We are now a little over a quarter of the way through the baseball season, and the Oakland Athletics' Ben Sheets is the center of attention. In the off-season, Sheets signed a one year, 10 million dollar contract with Oakland. Almost unheard of in the scheme of Billy Beane's makeup for the A's.
Now, it is my intention to grade the overall performance of Sheets up to this point.
The 10th overall pick of the Brewers in the 1999 draft has appeared in 10 games this season. Within that stretch, he has had two 6 inning, shutout games, including his most recent outing against the crosstown Giants, which he won 3-0. That being said, he has a 5.04 ERA.
Not what you expect from a man who is supposed to be the leader of your team.
This has resulted in only a 2-3 record for Sheets. I will give Sheets the benefit of the doubt that his ERA has spiked from his April 27th and May 2nd outings. He gave up eight and nine earned runs in those starts, respectively.
What can't be forgotten is that he has no decisions in his four starts against the division. That means he is simply not showing up in the most important games of the early season.
Right now, the Athletics stand at 23-23, 2.5 games back of the Texas Rangers. If Sheets can continue to work himself back into form, the Athletics will be right there, fighting for the division.
The Rangers and the A's cannot forget about the Los Angeles Angels, of course. They have had a slow start, but have the ability to run off a streak of wins to take hold of the AL West.
With all of this put into play, I give Sheets a C- so far for his ability to keep the A's in games, though this grade could improve steadily. It will be intriguing to see if he can pick it up or if the rest of the starters will have to carry the load.