Mid-Season Grades: Outfield Plus DH
And don't forget to give each player a grade.
It's hard to realize what we have in Podsednik. He has shown some speed, albeit riddled with failure (most CS in the Majors). He's hitting strong despite a low OBP, coming up with far more RBIs than last year, yet his defense has looked downright confusing. Sox fans love when he goes 2/4 with a walk and 2 runs scored, but those seem far fewer this year than 1/5 outings with a misplayed fly. At times his presence seems to do more than his bat, but we'll be sticking with him for the rest of the year, so it's just left to us to hope he can rediscover some defense, base-stealing prowess, and ability to get to first better. C.
C+. Defense far below average, and what he's capable of. Average is average. Far & away the league leader in caught stealings. He does have 63 runs, though, which while not exceptional given who's batting behind him, is still pretty darn good. And I just feel like he's pacing himself better than he did last year.
Still scores alot of runs and is hitting .309 over last 30 games - but is losing ground in basestealing( CS 5 out of last 8 attempts ) and plays left as bad as the typical HR hitting prototype of Left Fielder - yet doesn't give us the Homers to justify it. I still have faith he'll come through in tight important games up the road. C+.
I think all that could be said has been said about the rookie OF. Struggling to drop in hits for most of the first half, he has been dropping multi-hit games like hot potatoes of late, and given the fact he's the only man on our roster truly qualified to patrol center field, it's amazing how unimportant a sub .200 batting can be in the right situation. This is that situation. While hitting may do more than sell tickets, there's no denying that his defense has helped us win games. B-.
So on June 10 he was hitting .152 with a .514 OPS. One month later he's at .192 with a .604 OPS. He's hitting .333 in July. We have a better record (46-22) in games in which he's appeared than games in which he hasn't appeared (11-9). (Conversely, we have a worse record in games in which Mackowiak has appeared.) Tough call, because his early numbers were so god-awful, with 25 Ks by May 1. Then again, he is a rookie and his defense has been close to stellar in a very key position. I'll go with a C with high hopes for the 2nd half... Sorry, Brian.
I like his recent progress too - BA of .281 over last 30 games tells me he has arrived. Smooth as silk in CF and wins games out there for us. His value is realized when you see Mack play CF.I rate his recent performance more than his earlier games. B-.
Jermaine has been putting up unspectacularly guady numbers, dropping in homers so easily you just don't notice him next to the crackling thunderbats of Thome and Konerko. His defense has been completely acceptable, capped by the ultra-clutch run-down of a sure two or three bagger in the 19th on Sunday. His offense? Well, again, look to Sunday's game to see his consistent clutch hitting that, unlike Big Papi, isn't widely discussed or raved about. He continues to be the league's biggest steal at $5.5 mil a year. A.
A+. Remember back in 2000, when Jermaine Dye was one of the best players in baseball? When he hit .321 with 33 homers, 118 RBIs, and a .951 OPS? Won the Gold Glove?? Yeah, he's better than that this year. He is the real clutch hitter on this team. He's got the best "close & late" numbers on the team and has a 1.311 OPS with runners in scoring position and two outs. He's rock-solid against righties -- key for dealing with bullpen matchups. Most importantly, he's got 11 PotGs vs. Thome's 10. He's my Sox first half MVP.
Covered in the other reviews above well - I have earlier dubbed him "Silent but Deadly". I agree he is the MVP of the first half. A+.
There is little that needs to be said. We paid for 2/3 of Jim Thome, and we're getting the whole country-fried steak with some taters on the side. He's poised to easily crush the Sox single-season HR record given his protection in Paulie and his DL-avoiding position as the DH, and everything he's done this year at the plate (minus the strikeouts) has given opposing teams ulcers. There are three truly scary offensive lefty DH's in the AL, Thome, Papi, and Giambi. Giambi's got his ill-gotten MVP, Papi's was down to the wire last year, and should the Sox continue to produce all-around, this could be Thome's year for it. A+.
A-. Yes, he's far exceeded our wildest hopes with his health and production. He has made Konerko a better player. His 17 home runs with men on have come in handy. He has a shot at the MVP. But call me a nitpicker, the 89 strikeouts bug me. As does the .184 average in "close-and-late" situations. But he's been a gamer and a leader and I have no regrets about losing (sob) Aaron Rowand.
Hard to argue with his production, and OPS of 1.065, but he is quite vulnerable to lefty pitching and I think he should be going to left field more when he's down in the count or facing good southpaws - but hey, that's not what he's paid for I quess. I give him A++ on team chemistry. He is the best "teammate" we have now and will help keep our teams' focus during the dog days ahead. A.