Grading The Oakland A's at The All-Star Break

Steven ResnickSenior Writer IJuly 12, 2009

The Oakland A's season has been a disappointment so far. What I'm going to do is take a look at each indvidual player the A's have put out on the field to the coaches. I'll start with the infield and end with the coaches.



Kurt Suzuki is the model of consistency for the A's and is the Most Valuable Player on the team's roster. Suzuki is not only wanting to be in the lineup everyday but he does an excellent job with the young starting rotation the A's have.

His stats for the season so far are a .293 average, five homers, 37 RBI, 23 doubles, 38 runs, and 90 hits—which leads all AL catchers.

Grade: A+


Landown Powell is rarely in the lineup for the A's. When he does get his chances, he usually comes through with clutch hits. Defensively, he's not as good as Suzuki and has limited range behind the plate due to a hamstring injury. When Powell hit his first career home run, he could barely run around the bases.

His stats for the season are: .229, two homers, and 15 RBI in 70 at-bats.

His average needs to be better, but he has only 20 less RBI than Suzuki, and Suzuki's had 305 at-bats this season.

Grade: C


First Base

Jason Giambi the Giambi experiment has failed, and I will be surprised if he gets much playing time in the second half of the season—especially if the A's keep sputtering and aren't able to score runs.

To say that Giambi has been disappointing is an understatement, as he's really let A's fans down with his play offensively. Defensively, he was never going to be great, and that's why he's going to platoon with Jack Cust the rest of the season at the DH position.

His stats are: 11 homers, good for second on the team, and 40 RBI (is third on the team). That iis decent, but his batting average is extremely poor at .192. Furthermore, he has struck out 71 times on the year.

Grade: F


Nomar Garciaparra is another free agent signee who has not done well. Although no A's fan really believed that Nomar was going to play in 162 games, he's been put on the injured list a couple of times this year.

Also, it is always an uncertainty as to whether or not Nomar runs going to pull up lame when he runs.

When he's been in the lineup, he's hit relatively well. But so far on the year, he has just 78 at bats—not what the A's had in mind when they signed him.

His stats on the season: .253 average, two homers, and 11 RBI.

Grade: D


Daric Barton: He never really got a chance to show what he could, appearing in 12 games but only batting 17 times. He batted just .118 and he did drive in a run.

Barton was sent back down to Sacramento the A's triple A team so he can play every day, and he currently is leading the team in RBI. His batting average, which had been rather low during the season, has steadily increased.

Grade: Incomplete


Second Base

Mark Ellis struggled early in the season before straining his calf and was put on the disabled list. He's been hitting better lately and has come through with big RBI in back to back games—a sacrifice fly and a fielders choice.

He's still a tremendous defensive second basemen. If he can start hitting, the A's offense should start clicking a little better. It has shown the last couple of games, with Ellis driving in key runs late in the ball game.

Stats for the year are: .219 average with three homers, 18 RBI, and four doubles.  

Grade: C-


Gregorio Petit: He was called up when Ellis went down, but struggled at the plate. This is the time when the A's made a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays to bring in Adam Kennedy for Joe Dillon.

Petit contributed with an average of .226, a double, one RBI, and two runs scored.  

Grade: Incomplete


Eric Patterson: Patterson was brought up before Petit to take over for the injured Ellis. Patterson appeared in just two games before being sent right back down to Triple A.

Patterson didn't show much at the big league level for the A's. He batted just .125 and scored a run. He didn't get much of a chance, totaling eight at-bats in those two games.

Grade: Incomplete


Adam Kennedy: He filled in for Ellis while he was on the disabled list. This has been by far the best move that Billy Beane has made recently. He started out for the A's on a tear, and was primarily one of the team's only offensive weapons.

He's slowed down just a little bit, but still is one of the more consistent hitters the A's offer. He's played also a few games in the outfield, and with the trade of Jack Hannahan, he will take over at third base.

So far, he's hit .291 with seven homers, 31 RBI, nine stolen bases, and has played solid defense no matter what position he's been asked to play.

Grade: A+


Short Stop

Orlando Cabrera has been notorious for his slow starts at the plate. Over the past month or so, he's finally begun to hit—raising his batting average to .262.

The problem for Cabrera hasn't been his lack of production offensively—It has been his defense. So far, Cabrera has 13 errors after recording 16 all of last year with the Chicago White Sox.

Cabrera is on pace to have his worst fielding percentage since 2002, when he made 29 errors for the Montreal Expos.

Cabrera has hit four homers, driven in 31 runs, has the team lead in hits with 92, has scored 37 runs, and has hit 17 doubles.

Grade: D+


Bobby Crosby: Has played at least one game at every position on the infield except for catcher. He's been a steady all around player for the A's on the field.

However, Crosby continues to show that he can't hit. Although he's been rather warm of late, he doesn't see that many at-bats now that he has become a utility player.

Early on, when the injuries were mounting on the infield, Crosby saw the majority of his time and got his at-bats. In July, he's had 15 at-bats and five hits.

On the season, though, Crosby is batting .210 with three homers, 19 RBI, five doubles, two triples, and has appeared in 65 games for the A's.

Grade: C-


Third Base

Jack Hannahan was just traded to the Seattle Mariners for a Double A prospect. Hannahan is a tremendous defender at third base—In fact, his defense is extremely underrated.

He has the ability to make the plays Gold Glove-winning third basemen do. Whether it is diving for a ball hit to his left or right, or charging the ball with his bare hand, he seems to do it with ease.

The problem for Hannahan, even though he's a tremendous fielder, is that he cannot hit big league pitching. It has shown often, except for when he was first acquired by the A's.

What makes it sad is that in his first at-bat of the season, even though it was a loss, he hit a home run. You would think that it would have given him momentum, and at least a .250 average, but that was not the case.

At the time of the trade, Hannahan was in Triple A Sacramento because Ellis had come back from injury and Kennedy had played third base before, as well.

Hannahan batted just .193 for the A's, hitting his lone home run in his the first at-bat of the season, and driving in eight runs. He also had six doubles and two triples.

Grade: D


Eric Chavez: Chavy cameback from surgery way too soon, and it showed. He still had the ability to play defense, but the problem was throwing the ball across the diamond.

Instead of being able to throw effortlessly, he had to throw more of a side-arming motion, which caused another injury for Chavez.

The injury likely ended Chavez's season, although he hopes that with rehab, he will be able to comeback at the start of the 2010 season. Chavy only had 30 at-bats this season.

He batted just .100 had no homers and one RBI.

Grade: Incomplete


Right Field

Jack Cust, like in previous seasons, Cust is leading the A's in home run and RBI—but at least this year, he has competition for the lead in those categories. Cust started the year strong, but has been striking out a lot now and his average has sunk to below .250

Cust is better off as the designated hitter, though Cust's defense isn't as bad as some people may think—he has recorded one assist this year.

For the season Cust is batting .232 with 14 homers, 44 RBI, 11 doubles, 68 hits, and 92 strikeouts.

Grade: C-


Center Field

Ryan Sweeney he's recently moved over to right field due to the acquisition of Scott Hairston from the Padres. Sweeney has played outstanding defense in the outfield, including several highlight reel plays.

Sweeney is a contact hitter and has yet to find his power stroke, but A's fans and coaches feel that's it is just a matter of time before Sweeney becomes a 20-25 home run hitter.

He's got the size and the strength to do it. Now, it's just a matter of time as Sweeney matures as a hitter.

He's currently hitting .271, with three homers, 22 RBI, 68 hits, 11 doubles, and one triple.

Sweeney did miss some time this year after  tweaking his ankle while slamming into a wall to make a catch.

Grade: B+


Rajai Davis: Davis had the opportunity to play during the absence of Sweeney. He's shown that he can hit especially when he's given the opportunity to play everyday. He has the speed to run down balls, and actually played a little of right field, as well.

Davis usually enters the game as a defensive replacement in the late innings. He replaced Sweeney, who failed to run out a pop-up, and hit a two-run homer to tie the ball game.

For the season Davis has hit .257 with two  homers, 6 RBI, three doubles, one triple, and 11 stolen bases.

Grade: B


Matt Holliday:He is the regular in left field for the A's. He's also struggled a little in adjusting to life outside of Coors Field. He hasn't hit for a lot of power and is currently second on the team in RBI.

The problem isn't Holliday, though—It has been the A's offense. Holliday has come through when he gets the chances to drive in runs, but those opportunities have been few and far between.

With runners in scoring position, Holliday has a batting average of .268, but when there are two outs, Holliday shines. He has a .364 average with runners in scoring position with two outs, and when he's up with the bases loaded, Holliday has a .400 batting average.

For the season Holliday is batting .276 with eight homers, 43 RBI, 19 doubles, 42 runs, and has stolen 10 bases.

On defense Holliday is steady and has made some nice running catches for the A's.

Grade: B+


Travis Buck: Buck has struggled at the plate, and hasn't done much since coming off of the disabled list. Before Buck got injured, it looked like he was going to start heating up, ss he started hitting the ball out of the ballpark and to the gap.

That was short lived.

Also, he was playing right field—which is now manned by Sweeney or Davis—o there's really no room for Buck at the major league level. He is back in Triple A.

Buck on the season has a .226 average with three  homers, 9 RBI, three doubles, 10 runs, and a stolen base. Buck has just 91 at-bats this season.

Grade: D


Aaron Cunningham was brought up to the big leagues when Buck went down with an injury. He had his chance in right field, but didn't really make the most of it.

Cunningham struggled at the plate and was sent back down to Triple A. He batted a meager .152 with one homer, 6 RBI, two doubles, and fifteen strikeouts in just 62 at-bats.

Grade: Incomplete


Scott Hairston: is the player the A's just traded for, and has been inserted as the A's new center fielder. He has good speed in the outfield and has shown he can go out and get the ball.

The only thing that has been seen, though, is the lack of familiarity with his new teammates. But as the new outfield plays together, the play that happened in Boston should not happen.

Against the Red Sox, Sweeney and Hairston thought each one was going to get a fly ball and instead, Hairston tried to make up for the lack of communication and was not able to make the catch, leading to a three base error.

He has hit a homer for the A's, his first as an Athletic, off of Josh Beckett. So, far he's batting .261 for the A's with that one homer, two RBI, a stolen base, and a double.

Grade: B


Starting Pitchers

Dallas Braden: Right now, Braden is the unquestioned ace of the young A's starting staff. He's got the best ERA out of the group. Though he doesn't throw particularly hard, he has shown an outstanding change-up that keeps hitters off balance.

He also doesn't get very many runs from his offense, but it hasn't lead to very many bad outings. The one thing that Braden still needs to work on, just like the rest of the young pitchers, is putting away hitters when ahead in the count.

Braden has started 18 games for the A's. He's got a record of 7-7 with a 3.12 ERA. He has pitched 112.1 innings, giving up 111 hits, 43 runs with 39 earned.

He has walked 30, and struck out 73.

Grade: A


Brett Anderson: Anderson is the only A's pitcher to have a complete game this year. In fact, it was the most imprresive outing an A's pitcher has had all year. He gave up just two hits to the Boston Red Sox and struck out nine while walking two.

He goes into the All-Star break not allowing a run in 13 innings. Unfortunately for Anderson, he could only make it through four full innings due to his back tightening up.

Hopefully with the rest during the All-Star break,  it should heal and Anderson can get back onto the mound.

Anderson has made 16 starts this year, and has a record of 5-7 with a 4.64 ERA. He has pitched 87.1 innings, giving up 55 runs with 45 earned, and has walked 25 while striking out 64.

Unfortunately for Anderson he's had some bad outings against Texas, San Francisco, Detroit, Seattle, and New York. Each one of those starts, he's given up more than five runs.

While the Detroit start shows he gave up nine runs, only three of them were earned. His defense has also contributed to some of his shaky outings, as well.

Grade: B


Josh Outman: Before he went down with season-ending surgery, Outman was the best pitcher the A's had—even better than Braden. He would have been the actual number one starter for the A's.

Outman has an outstanding fastball that averages between 94-97 miles-per-hour. In one game, he was still throwing around 95 miles-per-hour into the eighth inning.

Unfortunately, he felt discomfort in his arm and that's when it was found he needed Tommy John surgery. It could take anywhere from 12-18 months to heal.

Before he went down, Outman started 12 games and appeared in two out of the bullpen. He had a record of 4-1, with a 3.48 ERA, in 67.1 innings. He had 25 walks and 53 strikeouts.

Grade: A


Trevor Cahill: Cahill has had a roller coaster season for the A's. His problem  is when he tries to come in on left handed hitters. He'll hit too much of the plate and the ball gets hit hard.

Such was the case against the Boston Red Sox in his last start. He tried getting a cut fastball in on the hands of David Ortiz, but it was left right in Ortiz's wheelhouse and was hit a long way for a three run home run.

Cahill has an outstanding sinker, but when he's not getting pitches over for strikes, teams can sit on his fastball, which is in the low 90's.

For the season Cahill has started 18 games has a record of 5-8 with a 4.67 ERA, has pitched 98.1 innings, given up 58 runs with 51 being earned, and has walked 41 while striking out 47.

For Cahill to become more effective, he's going to have to start having better control of his pitches. He's got an outstanding sinker and when he's on, he can get teams to roll over on the pitch.

He's had some rough starts as well which is expected of a 21 year-old. He's had some rough outings against Cleveland, Colorado, and Detroit. Those are the only games in which he's given up more than five runs.

A stat that is even more impressive about Cahill is what happens when runners are in scoring position. He's held hitters to a .202 average with runners in scoring position.

Grade: B


Vin Mazarro is an outstanding young talent for the A's. His record doesn't indicate it but he's got outstanding stuff. And even though he's only made eight starts, he is one of the more consistent A's starters.

He started off with a bang for the A's, recording the most innings pitched by a starter without giving up a run to start their career. He has dueled with Tim Lincecum as well, but lost, like many other pitchers have.

So far, Mazarro has just one bad start and he gave up 5 runs in that start.

Since he's been inserted into the rotation, Mazarro has a record of 2-5 with a 3.59 ERA, has pitched 47.2 innings, given up 20 runs with 19 earned, and has walked 15, while striking out 30.

Grade: A-


Dana Eveland started out the year with the A's as the number two starter. Since that time, he's been the rumored subject that he is the player to be named later in regards to the trade that brought Hairston to the A's.

Eveland has been the most disappointing starter. That is why he was sent down to Sacramento, and is quite possibly going to the Padres. Eveland's problems stem from him not being able to throw strikes, and that reflects on his walk totals.

When Braden had to miss his turn in the rotation to attend a personal emergency, Eveland was called up to take his place in the rotation. Eveland didn't last very long in that start because he was not able to put away hitters. Apparently, he did get ahead of hitters, but he gave into them rather than the hitters giving into him. 

Eveland has started 6 games for the A's and made one relief appearance that was also a disaster. He's got a 1-3 record with an ERA of 8.00 in 27 innings pitched, giving up 25 runs, 24 earned. He's walked 19, and struck out 17.

Grade: F


Gio Gonalez finally showed in his last outing why the A's went out and acquired him when they traded Nick Swisher to the White Sox. Gonzalez has the ability to strike out a lot of hitters, but when he's off, he turns into a batting practice pitcher.

In one of his prior starts Gonzalez struck out six and walked two, but gave up 10 hits in just 3.2 innings.

Right now, Gonzalez needs to be more consistent with his pitches. If he can do that, he will become more effective. He will be also remembered for giving up a lead in extra innings due to Bob Geren leaving him in for too long. 

In fact, he came out of the bullpen and pitched five innings, giving up three runs. Gonzalez threw over 100 pithces out of the bullpen that game.

Gonzalez has a record of 1-2 with a 6.29 ERA. He's appeared in six games, including three starts. Gonzalez has pitched 24.1 innings, giving up 19 runs and 17 earned, with 14 walks and 29 strikeouts.

Grade: C


Sean Gallagher: Gallagher struggled and was immediately sent down to Sacramento. The A's problem was they had too many starters and didn't really need a fifth starter. Gallagher struggled out of the bullpen, and when he did get a chance to start for the A's, the struggles continued.

He appeared in six games but started only two of them. He has a record of 1-2 with a 8.16 ERA in 14.1 innings pitched, giving up 16 runs with 13 earned, walking 7, and striking out 10.

He is currently on the disabled list in Sacramento.

Grade: Incomplete  


Relief Pitchers

Dan Giese Giese was brought in to help stabilize the bullpen specifically out of long relief, or as a middle reliever who could give the A's a couple of innings.

The problem with Giese is that he has the tendency to give up home runs by hanging his slider. Giese doesn't have an overpowering fastball—In fact, it is in the high 80's and could top out at 90 miles-per-hour.

Giese relies on deceiving the hitter with his slider. However, he got hit hard when he was in to pitch for the A's. He's currently on the 60-day disabled list.

He appeared in seven games and started one. He's got a record of 0-3 with an ERA of 5.32 in 22 innings pitched, giving up 13 runs all earned, walking 9, and striking out 11.

Grade: D-


Edgar Gonzalez: He's another pitcher who does not rely on an overpowering fastball. He actually seems more in line of a Jamie Moyer-type pitcher—meaning he uses his off-speed pitches to keep hitters off balance.

He is now the A's long reliever, taking over after Giese was put on the disabled list. He's shown some promise, and other times, he shows why he could possibly be sent down to Sacramento again.

He's appeared in 13 games this season including two starts. His record is 0-1 with a 5.34 ERA in 30.1 innings pitched, giving up 18 runs (all earned), walking 12, and striking out 23.

Grade: C-


Kevin Cameron: He's a pitcher who has a low 90's fastball and a slider. He appeared in 11 games for the A's and did a solid job in middle relief, but was sent back down to Sacramento.

What allowed Cameron to be sent down was the need the A's had for a left handed reliever. When Craig Breslow was put on waivers by the Minnesota Twins after struggling, the A's pounced on Breslow, who has become a fixture in the bullpen—specifically to face left handed hitters.

Cameron though in his 11 appearances did a decent job. There was nothing that was too spectacular from Cameron. He had a record of 0-1, threw 18.1 innings, had an ERA of 3.44, he gave up 7 runs all earned, walked 6, and struck out 15.


Santiago Casilla: Casilla has struggled all season even before he went on the disabled list with a sprained knee in Texas. He's been one of the letdowns of this season out of the bullpen. He was supposed to be the setup man.

He still throws extremely hard, but his problem has been keeping the ball in the strike zone. When he falls behind, he puts too many pitches in the strike zone and he gets hit hard.

Casilla has an ERA of 6.75 in 28 appearances, giving up 23 runs with 22 earned in 29.1 innings, walking 16, and striking out 20.

Grade: F


Jerry Blevins: Started out the year as the left handed specialist for the A's, but got hit hard. He was sent down after appearing in five games.

Blevins in those five games pitched 4.1 innings, gave up six runs all earned, walked three, and struck out hree. Even worse, though, was his 12.46 ERA.

Grade: F


Jeff Gray: He's been called up a couple of times, but hasn't lasted long. He hasn't really shown what he can do out of the bullpen, yet. He's appeared in three games and has pitched 1.2 innings.

He's got an ERA of 0.00, hasn't given up a hit, and has one strikeout. 

Grade: Incomplete


Russ Springer: Springer has been one of the worst additions for the A's. At 40 years old, he hasn't been effective. He did start the year well, but since that time he's gotten crushed.

He gives up way too many runs and leaves pitches that are begging to be hit. There was a stretch where he gave up at least a run in every appearance he made.

So far, Spring has appeared in 36 games. He's 0-1 with a ERA of 5.04, giving up 18 runs (17 of those runs earned) in 30.1 innings, walking 13, and striking out 36.

Grade: F


Michael Wuertz: Has been an outstanding acquisition for the A's. It could be argued that he should have been the A's All-Star representative this year.

Wuertz relies on a nasty slider that acts like a splitter. He makes hitters look foolish chasing after his pitches, and is one of the leading relievers in strikeouts.

For the season Wuertz has appeared in 41 games. He's got an ERA of 2.95 with a record of 5-1 in 42.2 innings pitched. He has two saves, has given up 15 runs (14 of those earned), has walked 12, and has struck out 53.

Grade: A


Brad Ziegler: Ziegler was never named the closer for the A's, so when he went down with the flu he was put into the setup role, and has pitched very effectively. He hasn't been as impressive as he was last year, but he's been solid.

He's still got the nasty sinker that induces ground balls. He also has the ability to make hitters look foolish on their swings.    

Ziegler on the season has an ERA of 3.27, a 1-3 record, with six saves in 41 innings pitched. He has given up 16 runs with 15 earned, walking 15 and stiking out 29.

Grade: B+


Craig Breslow: As mentioned earlier, Breslow was acquired off waivers from the Twins, and has been very effective for the A's. He has had some rough moments with the A's, but overall he's an excellent addition to the bullpen.

So far for the A's, Breslow has appeared in 27 games, and has an 0-2 record with a 3.15 ERA in 20 innings pitched. He has given up eight runs and seven of those runs earned. He also has seven walks and 16 strikeouts.

Grade: B+


Andrew Bailey: Bailey started this year without pitching anywhere higher than Double A ball, where he was not very effective as a starter. The A's decided to turn him into a reliever, and he made the team out of spring training.

While Ziegler was out with the flu, Bailey was named closer for the team and he hasn't disappointed. He leads all AL relievers in strike outs. He relies on a cut fastball in the low 90s, and has another fastball that he can push into the high 90's.

Bailey was named to the All-Star team as the A's lone represenatitve. For the season Bailey, has 10 saves, has appeared in 39 games. He has a 1.92 ERA in 51.2 innings pitched, with 19 walks and 60 strikeouts.

Grade: A+



Curt Young: The A's have the youngest rotation in baseball and they've done an outstanding job. Young definitely knows how to handle a pitching staff.

Grade: A


Jim Skaalen: The A's hitting coach has done a poor job with the A's young hitters. The only hitter even worth mentioning is Suzuki. Other than that, the A's offense is near the bottom or at the bottom of every major offensive category.

Grade: F


Bob Geren: The A's manager is the worst in baseball. There's really not much to say about Geren, except for the fact that he still hasn't learned how to use his bullpen and that he still doesn't know how to look up scouting reports.

Grade: F




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