Angels Catchers

Blogged under Front Page,Positional Preview for Season,Uncategorized by High Heat on Monday 5 February 2007 at 4:16 pm

This will be a wide open battle between three flawed catchers in Spring Training. The one who appears to have the most talent is 25 year old Mike Napoli. He had a great start to his career, but only hit .164 in the second half of the season after pitchers quit throwing him fastballs…which he crushes. He hit .228 as a rookie last season and scored 47 runs, hit 16 homers and drove in 42 runs in about half a season. The Angels probably would put up with his low average as long as he maintains his power and keeps playing good defense. He does need to work on making better contact as he whiffed 90 times in only 268 at bats. Napoli has a strong arm as he threw out 30% of the base stealers that challenged him. He needs to harness his arm strength as he made 8 errors and allowed 2 passed balls and that needs to improve.

31 year old Jose Molina has been a backup his whole career, so he’s not likely to win the starters job. He only hit .242 with a lousy .642 OPS last season. Molina threw out 42% of runners who tried to steal on him, but he also had 8 errors and 5 passes balls…so he has some things to work on when Spring Training comes. He likely will be the backup for the Angels in 2007.

The Angels gave 24 year old Jeff Mathis the starting job out of Spring Training last season, but he didn’t do much and was quickly sent to the minors. He only had 8 hits in 55 at bats last season for the Angels (.155 avg). He didn’t pout when he was sent to the minors and hit a solid .289 in AAA with a .763 OPS. He will get a chance to battle for the starting job in Spring Training but he is clearly #3 on the Totem Pole going in.

New Faces in 2007

Blogged under Arrivals & Departures,Uncategorized by High Heat on Thursday 1 February 2007 at 11:42 pm

The Los Angeles Angels felt that they just needed a couple of pieces to win the A.L. West this season. The spent almost all of their money on offense. The first big piece they signed was center fielder Gary Matthews. Matthews is one of the best defensive players in the game and he had a super year with the bat last season. Matthews hit .313 with 102 runs scored, 19 homers and 79 RBIs as a leadoff hitter. One has to wonder if he’ll ever approach those numbers again because it was a career season in his walk year. The Angels then signed Shea Hillenbrand after Juan Rivera broke his leg playing winter ball. Hillenbrand is a solid hitter as he’s got a batting average of .293 over the last three seasons and he’s averaged 77.3 runs scored, 18 homers and 76.7 RBI.

The Angels only have brought in a couple of pitchers but they both have a good chance to make the bullpen for them. Lefty Darren Oliver had one of the best seasons of his career last year with the Mets as he compiled a 3.44 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. The Angels had big trouble with lefty hitters last season and they’re hoping Oliver can fix that. The Angels also acquired hard throwing righty Chris Resop in a trade with the Marlins. He will probably be the first guy in if a starter gets tired.

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