Good, at least in terms of keeping up with the rock-solid White Sox into the
second half. The toughest staff in the league to hit (.230) can't be
Rockie on a
(pronounced hop) is the most unfamiliar name on the early-season leader boards.
At week's end the Rockies rightfielder ranked third in the NL in hits (39),
third in batting (.348), fifth in slugging (.643) and sixth in on-base
percentage (.434)--not bad for an 11th-round draft pick in 2000 out of LSU who
hit .259 in 410 big league at bats entering this season and is older than
Albert Pujols. (Hawpe turns 27 next month, Pujols next January.)
tremendous raw power, and coming up [through the system] he has always hit
wherever he's been," Colorado G.M. Dan O'Dowd says of Hawpe (above), a .306
hitter in the minors. "Like all young players, I'm sure there will come a
time when he struggles, but it's not like he's been hot for two weeks. This is
five weeks now. I don't think it's a fluke."
Hawpe also helped
Colorado to a 19-13 start, good for first place in the NL West. One reason to
take the Rockies a little more seriously (other than the weak division they
play in): They have performed well on the road, sweeping two series away from
Coors Field, one more than they did in their previous 112 road series.
Fair. Hawpe may not be the next Derrek Lee, but he appears to be at least a
solid supporting player whose .446 road average proves that he's not Coors
The 10 winningest
active pitchers were a combined 37--14 at week's end. In order of career wins
they are the Cubs' Greg Maddux, the Mets' Tom Glavine, the Yankees' Randy
Johnson, the Red Sox' David Wells, the Yankees' Mike Mussina (above), the
Mariners' Jamie Moyer, the Mets' Pedro Martinez, the Red Sox' Curt Schilling,
the Tigers' Kenny Rogers and the Braves' John Smoltz. And that group doesn't
even include Roger Clemens, the winningest pitcher alive, who might soon decide
to pitch again for the Astros, Yankees, Red Sox or Rangers, all of whom are
fiercely recruiting the 43-year-old righthander.
Of this season's
top seven strikeout pitchers, four were among the aforementioned 10: Schilling,
Mussina, Martinez and the lefty Glavine, who is finding new success with his
curveball and a changeup he daringly throws on the inside corner to
learned that sometimes less is more, in terms of velocity," Giants pitcher
Matt Morris says. "That takes tremendous confidence in your ability to
execute, because the rest of us tend to think, If I get beat on a pitch, I at
least better be putting maximum effort behind it."