Wednesday, July 13th, 2005
I have been working on the classic “grade the players” posts most of this weekend. Originally, Dave was going to join me in this endeavor, but he has unfortunately broken his arm, and couldn’t finish. Rather than let my typing go for naught, I’ve decided to post my thoughts, starting with the infielders. Feel free to agree, disagree or point out something you think I missed in the comments. Get well soon, Dave.
Note: statistics are through 81 games played
Derrek Lee: .377/.449/.718 25HR, 67RBI A+
Derrek only gets an A+ because there’s no higher grade. What else can you give to a guy who’s leading the team in almost every major offensive category (2nd in stolen bases), is on pace to make a serious run at the Triple Crown, flirted with a .400 BA, plays excellent defense and never misses a game? I shudder to think where the Cubs would be without Derrek.
Aramis Ramirez: .305/.366/.558 18HR, 52RBI A-
Aramis got off to a slow start at the plate this year and one thing has become apparent; he takes every at-bat into the field with him, so when he’s going bad at the plate, he’s usually compounding problems by kicking the ball around the infield too. Luckily Aramis found his stroke in May, bringing his offensive numbers back in line with what we saw last year, as well as settling down to play a serviceable 3B.
Todd Walker: .290/.340/.432 2HR 30RBI B-
Walker got off to a tremendous start in April, but was somewhat derailed by the knee injury he incurred when Carlos Lee decided to show Ozzie Guillen that he did indeed, know how to break up a double play. Walker’s performance has pretty much been what we expected out of him: a patient, line drive hitter, who can hit for power if the situation calls for it. His defense is better than advertised, but he does seem prone to making errors in key situations.
Neifi Perez: .270/.292/.380 7HR 29RBI C+
If you ever a poster child for regressing towards the mean, Neifi’s is it. Pressed into duty after Nomar’s groin injury, Perez hit .368 with a .403 OBP in April, and hasn’t posted an OBP of better than .300 for a month since. Part of Neifi’s C+ should also go to Dusty Baker, who seemed to think that Neifi had indeed morphed into Rogers Hornsby and left him batting at the top of the order, despite the fact that his numbers have come plummeting back to earth. Neifi’s defense has been solid for the most part, although his errors seem to come in bunches, often in the same inning.
Michael Barrett: .257/.298/.447 9HR 36RBI C-
Barrett’s first half has been marked by inconsistency, where he’s had two bad months (April, June) and one good one (May). He seems to have lost his patience hitting in the 8th spot this year, as his walk rate is down quite a bit. Part of this may be due to the fact that this year’s offense simply isn’t as good as last year’s, and Barrett may be trying to hard to pick up the slack with hitting, instead of being content to take pitches and walk in front of the 9th hitter. He has improved his defense this year, which pulls his grade up from D level, but the Cubs really need Barrett to hit.
Jerry Hairston: .274/.364/.400 3HR 10RBI B-
I had a tough time grading Hairston. He’s a real contradiction. He’s one of the few guys on the Cubs who will take a walk, and has the speed to be a lead off man. However, his instincts on the base paths are terrible (6 steals in 14 attempts) and according to the local papers, he has a tendency to miss signs. He appears to be a good team guy, as he’s willing to play just about any position, but he also moans when he doesn’t get playing time. Finally, I was under the impression when the Cubs obtained him that he was a good fielder, but he’s made 6 errors this year (5 at his natural position). Still, I feel his offensive positives out weigh his other negatives at this point.
Jose Macias:.264/.280/.333 0HR 4RBI D-
Jose is bad. In a perfect world, he’d never play, unless there was an emergency, or a double header. He’s a switch hitter who can’t hit from either side, and on defense he can play just about every position, but none of them well. He’s versatile in the way that a Swiss Army knife with a broken mirror, blunted corkscrew and dull knife blade is. The only reason Jose doesn’t get an “F” is that I had no expectations whatsoever for him.
Henry Blanco: .164/.184/.260 2HR 6RBI D+
Henry Blanco’s lifetime batting average is .216. This is the lowest average of any active player with 1000 ABs or more. He’s currently hitting more than 50 points below that average. Yuck. Henry earns the D+ because his defense is as good as advertised. He’s thrown out more than half the men who’ve tried to steal on him. Unfortunately, the Cubs offense isn’t good enough to carry his terrible bat.
Incomplete: Ronny Cendeno, Enrique Wilson, Nomar Garciaparra
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