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Some things you know, and some you don’t know:

  • Since joining the rotation at the end of May, the Devil Rays’ Albie
    Lopez
    has been one of the best starters in the American League. After
    last night’s performance against the Tigers, Lopez has gone at least five
    innings in all of his 11 starts. His ERA as a starter is 3.63 and he has a
    2-to-1 strikeout ratio as a member of the D-Rays’ rotation. Through Sunday,
    his Support-Neutral Winning Percentage
    of .550 led the D-Rays.

  • The chase for .400 simply doesn’t count until Labor Day, so don’t call me
    with the batting averages of Nomar Garciaparra and Todd
    Helton
    until Troy Aikman’s first concussion. Until then, keep in mind
    that from 1997 to 1999, players hit .400 for a single calendar month just
    27 times. And of those 27, just two, Larry Walker and Mike
    Piazza
    , have had two .400 months.

  • Glenallen Hill is a severely limited player, kind of a
    discount-store version of Jose Canseco. That said, when the rest of
    the bench is Chris Turner, Clay Bellinger, Wilson
    Delgado
    , Felix Jose and Ryan Thompson, Hill looks like
    the 1988 version of Canseco by comparison. Brian Cashman may eventually
    regret some of his trades this year, but he has certainly improved the 2000
    Yankees. What you hope he’s learned, though, is the importance of using the
    offseason to bring in good minor-league free agents and major-league NRIs
    to establish some depth.

  • With his post-All-Star-Game Babe Ruth impersonation, Gary Sheffield
    has moved into the NL MVP discussion, and deservedly so. His .351/.489/.919
    tear has pushed the Dodgers to within 3 1/2 games of the Diamondbacks in
    the NL West and pushed him to the top of Clay Davenport’s NL
    EqR and Runs Above Position charts.

    While he gets respect for his power numbers and is being to get media
    recognition as one of the Dodgers’ "leaders", it’s hard not to
    think about how much better his numbers could be. Beginning in 1995, his
    home parks have…OK, let’s just run a chart since the strike:

    Year    Park                              Park Effect
    1995    Joe Robbie (Florida)                      -5%
    1996    Joe Robbie                               -13%
    1997    Joe Robbie                                -8%
    1998    Joe Robbie/Dodger Stadium (L.A.)    -10%/-17%
    1999    Dodger Stadium                            -6%
    

    Sheffield hasn’t played in a hitters’ park since 1994, when Joe Robbie
    boosted run-scoring by 21% (in a shortened season).

Joe Sheehan can be reached at jsheehan@baseballprospectus.com.

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