The season is half over.
The Angels have the best record in baseball.
This is the midseason report card:
Garret Anderson: D... A glimmer of his turn-of-the-century self in the dozen or so games where he has been 100% healthy. Doubt he will be operating on all cylinders for more than 12 the rest of the way.
Erick Aybar: B-... A few clutch hits go a long way. Good defense and base-running as well.
Chris Bootcheck: B-... Better than what Kevin Gregg gave us in this role last season and no ricocheting balls in the dirt!
Orlando Cabrera: A+... With Vladdie as protection he has blossomed into an offensive force and his defense has helped the pitching staff enormously.
Hector Carrasco: F... A bust.
Bartolo Colon: C-... A 5th Starter
Kelvim Escobar: A-... Our solid #2. The occasional unnerving start is followed by weeks of wicked perfection.
Chone Figgins: B+... perhaps the most amazing June in club history carried the team in a Lazrus-impersonation after a two-day benching that woke the man up and saved his career.
Vladimir Guerrero: A... Slightly less power STILL translates to 28 HR and 48 doubles for the season. Carrying more than his load with the bat and the D is improved as well.
Shea Hillenbrand: F... if only they had axed Steve Finley this early into 2005...
Maicer Izturis: C... Fragile, albeit serviceable, and always nice to have a weird-looking pixie/alien on the team to talk to the UFOs if they come looking for ET.
Howie Kendrick: B+... His D is as good or better than Kennedy's and his offense has carried the team for short stretches. Kendrick is a bridge - he keeps run-scoring innings going. From the perspective of a pitcher on the ropes, he is the worst Angel batter to face.
Casey Kotchman: B+... might have been an all-star were it not for Russel Martin's helmet shot. He seems to be establishing a foundation as an All-Time Angel. And his D is gold-glove caliber.
John Lackey: A-... The ACE. Save for one big bad inning in 6 of his 17 appearances, Lackey would be the Texan Pedro.
Gary Matthews, Jr.: B+...A peacock feather in Bill Stoneman's cap! Like Cabrera, his D has saved the pitching staff's bacon while his offense has been better than any season in his career save for last year's monster. At 32, that is saying a lot. Many fans, myself included, have learned to enjoy the taste of crow with every hit he collects.
Jose Molina: C+... As advertised.
Kendry Morales: B... What does a guy have to do to become a superstar around here? If his name was "Cowbell" we could all agree that what this song needs is More Cowbell.
Dustin Moseley: B... Life gave him the lemon of mopping up and he made the lemonade of bridging tie games to Shields once we get a lead.
Mike Napoli: B... Streaky, but great production at the plate and fine coverage behind it.
Darren Oliver: D... Not as bad as Carrasco. Stomach pains are often not as bad as chest pains, but both are serious.
Robb Quinlan: C... He hasn't been awful. Didn't we all kind of expect more, though...
Francisco Rodriguez: A-... Some drama, sure, but nails. I love how the shrill, fence-sitting analysts who wrote dumb shit like "I predict a major injury to him at some point in his career" have just shut the fuck up altogether.
Ervin Santana: C... Still too sick of the rollercoaster to give you a nicer grade, Magic. Our #4 man.
Joe Saunders: A-... If they paid players based on their loyalty, this guy would make more than Vlad.
Scot Shields: A+... After an early season hiccup or two the MoFo has been on.
Reggie Willits: A+... Show me one preseason profile that said this guy was anything besides a faster Tommy Murphy? The depth Bill Stoneman has created in this organization boggles the mind!
Update: Okay, ONE ANALYST (scroll down to "Willits" on that link) called Reggie out last season as a chance to shine big time. Congrats to The Chronicler...
Jered Weaver: A-... Not exactly Whitey Ford, but our #3 would be going to the all-star game had he been selected in the draft by KC, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Texas, Baltimore, Colorado, Washington or Pittsburgh.
INCOMPLETE: Justin Speier...
Salt Lake Shuffle: B+... Matthew Brown, Terry Evans, Nick Gorneault, Nathan Haynes, Greg Jones, Tommy Murphy, Brandon Wood = Great Filler.