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

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