Since we're at the halfway point of the season, the brain trust at Ted's Army decided we'd give out grades for the Red Sox players. Crazy idea, huh? When it was first brought up, I said, "You guys, this is just too revolutionary, they'll never be able to handle it."
But we decided eventually that our readers can grasp the concept. I'll start with the infield; the outfield and pitchers will be covered in future posts.
1. 1B Adrian Gonzalez
I was trying to think of an appropriate grade, because obviously, A+ isn't enough. So instead, I've giving Adrian Gonzalez a t-shirt to tell him how I feel.
That covers it.
You want stats to back me up? 64 runs, 128 hits, 17 homers, 77 RBI. .354/.414/.591/1.006. Ho-hum.
2. 3B Kevin Youkilis
Youk started slow but has quietly put it together. At .285/.399/.512/.911, he's doing just fine. I know Theo doesn't care about RBI, but Youk's knocked in 63 runs, which is impressive considering Adrian has 77 right in front of him. Then again, Adrian's always on base, which I imagine makes it easier to drive in runs. Wait, this is supposed to be about Youk.
He's adjusted defensively over at 3B. He's really a very, very good player, and I think we sometimes take him for granted. I give him an A-, and am providing you this certificate so you can print it out and send it to him to let him know that we appreciate his talents.
3. 2B/SS Jed Lowrie
My comments about Jed Lowrie are every bit as predictable as my comments about Adrian Gonzalez. Jed is really good...when he plays. His OPS is just .723 due to him playing injured for too long. At the end of April it was .962. And yeah, that's only a month...but a month is still a pretty good chunk of time. He's got all kinds of talent, which is hard for me to say because I've been a doubter.
The big question is whether he'll ever get healthy. The Red Sox want to know it, and so do any potential trade suitors.
Jed gets a B- from me -- he's better than average, but he's not making the impact he could. I've also sent him this to snack on during the Break.
4. SS Marco Scutaro
Marco hasn't been what he was last year in terms of offense, but we don't really need it. His OPS has dropped below .700. What he has been is a serviceable player in Lowrie's absence. He's not a long-term piece, he won't get trade value being dealt elsewhere, but he's not playing at a Mike Cameron level either. He's a useful player for us, and it's OK that he makes $5 million because our owners have deep pockets. He also inspired the greatest Red Sox-related Twitter hashtag of all time, #scuscuscutaro. It's just too bad we can't use it much these days.
I'm not giving Marco anything, just putting up some background music you can play while contemplating his career.
5. C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Salty's been a pleasant surprise. After a rough start, he's putting up a .757 OPS (which is better than AL All-Star Matt Wieters, by the way) and doesn't seem to be an abomination behind the plate. But honestly, judging a catcher defensively is like judging offensive line play in football. I think you have to have quite a bit of hands-on experience to know. So...B? B-? B+? Gold star? Incomplete?
Whatever the grade is, the best thing about Salty's situation is that we have Jason Varitek as well.
An artistic interpretation of the Red Sox pitching staff and Jason Varitek
6. C Jason Varitek
I'm not even going to look at his stats, because they don't matter. Josh Beckett is pitching lights-out, and at least some of that credit goes to Tek. He's worth more to us than anyone else, and hopefully he knows that. We're barely paying him anything as it is. He gets an A- from me, especially if he keeps saying nasty things about the Orioles.
7. The rest
Drew Sutton, Yamaico Navarro, and Jose Iglesias, thanks for showing up. Frankly, we don't care what you've done. Jose, I'm looking forward to buying your jersey in a few years.