Thursday, July 12, 2007

At the Break: The Hitters

In the Week in Review on Monday, I did the pitcher's grades at the All-Star Break. Now it's the hitters' turn:

Alex Rodriguez (A+): .317/.413/.665, 30 HR, 86 RBI, .341 EqA-- Possibly the best offensive season by a Yankee since far. The only category in which Alex is trailing his performance last season is (possibly) marital bliss. The Yankees, not wanting to give up the best player in baseball (or the money that the Texas Rangers are throwing into the kitty for him to play for the Yanks) have announced that they're willing to negotiate with Alex in-season to get an extension done, so long as he agrees not to opt out of his contract at the end of the season. Alex's agent, Scott Boras, knows he has the Pinstripers bent over a barrel, so he's reveling in doing that crazy thing where he talks to himself about how bad-ass one of his clients is, and how much money he'd get on the free market, in earshot of a reporter. That's gonna be a fun negotiation, fer sure.

Jorge Posada (A): .326/.399/.505, 9 HR, 25 2B, .305 EqA -- No one's talking about extending Hip Hip Jorge! in season--which probably means that it's more likely to happen than in Alex's case. He's having one of his best seasons, ever, but does that mean the Yanks can afford to forget that he'll be 36 years old in a month?

Derek Jeter (A): .336/.408/.463 -- Aside from an early-season spate of errors, hasn't slacked off his 2006 performance at all. Just amazing.

Hideki Matsui (B-): .274/.358/.464, 11 HR, 54 RBI, .274 EqA -- Not bad, but no better than his disappointing 2003 performance. When you figure that this is a 33 year old leftfielder with old player kinda figures that way.

Robinson Cano (C): .274/.314/.427, 6 HR 40 RBI, .247 EqA -- That grade could be lower...but the scarier thought is that this is precisely the sort of player that Robbie looked like coming up through the organization. He could easily reach his rookie season numbers from where he is right now...but you'll probably be healthier if you don't hold your breath waiting for him to replicate his 2006 performance.

Melky Cabrera (C-): .275/.331/.385, .252 EqA -- More playing time than anyone expected; better in centerfield than anyone expected; but the bat and the power have been disappointing.

Jason Giambi (C-): .262/.380/.436, 179 PA, 7 HR -- Was his regular self in April, was injured in May, and now is in plantar facia limbo. But at least he'll be spending his spare time with the Mitchell commission, so at least he won't be wasting his ti...on second thought, he will be wasting his time! Even before the injury, was less valuable than ever because he wasn't able to play first base. The team could definitely use another big bat, though...

Bobby Abreu (D+): .264/.352/.373, 12 SB -- Looked like his career was over in April and May, then mysteriously snapped back to his regular self in June. For about six weeks there, looked like he couldn't hit high school-level pitching, like he'd never played the outfield before in his life, and like he didn't care. I've seen weirder things, but not by much.

Johnny Damon (D+): .245/.339/.344, 5 HR, .251 EqA -- The last time Boras was talking to the New York media about how special one of his guys was, he was trying to sell the Yankees on Damon being the best centerfielder since Mickey Mantle (just, y'know, more durable). Well, he's still never hit the DL in his career, but that's more for his benefit than the team's. The team is stuck with a DH who doesn't hit for much power, doesn't walk much, and whose wheels don't work. Funny, though, for a guy whose legs aren't healthy, he's stolen 15 bases without being caught.

Miguel Cairo (D): .263/.308/.323, .234 EqA -- ...first baseman. Sure, he gets the occasional single. But still...firstbaseman. Say he's all clutchy if he's the utility infielder, maybe it's not so bad. Maybe. The less said about this, the better.

Doug Mientkiewicz (D): .226/.292/.379, .230 EqA -- The lefthanded Miguel Cairo. A little better. More palatable back when Damon was a center fielder, and Giambi was a DH.

Josh Phelps (D): .263/.330/.363, .239 EqA -- He could've had a better shot, but he also could've done more with the shot he got. Book's closed on this bold Rule 5 experiment, since he's a Pittsburgh Pirate now.

Wil Nieves (F): .120/.154/.120, -.123 EqA -- We only wish he was a Pirate. Signature moment of the first half just might've been when Nieves broke his seasonal 0-fer, then immediately got thrown out at second trying to stretch it into a double.

Andy Phillips-- Everything looks good so far, but we've been down this road before.
Kevin Thompson -- I still think he can be a great spare part, but he's having a tough time making a case for that.
Chris Basak -- Why is he taking up room on the 40-man roster? Not that I begrudge him, but it just makes no sense.

So, if we look at all of this

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