Mid-Season Report Card

Ichiro tops the charts (Getty Images)

Who's played the best? Who's been the biggest surprise? Who's the biggest disappointment? Check out our Mid-Season Report Card and see how each of the Seattle Mariners graded out through the first 93 games of the season.

PITCHERS

Ryan Franklin: B+
Jason Churchill: The best fifth starter in baseball could easily have 10 wins.
Scott Smiles: Has solidified back end of the rotation.
Richie Stone: Losing record a poor indication of his contribution.
Joe Kaiser: Has kept the team in nearly every game he's pitched, a nice surprise.
James L. Crockett: Hasn't completed the seventh inning in his last four starts.

Freddy Garcia: B
Churchill: Seems to have found himself after a rough start.
Smiles: Hope the old Chief is here to stay.
Stone: Struggled early, but has returned to form.
Kaiser: Made up for terrible start with unbelieveable month of June.
Crockett: If he reverses his 2002 season, the Mariners will win the AL West outright.

Shigetoshi Hasegawa: A+
Churchill: One word: NAILS.
Smiles: Need a microscope to read his ERA.
Stone: Best guy out of the bullpen so far.
Kaiser: 0.77 ERA...What more could you ask for?.
Crockett: He's pitched well in every situation Melvin has put him in.

Julio Mateo: B
Churchill: 2003 version of Bill Risley?
Smiles: A pleasant addition to the bullpen.
Stone: Opened some eyes with his ability to get batters out.
Kaiser: Melvin made right choice to keep Mateo as the team's 25th man leaving Spring Training.
Crockett: He has proved to be more than valuable at the back end of the bullpen.

Gil Meche: A
Churchill: Only question is his health. Otherwise he has ace written all over him.
Smiles: Did anyone see this coming?
Stone: Exceeded expectations in every way, shape and form.
Kaiser: The best feel-good story in baseball this season.
Crockett: The biggest All-Star snub could be blessing for Mariners.

Jamie Moyer: A
Churchill: Webster's human definition of fine wine...better with age.
Smiles: As consistent as they come, a first-time All-Star at age 40.
Stone: Still one of the best around.
Kaiser: The grandfather of the pitching staff, nobody knows pitching like this man.
Crockett: Nothing made me happier than to see him make his first All-Star game.

Jeff Nelson: C+
Churchill: Was great in setup role, struggled as a closer.
Smiles: Let's just hope Rondell White doesn't get traded to an American League team.
Stone: Hit hard lately, hurting his grade.
Kaiser: Hasn't been the nasty, unhittable righty the M's are used to.
Crockett: Point the finger at Bob Melvin, before you blame Nelson.

Joel Pineiro: A-
Churchill: Might be the best starter on the staff, and that's saying something.
Smiles: Starting to establish himself as a legitimate top starter.
Stone: Inconsistent early, yet still has 11 wins.
Kaiser: Made up for wildness and inconsistency in April and May with dominance in June and July.
Crockett: His strength in innings 2-8 easily out-weight any first inning troubles.

Arthur Rhodes: B+
Churchill: ERA means nothing here. Still the best southpaw setup man in the business.
Smiles: Again his dominant self.
Stone: A few bad outings caused ERA to balloon.
Kaiser: One of GM Pat Gillick's best moves acquisitions in Seattle.
Crockett: Rhodes desreved an All-star selection before Shiggy.

Rafael Soriano: Incomplete
Churchill: Shown flashes of brilliance in limited innings.
Smiles: Closer of the future?
Stone: Hard not to like what we've seen so far.
Kaiser: Has taken the load off of Nelson and Rhodes.
Crockett: Ride this kid or send him back to Tacoma.

Aaron Taylor: Incomplete
Churchill: Has shown good stuff in limited innings.
Smiles: Already better than Matt White.
Stone: A tall, hard-throwing right-hander who has pitched well so far.
Kaiser: A stud in Tacoma, future closer in Seattle?.
Crockett: We needed another Big Country in professional sports.

Giovanni Carrara: F
Churchill: Cheap shot at a sixth reliever.
Smiles: Looks much better in a Rainiers uniform.
Stone: Two words, Rett Johnson.
Kaiser: Couldn't bring success in National League to American League.
Crockett: This spot should have went to Soriano or Ken Cloude from the start.

Matt White: F
Churchill: Shot in the dark failed from day one.
Smiles: Definitely wasn't the Sheriff, not even a rent-a-cop.
Stone: Not the smartest move the M's ever made.
Kaiser: Trade with Boston for White reminiscent of Arquimedez Pozo for Jeff Manto.
Crockett: Cost the Mariners nothing, brought the Mariners nothing.


CATCHERS

Ben Davis: B+
Churchill: Offense equivalent to Dan Wilson's defense. Defense equivalent to Wilson's offense.
Smiles: Starting to emerge as a hitting Dan Wilson.
Stone: Looking more and more like the guy the Padres drafted with their first pick a few years back.
Kaiser: A pleasant surprise with the bat, coming around defensively.
Crockett: His numbers suggest a move to the middle of the lineup.

Dan Wilson: B-
Churchill: Offense equivalent to Ben Davis' defense. Defense equiavalent to Davis' offense.
Smiles: Time for the Ben Davis era to begin.
Stone: Father Time is catching up with this long-time Mariner.
Kaiser: Though struggling with the bat, a nice compliment to Davis.
Crockett: Underrated impact on the Mariners' young rotation.

Pat Borders: Incomplete
Churchill: Named to the Triple-A All-Star game at age 40.
Smiles: Tearing up Triple-A pitching.
Stone: Still remembered for his days in Toronto.
Kaiser: Provides good insurance incase Davis or Wilson get injured.
Crockett: AAA-All-Star ready if the Mariners need him. He's also doing a great job with the Rainiers pitching staff.


INFIELDERS

Willie Bloomquist: C
Churchill: Best third baseman on the team, needs consistent playing time.
Smiles: Might have found a home at third base.
Stone: Hasn't got much playing time, but we saw what he's capable of on Sunday.
Kaiser: A hitting machine in college, it's time to see if he can do it at the Major League level.
Crockett: I'm all for getting him in the lineup, but the move kills the already putrid bench.

Bret Boone: A
Churchill: Simply the best second baseman in baseball.
Smiles: The Boone of 2003 is back.
Stone: Hard to find anyone in the game as skilled on both sides of the ball.
Kaiser: Without Boone the M's have no pop in the lineup.
Crockett: Where were his All-Star votes Mariner fans?

Jeff Cirillo: D
Churchill: Simply the worst offensive third baseman many of us have ever seen.
Smiles: Is it time to start DHing for him instead of the pitcher?
Stone: The opposite of Russ Davis...great glove, no bat.
Kaiser: If the M's wanted a defensive third baseman with no bat, they would have kept David Bell.
Crockett: David Bell? He's hitting worse than Cirillo.

Greg Colbrunn: C-
Churchill: Like Mabry, injuries have limited his at bats but he can clearly hit.
Smiles: Injuries have put a damper on his season.
Stone: Hasn't made the difference the M's expected when they signed him.
Kaiser: Wrist surgery will put him on the shelf for 4-6 weeks after an injury plagued first-half.
Crockett: If healthy, he'll be a useful hitter in the postseason.

Carlos Guillen: B
Churchill: Staying in the lineup would be a major asset.
Smiles: Solid with both the glove and the bat.
Stone: Injuries haven't kept him from contributing.
Kaiser: Quietly having one of his best years in Seattle.
Crockett: If it weren't for his darn health problems...

Edgar Martinez: A-
Churchill: Putting together another superb season. The offensive version of Jamie Moyer.
Smiles: Edgar please, I'm begging you, don't retire.
Stone: Martinez is the key to the M's batting lineup.
Kaiser: If this is indeed his last season, he's going out on top.
Crockett: I don't care it takes a go-cart to get him to first base, keep him in the lineup at all costs.

John Olerud: B
Churchill: Defensive stud, offensive dud thus far. Power is missing.
Smiles: Power is starting to fade but is as consistent as they come.
Stone: Has had better seasons.
Kaiser: In an era where athletes shouldn't be role models, Olerud is one of the few exceptions.
Crockett: Might not be a great five hitter, but defense is worth the deficiencies.

Luis Ugueto: Incomplete
Churchill: Just a pinch-runner at this point, but a good one at that.
Smiles: Should be in the minor leagues.
Stone: One of the M's promising young middle-infielders.
Kaiser: Another year of learning.
Crockett: The Mariners are wasting his development for a couple pinchrunning appearances a week.


OUTFIELDERS

John Mabry: D
Churchill: Struggled in limited at bats. Injuries have hindered his production.
Smiles: Hey, at least he's not Al Martin.
Stone: Hasn't pulled his weight.
Kaiser: Was I the only one who remembered how bad Mabry was in his first go-around with Seattle. Mabry never could hit in Safeco.
Crockett: No production. No defense. No use to a major-league bench.

Ichiro Suzuki: A+
Churchill: Can anyone get him out with regularity?
Smiles: Simply amazing.
Stone: A typical Ichiro season.
Kaiser: The best all-around player in the game. Could probably hit 30 homers a year if he wanted.
Crockett: The increase in power makes him an MVP candidate again.

Randy Winn: B-
Churchill: Inconsistent bat, but does everything else well.
Smiles: Solid, but far from spectacular.
Stone: Safeco Field has hurt his offensive production.
Kaiser: Decent but uninspired first-half of season. Probably not the left fielder the M's had hoped for when they acquired him.
Crockett: Makes $3 million, not worth losing Lou Piniella and Antonio Perez.

Mike Cameron: A-
Churchill: Still striking out a lot, but has rebounded from a forgettable 2002.
Smiles: Always the great glove but his bat has resurfaced after struggling last season.
Stone: Offense has finally picked up.
Kaiser: A bigger part to the M's success than most people realize, having a great season by his standards.
Crockett: Stop complaining about Cammy and let the guy hit for power, get on base and play gold-glove defense.

Mark McLemore: C
Churchill: Maybe his age has finally caught up to him.
Smiles: Production has slowed.
Stone: His batting average has dipped as his age has risen.
Kaiser: Still a valuable commodity defensively, he's become a liability on offense.
Crockett: Melvin actually batted him third in the lineup for a couple games.


Got a comment on any of these grades? Feedback is welcome at joe-kaiser@excite.com.

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