Here are the Third Base Report Cards for your 2010 Chicago Cubs. The four players I was asked to evaluate (Aramis Ramirez, Chad Tracy, Darwin Barney & Bobby Scales) were a mixed bag at third base this year. Darwin Barney is listed as a shortstop & Bobby Scales is listed as a second baseman. Both were late season callups. Chad Tracy played for the Cubs during April and June only. Aramis Ramirez was a major league third baseman in name (and paycheck) only during 2010.

Let me explain my grading system and grading criteria.

First of all, I grade based upon the entire season. Not one great play, or one great inning, or one good month, or an improved second half. For a player to receive a grade of “A”, he must exhibit SUSTAINED superior performance over the entire season.

Secondly, I do not grade on a curve. A guy making 17 million dollars a year is held to a much higher standard than a AAA replacement player.

In justifying my letter grades I am guided by two rules of thumb:
1. Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.
2. If you can’t dazzle ‘em with brilliance, baffle ‘em with (statistical) bull$h!#.

OK, here we go.

Aramis Ramirez was paid 16.75 million dollars for the 2010 season (as per espn.go.com) and played 118 games at 3B. I remember in April and May he was batting about .158 as the Cubs’ cleanup hitter. His fielding was poor. His baserunning was laughable. He looked hung over all the time. He ended the season batting .241.

Now, Aramis claims he was injured this year. Jim Hendry counters that HE was unaware of any injury issue. Hendry simply allows that Aramis “played poorly” in 2010. Somebody’s full of it.

I give Aramis an “F” for the 2010 season.

Chad Tracy was tearing up the pitching in AAA. I was one of the people who wanted him to be called up when Aramis was DL’d. Eventually the Cubs brought him back up, but he was not equal to the challenge. I don’t know what caused the vast difference in performance at the two levels. But he was thoroughly underwhelming at the Major League Level.

Mr. Tracy was paid a lot less than Aramis, however, so I hold him to a less stringent standard. I give Chad Tracy a “D+” and thank him for helping the Iowa Cubs this season.

Darwin Barney was playing shortstop for the Iowa Cubs when the Big Cubs called him up on August 12. To date he has played in 31 games for the Chicago Cubs: 10 at 2B, 10 at SS, and 6 at 3B (also 5 games as a pinch hitter). I think any attempt at statistical analysis will be overruled by the “small sample size” argument.

Nevertheless, I like what I see in Darwin Barney, so I’m giving him an “A*” (that’s an “A” with an asterisk – for small sample size).

Bobby Scales is a 32 y/o second baseman for the Iowa Cubs, called up by the Chicago Cubs on September 7. To date he has played in 10 games: 7 at 3B, 3 as a pinch hitter. Bobby Scales has a great attitude and he’s a great guy, but, like me, he’s old and in the way. I’ll give him an “A” for effort, an “A” for attitude, and an “A” for enthusiasm, but he gets an overall “C” for his performance at the big league level.

Just to complete the third base storyline, I hereby award Casey McGehee the grade of “A” for the 2010 season. He received $427,500.00 for his efforts in Milwaukee this year.

Final 2010 Cubs Stats

Age G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
Aramis Ramirez 32 124 507 61 112 21 1 25 83 0 0 34 90 .241 .294 .452 .745 92
Darwin Barney 24 30 85 12 19 4 0 0 2 0 0 6 12 .241 .294 .291 .585 54
Chad Tracy* 30 28 49 6 11 2 0 0 5 0 0 5 15 .250 .327 .295 .622 65
Bobby Scales# 32 10 20 4 4 0 0 0 2 1 0 7 5 .308 .550 .308 .858 133
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I'm a third generation cubs fan, living in southeastern Wisconsin.