Tuesday, July 13, 2010
2010 Mid-Term A'ssessment: Infield
Daric Barton – 1B: .272/.378/.394
What I Said in March: "This will be Barton's last chance at the everyday first baseman gig if he doesn't take a step forward on offense this season."
What I Say Now: Barton posted a surprising .873 OPS in April that skewed his overall numbers a bit. Since May 1, his OPS is .737 which is more in line with his career mark entering 2010. Barton's only 24 and playing just his second full season, so he's still exhibiting evidence of growth (his 20 doubles are already a career-high and he's on pace to top his personal bests in hits (101) and walks (65) early in the second half) with frustrating inertia (his reverse platoon split is borderline ridiculous).
Mid-Term Grade: B...Barton's .394 SLG is the worst among everyday first baseman save for the remains of Derrick Lee and Todd Helton. Still, there isn't an A's fan alive who wouldn't have taken his first-half slash line. He still has room to mature (see: defense) and it'd be a huge help if he'd stop f**king bunting.
Mark Ellis – 2B: .278/.347/.356
What I Said in March: "Ellis turns 33 this year and he's been unable to stay on the field for a full season since 2007."
What I Say Now: Ellis didn't make it past the first full week of the regular season before injuring his hamstring on April 11 vs. the Angels. He was off to a hot start (.345/.406/.414) and, as usual, the A's dragged their feet on a decision about the disabled list. Ellis came back too soon (April 20) and then missed the next four weeks. He's hit just .268/.339/.349 since his May 22 return and my head spontaneously combusted during each of the four games when Ellis has been our designated hitter (he's SLUGGING .356!)
Mid-Term Grade: C+... This is pretty much the Mark Ellis era in a nutshell, y'all. Earlier this month, there were rumors that scouts from the Phillies were in Oakland to size up Ellis for a possible acquisition, but the A's let it be known that they'd be keeping him. Mediocre offensive contributors are the new "Moneyball", don'cha know?
Cliff Pennington – SS: .264/.333/.392
What I Said in March: "He reminds me of Mike Bordick – capable of a solid season at the plate if the BABIP deities shine upon him."
What I Say Now: In Bordick's first full season (1992), he recorded an OPS of .729. At the halfway mark of Pennington's first full season, his OPS stands at .726. At the start of play on May 3, his slash line was .273/.354/.455. Over his next 31 games, he hit .143/.218/.179. And, then, in a madcap dash to make me look good, Pennington's hit .409/.459/.602 over his last 27 games. He's a lot of fun to watch at the plate (SIX triples!) and, especially, in the field. If your team is playing Oakland, tune in simply for this kid's Shawon Dunston-esque arm.
Mid-Term Grade: B-...There'll be more peaks and valleys at the plate, but in sports-entertainment parlance, Pennington is a fine transitional champion until the heir to the throne (phenom Grant Green) is ready to ascend in a few more years.
Kevin Kouzmanoff – 3B: .266/.304/.385
What I Said in March: "In 858 career plate appearances in San Diego's PETCO Park, he's hit .239/.290/.394. In every other park in North America he's hit .285/.327/.474."
What I Say Now: Well, he did sign my son's baseball at a game in mid-May, so I suppose I should go easy on him. I won't mention his ninth-inning error on Opening Night that cost us the game (or, that without Gold Glove Padres 1B Adrian Gonzalez bailing him out, Kouz has more than doubled his 2009 error total). On offense, he's been as streaky as advertised -- .619 OPS through May 31; 1.030 OPS from June 1-25 and .345(!) OPS from June 26 through the All Star Break.
Mid-Term Grade: D...Kouzmanoff's .688 OPS places 20th among the 22 Major League third basemen who qualify. He's been steadily declining at the plate since 2008 and from the looks of his current platoon splits; he could be playing his way out of an everyday role by this time next year.
And, the rest…: I'm still not sure what to make of utility IF Adam Rosales. He's been a capable fill-in all over the diamond and his six home runs are good enough for third place in this flaccid offense. But, like erstwhile OF Eric Byrnes, his overt hustle can't quite mask a few fundamental shortcomings and ill-timed mental errors. 2B/OF Eric Patterson was traded to the Red Sox in late June. I'm looking forward to seeing how his "145 lb. power hitter" act plays on NESN.