Archive for the ‘Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’ category

April (and some of March) in review…(AL)

May 1, 2008

The first month of the season has come to a close, so let’s hand out some hardware.

Note: These are for the baseball played since the first series in Japan in late March, through the end of April. Some of these acknowledgments will be completely irrelevant in May (if they are even relevant now)…

Best Team: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The Angels are tied with Oakland for the best record in the AL. However, I give the edge to the Angels because the A’s will fizzle. LA just has more star power. Their pitching staff, led by Joe Saunders and Ervin Santana, both have ERAs under 3 and Jered Weaver pitched like an ace the other day against the potent Detroit offense. Santana is stepping it up while Jon Garland is sucking and Kelvim Escobar’s career could be over. K-Rod is 11 for 12 in save opportunities.

The offense is really clicking this season for the Angels. They have scored 140 runs so far with their strong lineup. Casey Kotchman is off to a great start batting .344/.406/.594. Chone Figgins is having an all-star season so far batting .313 with 8 steals. Offseason acquistion Torii Hunter is fitting in very nicely with his new squad and Vladimir Guerrero is batting .271, which is good, but will most likely rise because he is very dangerous. SS Erick Aybar is a young guy to keep an eye on batting .318 so far. He also plays a good shortstop.

Los Angeles is doing just fine without stud pitchers John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar. Though Escobar won’t be back, Lackey should be around soon, and he will only help the Angels pull ahead of Oakland for what looks to be another championship season. (more…)

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Future pitching coach Kelvim Escobar

March 27, 2008

A couple weeks ago, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim looked to be the front runners for the AL West division title. But, that was before the potential career ending injury to 2007 18 game winner RHP Kelvim Escobar. Escobar has a tear in his pitching shoulder and it is almost certain he will miss the 2008 season. This makes the AL West race a lot more interesting this season. I originally had the Angels winning the division this season, but Escobar was a large part of my projection. Escobar’s 18 wins and 3.40 ERA were instrumental in the Angels division title last season and this is a huge loss for the team. And on top of the possible career ender to Escobar, he will be joining ace RHP John Lackey on the disabled list. Lackey has a strained triceps and will not be throwing a ball for another two to three weeks. Lackey finished third in the 2007 Cy Young voting last season with a 19-9 record and an AL leading 3.01 ERA. Lackey will return this season, but it still raises the questions, how many games will the Angels lose without their ace for approximately a month, and will he return to his 2007 form?

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5 Non-Roster Invitees That You’ve Never Heard of Who Might Make An Impact in 2008

March 14, 2008

In Spring Training every year, players that never got an opportunity from the minors to the majors and are hitting or pitching very well. Guys like Matt Diaz have exelled like this. Of course, we all know the high-profile stories about how Juan Gone hit a homer off of Johan Santana, as well as him doing very decent in Spring Training. Of course we know about how Bret Boone might catch on in the Nationals after a battle with alcoholism. These are not big-time prospects like Jay Bruce or Evan Longoria or Indians 2007 draft pick Beau Mills on a minor league contract. If any of these guys do not play this year, then don’t sue me. These are players that you might not have heard of, but they can make an impact, or had success last year but not many are talking about. In no particular order.

Hitters

Micah Hoffpauir – 1B – Chicago Cubs

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Ok, the Cubs are stacked at first base with Derrek Lee and Daryle Ward, and it would be stupid for the Cubs to carry three first basemen, but the 28-year old Hoffpauir has been hitting .455 during spring training and also has played in every game. He should have been the Pacific Coast League MVP rather than Geovany Soto, if Hoffpauir did not go down with a knee injury mid season.

“A large part of the RBIs that Soto (the eventual Pacific Coast League MVP) was getting in the second half of the season were ones that Hoffpauir was getting earlier in the year, Bailey noted.”

If Ward or Lee get injured, then count on Hoffpauir to deliver in the Majors. He’s a great hitter that never got a chance, and my favorite player out of this bunch.

Check this out for more players you’ve never heard of.

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Division Preview: AL West

March 11, 2008

A competitive division race appears to be in store out west this season. Everyone but the A’s made major noise this off season with high profile moves, though the A’s did can Nick Swisher in one of the Moneyball, minor rebuilding efforts. Also, this division has four teams while the NL Central has six teams. I would not mind MLB making the simplest realignment in its history by moving one more team to the AL West for the sake of symmetry. Enough of that sidebar, we’ll get to the teams. (more…)