2.10 ERA and placing second in the AL in SNLVAR. Must read: Ben McGrath’s New Yorker profile of Manny Ramirez: “I don’t keep track of the balls… I don’t keep track of the strikes, either, until I got two.”

3


Yankees
8-6
4-2
.650
Up

The Right Wright: with three-fifths of their projected rotation on the DL, the Yankees bypass top prospect Philip Hughes (6.30 ERA in Triple-A, and no spot on the 40-man roster) to recall Chase Wright, who survives his debut thanks to early run support. The shortage of starters is taxing the bullpen, even with its improved depth, but at least the offense continues to click. Most importantly, the Alex Rodriguez heroics continue, as A-Rod’s second walk-off homer of the year makes him the fastest American Leaguer to reach 10 homers in a season (Mike Schmidt reached 11 in 12 games in 1976).

4


Dodgers
11-5
5-2
.594
Up

The Dodgers take series from their two top NL West rivals, the Padres and Diamondbacks. Russell Martin (.347/.421/.469) helps key a big win on a festive Jackie Robinson Day. Brad Penny is getting results in line with last year’s hot start (0.89 ERA), though his 2.65 K/9 doesn’t match up with the 97 MPH gas he’s pumping. Meanwhile, velocity concerns send Jason Schmidt to the DL with bursitis, and while some gnash their teeth over the whereabouts of Chad Billingsley, at least Mark Hendrickson pitches in with some nice work.

5


Twins
10-5
4-2
.565
Up

The Jason Tyner home run count nearly reaches one, but the Twins are better off hoping he can ride his early hot streak (.357/.379/.500), because without Torii Hunter (bruised shoulder) and Nick Punto (sprained ankle), they’re stretched thin. Well, except for Sidney Ponson. Segue to the rotation, where the two pitchers with the lowest ERAs are Carlos Silva (2.00) and Ramon Ortiz (2.05), the latter carrying a shiny 3-0 record to boot. The magic eightball certainly didn’t see that one coming.

6


Blue Jays
8-7
3-3
.561
Down

Wounded Birds: B.J. Ryan will miss 4-6 weeks due to a sprained ligament in his elbow, likely a cascade from this spring’s back injury; Jason Frasor and Shaun Marcum will close. Bone spurs in his heel send Troy Glaus to the DL, but neither ultrasound nor surgery are options at the moment, a situation compounded by Frank Thomas‘ inability to play anywhere but DH. Reed Johnson will undergo surgery to repair a herniated disc, knocking him out until the All-Star break. At least that affords the Jays an opportunity to check out their #2 prospect (and #43 overall) Adam Lind (.289/.349/.493 weighted mean PECOTA). Better hope that A.J. Burnett isn’t getting any big ideas from this bunch.

7


Brewers
9-6
4-2
.553
Down

With eight hits and 15 total bases over a three-game span, Bill Hall appears back on track, Rickie Weeks is pounding the ball (.618 SLG), and the Menchkins duo is hitting .346/.386/.577. At the other end of the spectrum is the third-base tandem of Craig Counsell and Tony Graffanino, hitting just .229/.321/.313. With four homers over the weekend for Triple-A Nashville, prospect Ryan Braun–who nearly won the job in spring training–gives the Brewers a potential solution to that dead spot, as Kevin Goldstein points out.

8


Braves
10-5
3-3
.551
Down

Where’s Willy? Infielder Willy Aybar is suspended without pay by the Braves for failing to show up for treatment, though new information from his agent suggests that personal demons are to blame. Bobby Cox‘s whereabouts are considerably more secure after he re-ups for 2008, but with things going this well, why not? The Braves have outhomered opponents 20-8, leading the league in both categories.

9


Orioles
8-7
4-1
.550
Up

Birds of Prey: feasting on the Royals and Devil Rays helps the O’s reach their highest ranking since July 24, 2005. But don’t get too excited yet–the expensively remade bullpen occupies the catbird seat as far as WXRL is concerned. But beyond the good works of Daniel Cabrera (3.66 ERA, 19/5 K/BB ratio), the rotation has yet to click, while the majority of the lineup–Brian Roberts, Jay Gibbons, Corey Patterson, Aubrey Huff and the catchers–is carrying an OPS below 702.

10


Padres
9-7
3-4
.537
Down

Jake Peavy (0.90 ERA in 20 innings) is off to a fast start, but the rest of the rotation has been shaky, averaging just 5.08 innings per turn, and it certainly doesn’t help when the bullpen–as stellar as it has been–is needed to throw 14 innings in a two-day span. The offense is in rough shape, scoring just 3.6 runs per game while hitting only .239/.305/.372, with the “production” of Kevin Kouzmanoff (.146/.222/.244) and Mike Cameron (.155/.246/.172) looking particularly offensive.

11


Tigers
9-6
3-3
.529
Up

One is the Loneliest Number: slow starts have Brandon Inge (.111/.212/.244), Sean Casey (.176/.263/.216 ), and Gary Sheffield (.132/.304/.208) stuck on the Interstate, but thanks to quality pitching, the Tigers have still outscored their opponents and asserted their place in the AL Central race. Meanwhile, in Paper Tiger news this week, the commissioner’s office tells Carlos Guillen to keep it in his pants.

12


Cubs
6-9
3-4
.527
Up

Like Daisuke Matsuzaka, Ted Lilly is having trouble finding run support (outscored 6-3 over last two starts), but thus far he’s been everything the Cubs could ask for (2.77 ERA, 24/3 K/BB in 19 frames). Off to a rockier start is Alfonso Soriano (.245/.288/.367), now sidelined for a week by a hamstring strain. Sori’s injury forces the Cubs to sample a slice of Felix Pie; he’s #42 on our Top Prospect List, and gives the Cubs some nice trade options, but he’s also the latest in a long line of Can’t-Miss Cubs that has followers nervous.

13


Astros
8-6
5-1
.525
Up

With Jason Jennings sidelined by severe elbow tendonitis, the rotation behind Roy Oswalt looks thinner than, well, the Astros offense, or at least the likelihood that Craig Biggio (.237/.250/.373 and yet to draw a walk) can roll back the clock to 2001. Nonetheless, Chris Sampson‘s solid return from a calf strain helps the Astros’ tear reach 7-1, putting them a half-game behind the Brewers. Enjoy it while it lasts, because the over/under date on Wandy Rodriguez keeping his ERA below 5.00 passed just as you loaded this page.

14


Athletics
8-7
4-1
.522
Up

Scoot Over, Mo: Marco Scutaro hits a game-winning homer off Mariano Rivera. He’s got a knack for the dramatic; that’s Scooter’s ninth walk-off hit since 2004, trailing only David Ortiz in that span. Not quite as dramatic but still potentially large for the A’s is Bobby Crosby‘s three-run homer off Jered Weaver, offering hope that the oft-injured shortstop has turned a corner. Meanwhile, 1.96 ERA or no, we suggest Chad Gaudin lose the ginger tribute to Matt Clement before he suffers an accident at the hands of the Hit List henchmen.

15


Reds
8-8
3-4
.502
Down

After being pulled over by the Hustle Police last week, a 1-for-23 skid sends Edwin Encarnacion to the bench. Freshly extended Ryan Freel shifts to the hot corner to make room for Josh Hamilton, who’s hitting .333/.429/.900 with a team-high five homers in just 30 at-bats. On the hill, Kyle Lohse channels Johan Santana with a career-high 12 strikeouts in a 1-0 win against the Cubs. Wait, that Kyle Lohse?

16


White Sox
7-7
3-3
.496
Down

Facing just the minimum 27 hitters, Mark Buehrle fires the season’s first no-hitter. It’s also the AL’s first no-no in nearly five years (Derek Lowe, April 27, 2002), and the first for the White Sox since Wilson Alvarez on August 11, 1991. That’s a great sign for the Hurly Buehrle Man, who led the AL in second-half suckitude last year. It’s an even better one for the Sox rotation, which has shaken off a poor spring to put up a 3.69 ERA thus far.

17


Rockies
7-9
3-4
.486
Down

You had to know it was too good to last. An inflamed elbow and accompanying forearm soreness forces Rodrigo Lopez to the DL just as he’s putting up a 1.59 ERA and showing there’s life after Baltimore. Back spasms claim Kaz Matsui just when he’s waterbugging his way to a .361/.395/.472 line with five steals. And while we’re sure there are reasons to miss Byung-Hyun Kim and his double-digit ERA–he does keep the bullpen bench from floating off into the ether–there’s no truth to the rumor that his thumb injury was sustained while trying to hitchhike out of town.

18


Diamondbacks
10-7
3-4
.485
Down

O-Dog and the O-Fers: Orlando Hudson‘s hitting a robust .373/.425/.537, but the rest of the Snakes have been shaky with the stick (.230/.306/.354). In fact, the early performances of the kids that have hipsters stroking their goatees–Stephen Drew (.211/.333/.246), Conor Jackson (.231/.339/.288), Chris B. Young (.191/.235/.340)–have been cool only in the pejorative sense. At least Carlos Quentin (.333/.429/.583 through his first three games) appears none the worse for wear after missing the first two weeks rehabbing from a torn labrum; he’s ripping the ball. And by this time next week we’ll be dissecting Randy Johnson‘s return.

19


Indians
6-6
2-4
.483
Down

Bronx Beatdown: after a nice series win over the White Sox, the Indians roll into Yankee Stadium and get trounced by a combined score of 27-11, with Alex Rodriguez homering in all three games, and rookies collecting their first major league wins in each. Worst of all is the finale, where Joe Borowski channels Joe Table and surrenders six runs in the ninth. Jake Westbrook‘s first post-extension outing is a trainwreck too; his ERA stands at 12.08.

20


Giants
6-8
4-1
.454
Up

Barry Zito notches his first W as a Giant. Also off the schneid is Barry Bonds, who hits three homers in a four-game span, lifting his stat line into familiar territory (.306/.458/.694) and his homer total to 738. At this rate, he’ll have the untidy business of the all-time home run chase wrapped up by the All-Star break, but he’d better hope his teammates join the party, as they’ve combined for just three homers thus far, one fewer than Bonds.

21


Cardinals
6-9
1-5
.453
Down

Losers of four straight and five out of six, the Cardinals are off to the worst start of any defending World Champions since the ’98 Marlins. Even without Chris Carpenter, the pitching hasn’t been the problem; the staff’s 3.31 ERA is third in the league. It’s the offense which offends; the entire team is hitting like David Eckstein Lite (.232/.305/.331) and scoring fewer runs than any NL club this side of the Nats. From Albert Pujols (.190/.299/.431) to Jim Edmonds (.195/.283/.220 ) to Scott Rolen (.214/.267/.310), the big hitters’ numbers have even them praying at the porcelain altar.

22


Mariners
5-6
2-4
.448
Up

The King is… [Gulp]: five hitters into his April 18 start, Felix Hernandez walks off the mound complaining of tightness in his elbow, prompting panic among fans in Seattle and beyond. Fortunately, the injury appears to be a flexor pronator strain–similar to what J.J. Putz had–and not an ulnar collateral ligament tear; Hernandez will hit the DL and miss two or three starts. Even with a return, he’s hardly out of the woods; his mechanics have always been problematic, according to Will Carroll, putting a lot of pressure on both his elbow and his shoulder.

23


Marlins
6-9
1-5
.439
Down

Stinking Fish: the Marlins have lost six times in seven games while being outscored 47-25 in that span. Worse, two-thirds of their projected starting outfield is down, as a sprained ankle forces Alejandro De Aza to join Jeremy Hermida on the DL. Also hitting the DL is Jorge Julio, who lugs his 19.06 ERA away with him, with Henry Owens taking over the closer role. With the Fish in such an odd state of flux, it’s hardly surprising that they’re third in the NL in scoring (4.9 R/G) and first in SLG (.443) but dead last in ERA (4.99).

24


Devil Rays
6-9
3-3
.434
Flat

While new arrivals like the Uptons, Youngs, and Iwamuras have helped the Rays score 5.3 runs per game (third-best in the majors), some things haven’t changed, including the D-Ray pitching staff’s penchant for inducing night terrors. At 6.6 runs per game, they’re more than a half-run worse than the next-closest team. None of the starters has an ERA under 5.25 (this Edwin Jackson thing is getting ridiculous), they’re last in the AL in SNLVAR, and to correctly describe the bullpen’s futility, I would have to pull out your tongue.

25


Pirates
6-8
2-3
.433
Down

Adam LaRoche‘s Pirates career is off to a .106/.250/.255 start, but at least he’s drawing the occasional walk. The Bucs are last in the NL in OBP, and beyond LaRoche and Jason Bay, they’re walking once for every 20.6 at-bats, which is closer to “never” than one would like. Without the efforts of Tom Gorzelanny (1.33 ERA) and Ian Snell (1.80 ERA and a strikeout per inning), this team would already be sunk.

26


Phillies
4-10
2-3
.410
Down

Manager Charlie Manuel appears ready to go down swinging as he challenges a radio host to a fight. But instead of the skipper calling upon Brett Myers‘ true talent–um, pinch-hitting?–to take care of business, the Phils send Myers and his 9.39 ERA to the bullpen, where he’ll set up for Tom Gordon while trying to stop the hemorrhaging. Freddy Garcia is lackluster in Phillies debut, and his lack of command has Will Carroll concerned. That may not help a staff that’s last in the league in runs allowed (5.6 per game).

27


Rangers
6-9
2-4
.394
Down

With seven homers thus far, Ian Kinsler continues to crush, but the Rangers as a whole are hitting just .221/.297/.378 after being no-hit by Mark Buehrle. Michael Young (.172/.213/.310) is mired below the Mendoza Line, while Sammy Sosa (.213/.245/.489) is skirting it even after launching a three-run homer in his return to Chicago–his first game in the Windy City since 2004, and his first game on the South Side as a Ranger in nearly 18 years. The lack of hits is keeping Eric Gagne under wraps; he’s pitched just two innings since being activated.

28


Angels
6-9
0-5
.389
Down

Fallen Angels: a 1-8 skid knocks the Halos from last week’s lofty #3 ranking. The offense scrapes together just 17 runs in that span while losing two top hitters to HBPs on their hands. Red-hot Vladimir Guerrero (.364/.442/.614) succumbs to a Josh Beckett fastball on the wrist, while Howie Kendrick (.325/.365/.490) breaks his middle finger on a Chad Gaudin plunking; beyond those two, the team is hitting just .224/.279/.297. Positive note: Jered Weaver makes his 2007 debut, showing stamina and good stuff if not wildly impressive results (6 4 4 3 2 4). Bartolo Colon returns this Saturday.

29


Nationals
5-11
3-3
.319
Up

Not a bad week for the Nats, who split three series down the middle and pay a classy tribute to the Virginia Tech victims. Raise your hand if you had Jason Bergmann (3.94 ERA) pitching well and Matt Chico notching his first W before John Patterson (0-3, 7.00 ERA), Jerome Williams (0-3, 5.63 ERA), or for that matter Tim Redding (1.1 10 12 12 2 0 in his latest start for Triple-A Columbus).

30


Royals
4-11
1-4
.314
Down

Accentuate the Positive: never mind that six-game losing streak; we’ll have plenty of time this summer to recount skids like that. Instead we’ll focus on those small sample-size driven signs of hope. Gil Meche has a 3.10 ERA through three starts, while Odalis Perez is the only KC starter with an ERA above 4.34. Rookie Joakim Soria has 11 K’s in 8.1 innings and has pitched well while replacing Octavio Dotel. And fellow rookie Tony Pena Jr. has four triples. Nevermind the fact that once you take those away, his .189/.232/.340 line is nothing but lint and pencil shavings.

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.