So, I wasn't really planning on doing a post like this, but I drew some inspiration from Adam and Jeff on the matter, and, well, here you go. There may or may not be a set of letter grades for the position players in the afternoon, which I suppose would make this an incomplete report card. Will I actually follow through and manage to post those as well? Who knows! It's a surprise!
In any event, here are some delightfully arbitrary letter grades for your perusal. In the interest of preserving my sanity, I only covered pitchers who have amassed 20 or more innings this year:
Matt Harrison: 17 G, 113.1 IP, 3.10 ERA, 3.49 FIP, 2.6 fWAR -- Grade: A
Minimal walks/homers + a huge ground-ball rate = great things. Harrison still serves as something of a poster child for the 'doesn't strike out as many batters as he should given the quality of his stuff' division of major league pitchers, and I think modern-era pitchers with 5-6 K/9 rates do tend to unnerve the saber-acquainted populace a bit because they operate with those thinner margins for error ... but Harrison, for his part, has been excellent this year, and despite generating less hype at the time of the Mark Teixeira trade than guys like Feliz or Andrus or Saltalamacchia, he may very well end up being the first among that group to make it into the single-season 5 fWAR club.
Yu Darvish: 16 G, 102.2 IP, 3.59 ERA, 3.68 FIP, 2.2 fWAR -- Grade: A-
On the one hand, Darvish has proven more walk-prone than I think even the front-office/dugout brain trusts anticipated, and there have been issues here and there with Darvish starting a game poorly, or ending a game poorly, or fighting to keep his mechanics in check, or another matters along those lines. On the other hand, he's been just about as good as anyone could reasonably expect him to be in his first few months in the big leagues, and he pulled down a (deserved) All-Star designation while remaining on a 4-5 fWAR trajectory. He's not a true, front-line ace yet, I don't think, but he's on an upward arc that should hopefully elevate him into that tier in the not-so-distant future.
Oh yeah, and remember when this happened?
Colby Lewis: 15 G, 100.0 IP, 3.51 ERA, 3.72 FIP, 2.0 fWAR -- Grade: A-
I, for one, will continue to pray that his hip doesn't spontaneously explode all over the infield one of these days.
Neftali Feliz: 8 G, 42.2 IP, 3.16 ERA, 4.61 FIP, 0.5 fWAR -- Grade: B-
A very strange first half for Feliz, who really got hammered on the walks (4.9 BB/9), but posted one of the best rotation ERAs on the team thanks in large part to the pitcher-aiding .213 BABIP and 82.6 percent strand rate ... and then hit the DL for the long haul, with his return to the majors reportedly coming in a few more weeks. Barring further rotation injury, he'll move to the bullpen and hopefully resume functioning as a monster late-inning arm down the stretch; as far as 2013 is concerned, however, I'm not sure where he's going to end up being come the end of spring training, or whether the Rangers will have the inclination/patience to push him for a rotation spot yet again.
Derek Holland: 13 G, 73.0 IP, 5.05 ERA, 4.54 FIP, 0.8 fWAR -- Grade: C
This season has, in a few key respects, threatened to become a lost season for Holland -- the run prevention hasn't been there, obviously, as he has been throttled on the homers-allowed end of the spectrum (his spectacularly crappy 64.8 percent strand rate hasn't helped in that regard, either, even though that's something you would expect to normalize over time), and he was sick for an extended period of time, and the velocity has been down ... I could go on and on. You do feel okay about him rebounding during the second half and at least performing like a mid-rotation starter on a championship-caliber team, and him furnishing that type of value in relation to his contract would still easily make him a nice long-term rotation asset ... but, no, it wasn't a good first half.
Scott Feldman: 16 G, 55.0 IP, 5.89 ERA, 4.46 FIP, 0.6 fWAR -- Grade: D
I'm listing Feldman among the starting pitchers because the majority of his appearances this season actually have been made in the starting rotation ... and, frankly, this is a tough letter grade to work through, because, on the one hand, his fielding-independent peripherals have been good enough to signify some value added above replacement, while on the other hand, a lot of the terrible ERA has to do with just blatantly poor pitching and the delivery of a lot of extremely hittable balls. So, fWAR portrays Feldman as an asset, and bWAR -- which, as far as I know, has its foundation rooted in runs allowed on the pitching end -- portrays Feldman as a sub-replacement pitcher. It's no wonder that people making their first real forays into the realm of advanced statistics end up becoming so confused.
Despite his gripes about being moved back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen, though, and despite my continued belief that he's the quintessential change-of-scenery guy whose performance would probably benefit more from a trip out of Texas than anything else at this point, you expect that he'll at least hang around through the end of the season as an expensive insurance policy. Well, I think you expect that. Maybe. And as far as the letter grade is concerned, yeah, you can easily make the case for an F. I wouldn't quibble too much with that either way.
Roy Oswalt: 4 G, 23.0 IP, 6.26 ERA, 3.89 FIP, 0.4 fWAR -- Grade: ???
If he stays healthy, he should pitch like a No. 3-4 starter who displays a few flashes of front-line brilliance. If he doesn't stay healthy, he'll be just another old pitcher languishing on the DL.
Joe Nathan: 36 G, 36.1 IP, 1.73 ERA, 1.72 FIP, 1.5 fWAR -- Grade: A
Remember when this was panned as one of the worst signings of the winter? Remember when the panic/angst broke out after he struggled early on in the season? Yeah, consider the Nathan deal evidentiary of how we sometimes don't know as much as we think we do.
Alexi Ogando: 28 G, 34.2 IP, 2.08 ERA, 2.49 FIP, 1.1 fWAR -- Grade: A
Considering that Ogando was on a 90-inning, 75-appearance pace before the injury, and considering that we all harbor this hope of the Rangers making a deep post-season run, I'm going to go ahead and surmise that maybe, just maybe, that injury was a good thing in the long run.
Robbie Ross: 34 G, 47.1 IP, 0.95 ERA, 3.15 FIP, 0.8 fWAR -- Grade: A
I also admit to being a bit concerned by Ross's first-half workload, but, you know, sometimes those concerns end up being unfounded, and it will be interesting to see how the Rangers elect to play things with Ross next year, and whether circumstances cause Ross to be lent serious consideration for a back-rotation spot coming out of spring training in 2013. By the way, here's a list of every reliever in major league history to throw more than 40 innings in their rookie season and post a sub-1.00 ERA:
Koji Uehara: 20 G, 21.1 IP, 2.11 ERA, 3.11 FIP, 0.3 fWAR -- Grade: A-
Injuries pushed Uehara into a somewhat higher-leverage role before he himself was injured, but based on the generally low leverage indexes of his appearances this year, you can't help but develop the impression that he just doesn't inspire much in the way of confidence from Ron Washington and Mike Maddux. Not a bad little first-half showing from the guy that so many people were ready to launch into the sun after approximately 10 lousy innings with the Rangers last fall, though. If he ever gets the HR/9 issue figured out ...
Mike Adams: 35 G, 29.1 IP, 3.07 ERA, 2.83 FIP, 0.7 fWAR -- Grade: B+
Strikeouts down, walks up, velocity down ... yeah, it's been a somewhat odd year for Adams, although it should be noted that his swinging-strike rate is virtually identical to what it was last year. I doubt he's going to figure into the Rangers' post-2012 plans, because you'd think that some club would have designs on slotting him into a ninth-inning role (and bestowing upon him the salary to match in free agency), but that maybe that's a bit presumptuous.
Mark Lowe: 26 G, 31.1 IP, 2.30 ERA, 3.48 FIP, 0.3 fWAR -- Grade: B+
Is there anyone ever who has ever gotten all that fired up or developed a really hard-line stance on Mark Lowe one way or the other? No? Just wondering.