Friday, May 1, 2009

April Progress Report: Infielders

[21 games into the season represents roughly 1/8th of the schedule, and the end of the first month seems like a good time to analyze what has thus far occurred. Following a tradition started by Boston Bren, mid-term evaluations are called Progress Reports (not Report Cards). These ratings are somewhat subjective, as they attempt to balance expectations and salary with value contributed to the team.

We already tackled the starting rotation and later today we will weigh in on the outfield and the bullpen.

(Click to enlarge)

Mark Teixeira - C
Comments: Mark has not been scoring well on his tests, but has shown the desire to improve.

Teix's average is pretty anemic, but as we know, that's a luck based statistic and he has a BABIP of .200 at the moment. Most importantly, he's been getting on base (16 walks, .365 OBP), which tells me he's still taking the right approach, and it's just a matter of time before his average and slugging percentage start to perk up.

Robinson Cano - A+
Comments: Robinson is extremely bright and has made valuable contributions to the class.

Yup, I'm going with the A+. He's on pace for for 39 HRs, 123 RsBI and almost twice as many walks as he drew last year. With a BABIP of .367, you'd expect Cano to came back down to earth a bit, but there's nothing not to like about what Robby has done so far. An early look at his defensive metrics show that he's been above average and he's only been charged with one error. FWIW, he's looked good to naked eye as well.

Derek Jeter - B
Comments: Derek has fared well on important tests so far this year,
and has been a joy to have in class.

Captain clutch has come up with some huge hits so far this year, especially with two outs and runners in scoring position. He had one of those just last night, actually. Overall with RISP, he has an OPS of 1.107, and has been markedly better in high leverage situations. That said, his poor defense has been well chronicled, he seems to have lost a step on the way to first, and at least one person doesn't think he's the right fit for the lead-off spot. You really can't complain so far, though.

Cody Ransom/Ramiro Pena - F/D
Comments: Cody and Ramiro have not shown the ability to grasp the material at this grade level.

Their combined line is .177/.253/.292. with 0 HRs and 6 RsBI. For those not statistically inclined... THAT'S FUCKING AWFUL. Never thought I'd say this, but I want "Bitch Tits" back. Immediately.

Jorge Posada - B
Comments: Jorge has completed all of his homework and assignments but sometimes appears tired in class.

Jorgie's numbers are a near mirror image of his 2006 season stats (122 OPS+ for both), and while he didn't make the All-Star team that year, he ended the year with better numbers than both A.J. Pierzynski and Pudge Rodriguez, who did. He might be diminished defensively and painfully slow on the basepaths, but Posada has been hitting and taking his plate behind the dish. That's a lot more than you could say for him last year. (Jose Molina also gets a B for decent hitting and his handling of the pitching staff.)

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