July 13, 2011

First Half Grades - Hitters

This is a really boring post topic and who really cares, but in a pennant race it's important to backdate some posts so it looks like I have a decent amount of recent updates to my blog.

Andrew McCutchen: A+
88 G, .291/.390/.505, 54 Runs, 14 HR, 54 RBI, 15 SB
McCutchen is the National League's first half MVP. In all of baseball, no player means as much to a contending team as McCutchen. He's a cornerstone of this franchise and it's past time to sign him to a long-term contract.

Alex Presley: A+
13 G, .365/.424/.577, 9 Runs, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 SB
Presley has been nothing short of a revelation atop the lineup. Of course he won't keep up this pace, but you have to keep putting him atop the lineup at this point even when Jose Tabata and others return.

Chris Snyder: A-
34 G, .271/.376/.396, 13 Runs, 3 HR, 17 RBI
Before getting injured, Snyder played his usual solid defense and surprisingly was one of the NL's best offensive catchers. He is certainly missed but after undergoing back surgery, I have my doubts that he'll be back this season.

Ryan Doumit: B+
34 G, .269/.333/.441, 7 Runs, 4 HR, 15 RBI
Doumit earned a B+ at Memorial Day and still hasn't played since. I'm expecting him back in early August. If he continues his strong hitting, he'll be a welcome addition to the lineup.

Neil Walker: B
88 G, .264/.329/.398, 47 Runs, 8 HR, 59 RBI, 5 SB
Walker's offense has decreased in his second season but he has still amassed great counting stats by virtue of his lineup position. Miscast as a middle of the order power hitter, Walker nevertheless has established himself as one of the National League's better second basemen.

Garrett Jones: B
81 G, .248/.335/.434, 27 Runs, 9 HR, 34 RBI, 4 SB
Jones has quietly been the Pirates' second best hitter in the past month, yet has unfairly been criticized from fans and the media. He's putting up the same ratios as trade candidates like Ryan Ludwick and Josh Willingham. If the Pirates do add a right fielder I would play Jones at first over Lyle Overbay.

José Tabata: B
71 G, .265/.351/.354, 39 Runs, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 14 SB
Tabata's stats don't look impressive at first glance but in the decreased offensive environment this year, he was actually one of the best leadoff hitters in the National League. So far he's failed to develop any power but has improved in the field by getting better jumps on balls. Hopefully upon his return, his left quad injury won't affect the speed which is a major part of his game.

Steven Pearce: B
28 G, .291/.339/.382, 6 Runs, 1 HR, 10 RBI
Pearce hasn't played since Memorial Day so his grade remains at a B. If he continues this production he'll be a valuable bench bat down the stretch. He's been the Pirates' only acceptable hitter who can play third base.

Michael McKenry: B-
22 G, .246/.274/.333, 8 Runs, 1 HR, 6 RBI
McKenry provided the highlight of the first half with his home run Friday night off Carlos Marmol. Apart from that, he performed about as well on offense as you would expect of an AAA catcher. McKenry has done a great job defensively, particularly with framing pitches and handling balls in the dirt.

Ronny Cedeno: C+
79 G, .252/.311/.346, 30 Runs, 2 HR, 23 RBI, 1 SB
Baseball IQ will always be an issue for Ronny but he's the Pirates' best option right now to play shortstop. His offense and defense have both improved noticeably since March. None of his numbers are great but he's performed as well as anyone who might be available in a trade. He's hit and fielded much better than Chase d'Arnaud but I wouldn't be surprised if d'Arnaud still pushes him for playing time once Cedeno returns from a concussion. Since April 29 Cedeno has hit .279/.347/.391.

Matt Diaz: C+
67 G, .283/.313/.358, 11 Runs, 0 HR, 15 RBI, 24 SB
Diaz doesn't walk and seems to have lost all of his power, making him a questionable choice for anything but a bench role. All of his hits seem to be solid line drives but he's not reaching on any of the lucky hits that would boost his stats to more acceptable levels. Still, he's hit .321/.351/.413 since May 3 and is undeserving of the level of criticism he has received.

Xavier Paul: C
60 G, .263/.292/.360, 16 Runs, 1 HR, 12 RBI, 9 SB
Although he hasn't been nearly as useful as his manager or fans seem to think, Paul has proved to be a decent reserve outfielder. It looks like Paul's speed and defense will keep him on the roster all year. He'll never be more than a fifth outfielder unless he learns plate discipline.

Josh Harrison: C-
36 G, .274/.282/.321, 10 Runs, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 1 SB
Harrison has done as well as could be expected given his minor league record. However, a player with no home runs can't get away with having one walk. He probably belongs in the minors but sadly has still been the Pirates' best third baseman this year.

Lyle Overbay: D
87 G, .240/.310/.357, 34 Runs, 6 HR, 34 RBI, 1 SB
For the most part, Overbay has given the Pirates nothing this year. His numbers are unacceptable for a first baseman, especially one who is third on the team with 333 plate appearances. He brought a good defensive reputation to Pittsburgh but hasn't done much to live up to it as he's struggled to catch throws both in the dirt and over his head. I can't imagine Overbay keeps the job much longer.

Brandon Wood: D
52 G, .211/.276/.331, 14 Runs, 4 HR, 16 RBI
Wood has improved his performance from embarrassing to merely below average, but all of his skills still appear to be replacement level. The Pirates need to make some move so that the likes of Wood and Harrison aren't playing regularly down the stretch.

Pedro Alvarez: D
36 G, .208/.283/.304, 12 Runs, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 1 SB
2011 still looks like a lost season for Alvarez. The Pirates can't afford to let Alvarez find his stroke at the plate in the middle of a pennant race. I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't come back to the majors until September.

Chase d'Arnaud: D
16 G, .221/.243/.309, 9 Runs, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 5 SB
d'Arnaud has only one major league skill at this point, his blazing speed. It's early still but he hasn't hit or fielded well enough so far to justify his spot on the roster, much less his lineup position.

1 comment:

  1. I'm happy someone else agrees with me that Chase D'Arnaud hasn't been very good so far.

    However, you've missed an F- for Dusty Brown, the worst human being in history.