The Angels finished the first half of the 2011 season on a four game winning streak as they have vaulted past the Mariners into second place. They are 50-42 on the season which has them 1 game behind the Rangers in the A.L. West and 5 games behind the Yankees for the Wild Card. The Angels could be looking for some offensive firepower and bullpen help in the coming weeks as they are going to need reinforcements to deal with the Rangers in the second half. Here is a look at the players who made the biggest impacts for the Angels in the first half:
Team MVP: 28-year old righty starting pitcher Jered Weaver gets this honor. The Angels feel like they are going to win every time he takes the mound…..and for good reason. Weaver has started 19 games for the Angels so far this year and he is 11-4 with a 1.86 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP. He has only given up 97 hits and 31 walks in his first 140 1/3 innings this year and he has 120 whiffs, proving just how nasty he has been. The Cy Young Award is within reach if he has a strong second half.
Biggest Surprise: This is a tie between 23-year old righty closer Jordan Walden and 25-year old righty swinging 1B Mark Trumbo who are two of the best rookies in baseball right now. When the season started, Fernando Rodney was the Angels’ closer. Mike Scioscia tired of Rodney’s escapades in the 9th inning so he turned to Walden. Walden has pitched in 39 games (0 starts) so far this year for the Angels and he is 2-2 with 20 saves, a 2.84 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. He has only given up 28 hits while whiffing 41 batters in his first 38 innings this year as he reminds me of a young Troy Percival. Kendry Morales was supposed to come back this season but his ankle was never right. The Angels turned to Mark Trumbo and he has responded well to the challenge. Trumbo has played in 84 games for the Angels so far this year and he is 77 for 296 (.260 avg, .788 OPS) with 35 runs scored, 17 homers, 41 RBIs and 8 stolen bases.
Biggest Disappointment: When the Angels dealt for 32-year old righty swinging Vernon Wells over the winter, they were expecting him to add juice to the lineup. He has not done that to this point in the season. Wells has played in 65 games for the Angels so far this year and he is 57 for 257 (.222 avg, .657 OPS) with 36 runs scored, 13 homers, 34 RBIs and 3 stolen bases. The Angels need Wells to have a big second half with the bat.