Monday, July 14, 2014

2014 Mid-Season Report Card

Here we are at the All-Star break, and the Dodgers find themselves with the best record in the National League, and holding off the Giants by a game in the NL West.

It hasn't always been an easy ride, so let's take a look at who has done what and assign grades, report card style.  Here goes:


Clayton Kershaw - This is about the easiest pick I'll have to make.  It wasn't looking that way at the start of the season, as he was out six weeks with a pulled back muscle, then got shelled in Arizona in May.  Since then, he's thrown a no-hitter and 41 straight scoreless innings.  At 11-2 with a 1.78 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, and 126 K's in 96 1/3 IP, he's right at the front of the Cy Young race again.

Zack Greinke - The guy who had to carry the load in Kershaw's early absence was Greinke, and he's an All-Star because of it.  He's 11-5 with a 2.73 ERA and 1.17 WHIP.  Not bad for a #2 guy.

Yasiel Puig - Don Mattingly thinks he's the best right fielder in baseball, and it might be true.  His power numbers have dipped since the end of May, but he's still hitting .309 with 12 homers, 52 RBIs, and seven steals.  Plus, the cannon in right field stops runners from advancing a lot.

Dee Gordon - Who would have guessed this?  After adding some muscle this offseason, he's responded by leading all of baseball in stolen bases with 43, and is hitting .292 with nine triples as well.  His defense at second looks smoother every game.  I'd say he's found a home there.

J.P. Howell - Forget the 1-3 record, his 19 holds show the value he's brought.  Both righties and lefties are hitting under .200 against him, making him a big weapon late in games.

Josh Beckett - From being out of baseball with finger numbness last year to throwing a no-hitter this year, he's been everything the Dodgers could hope for and more.  His record is only 6-5 thanks to his shoddy offense, but has a 2.26 ERA and 1.03 WHIP.  Seems to have perfected the curveball, which has given him new life.

Brandon League - Why not?  Had zero expectations coming into the season, and owns a 2.09 ERA and 1.28 WHIP.  Still isn't closer material, but the bottom line is that when he's been in there, he's gotten outs.  Good for him.


Hyun-Jin Ryu - His pitching performance in the last game before the break was an A+.  A couple of rocky starts (home opener, at Detroit) have been the only rough spots, but still has a 3.44 ERA and 1.23 WHIP.

Juan Uribe - Continues to provide a great glove at third, and is hitting .297 with five homers and 26 RBIs.  Did miss about a month with a hamstring injury, which bumps him down a bit.

Adrian Gonzalez - His 60 RBIs are tied with Justin Morneau for fourth in the NL.  Also has a .997 fielding %.  But, despite the high RBI total, his bat has been hibernating since April, as he's hitting .223 since then.  He just seems like he's slowing down a little more each game.

Kenley Jansen - Has figured things out of late, as he's now on a string of nine straight scoreless appearances.  Is 27-30 in save opportunities, but a few rough spots has his ERA at 3.49.  Still a dominant strikeout pitcher with a 14.43 K/9.  That's awesome.

Jamey Wright - His role has been a bit hard to figure out, as he was signed to be a long reliever, but hasn't always been used that way.  Through it all, he had a 2.11 ERA entering July before he hit a rough patch to raise his ERA to 3.50.

Andre Ethier - This is more for his defense than his bat, as he's hitting only .253 with little to no power to speak of.  Because Matt Kemp was so abysmal in center, he got switched there in late May and hasn't committed an error all season.

Scott Van Slyke - Still doesn't get as much playing time as he should, thanks to the big $$$ of the other players.  In 60 games, is hitting .268 with eight homers and 16 RBIs.  For such a big guy, is agile enough to play all outfield positions and first base.

Justin Turner - Currently on the DL with a hamstring injury, but before that was really playing well.  Found himself playing plenty of third base, and is hitting .302 with 21 RBIs.  He provides good value at different positions.

Chris Withrow - Is lost for the season, and then some, with Tommy John surgery.  Had good numbers in the 20 games he did appear in, striking out 28 with a 2.95 ERA.  Look for his name in the second half of 2015.


Hanley Ramirez - It's hard to see him getting his big money contract in the winter since he's so injury-prone.  His defense at short is ranked as among the worst, or perhaps THE worst, in baseball.  At the plate, he's hitting .275 with 11 homers and 48 RBIs.  You just keep waiting to see more from him, and who knows if we will.

Dan Haren - Through April, had fantastic numbers with a 2.03 ERA.  Hasn't been awful since, but not that great either, as his numbers have gone up each month since then.  Right now is 8-6 with a 4.23 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, and looks like the clear odd man out if the Dodgers trade for a starter.

Carl Crawford - An unfortunate turned ankle chasing after the ball cost him a month and a half of time.  Was hitting very well in May at .333 with four homers, 14 RBI, and five steals.  I'm not sure you can count on him being on the field without getting hurt, though.

Miguel Rojas - This certainly isn't for his hitting (.208, one homer), but for his great arm in the field.  Has filled in very well defensively for Uribe at third and Ramirez at short with only two errors.

Drew Butera - For a backup catcher, has a very good 3.08 catcher's ERA, along with 11 RBIs.  Not much else can be said about him at the plate with a .207 AVG, though.


Matt Kemp - My how his star has fallen.  Strikes out way too much with 87 in 86 games, isn't nearly the power threat he once was, and had to be taken out of center field because he was so bad there.  Maybe he can only go up from here, but he looks like damaged goods at this point.

Brian Wilson - Was fantastic last year, and couldn't have possibly started off this year any worse.  Right now has a 5.64 ERA and 1.88 WHIP, and those numbers are actually an improvement since the end of May.  So much for being the top setup man in baseball.

Paul Maholm - Finally had a good start against the Padres before the break, going scoreless for six innings.  Prior to that did a big pile of nothing, as he's not really a reliever, but certainly isn't good enough to be a starter either.  I can see him getting chopped at the trade deadline for some new blood.

Chris Perez - The thought was to bring the ex-Indians closer in and let him work innings with less pressure.  So far, not so good.  Has a 4.54 ERA and 1.37 WHIP, and just lets way too many hitters reach base.  A pretty big disappointment early on.

A.J. Ellis - His 3.38 catcher's ERA is good, but that's about where it ends.  Missed some time on the DL with an ankle injury, is hitting a paltry .214 with seven RBIs, and is letting people run wild on him.  Pretty disappointing lack of production on both ends.

Chone Figgins - Was a surprise member of the roster coming out of Spring Training, but was kept because of his versatility.  That's all well and good, but when you hit .217, there's not much reason to play you at any position.


Paco Rodriguez - Poor Paco.  He went from being a key member of last year's run to demoted this year.  Appeared in 10 games this year for a 6.43 ERA and 1.86 WHIP.  His arm ran out of steam at the end of last year, and doesn't look like it's regained much juice.

Miguel Olivo - Found himself promoted to the big club in May because of his power in Triple-A.  Then thought it would be a good idea to get into a fight with Alex Guerrero when he was sent back down, bite part of his ear off, then get released.  What a complete moron.  Good riddance.

Carlos Triunfel - Maybe a bit unfair since he clearly wasn't ready for the Majors when he was called up.  But, because of many injuries, was put into action and hit .143 with an .889 fielding %.  Um, not good.

Tim Federowicz - Hitting .131 in yet another chance to prove his worth should signal the end for him.  Simply cannot hit Major League pitching.

Jamie Romak - Played a few different positions, but was 1-for-21 at the plate.  That's .048.  Ouch.

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