41 games in the books, and things are looking pretty damn good for the D-backs thus far. We lead the division by 4.5 games and possess the best record in baseball, mostly thanks to a phenomenal 20-5 record against the rest of the division [Compare and contrast last year, when we went 36-36]. Here's a swoop through the team on a player-by-player basis, with kneejerk grades and a swift word on each.
C. Snyder - B+ After a horrendous start to the year at the plate, our catcher has come round, and has been the most productive hitter over the past month. Still calls a damn good game too.
1B. Jackson - B+ Leads the team in just about every statistical category bar HR, and has only struck-out ten times so far. Could do with some more work on his defense, which is occasionally wobbly.
2B. Hudson - B- Taken out for a week by injury. but is insanely hot with runners in scoring position, batting .405 with RISP. Has already made six errors, compared to ten all last year.
3B. Reynolds - D+ An OPS+ of just 83 isn't good and is on pace for 220 K's. Is in a lengthy slump: since April 23, he's hitting .149 with 35 K's in 74 at-bats, but this has been kinda overlooked.
SS. Drew - B+ Troy Boy 2007:.291/.359/.479. Drew 2008:.295/.346/.554. Thus far, he is finally delivering on the unquestioned promise that he showed last year. Defense varies from flaky to brilliant.
CF. Young - B Leads the team in homers, but has also got the OBP up to .348. An OPS+ of 112 out of his position is more than acceptable [league average is 97] and also adds very solid defense.
RF. Upton - B+ Occasionally betrays his age, both at the plate and with the glove, but safe to say has surpassed all expectations. When was the last time we had a RF batting .322 at this point? [Answer: 2004, Danny Bautista was hitting .343 on May 16]
BENCH - B- That's a combined grade. Montero, Ojeda and Salazar have all been fine, but Burke has not, and Robbie Hammock could actually be playing in Japan for all we know.
#1. Webb - A+ Nine starts. Nine Diamondback victories. Nine wins for Webb. Can't ask any more than that. The addition of the changeup to his repertoire has moved him into the elite.
#2. Haren - B+ Deserves better than a 4-2 record, given his 3.04 ERA. Has slotted in very nicely behind Webb and is using his splitter to keep the ball in the park [4 HR in 50 innings]
#3. Owings - B- Getting more attention for his bat than his arm, but an ERA+ of 118 is not to be sniffed at. A bit prone to the long-ball thus far, but has 42 K in 49.2 IP. May see DH action in June.
#4. Johnson - C Though still rounding into shape, K:BB ratio is approaching 3:1. Can make opposing hitters swing wildly, but can also look like a 44-year old with three back surgeries.
#5. Gonzalez - C- For a #5 starter, I'll happily settle for that grade. One wretched outing of 2.2 innings added 1.33 runs to his ERA and he still can spot-start or go long relief.
BULLPEN - B A collective 3.54 ERA is good [NL relief average is 3.83]; Lyon has come round after a worrying start, and Qualls has mostly been great too. Cruz and Medders walk too many.
OVERALL: B+. There's no denying there is room for improvement - our defense leads the division in errors, and while the offense has generally been great, a couple of players are not quite keeping up. However, it's worth repeating: we have the best record in the major-leagues. That's pretty damn good, and it seems churlish to complain.