Congratulations to you for making it through a month and a half of Mariners' baseball! If you're reading this, you haven't completely given up on the M's this year (yet). You also haven't gouged your eyes out from watching this team throughout the roller coaster ride it has been since they opened the year in Japan back in March. Since then, we have seen winning and losing streaks, blown saves, and the Athletics. Boy, have we seen alot of Athletics baseball. In fact, Mariners fans have probably been to more Athletics games than Athletics fans have this year (Zing!).
Since we've been through more than a month of baseball this year, I think it's time for a progress report. Remember back when you got progress reports in school? Remember when you would try to check the mail before your parents did so that way they never knew about that 'F' you got in Home Economics? Well, this is nothing like that. This is just me throwing out grades which I feel approximate how well the players have done so far and are in no way scientific. Simply put, these are my opinions. Feel free to disagree in the comments, I love a good argument.
For part one of this series, I'll focus on the pitching staff.
Blake Beavan: C
Blake Beaven. He is who we thought he was. He's not walking guys, but he's not striking them out a ton either. He's Blake Beavan.
Steve Delabar: B-
Flashes of excellance, but also flashes of "Wow, look how far that ball went." He gets a plus for the high K rate so far, but that may regress a bit.
Charlie Furbush: B
Competent and effective out of the pen this year so far in limited innings. Getting a lot of strikeouts so far, we'll see if he can keep that up. He's only had one really bad outing this year against Toronto which has thrown some of his numbers out of whack, but he could be a dependable lefty this year.
Felix Hernandez: A
King Felix is still reigning, even with all the early concerns about a drop in velocity. Silly us, how could we ever doubt you, Felix? Please forgive us! We're not worthy! We're not worthy!
Hisashi Iwakuma: F
In the limited appearances we've seen....yikes. Just yikes.
Brandon League: C-
League has been a bit of mystery to me. I believe there is something wrong with him because he has seemed far less effective than I remember him (Tim disagrees). Perhaps I have a bad memory, but he seems more hittable than I remember. He's also been walking more batters and striking out fewer than last year. So, we'll see if he returns to form. He also gets docked points for ruining a couple truly great Felix starts. Bad Brandon! Bad!
Lucas Luetge: B+
Another lefty that has been effective out of the pen. Luetge is someone I actually feel comfortable seeing the ball get handed to in a tough situation. He's only gotten 7+ innings of work so far, but he's made the most of it by not allowing an earned run (and just one overall). The five walks on the year is bit concerning, but so far so good for the young southpaw.
Kevin Millwood: C
He's Kevin Millwood. He's hittable except when he's not. 'Nuff said. He's the equivalent of buying a bag of flour from the store. You know what you're getting. Actually, the flour might be more interesting since it can become delicious cupcakes. Let that be a lesson, you can't make cupcakes without a couple cups of Kevin Millwood!
Hector Noesi: C+
Showing potential of what he could become at times, but overall still pretty rough around the edges. But the potential is definitely there at times. He's a little home run prone, but I expect that to drop a little with more starts at Safeco, but his location seems to be spotty at times as well. Hopefully, he'll figure things out as he matures and gets more experience under his belt.
Erasmo Ramirez: D+
(See above description about Hector Noesi's grade)
Edit: Looks like he'll get that chance to figure it out in Tacoma.
George Sherrill: INC
The former current Mariner who has now become a current current Mariner has been well.... hurt. There's not enough to grade him. He might have surgery soon, but I don't think that will affect his grade here... so this whole paragraph is a waste.
Jason Vargas: A
Vargas has been Vargas. Which is to say that he has been pretty good. Don't get me wrong, he hasn't been dominant, but he's definitely a strong number two in the rotation. Generally, I'm happy to see him on the mound. This earns a high grade as most of the time I don't have any positive emotions when I see one of our starters on the mound (other than King Felix, of course).
Tom Wilhelmsen: B+
The journeyman reliever is coming through out of the pen again this year and dominating at times. I usually am not happy when the M's sign players off the street to put in the pen, but I can see why they took a chance on this guy last year and am happy to see him back. Edit: This grade doesn't account for his latest appearance which was... well, less than stellar.
Look out for my hitter grades in the next few days!