The Orioles spent the final weeks of the 2011 season making life tough on the wild-card contenders in the American League, which ranks as a small consolation prize after they spent the rest of the year making life tough on themselves and their fans. So, at the very last minute, because they put an apple on our desk, we're changing the team's final grade from an F to a D-. It's hard to cut them much more slack with the fourth-worst record of the 30 major league clubs.
Here's the rest of our annual report card, which rates the individual performance of every position player who got at least 75 at-bats and every pitcher who threw at least 15 innings for the Orioles over the course of the past six months.
DISCLAIMER: These letter grades are based on performance relative to each individual's role on the Orioles' roster. The grades are not intended to rate players in relation to one another or players at their positions on other teams.
INFIELDERS, Key stat, Grade, Skinny
Ryan Adams, .281 avg., C+, Orioles like the way he swings bat, so why are they sending Matt Angle to instructional league to work at second base?
Robert Andino, 511 PA, B+, Didn't expect to be an everyday player but grabbed opportunity to win over manager Buck Showalter.
Chris Davis, .305 OBP, C, Contact issues cloud future, but impressed club with defensive versatility.
J.J. Hardy, 30 HR, A, Superb all-around performance almost made him team MVP, even though he missed month of season.
Derrek Lee, .404 SLG, D, Clearly cowed by AL East pitching. Never got off ground in Baltimore, but bat woke up in Pittsburgh.
Mark Reynolds, 37 HR, C+, Big power numbers, team-leading OPS made rocky defense and usual contact problems more palatable.
Brian Roberts, 163 AB, Incomplete, Tough to put a grade on Roberts' strange season in the midst of a long-running health saga that remains open-ended.
Matt Angle, 11 SB, C, Didn't hit for average (.177) and had some adventures in outfield, but opened some eyes on base paths.
Adam Jones, 25 HR, A-, Five-tool player still has room to grow after Most Valuable Oriole performance. Power numbers on rise in fourth full season.
Nick Markakis, 716 PA, C, Run-production numbers for 700+ plate appearances don't measure up to talent.
Nolan Reimold, 13 HR, C, Might have reopened some eyes with solid final month, but must pop next spring.
Felix Pie, .220 avg., F, Grand experiment ran hard aground in season that featured 7 RBIs in 85 games.
Luke Scott, 64 games, D+, Shoulder injury wiped out much of season. Will have to fight to regain regular role in 2012.
Craig Tatum, .195 avg., D, Not here for bat, but you still need more offense than that from your No. 2 catcher.
Matt Wieters, 22 HR, A-, Made big move this year to establish himself as one of elite all-around catchers, and there's more to come.
Vladimir Guerrero, 23 GIDP, C-, Declining run-production numbers and penchant for ill-timed double-play grounders no longer justify full-time cleanup role.
Jake Arrieta, 10 W, C, High ERA (5.05) and command problems should improve after elbow surgery.
Zach Britton, 11 W, B, Struggled through middle part of summer but rebounded to complete solid rookie season.
Jeremy Guthrie, 17 L, C, Once again, pitched way better than record but led majors in losses for second time. Needs change of scenery.
Brian Matusz, 10.69 ERA, F, Horribly discouraging season for Matusz and team. Must figure something out by next spring.
Tommy Hunter, 5.06 ERA, C, Tough competitor who ate innings and impressed Showalter in spite of poor ERA.
Jo-Jo Reyes, 6.16 ERA, D, Small sample here, but it's still hard to get by ERA that starts with six.
Alfredo Simon, 4 W, C, Showed flashes of brilliance, but good stuff overshadowed by lack of consistency.
Chris Tillman, 5.52 ERA, D+, Still gets some slack for tender years, but youth needs to be served fairly soon.
Jeremy Accardo, 1.62 WHIP, D, High walk/strikeout ratio and 5.73 ERA explain midseason outright assignment.
Brad Bergesen, 16 HR, D, That's a lot of home runs for 101 innings, and helps account for 5.70 ERA.
Jason Berken, 40 games, D, Struggled to stay healthy in 2011. Couldn't follow up on solid middle-relief performance of 2010.
Willie Eyre, 3.44 ERA, B, Made decent first impression, albeit in a very limited audition for next year.
Michael Gonzalez, 4.27 ERA, C-, Was adequate in middle-relief role, but not enough to justify big closer salary.
Kevin Gregg, 7 BS, D+, Solid guy, but too many walks, too-frequent meltdowns were momentum killers too many times.
Chris Jakubauskas, 1.687 WHIP, D, Impressed Showalter during spring training. Didn't step up in swing role.
Jim Johnson, 2.67 ERA, A, Pitched impressively in setup role, then made strong move as closer late in season.
Troy Patton, 3.00 ERA, B, Got chance to show what he could do late in season and won some respect. Just 5 walks in 30 innings.
Clay Rapada, 6.06 ERA, C, Did great job vs. left-handed hitters. ERA inflated by horrible numbers against righty hitters.
Koji Uehara, 0.702 WHIP, A, Impressive third season made him big trade chip in July. Brought solid return from Rangers.