Pirates Mid-Season Report Card

By: Mike Vukovcan

Pittsburgh (KDKA)- As the surprising Pittsburgh Pirates approach the 2011 All-Star Break, I figured it would be a good time to hand out my mid-season individual grades. It’s too early to grade players like Alex Presley, Michael McKenry, Chase d’Arnaud and Josh Harrison.

Mid-Season Grades (July 5th):
1B Lyle Overbay- (Grade C-) Expected more than .234 average and 15 doubles..Defense has also been average

2B Neil Walker- (Grade B) Tough to grade him…55 RBI and defense have been impressive…Average of .255 and 13 doubles aren’t…He’s also not a true cleanup hitter

SS Ronny Cedeno- (Grade C+) His defense keeps this grade from being a C-…Pirates need to upgrade his position

3B Pedro Alvarez- (Grade D) Biggest disappointment of 1st half

LF Jose Tabata- (Grade C+) Injuries have hurt his season. Presley could be putting pressure on him

CF Andrew McCutchen-(Grade B+) Pirates best offensive player….Best CF in Major League Baseball

RF Garrett Jones-(Grade C+) Despite only having 216 at-bats, Jones produced 9 HR and 32 RBI..Until he’s able to hit left-handed pitchers, will continue to be a platoon player

RF Matt Diaz- (Grade D) Real bad signing for GM Neal Huntington….Has been a singles hitter….No home runs and only 7 doubles….Has been below average in the field….Worst part is he signed a 2-year deal

C Ryan Doumit- (Grade C) Once again Doumit is injured…Team could use his bat in the lineup

C Chris Snyder- (Grade C) Average catcher that’s making too much money

OF Xavier Paul- (Grade B-) Nice pickup by Huntington…Great speed, terrific defensive player…Perfect 4th outfielder

INF Brandon Wood- (Grade C-) Just doesn’t make enough contact..

SP Paul Maholm- (Grade B) The record doesn’t show it but Maholm’s best season as a Pirate….Front office has tough decision on his future with the team

SP Jeff Karstens- (Grade B+) Biggest surprise of the season….Is showing that he’s more than a 5th starter

SP Charlie Morton- (Grade B) Had a rough month of June but Morton’s first half has been impressive

SP James McDonald- (Grade C+) Has the “stuff” to be better….Has to work on being more efficient with his pitches…

SP Kevin Correia- (Grade B+) One of the best free agent signings in all of baseball. No one would predict 11 wins at the break…Nice that Huntington signed him to a 2-year deal

SP Ross Ohlendorf- (Grade I) Injured

RP Joel Hanrahan- (Grade A) Most dominating closer in baseball

RP Jose Veras- (Grade B+) Has been really impressive…39 strikeouts in 38 innings…Hitters batting only .180 vs. Veras…Would like to see Pirates extend his contract

RP Chris Resop- (Grade B) Maybe most underrated Pirate..Has been brought into alot of tough situations and has mostly been successful…48 strikeouts in 38 innings….Another great Huntington pickup

RP Daniel McCutchen (Grade B) Has turned himself into a solid ML pitcher…Pitched in 35 games (2.09 ERA)

RP Evan Meek (Grade C-) Bad first half but hasn’t been healthy…

RP Daniel Moskos (Grade B-) Has opened up some eyes….Slipped abit last few outings…

RP Joe Beimel (Grade C-) Hard to grade because of injuries

  • David clark

    Hey, thanks for ripping the team. They’re playing together as a unit, Guess what, I’m interested again in baseball because of how hard they’re playing., regardless of your unsolicited evaluation. which is actually worthless. The chief Editor must have been off this weekend because obviously he didn’t have a chance to review your article. enough said.

    • http://kdkasports.wordpress.com mikevuk

      David, who was ripped? I gave high grades to a bunch of pitchers……Should I give them all A’s because they’re 3 games over .500?

  • Bill

    i agree with most of the evaluation. Given the fact that D’arnaud and Presley will probable stick, we may have addressed the need at shortstop and the platooning right field whenever Tabata gets back. Now all we need is a healthy Doumit and Alvarez and we could really see what this team can do with the bats.

  • Ryan

    You would think with those grades the Bucs were 15 games under .500.

  • JeanoXL

    I like your report card Vuk….Fair and balanced.

  • Cheese

    2 issues with the Grades / Descriptions

    1. I don’t necessarily agree that the Pirates “need to upgrade” the SS position. Not every team can have Jose Reyes. Ronny has shown in recent weeks he’s capable of swinging a good bat and his defense is above average. When you look around at the lack of depth at the SS position in the Majors, I feel that Ronny is more than adequate.

    2. I love Cutch and the Bucs but Matt Kemp is the best CF in the game today. 22 home runs and 22 SB’s coupled with a .409 OBP and 1.021 OPS, simply outstanding. Plus he’s only 26 years old. Cutch is neither the best defensive CF or offensive CF, but he’s on the short list of both.

    Nice to see the good grades for the bullpen guys such as Resop, Veras, and Daniel “No relation.” They are unsung but a key component of the 44-41 record.

  • Darren

    Cheese, I agree with you about Ronny Cedeno. It’s easy to get frustrated with him, but the reality is he’s a very good defensive shortstop. For what the “WAR” (Wins Above Replacement) stat is worth, Cedeno ranked #2 behind McCutchen in large part because of his defense a couple of weeks ago.

    As long as Ronny Cedeno continues to play well defensively at shortstop, I can live with his .250 average. I don’t think a significant upgrade is even possible short of Reyes or Troy Tulowitzki. The lack of offense from first and third base is what really needs to be addressed.

  • Just Saying...

    I might be the only one who feels this way, but the “D” that Alvarez scored was too high. He came into this season with the expectation of playing up to his potential and being an offensive force in the NL, but hasn’t even come close. His strike outs are through the roof and he wasn’t able to produce extra bases when he did make contact. This guys attitude is all wrong! Its hard to imagine, but Harrison has been playing Alvarez straight to the bench when he returns.

  • Travis

    How a single starter does not get an “A” is wrong IMO. I guess per this report card, you have to be the best in the league to get an A grade (Hanrahan)

    • http://kdkasports.wordpress.com mikevuk

      travis…..which starter deserved an A? whoever that A starter you’re talking about made the All-Star team, right?

  • Lweezy

    McCutchen is good but making a statement like he is the best CF in baseball is absurd there is not a major league best on this team, please they are playing well but dont make ridiculous comments like that.

  • Lweezy

    p.s. hanrahan most dominating closer in baseball!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Watch TV and see a #42 in Yankee pinstripes Best closer in the history of baseball. Dont be stupid again.

    • http://kdkasports.wordpress.com mikevuk

      lweezy in 2011, #42 isnt the most dominating closer…..not even close…….

  • Ryan

    #42 is no longer the most dominating. Still great though, but Hanrahan is the best this season.

  • Benny in the Basement

    Great report card and solid evaluation…

    to LWeezy: it’s 2011 not 2001. Mariano will go down as the greatest closer of all-time, but the author’s statement was that Hanrahan was the most dominating closer in baseball [this season], which he is.

    I agree with his statement that Andrew McCutchen is the best CF in baseball. If I were starting a team today from scratch, Cutch would be the 1st CF I would select for my team.

  • George

    1st you call AnderwMcCutchen the Best CF in Major League Baseball then you only give him a B+ whats that make average CFs….F?

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