Here's the final installment on the Cards mid-year grades, this one finishing up with the outfield.
Ryan Ludwick: A Along with Lohse and Wellemeyer, Ludwick has exceeded expectations as much as any other Redbird. Although he performed well in 2007 after coming up to St Louis, questions about his ability to play every day and not be over-exposed have been answered in the first half. Ludwick has been an incredibly consistent hitter, and has been near the league leaders all year in HRs and RBIs, finishing the first half with 56 RBIs. A little slump in the last week doesn't detract from his stellar first half.
Skip Schumaker: A Similar to Ludwick, in that he had a productive 2007 as a part-timer, but questions persisted in Spring Training about his ability to produce as an every day player. Like Ludwick, he has delivered in 2008, getting on base regularly (.362 OBP) and setting the table for the Cards' big hitters. Has been near the top 10 in the NL in runs scored all year, and has played well defensively.
Rick Ankiel: B Very solid in his first year as a full-time starter. Ankiel has provided consistent power in the 4-5 slots, but has been streaky at times. Has evened out the Home/Road difference that he had in 2007, when he was only productive at home. Playing Edmonds-like CF at times, inlcuding a couple of the best throws from CF that you will ever see.
Brian Barton: B- Part-time outfielder has been more than adequate, providing energy and a little speed off of the bench and in spot starts. Hitting .286 as a pinch-hitter, with a couple of really big hits off the bench.
Chris Duncan: D One of the bigger disappointments on the Cards roster, as he has continued to struggle coming back from 2007 surgery, and endured a demotion to Memphis for a coupld of weeks. Has lost a lot of the pop he provided over the last couple of years, and has struggled to drive in runs. Has shown better pitch selection during June, which has led to more walks and an improved OBP. Clearly the 4th outfielder now, his status as a bench player isn't helped by his 0 for 12 showing as a pinch-hitter this year.