Pecking Order: Six up, six down

With the All-Star break over and Jonathan "The Ox" Broxton nursing a toe injury that could linger the rest of the season, it's a good time for a mid-season assessment on guys I like and guys I'm worried about. My "Six Up" are guys I like to perform better than their first-half numbers (saves, ERA, K, WHIP), and my "Six Down" are targets for possible regression.

1. Brad Lidge -- His second half can't possibly be as bad as his first, and his stuff looks sharp. With a .375 BABIP in the first half, the guy has been remarkably unlucky. He's got a pretty good defense behind him, a manager that believes in him, and a show on MLB Network. How can he not rebound?

2. Mike González -- Rafael Soriano has been getting most of the save chances lately, but Soriano might get moved before July 31 -- a move that would obviously increase "Gonzo's" value. The hard-throwing lefty has been unlucky thus far (and victimized frequently by the long ball) but he's still whiffing dudes at an alarming rate (11.79 K/9). González really won't cost you much, and could be a huge second-half boon.

3. Joakim Soria -- Yes, I love him. I won't bore you with anything more than his peripherals: 11.25 K/9, 4.29 K/BB. Oh yeah -- and this: He's only notched 14 saves this season because of the injury and some Royals futility on the part of the offense. I think he'll crack 35 saves by season's end and strike out close to 80 batters.

4. Brian Wilson -- His .327 BABIP is a major clue to his bloated 3.66 ERA. And the Giants are in the thick of the Wild Card race, so his heart might be safe in San Francisco.

5. Chad Qualls -- If he doesn't get moved by the end of the month, Qualls will put up good second-half numbers. I know he had some forearm soreness, but his .332 BABIP, 6.60 K/BB and FIP below 3.00 are proof he's a good pitcher. His absurdly low strand rate of 68.6% should inch back up toward 80% in the second half and help lower his ERA.

6. Jose Valverde -- I know he's blown a few saves, but forget the numbers for a second. The guy was hurt (shredded calf) in the first half and has looked good during most of his outings since returning. He's a guy who can strike out the side any time he's out there, and he can be had much cheaper than Ryan Franklin.

1. Ryan Franklin -- Speaking of the "Red Menace," with a ZIPS-projected second-half FIP of 3.84 and an ERA currently lurking at a preposterous 0.70, Franklin is the ultimate overachiever. I've harped on this guy for a while, making jokes about Franklin's age, chin hair and less-than-overpowering stuff, but the punch line still hasn't dropped. Considering his first-half .207 BABIP, I'm already laughing inside.

2. Jonathan Broxton -- I know -- his FIP is at a miniscule 1.58 and his ERA is now up to 3.10, but the toe injury has me worried, as it does Joe Torre. If you can get top dollar for the bovine Broxton from an unsuspecting owner who doesn't think toes are important on hefty oxen, go for it.

3. Andrew Bailey -- The rookie's .246 BABIP has me concerned, although he's still the best man for the job in Oakland. I'll say, however, that there's no way in Hades he strikes out 60 guys in the second half. Bank on it by depositing your first winnings into somebody from the list above.

4. Frank Francisco -- Yes, as you've noticed, low BABIPs (.233) alert my internal bells and whistles, but so does that park and Francisco's notorious history as a bit of a head case. To be fair, he's had no issues in 2009, but his 2.28 ERA is unsustainable and he's bound to get wilder than his current 4.00 K/BB ratio indicates.

5. George Sherrill -- The "Flat-brimmed One" is much-discussed trade fodder, has a 3.41 FIP that's a full point higher than his 2.41 ERA, and has a .267 BABIP.

6. Francisco Rodriguez -- He hasn't been too bad this season, although he did suffer a couple tough defeats. I can see him getting even more discouraged when the stars return on offense and the Mets still suck, can't you? The poor guy hasn't experienced Queens during the final two months yet, but it hasn't been pretty in a while.

All statistics through the All-Star break.

Matt Capps, PIT 19-for-21 (90%), 29 IP, 20 Ks, 6.21 ERA, 1.69 WHIP Next in line: John Grabow Third in line: Jesse Chavez/Joel Hanrahan

Fernando Rodney, DET 19-for-19 (100%), 39 IP, 34 Ks, 3.92 ERA, 1.33 WHIP Next in line: Brandon Lyon/Joel Zumaya Third in line: Ryan Perry

Andrew Bailey, OAK 10-for-14 (71%), 51.2 IP, 60 Ks, 1.92 ERA, 0.97 WHIP Next in line: Brad Ziegler Third in line: Michael Wuertz

Scott Downs, TOR 9-for-10 (50%), 3 HLDs, 28.1 IP, 30 Ks, 1.91 ERA, 0.92 WHIP Next in line: Jason Frasor/Jeremy Accardo Third in line: Jesse Carlson

J.P. Howell, TB 6-for-11 (55%), 42.2 IP, 50 Ks, 2.11 ERA, 1.13 WHIP Next in line: Dan Wheeler Third in line: Randy Choate

Brad Lidge, PHI 18-for-24 (75%), 32 IP, 37 Ks, 7.03 ERA, 1.84 WHIP Next in line: Ryan Madson Third in line: J.C. Romero/Chad Durbin

Chad Qualls, ARI 16-for-20 (80%), 37.1 IP, 33 Ks, 3.62 ERA, 1.18 WHIP Next in line: Jon Rauch/Juan Gutierrez Third in line: Dan Schlereth/Tom Gordon (DL)

Kerry Wood, CLE 12-for-16 (75%), 30.2 IP, 33 Ks, 5.28 ERA, 1.43 WHIP Next in line: Chris Pérez Third in line: Jensen Lewis

Matt Lindstrom, FLA -- Sprained right elbow -- 15-Day DL

Lindstrom won't be back until August, according to Marlins exec Larry Beinfest. The much-beleaguered youngster will try to throw off a mound after the All Star break, and Beinfest thinks the team will have a better idea if and when he'll be back after a few workouts.

Troy Percival, TB -- Right shoulder tendonitis -- Return uncertain

According to the St. Petersburg Times, Percival is receiving daily chiropractic and muscle therapy treatment in California while he helps coach his son's Little League team. He's about a week or two from deciding whether to attempt a comeback.

Rafael Soriano, ATL 12-for-13 (92%), 42.2 IP, 58 Ks, 1.48 ERA, 0.89 WHIP Mike González, ATL 9-for-13 (69%), 42 IP, 55 Ks, 3.43 ERA, 1.26 WHIP Next in line: Peter Moylan

Mike MacDougal, WAS 5-for-5 (100%), 17 IP, 7 Ks, 2.65 ERA, 1.76 WHIP (NL stats only) Next in line: Joe Beimel Third in line: Julian Tavarez/Sean Burnett

Leo Nunez, FLA 4-for-7 (57%), 13 HLDs, 38 IP, 37 Ks, 3.79 ERA, 1.24 WHIP Dan Meyer, FLA 2-for-2 (100%), 11 HLDs, 35.1 IP, 33 Ks, 1.78 ERA, 0.91 WHIP Next in line: Brian Sanches/Kiki Calero Third in line: Luis Ayala/Brendan Donnelly

Mariano Rivera, NYY 23-for-24 (96%), 37 IP, 43 Ks, 2.43 ERA, 0.89 WHIP Next in line: Brian Bruney Third in line: Phil Coke

Joe Nathan, MIN 23-for-25 (92%), 34.1 IP, 43 Ks, 1.31 ERA, 0.73 WHIP Next in line: Jose Mijares Third in line: Matt Guerrier/Jesse Crain

Heath Bell, SD 23-for-24 (96%), 37.1 IP, 42 Ks, 1.69 ERA, 1.07 WHIP Next in line: Cla Meredith/Mike Adams Third in line: Edward Mujica/Greg Burke

Jonathan Papelbon, BOS 23-for-25 (92%), 39 IP, 41 Ks, 1.85 ERA, 1.33 WHIP Next in line: Takashi Saito Third in line: Hideki Okajima/Daniel Bard

Jonathan Broxton, LAD 20-for-22 (91%), 40.2 IP, 65 Ks, 3.10 ERA, 0.93 WHIP Next in line: Ramon Troncoso Third in line: Cory Wade

Joakim Soria, KC 14-for-16 (88%), 24 IP, 30 Ks, 1.88 ERA, 1.00 WHIP Next in line: Juan Cruz Third in line: Kyle Farnsworth

Francisco Rodríguez, NYM 23-for-26 (88%), 42.2 IP, 42 Ks, 1.90 ERA, 1.24 WHIP Next in line: Bobby Parnell Third in line: Brian Stokes/Billy Wagner (DL)

Bobby Jenks, CWS 20-for-22 (91%), 31 IP, 30 Ks, 3.48 ERA, 1.10 WHIP Next in line: Matt Thornton Third in line: Octavio Dotel/Tony Peña

Trevor Hoffman, MIL 20-for-22 (91%), 26.1 IP, 20 Ks, 2.05 ERA, 1.06 WHIP Next in line: Carlos Villanueva/Mitch Stetter Third in line: Todd Coffey

Francisco Cordero, CIN 21-for-22 (95%), 36 IP, 30 Ks, 1.75 ERA, 1.14 WHIP Next in line: David Weathers Third in line: Nick Masset

David Aardsma, SEA 20-for-22 (91%), 41.1 IP, 51 Ks, 1.96 ERA, 1.23 WHIP Next in line: Mark Lowe Third in line: Miguel Batista

Frank Francisco, TEX 15-for-17 (88%), 27.2 IP, 32 Ks, 2.28 ERA, 0.94 WHIP Next in line: C.J. Wilson/Eddie Guardado Third in line: Darren O'Day

Ryan Franklin, STL 21-for-22 (95%), 34 IP, 27 Ks, 0.79 ERA, 0.79 WHIP Next in line: Jason Motte Third in line: Kyle McClellan

Brian Wilson, SF 23-for-27 (85%), 39.1 IP, 45 Ks, 3.66 ERA, 1.25 WHIP Next in line: Jeremy Affeldt Third in line: Justin Miller/Merkin Valdez

Huston Street, COL 22-for-23 (96%), 39.1 IP, 43 Ks, 2.75 ERA, 0.99 WHIP Next in line: Joel Peralta/Alan Embree Third in line: Matt Daley/Manny Corpas (DL)

Brian Fuentes, LAA 26-for-29 (90%), 30.2 IP, 34 Ks, 3.23 ERA, 1.17 WHIP Next in line: Jason Bulger Third in line: Justin Speier

José Valverde, HOU 8-for-12 (67%), 21 IP, 26 Ks, 3.43 ERA, 1.10 WHIP Next in line: LaTroy Hawkins Third in line: Chris Sampson

George Sherrill, BAL 20-for-23 (87%), 37.1 IP, 34 Ks, 2.41 ERA, 1.10 WHIP Next in line: Jim Johnson Third in line: Danys Báez/Chris Ray

Kevin Gregg, CHC 16-for-19 (84%), 40.2 IP, 41 Ks, 3.32 ERA, 1.25 WHIP Next in line: Carlos Mármol Third in line: Angel Guzman

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