Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Ryan Zimmerman has set a high standard for himself, which affects his grade.
I'm pleased to report that several of you did an outstanding job: Mr. Dunn, Mr. Zimmerman, Mr. Willingham, Mr. Clippard, Mr. Capps. Even Mr. Strasburg and Mr. Storen, who I know didn't join our class until recently but showed impressive aptitude in catching up to the rest of the group.
On the other hand, I'm very disappointed in the work turned in by a few of you. Mr. Harris: I expected more of you. Same for you, Mr. Kennedy. And Mr. Marquis? Well, I don't even know where to begin.
Overall, this class performed better than I probably expected it would this semester. Everyone worked extremely hard, so everyone gets an A for effort. But that's only a portion of your overall grade. This is a class based on actual results.
So with that, here is your midterm report card. If anyone wants to dispute their grade, I'll be available for office hours...
LUIS ATILANO: C
I had no expectation for you when you arrived. (Truthfully, I barely knew you existed.) But you turned some heads and impressed with your ability. I'm still not sure if you're worthy of a permanent spot in this class, but you'll probably get another chance to show me whether you are.
MIGUEL BATISTA: C
Your performance is hardly anything to get excited about. But you do fill an important role in this class. Someone has to be willing to be the guy who takes over when everyone else fails. It's not very glamorous work, but it's necessary and you do it reasonably well.
ROGER BERNADINA: B+
I was very interested to see your development this semester, and you didn't disappoint. This was an important step in your academic career, and you passed the test. Now it's up to you to maintain this high average and not slip back down next semester. I'll be watching closely.
SEAN BURNETT: B+
Quietly, you put together a solid semester. I call on you quite a bit, usually to answer only one or two questions. But most often, you get them right. You seem to understand your role in this classroom, and that's important. Not everyone gets it.
MATT CAPPS: A-
I'll admit I had some concerns about you when the semester began, but you quickly erased those doubts. You're not perfect by any means, but you get the job done when it matters most and you've helped solidify a part of the classroom that needed to be restored. You also represented this class in fine fashion at last night's meeting of the National Honor Society. Well done, sir.
TYLER CLIPPARD: A-
You really delivered through the majority of the semester and established yourself as an important contributor to this class, both for now and the future. But a gentle reminder: The semester isn't over til the last exam is turned in. Seemed to me like you were ready for summer vacation one week too soon.
IAN DESMOND: C
This one is difficult, I'll admit it. Since you're new to this class and are younger than most everyone else, it's only fair to grade you on a curve. But there are certain things I still expect from a first-time student. The best thing you can do is show marked improvement in the next semester. Ultimately, that's what you're being graded on this season.
ADAM DUNN: A-
You certainly seemed motivated this semester. Are you trying to earn some kind of, I don't know, extra credit? Whatever the reason, keep it up. My only complaint is your surprising difficult in pressure situations (3-for-36 with two outs and runners in scoring position). No reason to tense up for those pop quizzes. You know the material. Just trust yourself to get the answer right.
ALBERTO GONZALEZ: B-
It's tough being you. You sit in the back of the classroom, never saying a word. I rarely call on you to come to the chalkboard. I just take for granted that you're here. But when I do ask something of you, you give your best effort and often come through. So thank you for that.
CRISTIAN GUZMAN: B
I'll be honest: I wanted to give you a lower grade. But upon re-reading your exam, I realized you did better than I thought. You're showing more patience -- you've already drawn more walks (17) than you did all last year (16). And you've been a real team player, admirably accepting your role.
WILLIE HARRIS: D-
I'm very, very disappointed in you. I always have such high expectations for you, and in the past you've reached them. But you just haven't been able to do it this year. Things started off with so much promise -- that game-saving catch in New York in early April was incredible -- but you haven't done much of anything since.
LIVAN HERNANDEZ: A-
You are a wise, old master and your presence in this class is much appreciated. You're sort of like a teacher's assistant who also takes all the exams and does exceedingly well at them. I'm still not 100 percent confident you can keep this up through the next semester, but I really hope you do because, selfishly, I just enjoy having you in this class.
ADAM KENNEDY: C-
I'm not sure why this has been the case, but you've certainly underachieved to date. I wasn't expecting you to ace every exam, but I was expecting you to perform at a consistently respectable level. That hasn't happened, either at the plate or in the field. I want to give you more playing time, but you're going to have to convince me you deserve it.
JOHN LANNAN: D
I didn't want to have to send you back to that remedial class, I really didn't. But you gave me no choice. I sincerely hope you are rededicating yourself down there and will give me reason to bring you back soon. You should be an important member of this class.
JASON MARQUIS: F
I don't even know where to begin with you. I understand you were not at full strength at the start of the semester, but you should have let us know sooner that something was wrong. Because that 20.52 ERA wasn't really helping anyone out. Considering the massive scholarship we gave you to come to school here, you let a lot of people down.
J.D. MARTIN: B-
You show up for class on time every day. You do your work without making a fuss. You generally complete your assignments in a satisfactory fashion. It would be nice if you could step up and accomplish some loftier things. But I certainly can't complain about the job you have done.
JUSTIN MAXWELL: D
I've just about run out of patience with you. I give you opportunity after opportunity, and you continually let me down. So this is your last chance, mister. No, I really mean it this time. (Aw, who am I kidding? You'll be back again.)
NYJER MORGAN: D+
You know, your class clown act was more endearing when you were also an electric player in the field and at the plate. You brought energy to this whole class. But you weren't the same student this semester, and now that personality is wearing thin. Time to shape up, kid, or there's a good chance you won't be advancing to the next grade with the rest of your classmates.
MICHAEL MORSE: B
Your opportunities have been limited, and some believe you deserve more. But I'm just trying to put you in a position that sets you up for success. You've done a good job with that so far. Keep it up, and perhaps I'll be willing to find more opportunities for you.
WIL NIEVES: D-
You always show up for class with a smile on your face, which is admirable. But your performance continually makes me frown. I understand you have a limited set of skills and you're in a difficult position as Mr. Rodriguez's understudy. But it's time to contribute more to this class.
SCOTT OLSEN: INC
I really didn't think you had it in you, but you blew everyone's socks off with your performance early in the semester before your unfortunate trip to the nurse's office. You seem to steadfastly believe you'll be rejoining us in the near future, but I have my doubts.
JOEL PERALTA: A-
You're the newest member of this class, but you've made a nice impression so far. Keep it up, and there could be bigger and better things ahead for you.
IVAN RODRIGUEZ: A-
Despite being one of the oldest members of the class, you showed you can still keep up with the kids. Fantastic job working with the young pitching staff, and nice job contributing at the plate as much as you did. A bit of a slump over the last month keeps you from getting an A, but you weren't far from earning that grade.
DOUG SLATEN: B
Like your classmate Mr. Burnett, you quietly do a nice job whenever I call upon you. I know I don't always put you into the most exciting situations, but you seem to grasp that's not necessarily your role. Thank you for understanding that.
CRAIG STAMMEN: C-
There's plenty of reason to think you can do well in this class. I've seen you do it before. But you just don't seem to be able to bring the same effort from class to class. One day, you're all energetic and ready to contribute. The next, you don't look like you belong here.
DREW STOREN: A
You weren't with us from the beginning, but you blended right in and earned the respect of your classmates from day one. You've been an absolute pleasure to have around, and I sense a bright future for you.
STEPHEN STRASBURG: A
You joined this class in mid-semester as the hot shot, boy genius who got to skip a couple of grades. Everyone waiting with breathless anticipation for your arrival, but you know what? You delivered, big-time. Bravo, young man. Bravo. (Just don't get too cocky yet, OK?)
TYLER WALKER: C+
You've probably got the most thankless job in the class, filling in when others aren't doing their job, rarely getting a chance to contribute to meaningful discourse. But all things considered, you've done a satisfactory job.
JOSH WILLINGHAM: A
You raised your game this semester, young man, and took it to a level we didn't realize was there. Kudos to you for working hard to become a more-consistent (and patient) hitter and a better defensive outfielder. I have a feeling you'll be rewarded handsomely for your efforts sometime soon.
RYAN ZIMMERMAN: A-
You also get graded on a curve, and because you've set such a high standard for yourself over the years, I've got to hold you to a higher standard. In a vacuum, your numbers are probably worthy of a full-fledged A. But I know (and you know) you haven't quite been in top form. So you get docked just a few points.