Grades are in for the Texas Rangers' 40-man roster.
Past the halfway point of the season, the Rangers have been flirting with first place of the AL West. With the newest addition of Alex Rios, the team is now standing at the top of the division with 68 wins and 50 losses.
As of August 11, these grades are given on an alphabetical scale. A grade of "A+" is the highest a player can receive and an "F" is the lowest. Players are rated based on their performance including stats and how well they have lived up to season expectations.
A player who is a prospect might receive a higher grade than a veteran, but that does not necessarily mean the prospect is a better player.
Player grades are not final for the 2013 season. Also, these grades are not a projection, but an indication of current player performance. One thing to notice, Nelson Cruz is not on the 40-man roster because of a 50-game suspension.
The 40-man roster is not the same group of players that dresses out for each game. Instead, it's a list of players who either are in the MLB or can easily be called up from the MiLB. For more information on how a 40-man roster works, check out this article by TheJay of SB Nation. The 40-Man Roster: How Does It Work?
It's a long season, but let's take a look at the grades for the Texas Rangers' 40-man roster.
For a look at the current 40-man roster, click here.
Joe Nathan is enjoying one of his best seasons in his 12-year career.
He has 34 saves, ranking fourth in the MLB, in 36 tries. He also boasts a 1.54 ERA. Nathan has only given up eight earned runs in 46.2 innings of work.
Nathan doesn't receive his grade just based on statistics. Simply, the closer is the Rangers most consistent player.
Nathan is the anchor of the bullpen and he let's his performance do the talking. He was also voted to the 2013 MLB All-Star game in which he recorded the save. Click here for the video on the last pitch to secure home field advantage in the World Series for the American League.
Adrian Beltre has been a man this season, to say the least, and is making a strong case for the AL MVP.
Beltre is hitting for a .320 average with 25 home runs and 71 RBIs. He's been the staple in the middle of the lineup for the Rangers and has had several clutch moments this season.
Most recently, Beltre crushed a game-winning home run against the Angels on July 31 and has had multiple go-ahead hits this season.
There isn't much more the Rangers can ask out of Beltre as he's playing at the pinnacle of his game. The video embedded above is the pure bliss and joy that Beltre brings to the Rangers and the fan base.
Neal Cotts has been outstanding this year and even that is an understatement.
Cotts has a 0.96 ERA in 37 innings pitched while striking out 42 hitters. What's even more impressive is that he hadn't pitched since the 2009 season, last with the Chicago Cubs.
Cotts has had plenty of games where he's pitched scoreless innings to help maintain a lead or keep the Rangers still in a game.
Check out his recent performance, against the Cleveland Indians on July 27 in which he allowed no hits, above.
A.J. Pierzynski has been clutch this season for the Rangers.
On the season, Pierzynski has 13 home runs and over half of them have been game-tying or go-ahead. He's also been a quick spark to the Rangers lineup.
Most recently, he knocked a solo home run against the Astros on August 10, in the sixth inning. The Rangers were down one run at the time and went on to score in the seventh and eighth to win the game.
Pierzynski also has driven in 46 runs and is hitting for a .277 average. All together, he's been valuable to the Rangers and living up to all expectations. His performance this season has made many Rangers fans forget about former catcher Mike Napoli.
Tanner Scheppers had a near All-Star first half and has continued to be above average.
Nonetheless, Scheppers' stuff has been fantastic with his fastball rising into the upper-90s. He's been the reliable right-hander out of the pen that the Rangers have been looking for. Scheppers boasts a 1.70 ERA in 53 innings pitched.
To give an extra relief to closer Joe Nathan, Scheppers picked up his first save on August 6 against the Angels.
Despite some hiccups this season, Scheppers has been strong and every bit worthy of his grade.
The Rangers staff has been above average this year. Derek Holland deserves some of the credit.
Holland is 9-6 with a 3.07 ERA and 151 strikeouts. He's sixth in the American league in strikeouts. Holland is also fourth in the American league in innings pitched with 161. That's very impressive for the southpaw.
Besides giving up six earned runs to the Angels in April, Holland has only given up four or fewer all season. He's had some rough starts to games, notably the Cardinals in June, but he's been able to fight through most of that adversity.
In games that Holland has pitched in, he's been a part 16 wins and 8 losses. Holland's grade reflects his durability and resiliency in both wins and losses.
Yu Darvish receives a tough grade here. An ace with all the positives that he's had this season surely should deserve an "A" or better.
Darvish has the stats: Eighth in the AL in wins, 1st in the AL in strikeouts, fourth in the AL in ERA, third in the AL in WHIP, and fifth in the AL in win percentage.
But, Darvish's losses bring him down a bit. Nine out of the 22 games Darvish has pitched in, the Rangers have lost. Even though every one of those losses has been by four runs or less, he's pitched himself into holes that an ace pitcher shouldn't do.
However, Darvish was an out away from a perfect game against the Houston Astros in his very first start of the season. He's also had four games of 14 strike outs, the most in the majors.
For Darvish's final grade, he'll need to perform down the stretch and hopefully deep into the postseason. But, for now, this is his grade.
Matt Garza's grade comes from his outings as a Texas Ranger.
Garza is 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 29.1 innings. This coming from his four starts as an American League pitcher in 2013.
As a starter for the Rangers, Garza has done almost everything that's been expected out of him. He's gone seven or more innings in his four starts and has struck out 24 batters. In all four games, he's put the Rangers in a position to win.
The loss to Oakland notches his grade down a bit, but he gave the Rangers a fighting chance, despite giving up three runs in the first inning.
Leonys Martin is coming on strong.
Martin has raised his season average to .277 and has six home runs. One of those home runs can be seen in the embedded video above as he has a walk-off against the Angels on July 30.
On the defensive side, the 25-year-old arguably has the best outfield arm in the MLB, and he's got speed in center field.
Martin has fully capitalized on his playing time and has seven stolen bases in the month of August. He has 27 stolen bases in the year. With Nelson Cruz serving a 50-game suspension, manager Ron Washington could have Martin swipe some more bags, utilizing his speed.
As he's living up to all the expectations in the second half of this season, Martin has given an above average grade.
Wilmer Font dominated Double-A with the Frisco RoughRiders.
Font struck out 45 batters in 32 innings of work while in Frisco. He got the call up to Triple-A and the Round Rock Express and hasn't looked back.
In nine games with the Express, Font has struck out 15 batters in 11 innings. He's also only given up three hits and no earned runs.
In July, Font got a recall, but didn't stay up for long. He actually pitched 1.1 innings and gave up one hit. If Font can remain dominate in all his appearances, he can eventually earn a spot back in Arlington.
For now, he's doing everything expected out of him and living up to expectations.
Jeff Baker is an outstanding utility player that the Rangers can count on.
Baker can be inserted into the sixth or seventh spot in the lineup at any time. He can play both infield and outfield, and he's hitting well above average.
As a role player, Baker is hitting .305 with nine home runs and 17 RBIs. Baker also has a .368 on-base percentage.
Coming off the bench, there isn't much Ron Washington can ask out of the veteran. This is taken into consideration while grading Baker as well as his playing time.
Ian Kinsler is having a fine year.
The second baseman is hitting for a .266 average and has 10 home runs with 48 RBIs to follow. Excellent stats for a leadoff man. He also boasts a .339 on base percentage which is above average, but not where it should be.
Kinsler has eight stolen bases, but he's been caught seven times. By far his worst year on the bases for a guy who has been able to steal 20 and hit 20 home runs.
However, Kinsler was on the 15-day disabled list earlier in the year with a right intercostal strain and he hasn't been as consistent as he should be.
Good, but not great, Kinsler's grade will reflect that.
Martin Perez has been excellent in his wins, but mediocre in his losses.
The 22-year-old lefty from Venezuela was a top prospect for the Rangers coming into this season, but broke his forearm in Spring Training.
Perez got his first opportunity to pitch for the Rangers this year on May 27 against the Diamondbacks. His start was up and down, as he gave up nine hits.
Perez was sent down, but then got a recall at the end of June and won three of four games with one no-decision in which he didn't allow an earned run.
The next three starts for Perez, from July 14 to July 26 were not favorable. Perez got two losses and gave up five, four and six runs consecutively.
Most recently, Perez shut down the Houston Astros and threw a complete game. He struck out eight batters and also struck out seven against Angels in his previous start.
Perez will suffer a little because of his losses earlier in the season, but the sky is the limit for him the rest of this season.
Joey Butler got his first chance to play in the big leagues this year and capitalized. See the embedded video above of him scoring a crucial run against the Astros on August 9.
Just before the Rangers welcomed Alex Rios, Butler played in two games. In his second game against the Astros, Butler was 2-3 with two doubles. Unfortunately for him, Butler was sent back down as Rios came over via trade.
For the Triple-A Round Rock Express, Butler is hitting for a .290 average with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs. The 27-year-old from the University of New Orleans still has plenty of room to grow and could break out at any moment.
He's done everything asked out of him and his grade reflects that.
Afterstruggling before the All-Star break, Elvis Andrus has come back with a vengeance.
Andrus burst out of the break with a 16-game hitting streak and has gotten a hit in 21 out of 23 games since the break.
On August 10, Andrus hit his first home run of the year which can be seen here. He went 452 at-bats before the home run.
During his struggles, Andrus was moved down in the lineup to the eighth spot, but has finally regained his coveted two-hole spot. When Andrus is on, the Rangers seem to rally around the shortstop.
Andrus is hitting for a .257 average and has 30 stolen bases. For the season, his grade is aided a little by how well he has done as a spark plug.
Jurickson Profar is only 20 years old.
With so many high expectations of the former MiLB top prospect, Profar hasn't been close to a Trout, Harper, or Puig.
But, he's been put into tough situations. And, he's expected to perform and be ready everyday even though he isn't labeled an everyday starter.
As Nelson Cruz continues to sit on his 50-game suspension, Profar has gotten extended playing time. He's hitting for a .242 average since the loss of Cruz. He also has one home run, but he's struck out nine times. That's one a game in August.
Looking at the rest of his season, Profar is hitting for a .243 average. With expectations high, Profar should at least be a .265 hitter. Profar has been brilliant at times, playing the infield, and that will help his grade.
Did you see his great catch in the video embedded above?
For now, Profar will still get a tough grade. Profar must live up to the expectations of a top prospect.
Joakim Soria finally made it back to the MLB after missing all of 2012.
The former closer has been doing well this season in just 10.1 innings pitched. He's made 11 appearances and has only given up runs in two of those games.
Soria has five holds and nine strikeouts. This is outstanding for a player that is getting back in the grove of the MLB schedule.
Because of such a small sample, Soria's grade might not accurately reflect where he is. But, Soria should continue to get even stronger as the season goes on.
Geovany Soto's stats don't reflect his grade.
On the year, Soto is hitting for a .216 average with six home runs and 15 RBIs. And, he's hit several clutch home runs accounting for several Rangers wins.
In a divisional game against the Angels on July 30, Soto hit a walk-off homerun. See the video embedded above. The next night, Soto hit a clutch three-run home run in the eighth inning to put the Rangers down by one. They ended up winning.
As a bench player making spot starts, Soto gets a high grade for his relief efforts and end of the game heroics.
Engel Beltre is a young prospect from the Dominican Republic.
He made his first appearance in a game in New York and got his first hit the very next day. Beltre can be credited with pushing other players to succeed, most notably Leonys Martin. Martin started performing well after Beltre was called up.
Beltre is hitting for a .278 average and has a .297 on-base percentage. Above average for a rookie.
For the Triple-A Round Rock Express this year, Beltre is hitting .304 with four home runs and two RBIs. Beltre will definitely need to do more to earn a higher grade, but he's a great young prospect for the future.
Jason Frasor has done well in his relief efforts this season.
The former Blue Jay and White Sox pitcher has eight holds on the season and a 2.97 ERA. In addition to Tanner Scheppers, he's been a valuable arm out of the bullpen.
Since giving up three earned runs to the Cleveland Indians on July 26, Frasor has only allowed two hits and one earned run in six innings pitched. This is grading him only after six appearances.
The amount of consistent starts helps his grade. Also, striking out 36 batters in 36.1 innings helps his cause.
Mitch Moreland had a great month in May that accounted for eight home runs.
Then, he suffered a hamstring injury that landed him on the 15-day disabled list. Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to regain his May form. He ended up with one home run in June and two in July. For the month of August, he has two home runs.
Moreland is hitting for a .245 average on the season and is fitting into the lower half of the lineup. But, that's not what the Rangers need. They need him to return to his May form to help the Rangers make any type of playoff run.
Overall, Moreland has been average, and if May is taken away, he's nowhere near his best.
Cory Burns made his second stint in the majors after pitching in 17 games for the San Diego Padres last season.
Now, Burns made the most of his appearances in July as he was recalled, last pitching three games in May. He has a 1.64 ERA in the games he's pitched in this season spanning 11.0 innings.
However, Burns has been making a bigger name for himself in the minors striking out 39 batters in 30.0 innings pitched for the Round Rock Express.
His 2.10 ERA is noteworthy, but walking eight batters during his stints with the Rangers displays that he's not ready for the show and also hurts his overall grade.
Alexi Ogando had the opportunity to elevate himself to a trusted everyday starter at the beginning of the season. And, the way his season took off, all signs were pointing that way.
Check out the video embedded above in the middle of April as he strikes out five Seattle Mariners in five innings.
But, after getting hit around a little at the end of April, and getting hurt in May, Ogando found himself on the disabled list again without solidifying himself as a trusted starter.
And, Ogando came back for one game in June, but went right back to the DL.
Finally back at full strength in July, Ogando hasn't been lights out. On the season, he is 5-3 with a 3.28 ERA. With 14 starts, Ogando has only pitched 23 innings. His lack of durability is key in determining his grade.
Nick Tepesch's first year in the MLB wasn't outstanding, but it was average for a rookie.
Before winding up on the disabled list, Tepesch went 4-6 with a 4.85 ERA. He was too inconsistent and wasn't ever able to record back-to-back above average starts.
Tepesch wasn't exactly expected to make the contributions he did this year so his grade won't be as harsh.
The 24-year-old has a lot of room to grow and could be a strong starter in the years to come.
Ross Wolf is a nice, average relief pitcher for the Rangers.
He's been able to come into games in which the Rangers are losing in and eat up innings. The result is that Wolf has pitched in 14 losses in 18 games.
Wolf has gone 41.2 innings and has a 3.89 ERA. For what he's worth, Wolf has come close to his yearly expectations. However, Wolf had a rough July in which the Rangers could have won multiple games if he performed well.
This is also Wolf's first time in the MLB since 2010. But, overall Wolf has been average.
Craig Gentry has been outstanding in the outfield this season.
Check out one of his game-ending catch against the Chicago Cubs above.
With extended playing time as Nelson Cruz serves his 50-game suspension, Gentry is 6-16 with a double. But, what else is expected out of Gentry?
Overall he's hitting for a .243 average, but that's below his career average of .271. Gentry gets points for his defense, but will be deducted for a below average bat.
Neil Ramirez has been enjoying an excellent season with the Frisco RoughRiders.
He's 9-3 with a 3.61 ERA and has 117 strikeouts in 97.1 innings. If Ramirez can keep this up, he could make the jump to the Triple-A Express next year.
Check out one of his recent starts in the video above as he pitches against the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks.
If he continues to progress, Ramirez could end up as starter with the Rangers in a of couple years. Notably, Ramirez is the Rangers' 14th top prospect in the 2013 MLB Prospect Watch.
Ramirez will take a hit on his grade because he hasn't been called up, but as noted, he continues to progress at a nice pace.
Roman Mendez is a relief pitcher for the Frisco RoughRiders. This season he's complied a 1.82 ERA and has struck out 24 batters in 24.2 innings pitched.
But, this was only from April to May.
Per Frisco RoughRiders on milb.com, Mendez was placed on the disabled list after having season ending surgery. He suffered a stress fracture in his right elbow.
Mendez's grade takes a hit because he won't be able to perform the rest of the season.
Compared to his 2012 season, southpaw Robbie Ross has had just an average season with the Rangers.
Ross has made a lot of appearances this season, 49 to count. And, in 48 innings, Ross has a 3.00 ERA. But, as of late, Ross hasn't been as dependable as he's known to be.
Since the end of June, Ross has seen his ERA spike upwards from 1.86. In July, he pitched in seven losses and was credited to a loss on July 3 against the Mariners.
The loss of his reliability hurts Ross' grade here.
Lance Berkman's inability to stay healthy really crushes his grade.
Berkman is hitting for a .254 average with six home runs, but that's nowhere near where the Rangers want him to be.
Now, Berkman has a chance to revive himself. He is doing a rehab stint in Triple-A Round Rock and could be back with the team soon. He hit a home run in his first game with the team.
However, Berkman has only played in 68 games for the Rangers and hasn't been his best after the start of the season.
Berkman hit .309 in April, but faded away. His grade fades away because of this.
David Murphy is really slacking this year after a breakout 2012 season.
Coming off a season in which the left-hander hit for a .304 average, Murphy is hitting a weak .226. He's been far too inconsistent. After Nelson Cruz's suspension, it would have made things easy for the Rangers if Murphy were performing at his top game.
Murphy does have 12 home runs, but he's not living up his expectations from the season before.
However, Murphy is having a fine August with Cruz on the shelf, and is hitting for a .292 average in the month.
Yet, he still lacks consistency this season and his grade will reflect that.
Josh Lindblom has been a subpar starter for the Rangers.
In five starts, Lindblom is 0-3 with an ERA over five. Overall, Lindblom is 1-3 with a 5.46 ERA in the majors this season.
However, Lindblom did well in three relief appearances, giving up on hit in 4.1 relief innings pitched. He was also rewarded a win against the Seattle Mariners.
But, Lindblom has not been in the MLB since July 10, and his below average starts reflects his grade.
Joseph Ortiz started the year with the Rangers. But, he's currently with the Round Rock Express.
As a relief pitcher with the Rangers, Ortiz was looked at as another trusty left-hander out of the pen. Ortiz got plenty of chances and capitalized on several of them, but he never shined.
Ortiz left the Rangers with a 3.96 ERA over 36.1 innings.
However, this was Ortiz's first stint in the MLB. For a rookie, he still has a lot of upside and could make future contributions to the Rangers.
Ortiz was primarily a guy to come in and clean up in games when the Rangers were down. With everything considered, Ortiz could have been better.
Justin Miller started the season with the Frisco RoughRiders and is now in Triple-A with the Round Rock Express. The video embedded above is from a start against the Corpus Christi Hooks.
Miller first pitched in relief for the Express on July 10 giving up two home runs in two innings. He had a couple good appearances in between, but recently got shelled. On August 8, he allowed four earned runs in less than an inning of work.
Miller might not make it up to the big club and appears to be more than a couple seasons away from the majors.
His grade reflects his below average performances, but getting called up helps.
Robinson Chirinos is a starting catcher for the Round Rock Express.
He had some spot starts with the Rangers, ended up hitting for a .154 average in 10 games. For the Express, Chirinos is hitting for a .265 average with seven home runs and 33 RBIs.
Unless an injury occurs, Chirinos is unlikely to make it back up to the MLB this season.
Chirinos has only played 30 games in the MLB, but continues to be on the cusp of maintaining a stay in the the majors.
The graduate of the Citadel, Chris McGuiness wasn't able to capitalize on his call-up this past June.
McGuiness only hit for a .176 average with one RBI. He also had a .176 on-base percentage in his 12 major league games.
Also while he was up, the Rangers won three of those 12 games. McGuiness is still young and needs to be prepared for a recall if Mitch Moreland goes down with an injury.
But, his stint this year in MLB was costly when Moreland went down.
Joe Benson is an outfielder for the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders.
He's hitting for a .229 average with four home runs and 10 RBIs. Benson is ways away from making it to the MLB and isn't a 2013 Rangers top-20 prospect, per MLB.com.
His sample for the Rangers is small, and his grade is tough.
Alex Rios won't receive a grade here.
He's only played in two games. However, Rios has been everything the Rangers have wanted him to be in those two games.
Rios is 4-7 as a Ranger with a triple, a double and a game-winning run. He won't be reviewed for his season with the White Sox, but it does look like Rios is ready to remake himself in Texas.
For what it's worth, Rios gets an A+ for the two games. Officially, he won't receive a grade for this report because he hasn't played enough.
Matt West is recovering from Tommy John surgery that he had in August of 2012.
West was a second-round selection in the 2007 MLB Draft out of Houston. He remains on the 40-man roster because the Rangers would lose him to the Rule 5 draft.
Other than that, there isn't much for West to be graded on. Be sure to check out the embedded video above about West.