I'm trying to stay, um, well not suicidal over the play we had to deal with over the past few days. Sox are out of the playoffs. OK. Fine. We have to live with it. We don't have to like it but the way the team played this past month... well they really didn't deserve the wild card.
After the game ended last night, I decided i would rate the prominent members of the 2011 Red Sox with A-F report card grades. My report card appears after the jump.
I'm going to start with position players.
Jacoby Ellsbury: A+
Who knew Ellsbury was going to have a series like this. Raise your hand. *looks around at all the hands not raised* Yeah, me either. This was, perhaps, the biggest surprise this year. The first ever 30-30 season for a Red Sox player. Over 200 hits. Could not have asked more from him from the leadoff position. Plus he played above average defense. Kid's going to get a raise this year and he deserves it. He was definitely the Red Sox MVP and I do believe he will garner many votes for AL MVP if he doesn't win it outright.
Adrian Gonzalez: A
I'd give him an A+ but he did tail off a bit after the all star break. Still, we got far more than we could have expected in this trade. He was definitely one of Theo's better acquisitions. I doubt he will perform at THIS level for the entire length of his contract, but if we get 3 more years like this one, the contract will more than pay for itself. He also played a stellar defense, more than likely a Gold Glove caliber defense at 1st.
Dustin Pedroia: A
There's nothing I can say about the Laser Show that hasn't already been said. One thing we learned this season is that the kid can HIT from the cleanup position. Just another fantastic year from Pedey.
David Oritz: B+
Apparently, Big Papi CAN still hit lefties.
Marco Scutaro: B-
He didn't have a good start to the season, and he did get replaced by the Jedi for a while, but once he regained the starting SS role, Marco put together a solid season. Quietly. he had a lot of timely and important hits for us over the stretch.
We all thought that catcher would be a black hole for us. Salty and Varitek turned out to be a really good platoon for most of the year. Mark my words though. Salty isn't going to be our starting catcher for long. I do truly believe Salty is only a stopgap until Lavarnway is ready. And from what I saw in those last 2 games of the season.... That time might be within 12 months. Which would make me happy, because there's just something about Salty I just don't like.
Kevin Youkilis: C-
I love Youk. I do. The Greek God of Walks is just the kind of gutsy gritty player I want to have on the team. But this wasn't his year. I know a lot of that was the injuries, but that worries me. It might be time for Youk to stop playing in the field and become a DH...
Another spot where injuries just affected the entire season. I was a fan of the Drew signing. The last two years though he has been injured a lot. I suspect that we've seen him play his last game in a Red Sox uniform, and, quite likely, his last game period. Reddick and Kalish are the future in this position... but one or the other needs to step up.
Carl Crawford: F
Look, I just can't believe that this guy is this bad suddenly. But he was. And even he couldn't figure out why. We're stuck with him and hopefully he can figure it out for next season.
Look, there were good and bad from our bench. There were moments of brilliance (Aviles and Lavarnway) and moments of *SHUDDER* (Conor Jackson) But in the end, our bench was probably about average.
And now we go onto pitchers:
Jon Lester: B+
Lester would get a higher grade if not for his uncharacteristic Septmber implosion. Although, when it counted last night, he pitched very well and SHOULD have gotten a win. I'll still take a guy like Lester in my rotation any time though!
Josh Beckett: B+
Beckett was on his way to having his best season ever before another uncharacteristic September implosion. Unfortunately for us, both Lester and Beckett had bad Septembers the same year. If we'd have had to deal with only one of them sucking down the stretch, we'd be watching another Red Sox game tomorrow night.
Tim Wakefield: C-
It was another typical Wakefield year in that he gave us good outings, he gave us bad outings, and he ate up a lot of innings. And he got his 200th win. He also gave us all ulcers....
Andrew Miller: D+
This was an experiment doomed to failure. It's all well and good to say that he tried, but after those first few starts.... I dreaded seeing him come in to pitch.
Daisuke Matsuzaka: INC
Dice-K gets an incomplete since he didn't pitch too long before he went down for the season. I think we've seen him pitch for the Red Sox for the last time. WHich is good, because he was even more unpredictable than Wakefield at times.
Clay Buchholz: INC
Buchholz also gets an incomplete from me for the same reason... his season was too short. He did, however, have a decent season up until the stress fracture. If I had to give him a grade, I'd probably give him a B.
John Lackey: F
Nothing more needs to be said about Lackey's season other than this... he better turn it around next year.
Alfredo Aceves: A-
He failed early in the season as a spot starter, but man what he contributed to the bullpen was nothing short of amazing. Great pickup for the Sox. He's easily the heir apparent to Tim Wakefield's role on the pitching staff.
Daniel Bard: B-
Grade would have been higher except for yet another pitcher having a September implosion. Bard cost us several games by himself. If he's the closer of the future, he needs to figure it out.
Bobby Jenks: INC
Something was clearly wrong with Jenks physically. Hopefully he can get it figured out this offseason. He SHOULD have been a great addition to the bullpen.
Dan Wheeler: C
He had moments when he was good and moments when he wasn't. But he was better than the next guy on the list
Matt Albers: C
He started off good. Then he forgot how to pitch. To the point where my father actually said this to me, "You know, it wouldn't surprise me to find out Albers is being paid by the Yankees to suck."
Finally, Jon Papelbon: B+
IT looked like this was going to be a career year for Papelbon. And it was in a lot of ways. Except one. In the very end, when the game was on the line and he was on the mound... he could not come through. And he almost didn't come through the night before either. I believe that he will be pitching somewhere else in 2012.
There it is. My 2011 report card as I see it. Agree or disagree as you will. It'll be interesting to see what others think about the grades I assigned. :)