Tag Archives: 3rd

LET’S GET CHONE FIGGINS INTO THE 2009 ALL-STAR GAME!!!

Click HERE

or where it says VOTE on the button below

to vote for Figgy!

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figgy point

As much as I’m happy that the play of Torii Hunter and Brian Fuentes didn’t go unnoticed by players and coaches, I just can’t seem to understand how they turned a blind eye and left Chone Figgins off the team.

The speedster atop the Halo lineup has been the table-setter all year long and has been hitting the ball great as well as playing Gold Glove-caliber defense over at the hot corner.

On the season, Figgy and all 5’8″ of him (that’s what they list him at… I’m not buying it) are hitting .312 with 1 homer and 26 RBI, to go along with 24 steals on the basepaths. Entering today’s final game with the Orioles, Chone was tied for 1st in the American League in runs with 60 and had the 8th best on-base percentage mark in the AL as well.

Halo fans, we NEED to get our boy Chone to St. Louis for the All-Star game… we all know he deserves it!

Vote as many times as you can! Tell your friends to vote as many times as they can! Let’s get it done!

I can’t stand to have Figgy’s numbers go overlooked… again!

Just clickVOTEor right here to get started!

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Future Angels Stepping Up Big in College World Series

razorbackssparky

Do not be alarmed at the irony, but make no mistake about it; in the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft, the Angels fell in love with the Devils.

The Sun Devils, that is.

So much as a matter of fact, that they spent 3 draft picks on Arizona State players.

With the final pick of the 3rd round, the Angels picked Sun Devil left-hander Josh Spence, who had gone 9-1 before the start of the College World Series.

In the World Series, the Australia native has put forth valiant efforts in both of Arizona State’s victories, coming against a talented University of North Carolina team which features two top-15 picks, and plenty of bats that feature .300+ batting averages.

In his first outing against UNC, Spence matched Alex White, the 15th overall pick for UNC pitch-for-pitch, throwing 8 innings of 1-run ball. The Devils would need extra innings and some Tar Heel blunders to win the game, but had it not been for Spence’s magnificent effort, the Devils would have stood no chance.

And today, in an elimination game against that same North Carolina squad, Spence threw a total of 126 pitches in 7 innings of work, allowing 4 runs, 3 of them earned. He would allow 7 hits, while striking out 8 and walking only 2 Tar Heel batters. Against the Tar Heels’ 2 best offensive players in 2nd overall pick Dustin Ackley (.417 avg.) and 2nd round pick Kyle Seager (.393 avg.), Spence would allow them to go a combined 1-for-8 with a single, a strikeout, and one successfully turned double play.

Spence would earn his 10th win of the season, pushing his season record to 10-1, while upping his ERA to an incredibly respectable mark of 2.37. Spence picked up the slack after 8th overall pick and staff ace Mike Leake let the club down in a loss to Texas the game before. Spence has had great composure on the mound and has been able to prove to me and all who watched ASU play ball during his starts, that he can indeed be a very serviceable lefty in the future for the Halos.

With their 8th round pick, the Halos picked up Sun Devil catcher Carlos Ramirez. Ramirez may not have the prototypical body that scouts look for in a catching prospect, but he is no doubt an above-average athlete and a great hitter who manufactures runs and hits at a very high average. Ramirez had the go-ahead RBI single in the 10th inning of ASU’s first game of the College World Series against UNC, and today had his 75th RBI of the season. Ramirez reached base in 4 of 5 plate appearances in today’s elimination game against UNC, going 1-for-2 with 3 walks and 1 RBI. Ramirez is the type of catcher that I pray makes the big league squad as soon as possible (although it will be a matter of years most likely) since Mathis and Napoli have not been all that consistent at the bat over the past season and a half. He’s a serviceable catcher defensively and above average with the bat, and I love the scouting that the Angels did on Ramirez. I truly feel he could be one of the biggest impact players the Angels drafted in ’09 and I’m excited to see what the future has in store for this Devil/soon-to-be Angel.

It’s great to see these future Angels shining on the biggest stage of their college careers, and I just can’t wait for them to one day put on that Halo red and make positive contributions to the big league squad.

In the mean time, all you Angel fans out there have to be rooting on the Sun Devils of Arizona State, while keeping a look out for the aforementioned Josh Spence and Carlos Ramirez, as well as team co-captain Raoul Torrez, whom the Angels selected in the 32nd round.

In addition to ASU, you also have to root on the rallying Razorbacks of the University of Arkansas, as they also have a future Halo on their roster in senior catcher Ryan Cisterna, their 34th round selection.

After Wednesday’s epic comeback win against the University of Virginia, the Arkansas Razorbacks look to take down SEC foe LSU, the same team that issued Arkansas its only loss of NCAA play. And with a victory today, the Sun Devils are set for a rematch with the #1 overall seed University of Texas Longhorns.

Both games are set for Friday June 19th, with Arkansas/LSU scheduled for the early game at 11 a.m. Pacific time, and ASU/Texas scheduled for 4 p.m. Pacific.

Cross your fingers and keep an eye out for these future Angels as they aim to move on to the Championship Series in Omaha!

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Kendrick’s Demotion Means It’s Maicer’s Time to Shine

kendrick izturisWhen you try to think of one word that can describe Howie Kendrick‘s offensive production for the Angels this year, what words come to mind?

Poor? Dismal? Nonexistent?

No matter how you slice it up, Howie Kendrick needed to be sent down to Triple-A ball. In my opinion, this move was made a month too late.

Howie on the year is hitting a depressing .231 for being regarded as one of the best pure hitters to come out of the minor leagues in recent memory. Heck, he hit over .360 in his 4 minor league seasons altogether.

Kendrick hit an even lower mark of .193 during the month of May. And the fact that he’s drawn only 10 walks in the 51 games he’s played in, it’s not like his on-base percentage of .281 is going to give Scioscia a reason to keep him in the bigs.

In his first 3 seasons in the MLB, Howie hit .285, .322, and .306 respectively, so it’s not like the kid can’t hit. But if there is one thing that gets to him, it’s the pressure.

Take the postseason for example, a time of the year where all the lights are on him to produce, and he shuts down. In 2 postseason appearances, Kendrick has amassed 4 hits in a total of 27 at-bats, good enough for a .148 batting average. In last year’s postseason series against the Red Sox, Howie compiled 2 hits in 17 at-bats, while striking out 7 times and drawing no walks.

To put it lightly, he just hasn’t been able to find his swing so far this year.

Thankfully, there is a “replacement” who I’m excited to see get regular starts in the field as well as at-bats.

That somebody is 28-year-old Maicer Izturis.

Maicer was acquired by the Halos back on November 19th, 2004 along with Juan Rivera from the Expos/Nationals (whatever they were at that time) in exchange for the talented but ticking time bomb named Jose Guillen.

Although Izturis is listed as a shortstop, he has also filled in time valiantly at both the 3rd base and 2nd base positions. Mike Scioscia is confident to put Maicer anywhere in the infield because he is as sound as they come with the glove.

Standing in at 5’8″, Maicer isn’t the prototypical shortstop people think of. He doesn’t have that incredible range, doesn’t necessarily have the strongest arm, that kind of thing. However, although he may not be great at one thing in particular, he is good at everything else.

He has made countless plays in the field this year that have gone straight to ESPN’s Top 10 Plays or Baseball Tonight’s Web Gems. He reads the ball great off the bat, always puts himself in great position to make a play, and always seems to deliver a great throw to finish the play, whether it be from 3rd, short or 2nd base.

And at the plate, while Maicer may not be the guy who hits over .325 in the lineup (.273 career hitter), or club countless home runs (career high in HR’s is 6), he does virtually everything else.

He’s a contact hitter, and rarely strikes out (career high in strikeouts was 39 in 336 at-bats in 2007).

Although he’s a career .273 hitter, his batting average seems to skyrocket any time there are runners in scoring position or if it’s a late-in-game or pressure situation (pretty much the polar opposite of Kendrick).

He puts pressure on the defense because he can run well, and does a great job of spraying the ball to all fields from both sides of the plate.

Ever since Mighty Maicer’s come to Anaheim, he hasn’t ever been able to really call himself an everyday player for Mike Scioscia’s ballclub.

In 2006 after centerfielder Darin Erstad hit the Disabled List, super utility man Chone Figgins was moved into center for the time being, opening up 3rd base for Maicer Izturis where he established himself as an incredibly capable defender worthy of more playing time (he ended up starting 78 games at 3rd in ’06).

In 2007, the Angels (much to my and many Angel fans’ current dislike) forked out $50 million dollars for centerfielder Gary Matthews Jr., fresh off an All-Star 2006 season. This forced Figgy back to 3rd, and Maicer back to being the odd man out. He once again became the space-filler for whenever any infielder would go down with an injury (mainly the oft-injured Howie Kendrick at 2nd).

Maicer suffered an injury-plagued 2008 campaign, but in his 52 games at shortstop throughout the season, he only committed 2 errors, good enough for a fielding percentage of .991 (translation = pretty damn good).

Now, he finds himself being the space-filler until Howie can find his swing, and the way we’ve seen Howie swing the stick this year, that could be quite a time-consuming search.

In his 1st start replacing Kendrick at 2nd base on Friday, all he did was go 4-for-4 with 2 singles, a double and a triple, as well as an RBI and 2 runs scored. He followed that up with a 1-for-3 showing Saturday night with a double and a run scored, all while playing spectacular defense at 2nd base.

And if I may add, man do Maicer and Erick Aybar make a pretty double-play tandem! Maicer and Erick compliment each other perfectly in my opinion. Aybar has arguably the most range of any shortstop in the major leagues and can make some incredible acrobatic plays (he’ll get to balls that Maicer has no chance of getting), let alone the fact that he’s got a cannon for an arm. However, all these incredible plays mean that he’s more susceptible to errors. Maicer makes every play look routine and is very consistent in the field.

I’m excited to see what this new lineup will do on a regular basis. It’s been pretty damn good so far, they’ve posted 20 runs in the first 2 games with this Kendrick-less lineup.

The lineup and overall defense can only improve from this move.

So Howie… take your time, buddy. No rush.

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It’s Time for Brandon Wood to get his Shot

wood

Dear Mr. Scioscia,

The team is struggling offensively (except for last night) to start the season. Pitching is decimated. The bullpen is horrendous. Times are rough in the early goings of the ’09 season for the team who many projected to be the winner of the American League West.

But here’s something that is years overdue to happen: let Brandon Wood get his shot with the major league squad… and let’s have him get comfortable with extended at-bats.

Until the last 2 games, Erick Aybar and Maicer Izturis had been awful at the plate. Aybar made a crucial error in the field yesterday that pretty much sealed the Angels’ fate in the game.

So why not give Wood a shot?

Yeah, yeah, he played poorly when he came up in ’07 and in ’08, but the kid just turned 24 years old. He’s a solid defender and can be a magician with the bat. He hits for power and extra bases with regularity, and to be honest, is starting to remind me more and more of Nick Adenhart and his situation going from the minors to the bigs.

Wood has been highly touted as the “next big thing” in the Angels’ farm system ever since he was drafted. In 2005, he put up absolutely ridiculous numbers. He hit .321, with 43 home runs and 51 doubles in Class-A ball. Including triples and 3 more extra base hits in 4 games in AAA ball, it was the first time ever that a player in the Minor leagues hit more than 100 extra-base hits in one season. That’s unheard of and borderline unreal!

In 2006, he was ranked as the #3 overall prospect in the minors by Baseball America, and in ’07, was ranked as the #8 overall prospect, so people across the nation know the talent inside of the kid.

In 2007 and 2008, he could never really get a groove going, after being sent up and down over and over. But also, I think the big thing for Wood was that he knew how much the organization and their fans expected out of him, and it could’ve been a case of him trying too hard when he got his shot. Just like Adenhart, Angel fans expected so much out of him that when he got called up last year. But in his appearances, his control was off, he couldn’t seem to retire a batter at times, and had his ERA balloon up to 9.00. Then, with fewer expectations, he came up this year, and pitched his way through jams in 5 dazzling innings, giving Angel fans a reason to keep the faith in him, albeit it would be his last start of his career.

Brandon Wood needs to have that same mentality. If he can find a way to relieve himself of the pressure that’s been mounted on his shoulders, I’m confident that he can put up numbers that we all know he is capable of putting up, just look at his 2005 season when he was only 20 years old.

So, Mr. Scioscia, I say the time is now. Switch it up a little bit. Hell, you’re plucking guys out of nowhere at this point for pitching, why not give B-Wood his extended opportunity now when the offense has been nonexistent for 12 of the 14 games this year.

Just a thought from a fan who’s sick of seeing nothing but singles out of the offense and/or zero production with runners in scoring position. The way the offense has been playing for the majority of the year so far, it sure as hell can’t hurt, right? You no doubt have nothing to lose, so why not give yourself an opportunity to gain?

Just a thought.

– Michael

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