Jeff Zrebiec grades the 2010 Orioles

The fairest way to evaluate the Oriole players probably would have been to assign two different grades – a B.S. one for "Before Showalter' and a U.S. one for "Under Showalter."

The performance of so many of the players, including young starters Brad Bergesen and Brian Matusz, improved dramatically after Showalter was named the Orioles manager Aug. 2, and that made grading the club difficult.

But as Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail has said several times, you have to evaluate the team on the entire season, and not just on the final two months.

That's what the goal was in compiling the final marks for the 2010 Orioles. All position players with more than 100 at-bats and pitchers with more than 20 innings as Orioles were graded. Grades are based on performance relative to each individual's role on the Orioles' roster. They are not intended to rate players in relation to one another or to other teams.

Key: Players name, key stat, grade

Infielders

Garrett Atkins, 1 HR, F: Atkins has been out of baseball since his late-June release, proof of how poorly he played with O's.

Josh Bell, 53 Ks, D: Club still excited about his future, but he looked completely overmatched during extended tryout.

Jake Fox, 7 HRs, C-: Acquired in late June, he showed he could run into a fastball, but he did little else in few chances.

Cesar Izturis, 9 errors, C-: Had standout year defensively, forcing O's to decide whether that's acceptable tradeoff for offensive liabilities.

Julio Lugo, .249 avg., D+: Brought in as insurance for ailing Brian Roberts, veteran didn't stand out in limited opportunities.

Brian Roberts, 59 games, C-: He was productive while in the lineup, but his durability is major concern going forward.

Miguel Tejada, 39 RBIs, C: Before his trade to San Diego, Tejada served his purpose, keeping the hot corner warm for Bell.

Ty Wigginton, 76 RBIs, B-: Nearly dumped before season began, versatile vet led team in RBIs and was lone All-Star.

Outfielders

Adam Jones, .325 on-base pct., C: Up-and-down year for Jones, who still struggles with plate discipline, defensive consistency.

Nick Markakis, 60 RBIs, C+: Declining homer, RBI totals marred what was an otherwise strong year in other facets.

Corey Patterson, 21 steals, B-: Signed to minor league deal in late April, veteran gave surprising lift with speed and power.

Felix Pie, .274 avg., C+: Still prone to both injuries and mental lapses, though he has improved steadily in securing left-field job.

Nolan Reimold, .207 avg., F: Struggled at start and spent nearly four months in Triple-A in a disastrous season.

Luke Scott, 27 HRs, B+: After slow start, he morphed into O's most dangerous hitter and avoided normal extended slumps.

Catchers

Craig Tatum, 34 starts, C: Beat out Chad Moeller in spring and did solid job defensively, wasn't overmatched at the plate.

Matt Wieters, .377 Slugging pct., C-: Made great strides defensively but looked nowhere near middle-of-order hitter he was projected as.

Starting pitchers

Jake Arrieta, 18 starts, C+: Struggled to throw strikes at times, though he put himself in good spot for next year's rotation.

Brad Bergesen, 4.98 ERA, C-: Had a strong final two months, but you can't dismiss rocky first four months, two Triple-A demotions.

Jeremy Guthrie, 2091/3 IP, B+: Strong second half erased memories of poor '09 and sparked rotation's late-season resurgence.

Brian Matusz, 143 Ks, B-: Went from Rookie of the Year candidate to disappointment to polished pitcher that O's hoped to see.

Kevin Millwood, 16 losses, D+: Victimized by poor run support, but he's first to admit he didn't pitch well for much of season.

Chris Tillman, 5.87 ERA, D: Righty was near dominant in Triple-A and looked mostly overwhelmed in three big league stints.

Relief pitchers

Matt Albers, 62 games, C-: Had solid second half, but consistency issues remain and he's a nontender candidate in offseason.

Jason Berken, 3.03 ERA, B+: For first three months before shoulder injury, he was staff's most effective reliever and team's biggest surprise.

Michael Gonzalez, 1 save, D+: Is no longer Public Enemy No.1 among fans, but he has long way to go to fulfill $12 million deal.

Mark Hendrickson, .313 avg. against, D+: His versatility is asset to any bullpen, though he wasn't nearly as effective as in '09.

David Hernandez, 8 wins, B-: Appears to have found a home in the bullpen and should occupy important setup role going forward.

Jim Johnson, 3.42 ERA, C: After long stay on DL, Johnson and his sinker returned and he re-established himself as top setup man.

Will Ohman, 51 games, B: Did solid job as lefty specialist before he was sent to Florida Marlins before trade deadline.

Alfredo Simon, 10 HRs allowed, C: Difficult second half and barrage of long balls doesn't erase quick comeback from Tommy John surgery.

Koji Uehara, 13 saves, B+: When finally healthy, Uehara brought stability to back end of the bullpen and made case to come back next year.

NOTES: Only position players with more than 100 at-bats and pitchers with more than 20 innings as Orioles this season were graded. Grades are based on performance relative to each individual's role on the Orioles' roster. They are not intended to rate players in relation to one another or to other teams. jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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