Grades at The Break

Below are my all-Star Break grades.  On the whole, they are good, although some players might want to intercept the e-mail before their parents get home.

Posada: A. His numbers alone–11 HR, 40 RBI, .285/.369, 20/67 caught stealing–merit something in the A range, all the more so for a guy who will be 38 in August and is coming off major shoulder surgery.  He has been excellent in many facets, including defensively for which he has been somewhat unfairly pilloried.

Molina: B+. For a limited body of work, Molina’s offense has been significantly improved–1 HR, 6 RBI, /271/.340–while his defense has been good, but not great.  He calls a great game and handles pitchers exceedingly well, but has only thrown out 5 of 20.  That might have something to do with handling a group of lumbering pitchers who, on the whole, are slow to the dish.

Cervelli: A. A revelation.  His offensive numbers aren’t overwhelming–1 HR, 9 RBI, .269/.284/  However, in good part I evaluate Cervelli based on what expectations I had when he was called up for Jorge, which were not high, his subpar body of work in Trenton until that point, and how excellent he was in handling pitchers, calling a good game, and in his overall defense. 10 of 21 caught stealing is nothing short of outstanding and, along with a couple other players, I shudder to think where the Yankees would have been without him.  He might well make Molina expendable for 2010, although he has some areas, especially offensively (low OBP, only 2 walks), in which to improve.

Cash: C-. Adequate fill-in, mediocre defensively, brutal offensively until his last two games when he collected five hits in nine at-bats to raise his average to .231/.250.

Teixeira: A. His average isn’t there yet (.275), but 21 HR, 63 RBI, .378 OBP make his the premier first baseman in the AL, while his defense is incredible and puts him over the top.  One error thus far, one error amidst reams of highlight reel plays–several runners thrown out at second and home from his knees, scoops galore to save errors, leaping catches, and tremendous heads-up baseball including doing the little things, such as suckering Figgins into lolly-gagging it back into first standing up when Brett the Jet made that great diving catch in center Saturday, then lunging across Figgins’s body for what should have been the second half of a brilliant 8-3 DP.  Especially after suffering through watching a ham-and-egger such as Giambi butcher countless plays, it’s a genuine privilege to see Teixeira on a daily basis.  Hopfully his average picks up even more after the break.

Cano: B+/A-. This was not an easy grade for me to give, for Cano’s offense merits a B+ to me.  His numbers are on the whole quite good–13 HR, 41 RBI, .308 average–but his continually low OBP, a product of his swinging often successfully at the first pitch, keeps his OBP low at .341.  He still needs more patience, and as a result did not thrive batting fifth.  As I have preached numerous times, he cannot bat higher than sixth until he proves he can take pitches.  I thought he would do that batting fifth this year.  Not only did he not, he also did not hit well or deliver runners.  The difference, to me, in giving Cano a strong grade and not something slightly lower is his tremendous defense–three errors, and playing a spectacular second, turning quick double plays, making excellent and tough catches, and making the infield defense rather solid on the whole.

Jeter: A. The Captain’s offense has been excellent, something I speculated would be the case in ST–10 HR, 37 RBI, .321/.396, 17/20 SB.  What has surpsied me somewhat is his excellent defense–4 errors thus far.  At the break, I would have gladly settled for twice that.  Four is remarkable, and he looks fresh and with good range and short even though he just turned 35.  2,645 hits and counting…

A-Rod: B. I am sympathetic to the fact that A-Rod is coming off an important if stop-gap surgery that has limited his range, endurance, and regular workout routines this season.  On the whole, his numbers are good–17 HR, 50 RBI, .256/but .411.  His 5 errors are just OK and, offensively, I’d like to see his average 50 points higher.  Plus, there is the fact that expectations based on his past performances are higher.  Yet, on the whole, A-Rod has been both good and pivotal for the fortunes of the team generally, and specifically with Teixeira in the order.

Pena: B+. For a 23-year-old kid, Pena did rather well in his first prolonged stint in the majors.  He committed but one error, hit .269/.308, drove in 7, and stole 3 bases.  His versatility offensively and defensively was a big plus, pinch-running and playing three positions, especially third and short.  The guy is a professional glove, really slick and, although he lacks power right now, his offense wasn’t a total drag on the team.

Berroa: F. He needlessly wasted a roster spot for weeks when a red-hot Shelley Duncan could have come off the bench, especially in interleague play, to pinch-hit and supply some pop.  Horrible.

Ransom: F. He hit like dookie (.176/.233) and was often a butcher at third, committing four errors.  I could have tolerated the occasional error, for the guy isn’t Belanger.  But where has the pop been, Cody?  No homers?  No passing grade.

JD: A-. His offense has been aces–16 HR, 50 RBI, .276/.362, 8 SB, especially for a guy turning 36 this November.  Yet his defense has been a detriment at times, especially missing routine fly balls.  His speed is a plus in the spacious left center, but four errors is the most he has committed since 2005.

Brett the Jet: B+. His numbers are on the whole pretty good and, considering what I thought would be reasonable to expect, about right for his capabilities.  3 HR, 19 RBI, .282/.352 with 18/22 SB after a slow start is pretty good.  He’s not going to supply a lot of power anyway, and he seems to have adjusted to life in the majors.  On the whole, his defense has been good, at times spectacular but also at times unpredictable and erratic.

Melky: B+. His numbers have bounced back after he collapsed last season–8 HR, 34 RBI, .285/.347–and he has earned his way back into regular outfield play after Nady’s injury and because of his own good work.  He has played multiple positions and, thanks to his defense, has proved valuable once again.  He faltered after banging his shoulder off the wall in late May, but has gone 5 for his last 12 to raise his average a bit.  The second half is crucial for him and, more importantly, for the team relying on him in Nady’s absence.  My grade is in good part an expectation grade, since I had few expectations for Melky when the season started.

Swish: B. Not an easy grade to assess, for Swish was great in the first few weeks, slumped badly, then seems to have settled in to a point that his average might or might not get above .260 the rest of the season without a big hot streak.  But his early power, patience, and steady play on the whole were valuable for a team languishing with injuries and a languid offense.  14 HR, 47 RBI, .237/but .360 from a team-high 53 walks does much to offset some head-scratching plays in the outfield.

Matsui: B+. I am not of the opinion that Matsui has had a great first half, he’s been fairly good–14 HR, 40 RBI, .265/.367.  But I am persuaded that Matsui has been hampered by bad knees that will hereafter give him problems.  There are times that he lumbers around the bases, a shell of his former and more productive self.  Considering his bad knees, he’s had a pretty good first half.

Nady: Incomplete. Done as a Yankee, alas.

Sabathia: B. 8-6, 3.86 is good, not tremendous.  But the big man has the only 2 complete games a Yankee starter has thrown, has at times suffered from a lack of offense, takes the ball, and is damn tough.  I anticipate a better second half.

Burnett: B+. 8-4, 3.77 is good as well, and Burnett would have earned a higher grade were it not for his not walking 4.5 per 9.  Otherwise, he has been very good.

Pettite: C+. His 8-5 record is good, and toward the high end of what I would have hoped from him thus far.  Yet his 4.85 ERA has risen lately, and he’s allowing way too many base runners.  He needs to reverse his recent struggles, for his own sake and for the good of the team.  After Sabathia and Burnett, the rotation’s performance has fallen off precipitously, and Pettite has had much to do with that.

Wang: F. He actually improved to get his ERA to 9.64.  I know he had the whole weak foot/hip thing, but atrocious is atrocious, and Wang was historically atrocious through his first three starts.  Even with reduced velocity, his location was appalling.  The Yankees need him and his heavy sinker the second half.

Joba: C+. He seems to be regressing, and not necessarily in terms of his stuff but his temperament.  4-2, 4.25 ERA is respectable, but not what people expected from someone of his caliber, with his abilities, and his sharp and varied pitches.  He’s routinely failed to take the ball into the seventh inning, thus taxing the bullpen.  He is young and still learning to pitch, but has too often done so the hard way–not relying on catchers who know a lot and have proven themselves by working with pitchers far more accomplished that Joba.

Hughes: B+. As a starter, OK–3-2. 5.45 ERA–but as a reliever devastating–0-0, 0.98 ERA, 18 1/3 IP, 7 H, 2 runs earned, 5 BB, 19 K.  He’s been nothing short of what Joba was in 2007.  The last runs Hughes allowed were over a month ago–June 10 in a long stint in Boston.  Devastating, throwing in the mid-to-high 90s, putting batters away, and confident.

Mariano: A. Why an A, you might ask?  Yes, his ERA is 2.43, which by the way as of right now would put 2009 in the top half of the seasonal ERA Mariano has had his career.  Yes, he has already allowed 5 HR, the most he has allowed since 2001 and, if he allows one more this season, the most he will have ever allowed as a reliever in a season.  Yet consider this–Mariano has allowed runs in a mere 6 out of 36 relief appearances thus far this year.  He has blown 1 save in 24 chances.  His WHIP is again below 1–0.89.  I’d still pick him to close a game over anyone in the majors, let alone anyone in history.  Aside from a few struggles, mostly in non-save situations, Mariano has yet again been tremendous.

Coke: B. He was poor Saturday, but on the whole has been rather good.

Aceves: A. As Mike said, one of the saviors of the team this year.  He’s done a tremendous amount to solidify a shaky bullpen, even providing a start in addition to swinging between long and short relief.

Robertson: B-. Until recently, he would have gotten a higher grade were it not for a couple poor performances near the break, and despite walking entirely too many batters.  Lively fastball with lots of movement, but a pitch he needs to keep down in the zone.

Bruney: C. I don’t like the fact that he hid his injury.  Just as important, I don’t like his struggles since his return.

Tomko: F. I didn’t expect much from him, but he’s faltered badly even in his role as run-for-the-bus pitcher.  Not trustworthy.

Albaladejo: D. Still has some potential to contribute, but must minimize the walks or risk permanent banishment.

Edwar: F: May have seen his last action in pinstripes.  Walking 15 in 17 1/3 sealed the deal.

Veras: F. Couldn’t throw strikes, high ERA, untrustworthy in any pressure situation, eventually traded.  Other than that, he was fine.

Girardi: B. Girardi manages bullpen work well even though he still lacks the feel of when to go to the pen and remove a starter clearly struggling.  He has also done a good job handling Gardner and Melky, letting their respective play dictate their playing time as much as possible considering the depleted injury situation in the OF.  Keeping Berroa, Veras, and Edwar that long were atrocious non-decisions, to me, just detrimental to the team, although I strongly speculate that Cashman had more than a little to do with any personnel moves and non-moves.  He should have the team run more.  On the whole, a good job considering everything he has had to handle thus far.

Published in: on July 13, 2009 at 2:05 am  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. You and I had the same idea, as I posted my grades on my site Sunday morning.

    I don’t see many differences of opinion either. We are pretty much in agreement.

  2. a very generous assessment — especially for damon, swisher matsui molina and pettitte. i think maybe everyone should get 2 grades. one for offense and one for D. at least the hitters that is…

  3. On JD Mike, I think his offense has been very good, average aside and which is not far from his norm. Plus, his drops are atrocious, but he still has enough speed to play a good left. Swish may rack up a pretty good year offensively. Molina has been good offensively, especially for him. On the whole, I tried to grade these based on what I felt was the norm or close to expected of them, also taking into consideration their relative ages and levels of productivity.

  4. well i don’t think that JD has enough speed ( or greenies for that matter) for LF he isn’t getting to nearly as many balls. if we were going to grade guys based on the norm or what is expected of them then i’d have to lower teixeira’s grade a bit. he has been amazing in the field but has had one spectacular month, one awful one and one and a half decent ones. i’m a bit disappointed with his hitting. By the same token i would have to lower CC’s grade – i expected more than a B. didn’t you?

  5. I don’t agree about Teixeira’s grade. His average isn’t what it should be, but his power numbers are excellent. Yes, one great month but, on the whole for the so-called first half, about what I would have hoped. And as much as I knew about his defense, he’s been better than advertised in the field, saving runs multiple times. I also expect Teixeira to pick up his average in the second half, which he usually does. We’ll see, but he’s been terrific to me thus far–a bit inconsistent, definitely, but terrific on the whole.

    On Sabathia, I sure did expect more than a B but, considering his ERA is good, especially in the AL, and considering that he has more 1-2-3 innings than any other pitcher in the league, this helped earn a good grade. To me, an A for Sabathia would have been 10+ wins, and an ERA at 3.50 or below.

  6. I’ll do mine

    Jorge – A I know some people will think he hasn’t been great as you say Jason hes 38 also been on the DL.

    Molina – C not enoguh games but no offence really but good always in D

    Cavelli – A same a Jason said

    Tex – A- I great D, homers but agree with Mike other then the great month not been brilliant but I do think hes worth an A-

    Cano – B+ same as what Jason put the OPS is too low for me and those annoying ground outs to second.

    Jeets – A what a great year.

    Alex – B after Surgery and the fact Girardi didnt give him a day off hes done good.

    Pena – B+ great little player done everything that was asked shame he got sent down for Ranson which I think is an awful call. Ranson and Barreo both get F’s

    JD – B- I still get scared everytime a pop up goes to LF and his offence has slowed a little but over all a good year so far.

    Swisher – C+/B- this is a tough one I do like Swish but too many K’s.

    Melky B- abit like last year had a great April/May but then down but still better then I thought good year so far.

    Gardner B+ same as Jason like him

    Mats – C other then homers hes been abit useless but 14 I think is fair for a grade C.

    CC – B- I did expect more but Im not trying to be a smart ass but I knew he would start slow like the last few years watch out for the second half

    AJ – B again like CC hes a second half pitcher so I think his stats are good would get a A-/B+ if not for the walk.

    Wang – F ugh

    Joba – C+ totally agree with Jason on him

    Andy – C- not the best had a awful last few starts but his era is too high for me but he been ok

    Hughes – B+ agreed with Jason with Girardi/ Cashman messing him about isnt fair on him to me hes been brilliant from the pen.

    Ace – A+ just brilliant

    Mo – A- agreed again would a get an A bit not for the homers hes given up

    As for the rest of the releif pitchers I agree with everyting Jason said again.

    This is the controversial part I would give Girardi a D+/C-. Leaving starters in too long, using Mo abit too much for me, the A-Rod situation, constant use of Veras, don’t like how he is using Hughes, line up changes for no reason some times, obsessed about the lefty to lefty good hitters are good hitters to me, the excuse of age inexperience and the classic hes one of my guys. Thats just half of it im not a fan.

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