Baltimore Orioles Grades for Every Player in July
However, a mediocre July has hurt the Birds, as they've hobbled through the month to maintain the 10-ish games over .500 that they've had for most of the season.
Just when the O's starting pitching seems to have come around some, their offense has gone cold. Many players are to blame for this, obviously, as baseball is a team game.
No need to panic just yet, though, Birdland, as the Orioles have had good Augusts and Septembers all three of the years that Buck Showalter has managed the team.
Here are the grades for every one of the players on the O's 25-man roster heading into the month of August. All stats are going into the final day of the month.
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Matt Wieters, Catcher: B
The Orioles' big catcher has actually been on an upward trend during July. He's hit .269 with four homers and 10 RBI in 78 at-bats, while scoring 11 runs.
Chris Davis, First Baseman: C-
The defense has been there, but the power dropped a little (especially after the Home Run Derby), with "just" seven homers and 19 RBI this month. He's struggling to get base hits as well (.209 average), with lots of strikeouts (40) and few walks (eight).
Brian Roberts, Second Baseman: B-
Just the fact that Brian Roberts (pictured) has stayed healthy gives reason to celebrate. On top of that, he's been a solid bottom-of-the-order hitter and defender. While his average is just .221 on the month, he did hit two home runs and knock in 12 ribbies, while smacking four doubles.
Manny Machado, Third Baseman: D+
His average has dropped just like Davis (he's hitting just .202 on the month), and he suddenly can't seem to poke a double with just one during July. However, his defense is still top-notch.
J.J. Hardy, Shortstop: C-
J.J. Hardy hasn't been able to escape the near-team-wide slump, as he's struggled to just a .207 average in July with three homers and 14 RBI. Even still, he's a quiet team leader as a veteran and one of the most important defensive pieces on the team, so his value remains even when his bat isn't on fire.
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Nate McLouth, Left Fielder: B-
Nate McLouth has been steady both at the plate and in the field during the month of July, batting .289 with seven doubles. He could walk more, with just five during July, but he's getting base hits at the top of the lineup.
Adam Jones, Center Fielder: A
Adam Jones faced some power struggles early in the month but was probably the O's best and most consistent hitter in July, with a .295 average, seven homers and 17 RBI. He managed to score 17 runs and even drew seven walks, something the face of the O's franchise almost never does.
Jones has certainly done his part to keep the O's offense afloat during the season's fourth month.
Nick Markakis, Right Fielder: B
The Greek God of Hitting (pictured) has hit for average and played a plus right field, but he can't find a power stroke again this year. Batting .297 is always a great thing, but Nick Markakis went the entire month without hitting a ball out of the park and drove in just two runs, as well as hitting only two doubles.
Hopefully, Markakis can get his power numbers up in August and September.
The Bench (and DH)
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Taylor Teagarden, Catcher: C
As a backup catcher, Taylor Teagarden does the job. Teams want a backup catcher who is more defense-oriented than offense-oriented, and that's exactly what Teagarden is. He hit only .200 during July with an RBI.
Ryan Flaherty, Utility Infielder: C+
This one is tricky. Ryan Flaherty has hit just .222 during July. The catch? He's had nine at-bats, one less than Teagarden. When he plays, he offers exceptional defense at second base and some pop.
Alexi Casilla, Utility Infielder: C
Alexi Casilla and Flaherty just can't get on the field with Roberts back in the mix. In six July at-bats, Casilla got hits in half of them. Like Flaherty, he offers great defense when put on the field.
Henry Urrutia, DH/Left Fielder: A-
When Henry Urrutia (pictured) came up, there was a good bit of hype surrounding him, and for good reason. He hit .365 at both Double-A and Triple-A this year, and since he's come to the majors, he's hit .321 in 28 at-bats.
The O's are hoping that Urrutia can solidify the team's DH spot.
Steve Pearce, Left Fielder/DH: N/A
StevePearce just returned from the disabled list on the final day of the month of July, so a rating for him just wouldn't be fair. We'll see if he can be the decent bench bat that he was prior to injury going forward.
The Starting Rotation
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Wei-Yin Chen, Lefty: A
Wei-Yin Chen was a huge addition to the O's rotation this month, as he returned from an injury he suffered in early May. He pitched to a 2.57 ERA over 28 innings in four starts with three wins.
Miguel Gonzalez, Righty: B
A 3.38 ERA is very good, and his 2-1 record in four starts is solid as well. But in July's final game, he gave up nine runs (four earned) and took the loss against the Houston Astros.
Miguel Gonzalez will be looking to return to form in his next start after having two horrible starts in a row to end July.
Chris Tillman, Righty: A-
The pitcher many O's fans consider the team's ace, Chris Tillman (pictured) went 3-1 in July with a 3.42 ERA. The thing with Tillman is that he seems to step up his game when the O's need him to, like his recent start of seven innings of shutout ball against the Boston Red Sox.
The one thing Tillman can improve on is accumulating more innings, with 26.1 innings pitched in July.
Scott Feldman, Righty: B-
Scott Feldman pitched to a 5.12 ERA in July, but that's mostly due to a couple of short starts where he allowed a few more runs than he would have hoped to. In five starts and 31.2 innings, he went 2-2, doing the job the O's envisioned he would do when they acquired him: provide solid enough starts at the backend of the rotation.
So far, he's done his job.
Jason Hammel, Righty: F
A 5.52 ERA on the month is not good, and unfortunately, that pretty much sums up Jason Hammel's season. He went 0-4 during the month of July to bring his season record to a 7-8 mark, and with the O's acquisition of Bud Norris, it looks like Hammel could be on his way out of the rotation.
Bud Norris, Righty: F
Bud Norris had a pretty bad month.
In four starts, he went 1-2 with a 6.38 ERA in 24 innings. Those were all with the Houston Astros, and he's had some really good months this year (May and June), so hopefully July was just a fluke or his nerves affecting him due to trade deadline talk.
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Jim Johnson, Closer: B+
Jim Johnson didn't see as much action in July as he had seen in other months, but he pitched fairly well, saving eight of nine opportunities with a 1.04 ERA, but opponents did hit .314 against him.
Darren O'Day, Setup Man: A-
July was a good month for Darren O'Day (pictured), but isn't every month? Or at least it seems. A 1.86 ERA in 9.2 innings with two wins, a loss and a save.
Francisco Rodriguez, Setup Man: A-
A month that was split between the Milwaukee Brewers and the O's, K-Rod put up the numbers he's used to putting up. Nine innings, 10 strikeouts, four saves and a 2.00 ERA.
Tommy Hunter, Middle Reliever/Setup Man: F
Big Game Tommy Hunter struggled mightily during July, his only bad month of the season. His 10.2 innings resulted in a 5.91 ERA, .326 BAA and just three strikeouts.
Troy Patton, Middle Reliever: C
In only 6.2 innings, Troy Patton pitched to a 4.05 ERA, which I suppose is "getting the job done." He appeared in eight games and didn't lose any, so he's doing his job.
T.J. McFarland, Middle Reliever: A
The Rule V pick had his best month yet in terms of ERA, but he didn't pitch as often. Of course, the All-Star break doesn't help there, but his 2.16 ERA over 8.1 innings is good work for the young lefty.
Brian Matusz, Middle Reliever: A-
I include the minus on that "A" for Brian Matusz because even though he didn't give up an earned run all month in seven appearances, it was over just six innings. He's doing his job perfectly, with a sparkling .182 BAA on the month, and he struck out five and walked three.