Orioles First Half Grades: Catchers and Infielders

Catchers

Nick Hundley

Grade 2

Hundley came to Baltimore as part of an effort to find relief from the absence of Matt Wieters. However, he hasn’t come close to Wieters’ production. His .241 average with the Orioles is average at best and his defensive WAR is just 0.1. Hundley has been extremely average, hence the satisfactory grade.

Caleb Joseph

C+

Keep in mind that Joseph was chosen over Steve Clevenger on this roster almost specifically for his fielding abilities. His .189 batting average would give him an F grade, but his 15 runners caught stealing is simply phenomenal for a player not named Matt Wieters. And watch out; Joseph has hit in six of seven games.

Infielders

Chris Davis

D

The only reason Davis doesn’t get an F so far this season is the fact that when he does make contact, it’s usually an extra base hit. It’s tough to bat around .200 for a season and be on pace for 30 home runs  and 100 RBI (Mark Reynolds comes to mind). It doesn’t help that the shift has gobbled up so many potential hits. It’s been a struggle in the first half for Davis. However, the second half could be a completely different story.

Ryan Flaherty

Grade 2

Flaherty has been exactly what we thought he’d be so far this season: A utility man that can occasionally hit the ball well. He’s played six positions for the Orioles and has accounted for four errors; not bad, but not stellar. His .230 batting average is getting better after a 6-for-11 streak in July, but you never know when he’ll go on an 0-for-15 slump like he did to start the season.

J.J. Hardy

B-

Hardy has been one of the most interesting players for the Orioles, as he’s been both disappointing and not. For a player who has hit 20+ home runs in three past seasons, a total of three at this point is a sign of weakness. However, he’s batting .285 so far, which puts him on pace to have the best season in his career. Another worry is his eight errors, putting him on pace the most in a season in his career. Still, he has a 1.8 offensive WAR and a 1.1 defensive WAR.

Manny Machado

B

Machado is well on his way to changing this grade to an A, but he’s not totally there yet. A weak start to the season after coming back from injury saw him batting .218 in June. Add in his little tirade with the Athletics, and there was cause for concern. However, he’s bumped his average up to .267 with the help of a 12-for-23 July, with five home runs in the last nine games.

Steve Pearce

Grade 3

How could you not give Pearce an A for his performance this season? He was designated for assignment in April but came back to the team, and has given them a huge boost since. He’s batting .322 with 11 home runs and 31 RBI. He was supposed to be a small role player, but has played so well, he stole the No. 2 spot in the lineup from Manny Machado.

Jonathan Schoop

C-

Schoop was thrust into the starting second baseman job to begin the season, and he has showed signs of being a inexperienced player. He’s batting just .219 on the season and has 21 RBI. He hasn’t hurt us dramatically on the field, but four errors and a .902 fielding percentage isn’t strong. But he’s young, so I don’t expect him to step up that quickly.

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