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Long in decline, Erstad's value is further diminished by his manager's insistence on batting him at the top of the order, where his .313 OBP at week's end has limited RBI chances for the mashers behind him.
Good start (2.57 ERA), good pitching coach ( Rick Anderson), reasonably good value ($3.1 million). But though he's throwing strikes, he's not missing bats (14 K's in 35 innings). That will catch up to him.
The wins (three) and ERA (1.91) are nice, but most pitchers lose something moving from the pen to the rotation, and fatigue is bound to catch up to Looper, who's never pitched more than 86 innings.
Why should we anticipate a drop-off in his .874 OPS through Sunday? His career April OPS is 200 points higher than his post-April OPS, the largest split for any player since 1960 (minimum: 300 plate appearances).
He's not the worst free-agent signing, but somewhere between his two starts to begin '07 (0--2, 8.18 ERA) and three strong subsequent outings (2--1, 1.32) lies the truth: Zito is a slightly above-average pitcher.