Cardinals report card: First half grades -

Cardinals report card: First half grades

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By John Bailey By John Bailey

(Baseball StL) -- Time for the St. Louis Cardinals first half grades and at Baseball StL, we don’t grade on the curve. None of this “everyone’s a winner” new-age-feel-good stuff.

General Manager John Mozeliak: A+

Easy one. Unemotional, even tempered, steady hand. Dumped Ty Wigginton, Mitchel Boggs and Mark Rzepczynski because he had to. Doesn’t make trades just to make them. Lets the dogs run.

Manager Mike Matheny: A-

Sparky Anderson once said that managers don’t win games, they only lose them. So this is a super grade for the skip. Most of what a manager does is behind the scenes, balancing egos, massaging hurt feelings, propping up slumping players, defusing potential arguments and trying to herd 25 grown men who are just about all millionaires. He grades high because the guys play hard for him. The minus is for not resting Yadi more.

Yadier Molina: Well duh. A+

How much more do you want? If he doesn’t get some late inning/once a week rest, better call the Knee Warehouse.

Allen Craig: A+

The contract extension settled his mind and centered his chi. If he isn’t living the dream, I don’t know who is.

Matt Carpenter: A

Best short swing in the game with tremendous power. Only one steal but who cares? Hits nearly .300 against lefties. Retrofit into a second baseman and made himself an All Star. Works on his swing in his sleep.  Defensive slump in last few games costs him the plus.

Pete Kozma: C+

Petey we love your defense and your even approach. But when you were hitting, you took everything to the right side. Where’d that go? Calm down, keep your hands in and be what you are: a very good defensive player who goes the other way. And remember, you’re hitting .338 with RISP.

David Freese: B-

Trade talk is a distraction even if he doesn’t show it. Pressing with RISP, hitting just .205. Swing isn’t smooth. Was driving top hand and staying closed when he hit in 20 straight. C’mon back.

Matt Holliday: C+

13 homers and 47 RBIs are good, but swings at too many pitches he can’t do anything with. Stay back, be more patient and make them throw to you. No reason to throw you strikes if you swing at balls. And someone hide his glove after the 7th inning.

John Jay: C-

Defensively he’s fine and there are no other options on the roster at the moment. But you can’t hit .167 against lefties and stay in the lineup. Bat is too busy at the plate and can’t seem to get good at bats when it counts. Might be hearing Oscar Taveras’ footsteps.

Carlos Beltran: A

19 taters, .309 average. All Star. The guy Mozeliak signed the moment he heard Albert booked. Albert was at home Tuesday night and Carlos was in New York. Odd how life unfolds. Mr. Melatonin is sometimes tooooooo casual.

Daniel Descalso: B

Not great at anything but good at everything. Plays a respectable second base and a fair shortstop. Can yak once in awhile and the more he plays, the better he hits. A valuable guy who may start wondering if he shouldn’t be starting.

Matt Adams: A

Let me say it one more time – Big ‘Un can rake. But there’s more; He can field his position. We need a thumper so if he’s at first, Craig plays…..(to be continued).

Adam Wainwright: A+

The classic stopper. Class clown except when he pitches, then he’s serious as a heart attack. Fun to watch batters get jelly legs on the nose to toes curve. (Be more careful pitching to Mike Trout with a base open.)

Jake Westbrook: B+

Leading the world in ground balls but always has been and will be a .500 pitcher. Some of it is tough luck but it is reality. A veteran presence with deteriorating body parts. Keep the Ben-Gay handy and keep taking the ball.

Shelby Miller: A+ When you’re Dr. Jekyll and C- when you’re Mr. Hyde.

You’re more Jekyll than Hyde but learn to handle failure. You’ll live longer and enjoy life more. And just between us, you’re better when you work quickly.

Lance Lynn: A-

The Horse. Looks mean, the kind of guy you want to avoid in the prison yard. Pitches like a shark, a relentless killing machine. Watch his arm in the second half. He can’t throw 110 pitches a night or he will fade. Again.

Trevor Rosenthal: B+

A Todd Worrell hologram. 8th inning reliever is pick and shovel work. (Pssst.  They’re looking for a fastball on 2 strikes.)

Kevin Siegrist: A

My hero. 41st round picks are usually back working the night shift at the local factory by now. It isn’t a fluke, son. You belong there.

Edward Mujica: A+

Restored order. Mujica mojo was good for everyone but the Tums factory. Just one thing: Stay ahead in the count. 

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