Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Teacher is In: Orioles 2007 Season Grades - The Staring Outfield...

Well, I'm going to play teacher this morning and assign grades the best I can to the Oriole players on the squad.

Some are going to like what I have said, and the grades I have issued, some are not.

That being said, let's begin.

We all know that the Orioles have more or less sucked this season, and this winter will be nothing short of critical in charting the course of the franchise in the future.

Today, I'll be doing the starting outfield...


Nick Markakis, Right Field
2007 Numbers:
.300 AVG, 23 HR, 112 RBt’s, .485 SLG, .362 OBP. 191 hits
Grade: A

In a year where fans and observers like had to sit through a putrid season, Markakis was one of few bright spots. I thought he might have been a tad overrated, but he’s the real deal.

After a slow start in 2007, his numbers picked up and he was the only Oriole to bat .300, hit over 20 homers, and drive in 100 runs. Seeing him play makes me think of Dwight Evans in the field, and Wally Joyner at the plate. He’s got a nice swing, and I have been even more impressed with his fielding and his arm.

Just think of it.

If Nick Markakis played for anyone else but the Orioles; i.e., a contender like Philadelphia, the New York teams, Boston, or an Atlanta, he’d be a Gold Glover – easily.

Hell, if he was a Yankee, he’d have a statue ready for him in Monument Park, and if he were a member of the Red Sox, he’d be a god in Boston.

So far, it’s been good for Nick, and he should only get better at the plate if he can get his power numbers up. Fans should only expect nothing but the best, and although he’s a very quiet guy, you can count on him taking a leadership role sometime down the road.

He’ll no doubt be part of the future; however, fans should not expect him to be the next Cal, Frank, Brooks, Jim Palmer rolled into one – he’s just Nick. We are all longing for a winner, but he’s no doubt a huge piece in the puzzle.


Jay Payton, Left Field
2007 Numbers
: .256 AVG, 7 HR, 58 RBI, .292 OBP, .376 SLG
Grade: D

Jay Payton was signed to be an extra part of a contending team, and was supposed to be a proven winner that as supposed to supplant an offense that needed speed and experience.

He was nothing but a disappointment, and based on his numbers along with attitude, Payton seemingly lost interest along with played sloppy at time. As well, I think he got very disturbed by the losing and his body language at times suggested it.

His poor numbers only show he was part of the Orioles problem, and he was.

Personally, I think he needs a change of scenery and should be dealt. Both sides need it.


Corey Patterson, Center Field
2007 Numbers:
.269 AVG, 8 HR, 45 RBIS, 37 SB, .304 OBP
Grade: C

I like Corey Patterson, and he’s got a lot of god given athletic ability that most players dream of.

However, for one reason or another, he’s not been able to get it all together.

His problem has been consistency along with get command of the hitting zone at the plate. He’d be a great leadoff guy with his blazing speed; however, he strikes out way too much and his on-base percentage is nothing to be happy about. He’s got some power, but his numbers have gone down, and not improved at all.

Corey is a wizard in the outfield, and is a great defensive presence. In light of it all, some of his habits that led to his departure from the Cubs came with him to Baltimore. I do give him credit, he picked his numbers up big-time after the All-Star Break before he went down with an ankle injury.

He’s in his free agent year, and I would not re-sign him unless the price is right. The team could find better on the open market, or look in house for a solution (read: Tike Redman).


Tike Redman, Center Field

2007 Numbers: .318 AVG, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 7 SB, 132 AB, .462 SLG
Grade: B+

Well, Tike Redman was a fall call-up and got a chance to play everyday due to injuries to members of the team.

So, far in a small sample size with the Orioles, it’s been good. In his time with the team, he brought a mix of speed, a little pop and aggressiveness to the plate.

My only problem with him is that he has not impressed me in the outfield. He’s made some terrible plays in the field, and has at times missed balls that the average center fielder would have gotten.

Despite it all, he’s been a welcome surprise to the team, and should on the roster next year.


Jay Gibbons, Left Field/First Base/Designated Hitter

2007 Numbers: .230 AVG, 6 HR, 28 RBI, .272 OBP, .348 SLG
Grade: F

Jay Gibbons is a nice guy, and was great with the fans, but he’s worn out his welcome with most fans in Baltimore.

There I said it.

Being a nice person helps, but when you have completely forgotten how to play the game, you will not endear yourself to anyone.

Along with his awful season, the stench of the drug witch hunt came back to Baltimore and this time, he got caught in the drama as he was shown to have bought drugs from Signature Pharmacy out of Florida.

Considering he was the player’s rep, denied he ever used drugs, and as well denounced Jason Grimsley and Rafael Palmiero for their involvement, he comes off as a total fraud.

If you mix in the drug problems with a guy whose offensive numbers have regressed and someone who cannot play the field, you have a player who hurts rather than helps the Orioles. At times, he’s looked clueless at the plate; however, even worse groused to the media about his playing time and role on the team. He’s struggled with injuries, and has never lived up to his problem; alas, I’ll give him credit – he’s made a lot of money and had gone further than anyone probably imagined based on his natural talent.

All of that is a mixture for a team cancer.

He’s got to go, no matter how much money is owed.

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