Mid-Season Report Card
Ichiro tops the charts (Getty Images)
Ichiro tops the charts (Getty Images)

Posted Jul 17, 2003


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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