With tonight’s series-opening contest against the New York Yankees, the Orioles will be 30 games into the 2009 season. The team is currently 12-17, sitting in the cellar of the AL East a game and a half behind 4th place New York.
Now that the season is a month old, I think it’s time for a periodic Report Card. The team is clearly not deserving of a “passing grade” as of yet, despite having swept Minnesota in a game and a half mini-series.
Let’s see who’s helping the team, and who is failing the 2009 season so far. Below is a list of players with grades and rationale for each grade. Feel free to chime in and agree or disagree with my assessment.
Ryan Freel – W/F
“W/F” is withdraw fail for those of you not used to getting bad grades in school. It would appear that the Ryan Freel era is about to close with the 33 year-old utility player getting only 2 hits in 15 at bats before going on the DL. He hit .133 and blamed it on his lack of playing time.
Personal responsibility is a virtue, Mr. Freel. Good luck in your future as an NL scrub or independent league player.
Nick Markakis: A+
In 110 at bats, Markakis has a .355 average with 5 home runs. He leads or shares the lead on the team in home runs, RBI (29), runs (31) and OPS (1.020). This team would have less than ten wins without him, easily.
Adam Jones: A+
Jones went from toolsy rookie to All-Star caliber CF in one season. He shares the leader board with Markakis in home runs with five, and he’s just behind Nick in average (.346) and runs (30). His defense is also superb.
Ty Wigginton: D
Ty was supposed to bring right-handed power to the Orioles lineup. In 96 at bats, he has just one home run. His average is a palty .208. And if you’ve seen Ty on tv you know that means he isn’t hitting his weight. His slugging percentage is a palty .260. He looks more like a slug right now than a slugger.
Gregg Zaun: B
Why give a “gentleman’s C” to a guy hitting .192? Because Gregg Zaun wasn’t signed to be a power guy. He works well with the rookies in the battery and his bat is starting to come around. This week he hit his first home run and he had a three hit game on Thursday. He should get up to the .230 and stay there soon enough, and that’s what the O’s are asking of him.
Luke Scott: B+
Scott is adjusting to the DH role better than expected. He’s hitting .280 with 5 dingers, but he still can’t handle lefties. Maybe it’s time for a trade while his numbers look good?
Melvin Mora: A-
Mora is hitting .245, but that’s in a limited 45 Abs. His presence was clearly missed when he was on the DL. Mora is still a great RISP hitter and a guy you can count on for single into the gap. It will be interesting to see how the O’s handle him this off season. Much will be depend on how he plays herein.
Felix Pie: I
Pie gets the “incomplete” grade because he has been relegated to the 4th outfielder role. He was hitting only .158 before being sat, though his walk ratio (6 Bbs) was well above his career average.
Danys Baez: A+
Danys Baez is tied for the team lead in wins with two…and he’s a reliever. He has an ERA of 2.30. Who stole the old Danys and replaced him with this guy?
George Sherrill: D
You can’t be a closer when you allow 1.66 players on base per inning. Sorry, Georgie.
Mark Hendrickson: D
Hendrickson is 1-4 with a 5.13 ERA. He looked good in 3 innings of play against the Twins, before the rain shortened his start to 3 innings. The solid performance highlights the fact that he’s best suited as a long reliever.
Adam Eaton: D-
Eaton is 1-3 with a 7.18 ERA. This guy looks decent enough for just long enough each game, then boom, something happens and the O’s lose. Time to cut the chord.
Underclassmen watch. When will we see these players in the bigs?
Still stuck with only 1 HR, Wieters has his average up to .297 and his OBP a healthy .391. Get him up here as soon as he hits a few dingers.
Reimold is currently hitting .393 with 8 home runs and a .476 OBP. It’s time for him to get in their with the upperclassman.