I finally updated my hitting and pitching spreadsheets (under Featured Articles on the sidebar) after a month of being lazy.
Going by OPS, Carl Crawford is currently outhitting Josh Phelps (by only .003) and Julio Lugo. That's it.
I didn't really notice it before but Crawford is now leading the team in steals with eleven.
If we were to make the best lineup possible based purely on what the hitters have done so far and keeping everyone's position reasonable it might look like this:
I'm certainly not advocating that lineup EVER existing but it shows the current state of the offense.
Back to Crawford, how is his bad slump where he's swinging at almost everything and looking terrible any different then the ones that got Cantu and Phelps benched for several days? It pays to be a Piniella Favorite?.
Harper has some weird things in his stat line. His ERA is 6.65 which is completely out of line with what he has done this season. It isn't in any way a good indicator of his performance to this point or the level he is pitching at, it should be around three runs lower. Another quirk: He has pitched 21.2 innings and walked four for a very good 1.66 BB/9. However, ALL of those walks are intentional! He hasn't walked a single hitter yet of his own fault.
Fossum has the highest strikeout rate on the team at 10.01 K/9 and despite middling control at times still maintains a very good 2.88 K/BB ratio. Fossum and Harper (4.00 K/BB) are currently the only Rays above 2.00 in that category. Fossum's ERA is good so far but still around a half run higher than it should be, independent of defense and luck.
Speaking of luck and defense, the Rays as a team have pitched about half a run better than ERA shows; some of that is bad pitchers getting a lot of line drives smashed around but it still shows that the pitching hasn't been quite as terrible as it seems, if the defense can start getting to more balls (8th in the AL in defensive efficiency as compared to 1st last year) the pitching will improve some without the pitchers having to do anything.
Speaking of the pitching improving here are the Rays players with DIAs (Defense Independent ERA Average) above 5.00:
John Webb - 8.40
Rob Bell - 7.04
Dewon Brazelton - 6.75
Lance Carter - 6.56
Hideo Nomo - 5.88
Doug Waechter - 5.28
Seth McClung - 5.19
I was surprised to see that Nomo's DIA is lower than his ERA, he has pitched a little better than I thought, though still badly. As you can see, the three worst pitchers aren't on the active roster any more, though Webb's contribution was so small that it's not relevant. McClung was gone but the Bell situation has him back. As for Carter, Nomo, and Waechter, we'll just have to hope they'll start pitching better, poor K/BB ratios and home runs are killing them.
The Rays bullpen has done a poor job with inherited runners this season. After allowing only 30.56% score in 2004 they're currently at 41.03%. The culprits so far:
Trever Miller - 9/17, 52.94% (Bad in LOOGY situations with men on base already!)
Casey Fossum - 5/12, 41.67%
Rob Bell - 5/7, 71.43%
Lance Carter - 4/6, 66.67%
Harper has been good so far and Danys Baez has only allowed one out of eight to score.