The end of Saturday's game spelled the midway point in the 2008 season. So I hereby submit my grades to each of the pitchers for their first half performance.
Brian Bannister - C He's giving us about what you'ld expect out of a 3rd or 4th starter. He's 7-7 with a 4.88 ERA. His 57/30 SO/BB ratio is decent. He's allowing 12 1/2 base runners per 9 innings has surrendered a .326 OBP and he's averaging 6.1 innings per start. Pitching is a little less than what I was hoping out of him.
Kyle Davies - B- He's 3-1 with a 3.34 ERA which at face value looks very good. However his SO/BB ratio is 15/16 and he's allowed 14.5 base runners per 9 innings and allowed a .369 OBP. His ability of pitching his way in and out of jams has been incredible but a practice that is not possible to maintain. He's been our luckiest starter and he'll have to pitch much better to maintain his low ERA and keep his record above .500.
Zach Greinke - A- He's been far and away the ace of the rotation in performance. He's 7-4 with a 3.65 ERA. He has the glossiest SO/BB ratio at 89/34 and has allowed only 11.4 base runners per 9 innings. He's averaged 6.5 innings per start and .307 OBP allowed, both best of all the starters. His biggest drawback that kept me from giving him a clearcut A is his 16 home runs allowed.
Luke Hochevar - C+ If I were grading him against what I expected of him I'd give him a higher grade, but I'm using the same standards for Luke that I'm using with everyone. He's 5-5 with a 4.60 ERA with a SO/BB of 48/36. His runners allowed/9 innings is high at 13.9 and he's allowed a .350 OBP. He's averaged exactly 6 innings per start. Whats impresses me with Luke is that I think the umpires have given him a smaller strike zone than others and he's kept his cool.
Gil Meche - C+ Gil's not pitching as well as last season, nor is he getting good run support. Meche is 6-8 with a 4.66 ERA. He's got a nice SO/BB ratio of 82/35 and he's allowing only 11.9 runners per 9 innings. His OBP allowed is a decent .313 but he's only averaged an even 6 innings per start. My main knock on Gil is that he seems to be pitching too carefully which is running up his pitch count. We need him to come closer to giving us 7 innings per start.
Ron Mahay - A- Out off all Royals pitchers not named Soria, Mahay has been the Royals most reliable pitchers this season. He's been called upon as a middle reliever, situational left and as a set up man and has excelled at every one of those tasks. He's 4-0 with a 2.13 ERA, 29K/18BB, he's allowed only 11.9 runners per 9 innings with a .305 OBP against. He's allowed only 7 XBH in 42 1/3 innings. The one thing that kept me from giving him an A is the fact that he's not done well with inherited baserunners as he has allowed 11 of them to score which is a team high.
Ramon Ramirez - B+ Anytime you read that your team has aquired a pitcher in a trade with the Rockies, you have to be suspect of it. Well, Ram Ram has sure disspelled that theory for me anyway. He's been an excellent set-up man. He's 0-1 with a 2.68 ERA. His 43/17 SO/BB ratio is impressive and he's allowed only 11.2 runners per 9 innings and his OBP against is only .303. He's only allowed 4 XBH in 40 1/3 innings pitched. The only drawback to Ramon is that he's 0 for 2 in save opportunities. So you can't really say he'd be the man to step into the closers role if heaven forbid, Soria were to get hurt.
Joakim Soria - A The Mexicutioner has probably earned more man crushes than any Royal in the last decade...count me in! He's 0-1 with a 1.25 ERA and has converted 22 of 23 save opportunities. SO/BB ratio is a sick 39/9. Batting average against? .146. he's allowed only 7.8 runners per 9 innings and his OBP against is .228. He's allowed only 5 XBH in 36 innings. I've been thinking all day about what to say about drawbacks in Soria's game. Only one...we have to keep him as a closer, because we don't have a real good alternative so that we can see what he can do as a starter. But then again, that isn't Soria's fault either, is it?
Yashuhito Yubuta - D- 1-3 record, 5.46 ERA, 20/17 ratio. Allowed a whopping 15.8 runners per 9 innings and a .377 OBP. 14 XBH in 31 1/3 innings. He's been demoted to Omaha as he should have been, but I'm not going to give up on him just yet. Hopefully he can get it worked out. If he were a lefty he'ld likely still be here in Kansas City.
Joel Peralta - D 0-2, 6.00 ERA, but his SO/BB ratio is an impressive 17/4. he's allowed 12.0 runners per 9 innings and a .323 OBP which isn't all that bad. What's killed Peralta is the 14 extra base hits allowed in only 24 innings, 8 of them being home runs. Here's what I think about this dude...He's done great in AAA ball and he does throw strikes. If he learns to mix his pitches better and work on the corners more, he can be a servicable ML pitcher. I like his aggressive style but he doesn't have the stuff to blow away major league hitters the way he does in AAA.
Leo Nunez - A- This kid needs to stay healthy. He's 3-1 with a 1.71 ERA. His SO/BB ratio is 14/7 in 21 innings. He's allowed only 3 XBH in those 21 innings which has really been nice. he's allowed only 9.9 runners per 9 innings and his OBP against is only .284. He's not a big strikeout guy but once he gets healthy, he'll add to what's become an already good bullpen and he may be they guy we want to use to close games on the occasions when Soria isn't available.
Jimmy Gobble - F Listen up Jimmy, Neal Musser is doing real well in Omaha, and I think you're about one more bad outing away from you switching places with him. If Gobble wasn't a lefty, he'd already be in Omaha. He's 0-2 with a fat 7.32 ERA. His SO/BB sucks at 17/12. He's allowed 15.6 runners per 9 innings and his OBP against is a whopping .366. He's allowed 10 inherited base runners to score and has given up 12 XBH in only 19 2/3 innings. Gobble's been every bit the disappointment as Mahay and Ram Ram have been pleasant surprises. One redeeming stat for Gobble. He's got the only save by a Royal pitcher not named Soria.
Thats all the Royals pitcher's I'm going to grade. The rest of the pitchers on the current 25 man roster haven't logged 10 innings yet, so its too early to judge them. Tomko has been released, and his performance was pretty much an F. Bale only got 3 starts before being put on the DL and then later through his own dumb-ass actions earned the 60-day DL. Nomo was an F- during the few games he pitched.
One more person to grade here, just for the hell of it...
Trey Hillman - B- I think judging managers is much more difficult than judging players because you really don't know if Dayton Moore is pulling some of his strings. I thought that Hillman went way too long with putting Tony Pena in the line-up when Aviles was mashing the ball in Omaha, but then again, Hillman doesn't make the ultimate call on roster moves. I think he's moving players around too much. Teahen in left one day, right the next, then first base? I was also POed the day Trey started German in left and had him as the lead-off hitter. However, I must say that I like the way he's handled the pitching staff. He seems to go longer with an effective starter and he brings the hook on a struggling starter at about the right time. I'll give him a break with all his different line-ups as he's a new manager with a group of everyday players who many are young with not alot of major league experience. He's still in process of evaluating the talent he has and where they best fit defensively and in the line-up. That being said, I do expect more stability in the line-up and the defensive alignment. Successful teams usually send the same 8 to the field every day.
I'll do a mid-season report on the Royals position players and utility players in my next blog entry, and thanks to each and all of you who read and contribute to my blog....its why I take the time I do.