A couple of interesting notes to throw at you while we await the action this evening.
1. Since July, who's been the best shortstop in baseball? Troy Tulowitzki? Hanley Ramirez? Try Jed Lowrie.
To give you a real sense of just how good Jed Lowrie has been since returning from mono, I had Baseball Prospectus colleague Dan Turkenkopf bring up a list of all shortstop eligible players and their production since July 21, 2010. Using True Average, a rate stat that encompasses offensive production into one neat, tidy number, we can see who has been the best.
In a result so stunning that even Lowrie fanboys will be taken aback, Lowrie is the leading shortstop, via TAv, since his return. Lowrie has a .354 True Average over that stretch, while Tulowitzki – who has hit .331/.407/.672 in the same span of time – ranks second at .349.
Total Average is park adjusted, which is why Tulo's monster numbers take a back seat to Lowrie's.
2. Are the Yankees not as good as they seem?
If the pitching isn't going to get much better (with current personal it's hard to see, but the Yankees can certainly make mid-season moves), and with the offense likely to come back to earth a bit given the inflated HR%, it's hard to say that the Yankees are an elite team or a sure thing to win the AL East right now.
Of course, no team, no matter how good (or bad) they look on April 19, is a sure thing to win (or lose) anything.