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Dodgers Midseason Report Card

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As the baseball season has reached its halfway point, the Dodgers are surprisingly in first place, playing great baseball recently. As we will do every year here at LAist, it’s time for the Dodgers midseason report card:C- Paul Lo Duca
After a great start, he predictably regressed in June, but he’s picked it up in the first half of July. Lo Duca’s a gritty player who always overachieves. He’s not entirely deserving of his All-Star appearance, but he’s not a bad a choice either. Right now he’s great. We’ll see if he can keep it up for the first time.
Garde in Progress: B+

1B- Shawn Green
He’s been a complete disaster for the second straight season. Green appears to have lost all ability to hit for power and at .253/.335/.399 he can’t hit for much of anything. About the only positive thing you can now say about the $16 million a year stiff is that he has adjusted seamlessly to first base from a defensive standpoint.
Grade in Progress: D

2B- Alex Cora
He’s been a pleasant surprise this year, showing that 2003 and not 2002 may have been his fluke season. Hitting .295/.388/.429, Cora is not only pulling his weight, but he’s helping the Dodgers as one of the better second basemen in the National League. His defense is a tad overrated, but it’s still very good.
Grade in Progress: A-

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3B- Adrian Beltre
Without question, he’s the Dodgers MVP this season. You can’t help but wonder why that’s happening in a contract year, and if that’s causing him to play with five bone spurs when he probably should have surgery, but the Dodgers really need his sizzling production. LAist would like to see him walk more, but there’s not much else to complain about a player whose finally living up to his potential.
Grade in Progress: A

SS- Cesar Izturis
After a great start, his OPS is back under .700. Still Izturis has been a bright spot for the Dodgers and his defense remains the best at his position.
Grade in Progress: B

LF- Dave Roberts
Having a typical Dave Roberts season: stealing bases, kind of hitting, and spending a little time on the DL. He’s a nice player to have around.
Grade in Progress: B

CF- Milton Bradley
We’re still patient with Bradley, but we’d like to see his Cleveland production soon. He’s played good defense, but he’s also made enemies with almost every umpire in baseball and that will start to hurt soon, if it hasn’t already.
Grade in Progress: C+

RF- Juan Encarnacion
LAist admires people who play hurt, but we don’t admire people who hurt their teams. Juan Encarnacion is so undisciplined at the plat that he’d probably hurt the Dodgers even if he had not been playing with a deteriorated labrum. Modest power aside, a .292 OPB won’t cut it.
Grade in Progress: D+

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Bench
Jayson Werth has been spectacular, and should probably start over Encarnacion. The rest of the bench has hardly been noteworthy. Jason Grabowski and Olmedo Saenz have been inconsistent. Robin Ventura can barely move anymore. Jose Hernandez has been a bit of a bright spot. David Ross was never a very good hitter, and he’s doing even worse than expected
Grade in Progress: C+

SP- Odalis Perez
He gets no run support, but with a 2.96 ERA he’s been the Dodgers best starting pitcher.
Grade in Progress: A-

SP- Kazuhisa Ishii
He throws way too many pitches. His control is often nowhere to be found. But he somehow has managed 10 wins and 4.00 ERA. He’s been healthy, and modestly reliable, which is saying a lot given the Dodgers rotation this season.
Grade in Progress: B

SP- Jeff Weaver
He’s really not that bad. No, really, he’s not that bad. Weaver has really picked it up lately, and seems to be getting better as the season goes on. The demons which haunted him in New York have not followed him to LA.
Grade in Progress: B

SP- Jose Lima
After an inconsistent start, he’s become a solid starting pitcher for the Dodgers, whose enthusiasm has probably helped the clubhouse atmosphere.
Grade in Progress: B

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SP- Hideo Nomo
Total disappointment. It was embarrassing how the Dodgers trudged Nomo out every fifth day just to get shelled. Thanks goodness he’s on the DL.
Grade in Progress: F

Bullpen
The best in baseball. Eric Gagne was not adversely affected by losing his arbitration hearing, and remains unhittable. Guillermo Mota might be the best setup man in baseball, sporting a 1.65 ERA. Darren Dreifort may be overpaid, but he’s a useful middle reliever. Duaner Sanchez has been a pleasant surprise. Wilson Alvarez has had some rough spots, but for the most part has been a quality pitcher shuffling in and out of the rotation. Tom Martin leaves something to be desired. The return of Giovanni Carrara has been promising.
Grade in Progress: A

Manager: Jim Tracy
For all everyone loves to criticize him, you can’t help but believe that he has the Dodgers overachieving. Who would have thought the Dodgers could be in first at this point? Especially with some of the injuries they’ve had. Give Tracy his due. He gets a lot out of this team. Now let’s see if he can win in the second half for the first time.
Grade in Progress: A-

Owner: Frank McCourt
He could not have gotten off to a worse start, beginning with highly leveraged purchased of the team preventing a Vlad Guerrero signing. After some idiotic quotes in the beginning, McCourt has calmed down somewhat. He realized he loved Dodger Stadium and won’t move the team out of it. He backed off of mascot plans. But his most important move was hiring Paul DePodesta as General Manager. DePodesta was the absolute best man for the job, coming from Billy Beane’s Moneyball school, and it’s those kinds of hires which win championships.
Grade in Progress: C

So all of this averages out to close to a B for the Dodgers in the first half of the season. While they’re still in first, there remains significant room for improvement.