Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hooray for Hollywood

It's time for the Yankees first half report cards. We've already given you manager Joe Girardi's grade, and you've told us what you though about GI Joe's job. Now it's time to grade each individual players with a help from the world of entertainment.

The 'A' Team

This '80s TV show starred George Peppard and Mr. T as part of a covert group that helped out those being pestered by bad guys.

Hannibal Smith portrayed by Mariano Rivera. The leader of the bullpen and by far the best pitcher on the staff. In a Hall of Fame career, he's been incredible this season, saving 23 games in as many opportunities. He's allowed just 23 hits and 4 walks in 42.3 innings pitched, and has allowed just 5 earned runs (1.06 ERA). A+

Mike Mussina as "Faceman" Peck. Who could have seen this coming? Graig Nettles once said that Sparky Lyle went from "Cy Young to Sayonora". Well Mussina came back from the dead to turn in an All-Star worthy first half. After losing 3 of his 4 and being thoroughly pounded, Moose reeled off a 10-3, 3.38 mark in his next 15 starts. A

Joba Chamberlain is "Howling Mad" Murdock. Joba was dominant in the pen and made a smooth transition to starter. He still has a tendency to throw too many pitches and has to stay away from falling in love with his breaking stuff. But he really does look like he'll be a dominant starter for years to come. A-

Chien-Ming Wang as B.A Baracus. The Wanger had some up and down moments, but he still posted an 8-2, 4.07 mark in 15 starts before badly injuring his foot and ankle. His loss was a major blow to an all ready reeling rotation. The Yankees will be very fortunate if somehow he returns in September. A-

Alex Rodriguez. More milestones for A-Rod as well as a quad injury that cost him and the team a considerable amount of time. He's hitting .312-19-53 in 75 games and has stolen 13 bases in 14 attempts. But he's hitting just .238 with runners in scoring position. B

Bee Movie

An animated film, that wasn't always so animated according critics. It revolves around Barry B. Benson (Jerry Seinfeld), who has become disillusioned with his life. Most important thing here is the letter "B".

Johnny Damon as Barry B. Benson. Damon's injury couldn't have come at a much worse time than it did. With the offense already struggling, the team is missing their main table setter. He was hitting .319 with 50 runs scored when he was hurt. Damon also posted an .856 OPS, the third highest of his career. The DL stint was the first of his 14-year career. His defense play has begun to deteriorate more and his throwing arm won't be getting any stronger. Would have had a shot to make the All-Star team if not for the injury. B+

Jason Giambi as Jock #2. Looked like his New York career might have been done in April, but then went on a tear and was hitting .253-19-55. Though he isn't hitting for average, he has 45 walks, and a .915 OPS. And his mustache has made for some great buzz. Of course were still scared any time he has to throw the ball. B+

Andy Pettitte as Bob Bumble. At times has looked like an ace and at other times has looked the joker. His numbers, 10-7, 4.03, are decent though and he gives it his all every time out. The Yankees need a big second half from him. B

Edwar Ramirez as Mooseblood. Was remarkably unhittable for the first third of the year before the league started catching up to him a bit. But he's still done a decent job in middle, and, occasional, late innings. A very solid B.

Jose Veras as Jackson. Has pitched beyond our expectations this year, at times even taking over the 8th inning role. Has 29 K's in 31.1 IP and could be the 8th inning guy next year. B

Hidkei Matsui as Buzzwell. "Godzilla" has been decent, especially considering his off-season knee surgery. But his knee has still been balky this season and landed him on the DL for an indefinite period. He has 34 RBI in 69 games, but his power is down (is what last year until a July surge), and it wouldn't be surprising to see him in another uniform next year. B-

Jose Molina as Buzz. Needs a designated hitter. Hit great last year and then in April of this season, but has been terrible since. His defense has been remarkable, however, as he has gunned down runners like crazy. Offense gets a D, but his A in defense gives him a B.

Down and Out in Beverly Hills

This 1986 comedy starred Nick Nolte as a homeless man, Eddie, that stumbles into the lives of the wealthy Whiteman couple played by Richard Dreyfuss and Bette Midler. Hilarity ensues. The movie was an 'A', but this group is for players with a 'C' or below.

Derek Jeter. The Captain is the clear to choice to star as Dave Whiteman as he hasn't had the offensive year we've become accustomed to. He's still hitting in clutch situations, but hasn't been driving the ball nearly as much or hitting with authority. He did get better as he approached the break. His .740 OPS is the lowest of his career. His defense is about at its norm for errors and fielding percentage. C

Kyle Farnsworth as Eddie. We've often referred to Farnsworth as a bum, so it fits. We still can't allow ourselves to trust this guy in a big or small spot, but we have to admit he's been decent this year. C+

Robinson Cano as Orvis Goodnight. Maybe it's just the weather, but Robinson Cano is two different players in April and May, and thereafter. After hitting .151 in April, and struggling through early May, Cano has for a decnt average (.288) since. But he's not hitting for much power and has drawn just 16 walks. His defense has been excellent and it wouldn't be a surprise if he won a gold glove one day. C

Melky Cabrera. Unless Melky begins to hit on a more consistent basis, he may become known as the former Yankees center fielder. He started out like a house on fire, including 6 home runs by early May, he's just .220 over the last 2 1/2 months. Melky is also hitting only .200 from the right side. A big 'D' offensively, and an 'A' for defense, gives him a grade of C- (his offense has hurt more than his defense has helped).

Bobby Abreu as Dr. Von Zimmer. Has had some hot streaks, but has been very average this year, lessening the possibility of a return in 2009. Abreu has 59 RBI in 92 games, but just a .781 OPS. His lack of range in the outfield continues to be a detriment. C+

Jorge Posada as Mel Whiteman. His shoulder problem will require surgery in the off-season, but it's had a big impact this season. He missed considerable time and his throwing is not up to par yet. His 22 RBI in 49 games isn't bad, but his .780 OPS is nothing to write home about. C+

As extras...
Ross Ohlendorf. Wasn't really suited for the role the Yankees gave him and it showed. Whether or not he can still cut it in the majors remains to be seen. C-

Chad Moeller. Average offense, a little better than average defense. And not much playing time. C

Darrell Rasner. Gave the Yankees a huge lift for 4 starts and looked like he could really pick up the slack left by Hughes, Kennedy, etc.. Then the balloon burst and he was horrendous. It remains to be seen how well he'll do in the second half. C+

Wilson Betemit. Last year we said this guy can't hit from the right side. Now we would like to amend that to say he can't hit from either side. Rarely flashes the oft-mentioned potential. D

Welcome Back Kotter

This '70's comedy starred Gabe Kaplan and John Travolta in a plot line that had (Kaplan) teaching a bunch of misfits known as "Kotterthe Sweathogs) lead by Vinnie Barbarino (Travolta). These are the guys that pull out one 'F' after another.

Vinnie Barbarino as played by Phil Hughes. The clear leader of the underachievers. Hughes was expected to make a large contribution to this year's team, especially after his showing in last year's ALCS. Instead he was awful and then injured. He went on the DL April 30 with a fractured rib and finally threw off of a mound yesterday. He'l be back in August...at the earliest.

Juan Epstein as played by Ian Kennedy. "Little Juan" always had excuses for his absences/issues, and of course they were signed, "Juan Epstein's Mother". Though maybe not as much as Hughes, big things were expected from Kennedy this season after last year's minor league season and brief showcase in September. But Kennedy didn't throw strikes and was awful. He was sent down and on his way out grumbled about pitching in New York and having so much focus on his every pitch.

LaTroy Hawkins is Freddie "Boom Boom" Washington. What a mistake this free agent signing was. There were many fans who thought it was a good move, because it was for "just one year". That was one year too many. Hawkins has had his moments, but he went from set up guy to garbage time. It's doubtful he lasts the season.

Arnold Horshack as played by Shelley Duncan. He only had 57 at-bats, but Duncan failed miserably in his attempt to give the Yankees some pop from the right side. He hit just .175 with 1 home run, 6 RBI, and a pathetic .542 OPS, before being sent down to Scranton for the second time.

Incompletes for Sidney Ponson, Dan Giese, etc.

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