First Half In Review: Passing Out The Grades

The boring first segment of our two-part annual tradition. Everybody likes report cards, right? Right?

...anyway...

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Kenji Johjima
Performance: .191 EqA
Grade: D-. Hasn't hit, hasn't played defense, losing playing time to a guy hitting .165. He's been woefully unlucky, but the power is totally absent. This is a 32 year old catcher with no power whose three year extension has yet to kick in. Bill Bavasi probably dies a little inside every time someone suggests this was his idea.

Richie Sexson
Performance: .250 EqA
Grade: D-. Didn't hit, didn't play defense, lost playing time to a guy hitting .217. A little unlucky, a lot bad. Did have a .370 OBP between when he changed his stance and when he got cut, which is hilarious.

Jose Lopez
Performance: .260 EqA
Grade: C. Welcome to average. I don't buy the concerns that Lopez is a terrible defensive second baseman quite yet, but he's not a great one either, and he also doesn't walk or hit for much power. Remember when people thought he'd be a star?

Yuniesky Betancourt
Performance: .225 EqA
Grade: F. Yuni sucks. Sucks sucks sucks. Trade his ass.

Adrian Beltre
Performance: .272 EqA
Grade: B+. If you can't tell, I'm grading people on how well they've played, not on the results they've been getting. Beltre's hit the ball like an upper-third third baseman, and he's played defense like an upper-quarter. The only thing keeping him from being a complete player is stuff like this. Hell of a player who continues to fly under too many a radar.

Raul Ibanez
Performance: .271 EqA
Grade: C-. The fact that he has the highest OPS in the lineup is damning with faint praise, and it's not like his range is getting any better. As a DH I'd call him a B-/C+, but that defense is still dragging him down. Trade please. I'm curious.

Ichiro
Performance: .280 EqA
Grade: B+. His core performance hasn't really changed all that significantly from what it's been in the past; Ichiro's batting line is just subject to BABIP fluctuation more than almost anybody else's in the league. Offensively, he's fine (although he could use a couple more homers). It's the defense that's making me wonder whether he'd be more deserving of a straight B, though. Ichiro's never really excelled in many of the metrics, and subjectively I've seen him make some uncharacteristic mistakes. Whatever the case, he's the least of our worries.

Brad Wilkerson
Performance: .238 EqA
Grade: F. I didn't know toaster settings went this high.

Jose Vidro
Performance: .198 EqA
Grade: F. Vidro's luck has done a complete 180, as his BABIP currently stands at a paltry, unsustainable .229. Give him a little regression and oh hey he still totally blows. Might - might - be the most finished hitter in baseball.

Wladimir Balentien
Performance: .211 EqA
Grade: F. Not that it really changed what I think of him as a player, but I don't know if Wlad could've had a less impressive month and a half.

Jeff Clement
Performance: .212 EqA
Grade: D-. The flashes of power have been nice, but he's swung at too many pitches out of the zone, struck out entirely too often, and hasn't looked that good behind the plate. A work in progress.

Jeremy Reed
Performance: .238 EqA
Grade: C-. Reed is one of only three players in baseball with at least 100 innings in the outfield who've caught every ball hit into their zone. However, the other two are Marlon Anderson and Justin Huber, which makes me think this is a lot more meaningless than I initially assumed. Reed's been a little better than his numbers at the plate, and his defense is fine, which makes him an acceptable everyday player as long as he's cheap. But if and when he goes and re-injures his wrist, this also isn't a guy you really fret about losing. He's just sort of there until he isn't.

Rest of the Bench
Performance: .240 EqA
Grade: D+. When Miguel Cairo is your default Sexson replacement, you're in so many worlds of trouble that you basically have your own galaxy of bad. The only thing even remotely saving this group is Willie's peculiar OBP.

Felix
Performance: 3.96 tRA
Grade: B. He's received some regression in all the right places, but the drop in groundballs and the increase in walks make for two pretty nasty red flags. If recent starts tell us anything, though, he's trending in the right direction, which could make for a fun second half.

Erik Bedard
Performance: 4.69 tRA
Grade: C-. Grounders? Down. Health? Way down. Walks? Up. Massively disappointing.

Carlos Silva
Performance: 5.03 tRA
Grade: D+. I have no interest in ever having a good thing to say about Carlos Silva. Fortunately for me, Silva appears in no rush to force my hand.

Jarrod Washburn
Performance: 5.00 tRA
Grade: D+. All things considered, it's kind of remarkable how consistent he's been over the years. There's no guessing with Washburn. Over a long enough period of time, you can be almost certain about what he'll provide. In the event that some GM of a contending team considers two months to be a long enough period of time, Jarrod should probably be prepared to pack his bags.

Miguel Batista
Performance: 7.31 tRA
Grade: F. I don't care if Batista's a "thinking man's pitcher" who writes novels and poetry. He's hurt the team pretty severely by trying to pitch his way through pain, and that makes him a God damn idiot. His writing sucks anyway.

JJ Putz
Performance: 4.95 tRA
Grade: D. A lot of the problem has been health, but then, health is a problem. When people tried to forecast how the 2008 Mariner season would play out, JJ going down early played a prominent role in none of them.

Brandon Morrow
Performance: 3.77 tRA
Grade: A. I don't care about those last few home runs. Brandon Morrow has played at the highest level of any Mariner all season long. Definitely the best story of the year to date.

Sean Green
Performance: 3.54 tRA
Grade: A. Okay, so Green's also been amazing. His 3.85 GB/FB is the highest in baseball among pitchers with 40+ innings. It's a wonder nobody ever talks about him, considering whenever Riggleman looks at the bullpen Green's is the only face he can see.

Arthur Rhodes
Performance: 4.5 tRA
Grade: B-. If that seems like a high tRA for someone with such a good K/BB ratio, it's because Rhodes has allowed a nearly unprintable amount of line drives. Still, he's gotten the job done over a small sample of innings, which should help us bring in some team's #8 prospect or something in the coming weeks.

RRS
Performance: 5.13 tRA
Grade: C. The tRA's skewed by RRS' uninspiring two starts, but he's still taken a step back from last year due to an increase in balls and line drives. Even so, the man just oozes appeal. Felix will forever be #1 in my heart, but the gap between second and third is far, far longer than the gap between first and second. Put him in the rotation for good already. Find out. What would be the harm?

RA Dickey
Performance: 4.77 tRA
Grade: C-. Dickey's been worse as a starter than as a reliever, but I don't know whether this should be expected or not what with the whole knuckleballer thing, so I'll just say that he's shown flashes of usefulness that warrant a more thorough investigation. He's pitched well enough to deserve the opportunity.

Mark Lowe
Performance: 4.57 tRA
Grade: C. The fastball is hard and the changeup is outstanding, but Lowe's capable of walking whoever he wants at the drop of a hat. He's a lot like 2007 Brandon Morrow in that regard, only with twice as many pitches. An increase in strike rate from 62% to 64% would make Lowe many more millions of dollars than he's on pace to earn in his career.

The Rest
Performance: 5.06
Grade: C-. Remember how we were supposed to go from George Sherrill to Eric O'Flaherty without missing too many beats?

Managers
Performance: 37-58
Grade: F.

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