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New York Mets: First Half Gradebook: Infielders

The traditional, if not mathematical, first half of the baseball season is in the books, so that must mean it's time for the obligatory player report cards. Everybody does 'em, so why not me?

=> The Regulars

Carlos Delgado, 1B D- What can you say that hasn't already been said? Delgado has been anemic offensively in the first half, his 49 RBI a smoke-and-mirrors charade that doesn't begin to mask his .305 on-base percentage and .435 slugging, the former of which is just two points ahead of Carlos Gomez. Delgado is 30th among big league 1B in VORP at 3.4, meaning he has been about one-third of a win better than a replacement level first baseman (Andy Tracy, Mike Carp, etc.). If he isn't hurt he's probably finished. From the "Insult to (Non-)Injury Department": Delgado is signed for 2008 at nigh $18 million. Joy.
Jose Valentin, 2B D- This could have been an INCOMPLETE on account of all of the time that Valentin missed on the disabled list, but he has 152 at-bats of .685 OPS batting and gimpy glovework. He is 39th among big league keystoners with a -0.6 VORP, which means a replacement level second baseman might have been more valuable to the team. He should go back on the disabled list posthaste and Ruben Gotay should immediately get the bulk of his at-bats.
David Wright, 3B A- His defense has shown marked improvement this year, and he's been no slouch with the bat. Currently fourth among big league third basemen with a 31.7 VORP, he is drawing walks and stealing bases with remarkable proficiency.
Jose Reyes, SS A- He was in a big time slump when the first half drew to a close, but he leads the team in on-base percentage and can affect the outcome of a game in a plethora of ways. He still doesn't really seem to understand the art of base-stealing, though his speed makes up for that most of the time. He is fast enough that he should be able to swipe bases in the 85-90% success range, but that's picking nits. His power seems to have disappeared somewhat, which is a little curious. Whatever, his approach at the plate has improved dramatically in each of the last two seasons and there is every reason to believe that there is still some space between his current production and his potential.
Paul Lo Duca, C C I must have been high when Lo Duca was throwing so well for the first two weeks of the season, because he precipitously regressed to his old, noodle-armed ways. He's a "gamer" and a "vocal leader", but he doesn't draw walks and he doesn't hit for any power, so when he hits less than .330 he is largely an offensive sinkhole. Fans seem to love his attitude and demeanor; I'd prefer a little more punch and patience.

=> The Subs

Damion Easley B+ Not much to complain about here. He gave the Mets a huge lift in the early going when Valentin was on the shelf, and has done everything asked of him and then some. His power has been a big surprise to yours truly, and he doesn't embarrass himself anywhere on the diamond. Very useful role player.
Ruben Gotay A- Can a brother get some playing time? Jose Valentin is essentially an out machine at this point, and Gotay and his .333/.377/.514 batting line get to ride the pine. Not sure the offense can hold up over 300 at-bats, but I'd like to know for sure.
Julio Franco C Dude's got no power whatsoever, and his swing looks slower and slower each time I see him. That said, his .269 average and .375 on-base percentage as a pinch hitter have value.
Ramon Castro A- What's not to like? He can throw, he can draw a walk, he's slugging .538, his nickname is "Hippo". Step 1 for improving the offense in the second half is to give Castro two starts a week.