2008 Grades: The Infield, Part One

Since we’re well into the off-season now, I’m going to spend the next week or so and go through the roster and assign players grades along with some brief opinion what I think of them.

First Baseman, Kevin Millar
2007 Numbers: .234, 20 HR, 72 RBI, .323 OBP, .394 SLG, 145 games
Grade: D

Kevin Millar has had a fine career, but his career his obviously close to the end of the road as evidenced by the last two months of the season.

He was a decent glove at first base, and provided some pop; otherwise that, he didn’t instill a lot of confidence with me at all. Keep in mind, his numbers weren’t terrible, but they are not what you expect from a first baseman at all these days and his numbers were down all across the board based on what he’s done career-wise.

Millar is a great clubhouse guy, and a fan favorite; however, he’s 37, and I’d like the organization to move on from him along with see what’s out on the market.

Hell, I’d rather give Huff first base than him, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he’ll find his way back to Baltimore if we can’t sign a slugging first baseman.

Second Baseman, Brian Roberts
2007 Numbers: 155 games, .296 AVG, 9 HR, 57 RBI, 40 SB, .378 OBP, .450 SLG, 51 SB’s
Grade: A-/B+

Brian is no doubt one of the faces of the organization through his charity work and interaction with the fans, and his 2008 season once again proved why he’s one of the best lead-off and second baseman in baseball.

He’s a good all around player with speed, some power, hits for average, and was solid from the start of the season to the end.

Whether he should be traded is another topic, but I think if the Orioles consider his age (almost 31) to be an issue and do a full rebuilding program, he might be a name (to the sadness of some fans) that could, and probably should be moved if he and the team cannot come to terms on an extension.

Aubrey Huff, First/Third Base/DH
2007 Numbers: .304 AVG, 32 HR, 108 RBI, .360 OBP, .552 SLG, 48 2B
Grade: A

I didn’t know what to expect about of Huff this season, but I was pleasantly surprised and elated at what he did at plate.

Considering the way he started things off with fans before the season with his appearance on the “Bubba The Love Sponge Show”, the boos he encountered early turned to cheers because his bat did the talking for him.

He finally broke through in 2008 and showed why the Orioles bestowed such a contract on him in the first place. His numbers steadily improved throughout the season, and he kept the offense rolling, especially in the summer months.

I don’t know if his season was an aberration, or a sign that he’s back as a force at the plate, but the Orioles should be looking for a lot from him in 2009.