Tuesday, July 05, 2005
This post mostly started as a response to this thread at Soxtalk.com asking for mid-season grades. It got long, so I figured that I would just post it here. For some reason, the boring, overused topic of "midseason grades" intrigued me this year.
I'll go by position, then through the staff.
AJ Pierzynski - A+ defensively, B+ hitting.
Outstanding game calling skills, good d, career high homers and clutch hits make up for lowest batting average in career.
Chris Widger - B defensively, A- hitting.
Can't ask for much more from a backup catcher.
Paul Konerko - B defensively, B+ hitting
Paulie's been at his career norms on defense, and his newfound patience makes up for a lower than usual average. Looking for great second half from Kong.
Tadahito Iguchi - B+ defensively, B+ hitting
Has been a pleasant surprise, but average dipping. He's been solid but not spectacular in the field.
Willie Harris – A defensively, D+ offensively. A credit to Willie – he has stepped in with his glove when asked and played excellent defense. He still has no power whatsoever, and isn’t getting on base enough in his limited at bats.
Juan Uribe - A- defensively, D hitting.
Glove work has been sparkling at times, usually great. He has yet to get hot hitting wise - and whe he does, he'll be dangerous. Still, he's made a lot of outs in the first half.
Joe Crede - A defensively, C- hitting
At least Joe doesn't take his lackluster hitting performance to the field. We are, unfortunately, probably seeing the real Joe Crede at the plate.
Scott Podsednik - C- defensively (center), A- defensively (left), A- offensively. He's playing a great defensive left field, but is not playing so well in his short stints in center. Offensively, his OBP and his steals are his offensive contribution. Very little power - therefore he gets a lower grade.
Aaron Rowand - A- defensively, C+ offensively.
He's played a very good but not great CF, and has been disappointing but not horrible at the plate. Where's the power, Aaron?
Jermaine Dye – C- defensively, A- offensively
Looking pretty bad in the field at times, without the good arm we thought he had. At the plate, his power has been very good, but otherwise has only a decent average and low plate discipline.
Carl Everett- B- defensively, B+ offensively. Has shown he can still play the field, although he does make the defense worse. Offensively, his stats are OK, but his carriage of the team in the early season warrants mention.
Frank Thomas - INC defensively, B+ offensively. The Big Hurt is swinging hard and connecting – but a little too infrequently. Still taking his walks, Thomas needs to get his average up to about .270 to really, really help the Sox in the second half.
Timo Perez – B defensively, D- offensively. He’s taking up a roster spot that belongs to Ross Gload.
Pablo Ozuna – B+ defensively, B+ offensively. Pablo has gotten hits when he’s had the chance, and is able to fill in all around the diamond. No power, but his .354 OBP isn’t too shabby.
Mark Buehrle – A. He’s having his best season so far, with a decent strikeout rate and excellent walk rate. His mid-2’s ERA are very welcome and he’s eating innings like Pac-Man.
Jon Garland – A+ He was a league average pitcher for the last 3 years. So he gets an A+ only because of where he came from, not where he is. He’s still only the third best starter on the Sox after Buehrle and Garcia. His emergence, however, is why the Sox are 55-26 at this point.
Jose Contreras – C- He’s tough to watch. He’s 3-5 on a team that is 55-26, meaning that he’s pretty much doing everything in his power NOT to win games. The walks and lack of confidence in his 95+ mph fastball are getting really, really old.
Orlando Hernandez – C+ He would get an A for his 7-2 record, but a D for his 4.88 ERA and an F for his injury shenanigans and his 1.63 WHIP. Overall, that’s a C.
Cliff Politte – A+ Wow. What a first half. Perfect record, microscopic ERA and WHIP.
Dustin Hermanson – A- I can’t argue with 20 for 21 in the saves department and a sub-2.00 ERA. I’m not too excited about his low strikeout rate and high-wire act in allowing baserunners.
Damaso Marte – B- Perhaps it is overuse, but Damaso has not looked sharp this year. He is on the DL, and hopefully all of problems are related to his injuries. If Damaso performs at his 2003-2004 level when he comes back from the DL, the Sox bullpen will be solid.
Luis Vizcaino – D+ He was a gascan early in the year, but has improved over the last five or six weeks. He had a 2.25 ERA in June after a 7.43 April and 5.23 May.
Shingo Takatsu – C Shingo lost his closer job because of a lot of close calls and the fact that Hermanson needed to bail him out a couple of times. He still was 8 for 9 in save opportunities. Takatsu is giving up the long ball like no one’s business this year, although he has improved dramatically, a la Vizcaino, over the last six weeks. He had an 8.10 ERA in April, a 5.87 May , and a 0.96 ERA in June. So far in July, he’s had an 8.10 ERA. Gulp.
Neal Cotts – A- Neal has gone from a long man to a reasonably reliable set up man. The key has been that he has walked only 13 men in 30 innings, which is much better than his walk rate last year or the year before. On the same note, he’s still striking out about a batter per inning. Cotts’ development is one of the nicer surprises for the Sox this year. But for them to go 55-26, a lot of things like Neal Cotts have to go right.
Brandon McCarthy- D God love him, he destroyed the minors last year, but isn’t ready. He needs to get his change over for strikes or develop a new pitch (cutter? slider?) to pitch effectively in the major leagues.
Kevin Walker – F Get off the roster. Now!