25-year old righty swinging 2B Howie Kendrick is the complete package as he’s a good hitter and defender, but, he always seems to get injured. Kendrick played in 92 games for the Angels last season and he was 104 for 340 (.306 avg, .754 OPS) with 43 runs scored, 3 homers, 37 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. Kendrick also shows good range in the field and he only made 4 errors in 92 games at 2B for the Angels last season. I really believe that Kendrick could win a batting title soon if he can just get enough at bats to qualify for it.
24-year old righty swinging Sean Rodriguez will likely start 2009 in AAA as he didn’t play too well for the Angels last year. He played in 59 games for the Angels in 2008 and he was 34 for 167 (.204 avg, .593 OPS) with 18 runs scored, 3 homers, 10 RBIs and 3 stolen bases. He only made 2 errors in 51 games at 2B last season for the Angels but he didn’t show much range. Unless something happens to Kendrick, Maicer Izturis or Erick Aybar, I think Rodriguez will spend most of 2009 in AAA ball. He played in 66 games in AAA ball last season and he was 76 for 248 (.306 avg, 1.042 OPS) with 68 runs scored, 21 homers, 52 RBIs and 4 stolen bases.
28-year old Maicer Izturis and 25-year old Erick Aybar are both switch hitters who are battling for the starting shortstop job. The loser of the competition will probably back up at SS, 2B and 3B for the Angels next season. Izturis played in 23 games at 2B last season for the Angels and he made 2 errors while showing outstanding range. Aybar played only 2 games at 2B last season and he didn’t make any errors.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE 2009 SEASON: B