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First Half In Review: Passing Out The Grades (Position Players)

These posts are so stupid. Who cares what arbitrary letter grades some idiot gives a bunch of baseball players? I'm not a teacher. My cousin's a teacher and she doesn't even put much thought into the grades her kids get. Would it really matter to you if I gave Jack Wilson an F? Would it really matter to you if I gave Jack Wilson an A? No, of course not. It wouldn't matter to anyone. It wouldn't make any difference, at all, and the only reason I'm even assigning grades in the first place is because I copied this post title from last year and I'm too lazy to change it.

This report card is meaningless. It's basically just an opportunity for me to riff off whatever comes to mind as I work my way down in alphabetical order. If you see a letter grade that you don't like, shut up, because even though you might care, I don't, so you aren't going to get anything accomplished. It's just wasted energy and wasted time. Didn't anyone ever tell you about the mistake of wasting time? Your mother and I are very disappointed in you.

And on we go. In retrospect maybe I should've built this up a little better.


Eliezer Alfonzo: D-. Alfonzo had like one or two really awesome games when he first came up, then he either stopped doing anything or I stopped noticing him or both, and he wound up back in the minors. The numbers tell me he was bad, which isn't surprising, but on the other hand he was the fourth-string catcher, and he befriended King Felix, so it's hard to fail a guy you couldn't have expected to do much better. Negative points due to his awful fashion canceled out by positive points due to his having a rap.

Josh Bard: C-. Remember when the only thing Bard could do was hit line drives? I do. I also remember the first two lines of the Gummy Bears theme song. Both memories are of similar consequence.

Milton Bradley: D. This one's hard. Bradley's delivered some big, big hits. He's had some wonderful postgame interviews. He's been up front about undergoing counseling, and really does seem to be making big personal strides. But then he's come to the plate 239 times and has a worse OPS than Casey Kotchman. We all tried to keep our expectations realistic and achievable. He hasn't put himself on pace to achieve them. I hate being disappointed, here, but I'm disappointed.

Russell Branyan: C. You know these report cards are super important when I'm passing out a grade to a guy we just traded for. Branyan gets credit for being as good as ever, and he gets docked for not just accepting our damn offer in the first place and skipping over the whole Cleveland chapter. Fair? I'll tell you what isn't fair: seven games of Matt Tuiasosopo at first base. I put that one firmly on your shoulders, Branyan. To quote the honorable and sexy Francis X. Hummel, damn you for forcing me into this position.

Eric Byrnes: A+. Eric Byrnes failed to lay down a suicide squeeze, ride his bike out of the clubhouse, and wound up playing softball with his buddies while earning an eight-figure salary. I'm tired of Hollywood telling me that a guy is living the dream when he cracks the professional ranks. A guy is living the dream when he can act weird and fuck around with his friends while knowing he'll never have to work another day in his life. Eric Byrnes is an inspiration, and that week or whatever that everything happened lives on as one of my favorite weeks of all time.

Mike Carp: D-. I honestly don't remember a single thing that Carp did while he was up here and I'm only giving him a D- instead of an F in case I forgot something awesome.

Chone Figgins: F. Just a massive, colossal disappointment. Figgins has run, but he hasn't hit, he hasn't played defense, and he hasn't done anything else to lift himself up off the floor. His highlight was a .358 June OBP, but that came with a .281 June SLG. Figgins has been a bad player, and I'm being completely honest when I say that I've grown very concerned. I haven't seen the skills. I haven't seen nearly enough of the skills to have confidence in a significant bounceback. A deal everyone and his mother was praising just three months ago now looks like a potential long-term problem.

Ken Griffey Jr.: F. I don't want to say anything bad about Ken Griffey Jr. now that he's retired, so instead I'll say something bad about the mango nectarine. Mango nectarine, you are disgusting. You are more bitter than I was earlier this season when Ken Griffey Jr. was getting all that playing time. aw crap

Franklin Gutierrez: B. It's easy to forget now, but Guti was killing it for a while, and his OPS hovered around .800 into the beginning of June. Since then, he's kind of come apart. Through June 3rd: 30 walks, 49 strikeouts. After June 3rd: three walks, 29 strikeouts. I don't know if it's pressure, or a simple slump, or he's battling an injury, or what, but Guti has been awful for a good month, now, and the team has taken a corresponding tumble in the standings. Hilariously, at .717, he still has the second-highest OPS on the team among guys with more trips to the plate than Mike Sweeney. Hilariously.

Ichiro: A. Your standard Ichiro season. I'll tell you what - Ichiro must've done something really messed up in a previous life. At least Sisyphus doesn't have to deal with Safeco in April. I wonder if touching that girl was Ichiro's attempt to get out. You can't play for the Mariners from jail.

Rob Johnson: D+. Rob Johnson before all those surgeries: .615 OPS, 0.55 WP + PB per game. Rob Johnson after all those surgeries: .620 OPS, 0.65 WP + PB per game. Either that's one shitty surgeon, or Rob is one shitty catcher.

Casey Kotchman: C-. Kotchman had a hot start and a hot finish, sandwiching a middle bit colder than the other side of Clay Bennett's bed. I don't actually know if Clay Bennett is single or divorced, but I bet you don't either, which is why this joke works.

Ryan Langerhans: B. Ryan Langerhans has 16 walks in 57 trips to the plate. 16! As a Seattle Mariner, he's posted a .347 OBP with some power and very good defense. Oh by the way he never plays ever.

Jose Lopez: D. I'd fail him, but I feel obligated to give him at least some credit for putting the work in to become a passable defensive third baseman. I didn't know Jose had that kind of work ethic in him. Of course, that makes his failure to develop at the plate doubly annoying. His OBP is .270. He has a worse OBP than he did when he was 21. His OBP is almost lower than Josh Wilson's batting average.

Adam Moore: F. Just the other day I was thinking about reminding everyone that we still have Adam Moore, and he's been doing well in AAA, and he might still become a passable regular before too long. That doesn't mean that he wasn't a complete and miserable stale shortbread cookie of a backstop during his time here pre-injury. Adam Moore looked more overmatched than anyone wearing that red Communist Party t-shirt.

Michael Saunders: C+. Seeing the defense and the flashes of power has been nice, albeit mostly offset by the fact that I still don't have any shred of confidence in him to so much as put the bat on the ball when it counts. Reading Dave's post about his swing the other day made me upset. I used to see reasons why he'd succeed. Now I keep thinking about the chances he'll fail. Thanks a lot, Dave. Enjoy your 90-degree heat and thunderstorms. See, you're miserable too.

Justin Smoak: D. Smoak's first two games: three strikeouts, three pop-outs, one swinging bunt, one groundball single. Plus he cost us Cliff Lee. You are replacing a loved one, Justin Smoak. I am already biased against you.

Mike Sweeney: B+. Remember Mike Sweeney? He's still on the team! And he's come to the plate 11 times since June 3rd because he can't stay healthy. He's been exactly what we wanted him to be from the start, only the team is bad and pointless instead of good and in need of his roster spot, which now makes the start of this sentence seem kind of mean-spirited.

Matt Tuiasosopo: F. In Tacoma, he is Matt Tuiasosopo: Legitimate Prospect. In Seattle, he is Matt Tuiasosopo: Termite Log. In this metaphor, a termite log is understood to be completely worthless.

Jack Wilson: D-. Fun fact: Jack Wilson has one walk. 490 different players have more walks this year than Jack Wilson. Pieter Bruegel has drawn one fewer walk than Jack Wilson this year, and Pieter Bruegel died in 1569.

Josh Wilson: C. When people ask me what it's like having to write about the Mariners every day, lately I've been telling them, hey, it's not so bad, we figured out one of our players might be a legitimate big league utility guy. I think that gets the right point across.