Monday, July 18, 2022

First Half of the Season Grades (Now with 50% More Hoss)


Why is this picture of Hoss' family appearing under my byline? 

Well, it's time for our annual "Let's Grade The First Half of the Season" 

I don't have any pictures of my family that go back that far. Something about Cossacks. 


Right Field:  Giancarlo Stanton

Doug K:

Grade: A/C  

AYGHAB 8.0 on the first pitch. Varies greatly after that depending on which Stanton is up. I have to give him two different grades because clearly there are two Stantons.

It all depends on his front leg. When he keeps it for the most part planted, he is one of the best hitters I’ve ever seen. Power, power and more power. When he moves that front leg, he swings so hard and cluelessly that he finishes outside the batter’s box and half way to the opposing dugout. He’s like a golfer that can’t keep his head down.  He’s all birdies and triple bogies.


This is the sort of mealy-mouthed indecision I expect from a “good teacher” like you, Doug!

Stanton is what he always is, only less so. The guy takes up an enormous amount of the payroll to produce that identical, mechanical swing, over and over and over again. Plus he runs like a robot. The guy is clearly in decline at 32—look at those rising strikeout (76) and falling doubles (6) figures, and a .237 BA.

He does seem able to stay off the DL more, for which I give him a:


Center Field: Aaron Judge

Doug K

Grade A+


The guy is having a great year. OK he’s slumped a bit recently but he’s, finally, getting walk offs, and is good with getting base hits in big situations instead of swinging for the fences, 


What? Rank grade inflation. All right, all right, even I can’t bitch about Judge this year.


Left Field:  Joey Gallo

Doug K. 

Grade:  B


NOTE:  He gets a one only because the scale lacks negative numbers. This is Stephen Drew territory. This is Ira Mertnick land. 

Note on the note:  Ira went to my summer camp. He could barely pick up the softball bat much less swing it. It was sad. He was also a rock magnet. Didn’t matter where you threw the rock, somehow it changed direction in mid-air and hit Ira.

That said, a B for Joey Gallo.

Yeah, that’s right, a B. Why you ask? Is it his stellar defense which actually just seems to be good not great, his ability to walk? Not really. Do I feel sorry for him? Yeah, I do but that’s not why either.

Truth is, I like Anthony Rizzo and to a lesser extent Josh Donaldson. So?

So, both of them are really not as good as advertised and if we did a deep dive, we might turn our collective ire on them. Gallo is our lightening rod of discontent. He takes the heat off of every other bad performance. Our rock magnet.

Stanton goes 0 for 5 with four strikeouts? Rizzo pops up with guys in scoring position? Donaldson can’t hit righties or lay off the high fastball… Hey Gallo’s up! G-d does he suck!

Yes, he does. But “The Gallo Effect” makes everyone else look good!

He gets a B and hopefully gets traded today!


Aww, don’t go breakin’ my heart, Kiki Dee! (Not to be confused with Kiki Cuyler.)

Gallo’s bad? He’s beyond bad! And even by his own standards! As noted in this space, since coming to the Yankee, he’s dropped his already pathetic, .211 lifetime average by 9 points.

So without him, somebody else would get some flak. So what? Last time I looked, this is professional baseball. And unless Ira Metnick became an accountant for the mob, he ain’t making the $10.275 mill Joey Gallo is pulling in this year.

F-  Only because it can’t be lower.

DH/Outfield/Infield:  Matt “The Sheriff” Carpenter

Doug K.

Grade A+

AYGHAB: Oh yeah! That’s right, no number needed.

As my friend Marc says, “Dis Fucking Guy…”  Best acquisition in  the last 20 years. He looks like a western sheriff from the 1870’s. Flinty eyes. No nonsense. Here to clean up the town or more accurately clear off the bases.  Great back story. Another guy who knows how to win.


All right, gotta agree with you there. I’d even give him another  “+” if not for the porn ’stache. Actually, I kinda like that, too. I had one back in the day, if ya know what I mean.


LF Aaron Hicks

Doug K.

Grade:  Is meh a grade?

AYGHAB:  5 (Unless there’s two on then 5.3 because sometimes, he nails one)

I actually forgot to write him up. I’m good with that.


Here is the one time I’m actually going to be lenient.

I agree: Hicks’ contract was a mystifying abomination, and more than likely he’ll be back on the DL soon.

But while I won’t say he’s actually clutch, there’s sort of a clutch gene in him, if you know what I mean. Witness the home run—when playing while injured, looking at you Giancarlo—to extend the 2019 ALCS vs. Houston, the incredible catch against Minnesota…and now, sending Mr. Sale back to the DL.  There’s something to the guy.

C (Hey, let’s not get carried away!)

OF Tim Locastro


Limited time due to injury and putznik Cashman, of course, but really a valuable contributor when he does play.


Doug K.

What you wrote is incontrovertible.


First Base:  Anthony Rizzo

Doug K: 

Hey! Eyes over here! 

Grade: B


As stated above I like this guy. He’s a Champion. Knows how to win. He keeps Aaron Judge focused and probably is helping him deal with whole, “Baseball is a business. Take the money.” thing.   Plus, they are Covid Shot buddies. Late to the concept but took one for the team. (Or found a DR. willing to say they did. Maybe Dr. Vinnie Boom Bats!)

Great Defense. Makes the whole infield better. An ACTUAL first baseman not a circus strong man or an outfielder with bad knees.

I love that he chokes up with two strikes. But What’s with the .224 BA?


I largely agree, Doug, you lucky son of a bitch. But the .224—42 points below his lifetime BA—should get him more points off.


Second Base: Gleyber Torres

Doug K.

Grade B+


He’s turned it around. No complaint on the fielding. Goes the other way. Can be clutch.  That said, if we had a stat called AYGHOB (Are You Glad He’s On The Basepaths) he’d get a 3.2.  Don’t they teach this stuff? Oh, and get the kid a pair of glasses.


Yeah, pretty much agree. His ability to lose concentration at any given moment still annoys, and he’s never going to be the rock on which this team is built. But still, much improvement and a nice comeback year.


Shortstop: IKF

Doug K.

Grade C


A little less than advertised on both sides of the ball. Then again, he was a Gold Glove THIRD BASEMAN not shortstop so I’m not sure I understand what Hal was thinking other than, "save money." Serviceable? A footnote. Wanna give him a C+? Sure, go ahead.


I give him less! Yeah, hard to blame him for his defensive deficiencies playing at his second-best position. But NO home runs at the All-Star break? In today’s game?


Third Base: Josh Donaldson

Doug K.

Grade:  B

AYGHAB:  6.3  

He defense is solid.  He can’t really hit anymore. Plus, he’s kind of a putz. That said, he’s another of the professional winners that they brought in this year. It’s made all the difference. We’re in every game now even when we’re behind because of guys like Donaldson.  Would we be better off with Gio? Maybe but if that was the price for getting rid of Sanchez it was a good one.

That said, in the off season (because we have him next year) he should go study with whoever fixed Carpenter!


As always, you are too kind, Doug. Yeah, Crusty Rusty’s had his moments, but he’s worn through. He might be able to produce some big moments in the second half, but this was really a terrible acquisition.

And “putz” doesn’t begin to describe it. I defended him against the LaRussa/Jackie Anderson set up, but—an unforced error.


Super Utility Man:  DJ LeMahieu

Doug K. 

Grade:  A

AYGHAB:  8.2

Professional hitter and in many ways the most important Yankee. Started slow but is reverting to the mean in the best way.  Does it all well.


Yeah, nice to see DJ bounce back. He’s not a batting champ or a near-MVP anymore, but he’s invaluable, in so many ways. So glad the Sox didn’t manage to maim him.


INF/OF:  Marwin Gonzalez


Thoroughly mediocre, but plays anywhere, hustles, does all right.


Doug K. 

Grade:  I’ll grade him on the curve and give him a B because he’s better than I thought he would be. It’s all relative.



Catcher:  Jose Trevino

Grade: A+


Obviously, a great last minute pick-up and an unexpected all-star. Offensively it would behoove him to not try to do too much. If he doesn’t press, he is rock solid. Plus having a catcher that, uh… can catch, is what turned around the pitching staff.


Hey, Yogi Berra is an A+, okay? Or Bill Dickey, Elston Howard, Thurman Munson, or Jorge Posada.

But I’ll give him a high grade for just the reasons you cite, Doug. Don’t know where we’d be without him.


Catcher: Kyle Higashioka

Doug K. 

Grade D

AYGHAB:  3.8

Higgy can go. I know that it’s mid-season and the pitchers are comfortable with him but there’s really nothing there, which is too bad. Hopefully, Brain avoids the temptation to add Wilson Contreras because he’s a number 1 catcher and Trevino has earned that right.  If Higgy stays the rest of the year,  that’s OK too.


I agree. Sad to see.


Catcher: Ben Rortvedt


“Student has been absent so much he has been reported as truant. Seems to evince no interest in any subject save gym. Spends all his spare time on the weight machines.”

Incomplete—with a strong recommendation he be transferred to another school system.

Doug K. 

Sounds about right. 

Tomorrow: Starting Pitching!  


Rufus T. Firefly said...

Love you guys (no, not *that* way!), b-b-but...

No way Joey Callo gets rated above an F-. So, we'd bitch about someone else if he's not here? Yes! That's what we do!

And Donaldson is a disappointment. C-, Yankees got all of the negatives they expected and none of the positives. If he hits a couple of clutch homers in meaningful games from here out, my mind can be changed. But not about what he's done so far.

I would rate Gary Sanchez a A+++. He's been that important to this team.

And if bad teacher is giving out grades, I want to be kept after class.

Publius said...

How about a grade for Refsnyder?

HoraceClarke66 said...

Whattaya talk, Doug? That picture's from 1971.

Doug K. said...


Oh it's you. I got all excited that someone actually read this. :)

JM said...

I feel bad for Gallo, but definitely an F or F-. And sadly, have to agree about Higgy. He'll go somewhere and become Refsnyder, I bet. But he won't in New York.

Donaldson sucks. Some good, timely hits, yes, even against righties now and then. But he just sucks. Whereas Rizzo, also with a lousy average, is great imo because of the dingers and the incredible defense. He's saved so many lousy throws I've lost count.

And I'm usually glad to see IKF bat with men on base. He's not a power hitter, but how many of those do we really need? He's turned in some nice plays playing out of position, and I don't care if he doesn't have a home run to his name. That's not his role. On this team, it doesn't matter.

Gleyber has his faults, but I'm glad to see him at least approximate his old self at the plate. A relief.

Overall, it's hard to argue with you guys. Good job!

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

Ditto. I have no quibbles, except that you neglected to send me the blonde's contact info.

Ken of Brooklyn said...

This was brilliant Guys, funny as hell and spot ON,,,, and extra thanks for reminding me how hot Cameron Diaz was, hubba hubba!

HoraceClarke66 said...

Thanks, guys.

And yes, hard to go wrong with Cameron Diaz, as she looked in "Bad Teacher."