(I think it's pretty safe to say that Sugar, B-Rob and Nick the Stick have all earned A's for the first month of the year.)
I know that there are two more games (not counting tonight) left in April, but I'm trying to think of new features to write for this blog other than game recaps. So I'm breaking out an April report card for every player who has played in a regular season game for the O's this year. We'll do the hitters today and work on the pitchers tomorrow.
(Side note: what do you guys want to read about on this blog? Do you want daily game recaps, or would you rather us just rant and throw in some cool shit like a minors report, report cards, bullshit power rankings, etc. Tell us what you want and, damn it, we'll give it to you.)
So anyway, sorry about the lack of updates at the end of last week. Not to make excuses, but I've been trying to think of something other than game recaps to post here. Let's face it, you can find those anywhere. Not to mention, I've been trapped in a catatonic state since Eaton threw a quality start. My wife finally waved a bear claw under my nose to slap me out of it. But excuses aren't welcome here, and I don't intend to make any. I dropped the ball last week, and I'm sorry. Won't happen again, honest. My goal is to get a new post up here every day, but we're still working out kinks so that it isn't just a stale game recap. OK, that said, here's your April report card for Dem O's.
B-Rob – .372, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 18 runs, 8 doubles
You know you're having a damn good month when you go through a 2-for-14 slump and you're still hitting .372. I think B-Rob's been overshadowed by Cano and Kinsler's hot starts among AL second basemen, but as the Skipper will tell you, he is the leader of this club. He's a ballplayer, pure and simple, and you can't ask for a better guy to look up to if you are a young guy like Sugar Bear. The numbers are fantastic. The intangibles are even better.
Sugar Bear – .348, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 20 runs, 7 doubles, 1 triple
We've all seen Sugar Bear becoming a man so far this month. He's exactly what we were hoping for when we sent Boo Hoo Bedard away. That might've been a steal for the O's in a 1-for-1 trade, let alone a 5-for-1. I haven't seen someone get robbed so much since Barry Zito stole all that money from the Giants. Sugar still makes some kid mistakes, but he just got his driver's license last week, so that's to be expected. This kid's got it, man. And if he isn't playing in St. Louis in July, something's wrong. Fucking Jacoby Ellsbury will probably make it over him.
Big Dick Nick – .389, 2 HR, 21 RBI, 21 runs, 9 doubles
When Camden and I were at Cal's HOF induction a couple years back, he looked at me and said, "They should just induct Nick now and save us a trip back up here." Good times. Andy Mac should just go ahead and lock Taylor Markakis up now. He'll be rippin' tits in 4 years.
If B-Rob is the leader of the club, Markakis isn't far behind, and he is the face of the franchise. He's going to win Gold Gloves (although his assists are going to go waaaaay down this year since nobody will run on him. Of course he just had Blalock nailed at 2nd if Andino could catch.), he's going to hit over .300, he's going to drive in 90-100 or more and he's going to his 25-plus homers. And he once threw a sunbeam past a rooster. What more could you want from a guy? We're lucky to have him, man, so enjoy it Birds fans. It's a fucking treat, isn't it? Seeing him and Sugar patrol this OF for the next 6 years or so is a joy. I don't think Nicky is a 35 homer guy, though. Does he have the power? Certainly. But I just don't think he's that kind of hitter. Does that make sense? Probably not.
Huff Daddy – .276, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 10 runs, 6 doubles
Goodness, the top four in this lineup is scarier than seeing Teri Hatcher topless. I'd like to see Huff Daddy with a few more homers so far, especially considering two of them came in the same game, but beggars can't be choosers, I suppose. Wait, sure we can. Hit the ball out Aubrey. He will drive in plenty of runs, though.
Ty Wigginton – .227, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 4 runs, 1 double
Here's where the praise starts to end. Wiggy has been absolutely dreadful at the plate. He's doing an OK job filling in for Mora at third, I suppose, but has been NOTHING like I expected from him at the dish. And I hate watching him at third too. He either makes a nice play and then takes his sweet ass time making the throw, or he can't bend his fat ass over to get the ball. And he looks lost at the plate. The Crow should tape his eyelids open and make him watch game film for 6 hours a day. Look at it this way, he's gotta get better. Right?
Melvin Mora – .313, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 1 run
Ol' Melvin's got as many homers and RBI as Wiggy .... in 50 less at bats. Good gawd. Hopefully he can come back and hit the way he started before he hurt his 80-year-old hammy. Wiggy also makes him look like Brooks in the field. Come back soon Melvin. We miss you.
Grade: Incomplete. But a B- for the games he did play.
Luuuuuuuuuuuuke – .292, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 8 runs, 5 doubles
I've never been a big Luke guy. Not really sure why, either. I mean, he doesn't complain, he plays hard, and when he's hot, he can flat out rake. I don't know, man, I just can't get behind this guy. Don't get me wrong, I cheer him every time he's up and I like him. I just....I just....can take him or leave him, I suppose.
Double G – .109, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 7 runs, 4 doubles
I get it. He's Dempsey's nephew, he's just here to tutor Wieters, and blah, blah, fucking blah. I don't care. He can't hit a lick. It's borderline embarrassing. Five hits in 46 at bats? Bleeeeech. He's done a great job behind the plate and all (even though he couldn't throw out Bea Arthur trying to steal. What, too soon?), but let's just hope he doesn't try and give The Cure a hitting tutorial when he gets the call up.
Cesar Izturis – .230, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 6 runs, 2 doubles
We certainly didn't sign Izzy for his bat, and I hope he didn't pull the wool over anyone's eyes with his Opening Day homer. That's his one for the year. No mas. One thing I do like about Izzy is that he makes contact. He'll put the ball in play and at least give any runners on a chance to move over and get them in scoring position for the Big Birds. But let's call a spade a spade, he's about as close to an everyday out as you can get for an everyday player.
Grade: C, for his defense.
Felix Pie – .167, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 4 runs, 0 doubles
I'm officially out of patience with this dude. He LF play is questionable at best. He swings at pitches behind him. He punches infants. OK, I made that last one up. But seriously, how long does he have to play himself out of a job? I know he's out of options and that the job is his to lose, but hasn't he almost lost it yet? Tell you what, if Nolan Reimold keeps lighting shit up in Norfolk, he'll be up faster than you can say "too dee loo, Felix."
Robert Andino – .333, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2 runs, 0 doubles.
Uh.....at least he's got four hits.
Grade: I haven't really seen enough of him to properly do this....so we'll say a C. He hasn't been too much of a trainwreck when he does play, I suppose.
Ryan Freel – .133, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2 runs, 0 doubles.
Here's how you don't get fans to like you. Get paid millions while many of your fans are losing jobs every single day, and publicly complain about your role, even though you knew the depth chart when you signed. But I'm willing to give Freel the benefit of the doubt, because I understand he's a competitive dude and just wants a chance. He hasn't done dick so far, though.
Lou Montanez – .167, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1 run, 1 double
I know Sweet Lou won the Eastern League triple crown last year, and probably deserved a chance to play up here when Melvin got hurt, but I just haven't seen any progress from him. This isn't his first cup of joe. I like him, but I fear he may be a 4-A player. I think Nolan will do better when he comes up.
Grade: C-. He doesn't get an F because he's only got 12 ABs, and his defense is eh.
So there you go, the first month grades for our hitters. Thank God for the top of the lineup. Now let's see if we can hold on here against Texas and get a series split.