It wasn’t that long ago that Garret Anderson was considered an elite outfielder. His strikeout to walk ratio was never very good but from 2000 through 2003, he hit at least 28 homeruns and drove in at least 116 runs in each of those years. His batting average is an impressive .297 but he sports only a career on base percentage of .327. And it definitely looks like that lack of patience at the plate has come back to haunt him. That and of course the injuries. In that past three seasons, he’s failed to more then 17 homeruns although his RBI total has gotten up to as much as 96 (in 2005).
Now, according to this Tim Brown column, Garret Anderson is healthy and ready to play. There’s no doubt a reinvigorated Anderson would go a long way towards the Angels making the playoffs in 2007 so I’m hopeful. But it’s also hard to get away from those past three years so I’m also skeptical.
It looks like the news on Chone Figgins is pretty disappointing. They’re now saying he has two broken fingers and that he’s expected to miss five to six weeks so we’re looking at a May debut. Not good.
Chone Figgins is going to miss most of the rest of the spring season with a broken finger. He did it while fielding a ground ball yesterday and while nobody has said how long he’s been out, Figgins appeared to be in good spirt and was hoping he’d be ready for opening day.
This is definitely bad news although I guess is could be worse. Jered Weaver’s forearm is still acting up and it looks like he’s going to start the season on the disabled list. The good news is, it’s only expected that he’ll miss one start and he could start a minor league game this weekend to begin his tune up. It’s bad enough that Bartolo Colon is still on the shelf but now we have to contend with our young phenom battling and injury as well.
Jim Caple at ESPN.com recently profiled the Angels bright, young infield yesterday in a great column. There’s a lot of stuff here so be sure to check it out.
Record – 70-91, Finished Ninth Place in the American League
Pythagorean Record – 73-88
C – Buck Rodgers (.233/.303/.293)
1b – Lee Thomas (.220/.301/.316)
2b – Billy Moran (.275/.310/.375)
3b – Felix Torres (.261/.307/.361)
SS – Jim Fregosi (.287/.325/.422)
LF – Leon Wagner (.291/.352/.456)
CF – Albie Pearson (.304/.402/.398)
RF - Bob Perry (.253/.300/.361)
Homeruns – Leon Wagner (26)
Batting Average – Albie Pearson (.304)
OPS – Leon Wagner (.808)
Best Fielder – Lee Thomas (10 Fielding Runs Above Average)
SP – Ken McBride (251/13/3.26)
SP – Dean Chance (248/13/3.19)
SP – Don Lee (154/8/3.68)
SP – Bo Belinsky (76.7/2/5.75)
SP – Bob Turley (87.3/2/3.30)
CL – Julio Navarro (90.3/4/2.89)
Wins – Ken McBride, Dean Chance (13)
ERA – Dean Chance (3.19)
Strikeouts – Dean Chance (168)
Saves – Julio Navarro (12)
While 1962 was a step in the right direction for the francshise, 1963 was pretty much two steps back. The Angels pretty much returned all of their lineup and just about all of them had a worse season in 1962. The Angels did see the emergence of Jim Fregosi as a regular at shortstop and Dean Chance once again put together a solid season.
On May 8, 1963, the Angels had a solid 15-14 record and they were a game and a half back of first place in a very tight American League race. On June 29, 1963, they were 41-38 and while they were 5 1/2 games back of a red hot Yankees team, they still had their heads above water. Then the bottom fell out from under them and the Angels lost ten straight games to start a stretch where they’d go 29-53, the worst record from that point on in the American League.
When you combine mediocre pitching with poor hitting, you get a bad combination. Leon Wagner led the team with 26 homeruns (good for ninth in the American League) but no other Angel hit more then nine homeruns. Albie Pearson contended for a batting title and he finished fourth with a .304 mark but other then that, the only above average hitter the Angels had was shortstop Jim Fregosi. Even Wagner’s numbers were a little deceiving. He finished with the 26 homeruns, but he had only eleven doubles and one triple.
The end result was the eighth best slugging percentage (.354) and the seventh best on base percentage (.307) in the American League. The team scored 597 runs, which was ninth in the AL and they were ninth in homeruns with 95. Other then Albie Pearson, the team couldn’t draw walks and the Angels were ninth in the AL with 448.
Unfortunately, while the pitching was decent, it was good enough to make up for the poor offense. Dean Chance had another nice year and he was a season away from a breakout campaign. To show for it, he went 13-18 despite sporting a team best 3.19 ERA. Ken McBride was the only starter to finish with a winning record and even that was just barely done. He finished 13-12 and he had an ERA just a touch above Chance’s.
The Angels would bounce back to a certain extent in 1964 but that’s another story (the Dean Chance story).
In what’s a very interesting, MiLB.com takes a look at the Angels’ deep minor league system. There’s quite a bit here including profiles on players at each stop in the system including profiles on Nick Green and Brandon Wood and it looks like they expect some big things from Wood and Nick Adenhart. There’s a lot of stuff here so be sure to check it out.
The Hardball Times kicked off their “five questions” series of team previews today and one of the first ones were the Angels. Sean Smith kicks around whether the Gary Matthews signing was historically bad, what to expect from Jered Weaver as well as well as what kind of job Bill Stoneman did and whether he might have a job in 2008.
Rich Lederer recently penned a column at Baseball Prospectus about what the Angels have to do to win the 2007 World Series. He talks about how the team has nearly turned over since they won the World Series in 2002 but that Mike Scioscia’s style is still in place. I didn’t realize this the Angels had the best record in the majors from July 1 forward (about the same time I started this site ). He also touches on how the Angels will ride the pitching staff because that’s what will make or break the season and he also talks about what Howie Kendrick and Mike Napoli have to do. Good read.
In a recent Hardball Times column, Jeff Sackman examined the best benches in the MLB. At the head of the class were the Los Angeles Angels. He talks about how super-utility man Chone Figgins gives the team a ton of flexibility despite the fact that he has a starting job and that while the Angels have no “great” option as the starter at first, they do have two guys with some promise and one of them will be on the bench while the other is playing. And then of course you have the youth movement with Brandon Wood and Erick Aybar. Good stuff here.
The Angels got it done today, at least with the bat. Brandon Wood had two hits and two runs while Tommy Murphy drove in two runs in the 9-8 win. Murphy also hit the only homerun for the Angels today.
On the pitching side, Hector Carrasco was solid in the first inning but then all five relief pitchers gave up runs. Arredondo was particularly hit hard. He gave up three runs on three hits and two walks and only got one batter out.
The Angels will try to remain perfect this spring tomorrow against the Brewers. It’s a 12:05 start time.
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