Disclaimer: these grades are entirely subjective. There is no formula used to determine these grades, they only reflect the personal opinion of the writer known as nolesmarlins. In other words, if you think that they are unfair, or wrong, or if you have any complaints whatsoever, they will fall on deaf ears!
John Baker: A- In just 61 games and 197 abs, the Baker managed to firmly establish himself as the starting catcher for the Marlins. Beinfest may have found himself another diamond in the rough.
Matt Treanor: B Good veteran leadership and did everthing that was asked of him. One of the most likeable guys in the game today.
Paul Lo Duca: B- Umm, he hustled… not enough of a sample size, but he did play hard when he had the chance. I wouldn’t mind seeing him back next year.
Mike Rabelo: D I’ve encountered tee-ball players with more baseball sense than this guy.
Mike Jacobs: B- Hit a ton of homers, but every other part of his game left something to be desired. Probably won’t be wearing the black and teal next year.
Dan Uggla: B+ While others may complain about the massive ammount of strikeouts, maddening streakiness, and questionable defense, I say that when Dan Uggla is on he is one of the best players in the game. His hot bat carried the Marlins in May and June. If he can manage to cut down on the strikeouts next year we should see the extended slumps dissapear.
Hanley Ramirez: B+ While he had a great year, and is probably the most talented player ever for the franchise, he still is capable of so much more. Don’t forget, he failed when Freddo moved him to third in the lineup. Other than that, he may be the best player in the game, if not, the most exciting.
Jorge Cantu: A Who the hell is Miguel Cabrera? Granted, he had loads of protection in the lineup, but the Marlins would be crazy to let this guy go.
Wes Helms: B+ Did everything that was asked, provided veteran leadership, and more importantly, boatloads of timely hits. Wes and Gonzalez are prime examples as to how important a good bench on a young team can be.
Alfredo Almezaga: B Nobody alive plays with more hustle. I really hope that the upcoming World Baseball Classic games at Dolphin Stadium feature the Mexican team, because I would love to cheer on Almezaga and Cantu.
Jeremy Hermida: C+ The fade down the stretch was pretty unfortunate. He clearly has talent, he just hasn’t put it all together… and may never realize his full potential.
Cody Ross: B+ Great year for Cody, another Marlin who consistently came through when we needed him. Look for Cody to start either in right or left next year.
Josh Willingham: C+ A frustrating year for the Hammer. He had a great start to the year, only to find himself on the DL for an extended period. He didn’t rediscover his stroke until September.
Cameron Maybin: A He only played in the final month of the season, but his torrid Marlin debut was a huge reason why the Marlins finished as strong as they did. I cant wait to see what he can do for us next year… think 2003 Juan Pierre, but even better.
Luis Gonzalez: A- I admit, I was sceptical of this pickup at first, I always thought that Luis was overrated. Now I understand why DBacks fans loved this guy so much. Well, their loss is our gain. He filled in admirably for the Hammer, and proved that one of the main ingredients that the 2007 Marlins were lacking was a clubhouse leader. If you look up the word “class” in the dictionary, you will see a picture of Luis Gonzalez.
Scotty O: B- To his credit, he grew up a whole hell of a lot this year. His biggest problem in ’07 was a lack of maturity, a problem which he clearly has overcome. Unfortunately, with his youth went his velocity for some unknown reason. Hopefully he can rediscover his arm with his new team, he figures to make $6 million after arbitration so his chances of remaining in South Florida are very low.
Ricky Nolasco: A Kid’s got talent. He has excellent command of all of his pitches. About the only thing he cannot do is read a teleprompter… his only embarrasing performance of 2008 was the “I Care Tobaccco Free Florida” commercials. Many would argue that he’s the ace of the staff right now, but I think that will be JJ’s role next year.
Josh Johnson: A- Bounced back strong from TJ surgery and solidified the rotation in the middle of the year. He figures to have a breakout year next year.
Chris Volstad: A- Should have been called up earlier.
Anibal Sanchez: B- Coming back from a torn labrum is extremely difficult, and Anibal deserves a whole heap of credit for doing as well has he did.
Andrew Miller: C R-A-W. His only hope rests on the shoulders of Mark Wiley, but if he does pan out next year he does have the capability of developing into an excellent starter.
Mark Hendrickson: C He had an OK start to the year, his lasik surgery appeared to really help, but eventually he fell off and was demoted to the bullpen. Personally, I always thought he was garbage.
Burke Badenhop: C Filled in OK for a minute there… but I tend to doubt that he breaks through as a Marlin.
Rick Vandenhurk: B One incredible start, and then he was sent down. Should compete with Miller and Ryan Tucker for a rotation spot in Spring Training
Ryan Tucker: C+ Showed some potential in his debut, but wasn’t ready.
Kevin Gregg: C- Probably the most inconsistent closer in Marlin history. Yes, Freddo definately stuck with him for way too long. Call me petty, but I’m not even wishing this guy well with his new team next year.
Reynel Pinto: C+ I like him, but Fredi relied on him way too much down the stretch. We’re witnessing a pattern here… maybe Fredi needs to figure out how to use a bullpen over the course of a season.
Joe Nelson: B+ Wasn’t perfect, but at times he seemed like the only thing keeping the bullpen from melting down completely. Another good Beinfest pickup.
Arthur Rhodes: A- Unfortunately, he was the only deadline pickup. He was used sparingly, but when he did appear he was great.
Matt Lindstrom: B Ladies and Gents, your closer for 2009.
I’m sure I’ve missed a few of the bullpen guys, but this was only intended as a sampling anyway. Sue me.
Coaching and Front Office:
El Freddorino: B+ The team vastly exceeded expectations. If we had managed to make the playoffs, he would have earned my vote for manager of the year. Alas, we didn’t, so I am not completely blinded by success to offer an honest appraisal of his performance. Fredi improved greatly in his second year. With the help of a real veteran presence, he was able to gain control of the clubhouse. The young guys responded very well to his laid back yet assertive leadership, and I can honestly say that the only Marlins team that had more heart than this one won the series at the end of the year (2003). Not only did the boys play well, but they truly felt like they belonged. Do not underestimate Fredi’s impact in that department. Unfortunately, while he didn’t make as many mistakes as last year, his in game management skills leave something to be desired. Having Cantu hit third turned out to be a stroke of genius, but thats about it. If Fredi can figure out how to run a bullpen, then maybe he might actually become a good manager after all.
Mark Wiley: A++++++++++++++++++++++++++++… in fact, they should add a letter to the alphabet that comes before “A” just so I can give Wiley a higher grade. ‘Nuff said. Too bad Dtrain didn’t stick around.
Dumbshit Kranitz: Z-… basically, the exact opposite grade I gave Wiley. Anyone have Don Baylor’s number?
Larry Beinfest: B+ Gotta give him credit for Cantu, Baker, Nelson, and Rhodes… and he did a good job with the Cabrera/Willis trade. But, it turned out that we should have made the Manny trade… I’ll explain in an upcoming piece why passing Manny up turned out to be a mistake.
Loria/Samson: B- Sure, I hate them just like every other Marlins fan, but they did get the new stadium, so I have to give them some credit.
OVERALL: B+ Cut down on the strikeouts and we’re an honest-to-God World Series contender.
Now, if I missed anyone, I apologize… I didn’t have a roster in front of me.