Cheap Seats

Mid-term report card

We've reached the half way mark of the 2009 season. Let's take a look at the Cardinals:

 3 Khalil Greene, shortstop: F  -- Without a doubt, the worst move of the John Mozeliak era. I mean, at least he didn't give Matt Clement $6.5 million to do absolutely nothing. Greene has crippling anxiety issues that explain his sudden decline from an excellent offensive shortstop to a disabled list regular. Too bad nobody checked this out BEFORE the Cardinals traded for him.

 4 Yadier Molina, catcher: A -- He has added a solid, clutch bat to his excellent defense behind the plate. The best catcher in the National League is expected  to start behind the plate in the All-Star Game. He's a rock for the pitching staff and an emerging leader in the clubhouse.

 5 Albert Pujols, first base: -- A+ MVP! MVP! MVP! Just imagine what this guy could do if pitchers were forced to come at him because the Cardinals had a decent cleanup hitter.

 7 Mark DeRosa, infielder, outfielder: Incomplete -- He was supposed to be the cure for what ailed the Cardinals offense. But he wore the collar for 2 1/2 games and then hurt his wrist. Hopefully, he will be back soon.

 8 Troy Glaus, third base: Incomplete -- Who? Oh, yeah, the $11.25 million a year third sacker who got shoulder surgery late in the offseason and had missed all year. Supposedly he will be back at the end of the month. We'll see if it makes a difference.

13 Brendan Ryan, infielder: B+ -- He drives some fans crazy with his tendency to swing at first pitches and he undoubtably drove the manager nuts when he got thrown out trying to steal third late in a game his team trailed by three runs. But Ryan has done a great job in the field and is beginning to convince the skipper that, despite a few quirks, he is a valuable major league player. If the Cardinals are expected to be competitive at the end of the season, Ryan needs to be part of it.

16 Chris Duncan, outfielder: C- -- He seems to have lost his power following neck surgery that kept him out most of last season. Unfortunately, that makes him only a poor fielding fly chaser who strikes out a lot with little else to justify regular playing time. It's sad. Before his injury, Duncan looked like he could be vlauable slugger from the fifth or sixth spot in the lineup.

19 Nick Stavinoha, outfielder: B -- Did a nice job when Rick Ankiel and Ryan Ludwick were on the DL. But a lot of things have to go wrong for him to have a slot on the major league roster. I don't expect to see him back in St. Louis. At least not til rosters expand in September.

21 Jason LaRue, catcher: A -- He does a nice job as a backup catcher, a role some find hard to accept after being a longtime MLB starter.

22 Joe Thurston, infielder: D -- He's playing out of position at third base, but he has made a number of costly errors in the field AND on the base. He is overexposed at the plate and needs to be reduced to a utility role when DeRosa and Glaus come back.

23 Brian Barden, infielder: C- -- A better defender than Thurston, he got the short haircut because of his slumping bat and now resides in Memphis.

24 Rick Ankiel, outfielder: C -- He looked so good in the spring. But Ankiel has struggled to find his stroke all season. He has been excellent defensively. But he needs desperately to cut down his swing and put the ball in play more consistently.

26 Kyle Lohse, starting pitcher: B -- He's been pretty good when he's healthy. But he has been snakebitten by injuries. The Cardinals need Lohse to get back on the field and perform like a middle to top end of the rotation starter if they are going to make a run.

27 Tyler Greene, infielder: B -- It looked like he was a draft bust. But Greene has performed very well in the field and is competent with the bat. He looks like he will at least have a career as a utility player.

28 Colby Rasmus, outfielder: B+ -- He looks like a favorite to win rookie of the year honors. Rasmus' bat has come alive and he did well -- better than anyone else has done this season, at least -- when he was put in the cleanup spot. He shows skill in the outfield, but sometimes seems reluctant to take charge on balls hit in between. He seized the opportunity to become the starter in center when Ankiel was hurt. Maybe playing one position regularly will help him polish his outfield play.

29 Chris Carpenter, starting pitcher: A -- Besides a stay on the DL with a ribcage strain, Carp has looked like a Cy Young contender once again. His most recent start was his worst. But Carpenter has been absolutely dominant overall. I'm still holding my breath on his health. The Cardinals can't do without him.

31 Ryan Franklin, closer: A -- After a rough 2008, Franklin is back to 2007 form. He ought to be an All-Star and he so convinced the Cardinals front office that he is a legitimate closer that the team felt comfortable in letting closer of the future Chris Perez go in the DeRosa deal.

35 Joel Pineiro, starting pitcher: B+ -- His win-loss record doesn't reflect it. But Piniero has been surprisingly reliable this season. He doesn't strike out many. But he walks even less. Instead of being 6-9, he could be 10-5 with a little bit of offensive help.

36 Dennys Reyes, relief pitcher: B -- Solid if not spectacular.

37 Todd Wellemeyer, starting pitcher: C- -- He was great the last time out. But Wellemeyer has struggled to find any consistency this season. The Cardinals have very little depth in the rotation, so they need Wellemeyer to right his ship... and soon.

41 Mitchell Boggs, starting pitcher: C- -- He did okay as an emergency starter but was sent by to Memphis to continue to develop.

43 Trever Miller, relief pitcher: B+ -- He was signed reluctantly because of fears he had arm problems. But Miller has held up well and is doing a steady job as a lefty one out guy.

46 Kyle McClellan, relief pitcher: B+ -- has been shaky in a few spots and dominant in others. Overall his numbers are very good with far fewer hits allowed than innings pitched. He's held opposing hitters to a .209 batting average, but he has walked a few too many, more than one every other inning pitched...

47 Ryan Ludwick, outfielder: C -- Ludwick looked during the first month of the season like he was going to pick up right where he left off in an All-Star quality 2008. But he is hitting in the .230s -- less than .200 since May -- and seems to be pressing in a major way. He needs to get things going because the chances the Cardinals will trade for a cleanup hitter seem to grow more slim by the day.

48 Brad Thompson, starting/relief pitcher: C -- He's done an admirable job as a fill in role as a starter. But he is better suited to pitch in the bullpen.

50 Adam Wainwright, starting pitcher: B+ -- He's been inconsistent with his control. But Wainwright has pitched well enough to have a lot more wins. He, unfortunately hasn't had a lot of support. Lately, his trademark 12-to-6 curveball seems to be working a lot better.

52 Josh Kinney, relief pitcher: D -- After a lengthy demotion, Kinney is back in the big leagues. But he has had trouble finding his control. He could be a very valuable piece of the puzzle if he could rediscover his 2006 form. But he hasn't had much of a chance to get his feet under him after missing nearly two whole years with arm troubles.

55 Skip Schumaker, outfielder playing out of position at second base: C+ -- Schumaker has been weak in the field, which is to be expected. But, somehow, he has managed to keep his head up and do a good job at the plate. I hope when DeRosa and Glaus come back that Schumaker will return to the outfield where he would be a defensive improvement.

60 Jason Motte, relief pitcher: B+ -- He's had a few rough spots as he tries to balance his fastball with a second pitch. But Motte has been the strikeout guy in the bullpen that the Cardinals have needed with the struggles of Kinney. He emerged as the favorite to be closer of the future over Perez.