Thursday, July 16, 2009

Official Mid-Season Grades - Cubs Edition

As the Ted Lilly break comes to a close its time to take one last look at the first half of 2009. The best way to do that is to assign grades to all important players on the Cubs. Needless to say a number of these guys would be on academic probation.

Geovany Soto- D: Soto came into camp overweight and then went to the WBC where he tested positive for dope. He was starting to hit better right before his inability to get into shape cost him the next month of baseball.

Koyie Hill- C: Hill is what he is. Good defensive backup who will get about one double a month and maybe an extra hit on top of that.

First Baseman
Derrek Lee- B+: Lee was Soriano the first 6 weeks of the season and now he is playing as well as he has since 2005. His defense never changes, and if he keeps some of the power he has suddenly found the Cubs don't have to worry about getting some production.

Second Base
Andres Blanco- B: Blanco came from AAA with no expectations and has played the best defense at second base I've ever seen. He can't hit though and will probably stay on the team as a defensive backup the rest of the season.

Mike Fontenot- D: This isn't really his fault, but Fontenot has been horrific this season. It has become clear that Fontenot is best suited to be in a platoon so that he never plays against a left handed pitcher.

Aaron Miles- F: Worst player in baseball is playing like it.

Ryan Theriot- B: Theriot has kind of settled in and might actually have become a major league shortstop. It seems he will hit .300 every season and his 7 homers have certainly been a boost. In fact even Theriot's defense has been better this season, guy still can't run the bases at all though.

Third Base
Aramis Ramirez- No grade: Hurt most of the first half, hopefully he finds his power again.

Left Field
Alfonso Soriano- D: After filling the role of Derrek Lee good version in April, Soriano has been awful in all areas since. He lost his leadoff spot (he will get it back though) and is hitting in the .230s. The fate of this Cubs team rest on Soriano's shoulders.

Center Field
Kosuke Fukudome- D: The slide was predictable and Fukudome is back to being a platoon/bench guy. He also happens to be the new leadoff hitter along with Reed Johnson. I'll give Dome credit for being good at defense, but this is just a giant swing and miss by Hendry.

Right Field
Milton Bradley- D: Milton's quotes never disappoint and I love him for that. His first half was very bad and he might be the most hated Cub ever. He gets on base even though he isn't hitting, but he isn't getting paid to get on base. He's paid to drive in runs, something that needs to happen a whole lot more the rest of the season.

Carlos Zambrano- B: Z remains a stud pitcher with some mental issues. He hasn't gotten a ton of wins this year, but his ERA is still pretty good and he continues to fill up the innings pitch column.

Ted Lilly- A: The Cubs ace this season, Ted has given a great effort every fifth day all season. His stuff isn't going to wow anybody, but he should be a mainstay on the Cubs for a long time.

Randy Wells- A-: Wells came out of nowhere to have a dream first half of the season. He has kind of saved the Cubs rotation and allowed Sean Marshall to help out the bullpen. Still he has moments of stupid, and I have a feeling his second half might feature a trip to AAA. Hopefully I'm wrong.

Ryan Dempster- C-: Dempster is supposed to be an elite starter for what we are paying him. Instead he is a guy walking too many people and has been more like a 5 starter than a 2 or 3 starter. His broken toe doesn't help.

Rich Harden- D-: This is the "missing ace" from the Cubs rotation. Wait, he's another version of Mark Prior that has managed to pitch the Cubs out of most of his starts. He's been so bad that once the Cubs have all the other starts healthy, he will most likely be given a new role.

Kevin Gregg- B: I didn't think Gregg would be very good, and he has been a pleasant surprise. He still has the occasional hiccup, but overall he's been a reliable closer who isn't really the problem.

Carlos Marmol- C: Marmol is still unhittable, he just can't throw strikes anymore. He already has more walks than all of last season and has become a real issue out of the pen. Still he remains the best option in the set-up role this season because of his ability to strike guys out.

Angel Guzman- B: Minus his stint on the DL (standard) Guzman has been a stud out of the bullpen. Hopefully he keeps it up.

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