Texas Rangers Mid-Season Grades -- The Position Players

This picture gets an A+. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Okay, I figured I'd do the mid-season grades for the Rangers.  We are starting with position players.  Grades are based on a mixture of expectations, performance, and role.  There's a formula, but it is a secret.  

Grades are after the jump.  

 

Elvis Andrus -- A-

I originally had Elvis with a B, but was looking at FanGraphs...he's on pace for a 4.7 fWAR this year.  The slugging and OBP aren't where you'd like to see them, but then, offense is down league-wide, and he's been terrific once again on the basepaths.  The defense has been erratic but still above-average.  All in all, from a 22 year old shortstop, you can't ask for a whole lot more.  

Adrian Beltre -- B+

Okay, so I tweeted about a week-and-a-half ago that other than Mike Napoli, all this past offseason's additions had been disappointments.  Then Beltre got hot, and his OPS went from around 750 to 813, and I've been getting flamed for saying that his bat was a disappointment.  The glove has been outstanding, the offense has been pretty good, though a .314 OBP from a guy on a 5/$80 or 6/$96 deal (depending on how you include the vesting option) is a bit of a letdown.  Still, when you watch him charge a slow roller, barehand it and throw a strike to first all in one motion, you can't help but think that alone is worth $16 million per.

Andres Blanco -- C-

The minus is for the injury.  You would like your utility infielder to avoid getting hurt and put you in a situation where you have to screw up the 40 man roster situation by purchasing the contract of your AAA veteran insurance guy.  Otherwise, he's been Andres Blanco.  He's good defensively, doesn't hit much, and won't kill you when he plays.  

Julio Borbon -- D+

I'm not going to talk about Borbon.

Endy Chavez -- A+

I'm also not going to talk about Chavez.

Nelson Cruz -- C-

Quietly, Cruz is having a pretty disappointing year.  He spent time on the disabled list again and he's got a sub-.300 OBP.  The power numbers are still there, but he's striking out in over a quarter of his ABs.  If you think his defense is as bad as UZR suggests (rather than as good as +/- suggests), you could drop him down to a D.

Chris Davis -- B+

In limited playing time, Davis has hit well and shown that he can play third base without embarrassing himself, and we already know that his can pick it at third base.  He's putting up video game numbers in AAA, with 20 homers and a 1255 OPS in 38 games.  And he's got nowhere to play on this team, barring an injury or a Mitch Moreland collapse.  I'm guessing he'll be part of a deal for a reliever later in the month.

Craig Gentry -- A

Great defense in centerfield, a respectable OBP, and 10 for 10 on steals.  You can't ask for anything more from your 5th outfielder.

Josh Hamilton -- B

The numbers are a letdown after last year's MVP season and he missed time with an injury.  He's also got an 899 OPS and played terrific defense.  It says something about the standard Hamilton has set that he's getting a B.

Ian Kinsler -- A

On pace for a 7 fWAR season.  Only 7 major league position players had a 7.0 or higher fWAR last season (and interestingly, two of them are now Rangers).  Kinsler is currently 8th in the A.L. in fWAR.  We can argue about the popups and the body language and the batting average, but in terms of a total package, Kinsler's been the best player on the team this year.  

Mitch Moreland -- C+

I'm struggling with this one.  On the one hand, he's a second year player holding his own as the team's starting first baseman.  On the other hand, he's a guy with little defensive value putting up a 791 OPS and continuing to struggle against LHPs, with a 486 OPS and 1 XBH against southpaws this year.  And he turns 26 in September, so he's not exactly a big upside play.  I could put him higher because you could argue any higher expectations are unrealistic.  I could put him lower because, well, he's been pretty middling in 2011...he's 10th out of 12 qualifying 1B in fWAR, for example.  

David Murphy -- F

What can you say?  He's been terrible this year.  The Rangers could really use a big second half from him.

Mike Napoli -- B+

He's hit and his defense behind the plate has been better than expected.  Anyone who challenges this grade by talking about his batting average will be banned.  

Omar Quintanilla -- Q

Q, for Quintanilla

Taylor Teagarden -- C

He is what he is, the ideal third catcher to stash in AAA until needed.  

Yorvit Torrealba -- D

The offense has been mildly disappointing, the glove very disappointing.  It will be interesting to see if his game-calling -- which has gotten mixed reviews, at best -- improves in the second half, given that some have suggested his problems have stemmed from a lack of familiarity with the A.L.

Michael Young -- B+

Having his best offensive season on the heels of the front office trying to deal him this past offseason.  He's still not good in the field, but he's exceeded expectations with the bat, and has taken to the DH role better than anyone could have hoped.

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