25-year old righty Garrett Richards is moving from the pen back into the rotation to replace Joe Blanton. Richards has pitched in 34 games (4 starts) for the Angels so far this year and he is 2-4 with a 4.66 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. Richards has given up 70 hits and 19 walks while whiffing 48 batters in his first 67 2/3 innings so far this year. In his four starts this year, Richards is 1-2 with a 5.54 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. But, he has pitched well so far in July, working in 6 games (0 starts) in which he is 0-0 with a 1.54 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. The Angels need to be careful with Richards as guys sometimes hurt their arms by switching back and forth between the pen and the rotation during a season.
The Angels have claimed 30-year old righty reliever J.C. Gutierrez off waivers from the Kansas City Royals. Gutierrez pitched in 25 games (0 starts) for the Royals this year and he was 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. He has given up 30 hits and 8 walks while whiffing 17 batters in his first 29 1/3 innings, which are solid numbers. Gutierrez has now pitched in 175 games (3 starts) in his first five years in the majors and he is 5-11 with 24 saves, a 4.58 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. The Angels need help in the bullpen, so I like the fact that they are trying to improve in that area. Gutierrez pitched pretty decent ball for the Royals and the Angels hope that they are catching lightning in a bottle here.
The Angels need to really consider bumping 32-year old righty starting pitcher Joe Blanton from the starting rotation. He has pitched in 20 games (all starts) for the Angels so far this year and he is 2-13 with a 5.66 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP. He has given up 157 hits (24 homers) and he has 97 strikeouts while walking 28 batters in his first 116 innings this year, as he is getting hit really hard this year. Blanton has been especially awful so far in July. He has pitched in 4 games (all starts) so far in July for the Angels and he is 0-3 with a 8.84 ERA and a 2.24 WHIP. If the Angels want to get back into the playoff hunt this year, they can’t afford to run Joe Blanton out to the mound every five days.
The Los Angeles Angels have signed 28-year old righty swinging outfielder Cyle Hankerd to a minor league deal. He played in 81 games in Independent ball this year and he was 97 of 301 (.322 avg, 1.037 OPS) with 56 runs scored, 22 homers, 61 RBIs and 1 stolen base. Hankerd has now played in 787 games in his first 8 years in the minors and he is 824 of 2,759 (.299 avg, .857 OPS) with 417 runs scored, 95 homers, 494 RBIs and 13 stolen bases. Hankerd will start his career with the Angels in AA-ball.
27-year old righty reliever Jeremy Berg is pitching really well in AAA-ball for the Angels so far this year. He has pitched in 39 games (0 starts) in AA+AAA-ball so far this year and he is 3-0 with a 2.73 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. Berg has given up 51 hits and 11 walks while whiffing 44 batters in his first 56 innings pitched, which is pretty darn impressive. Berg has now pitched in 200 games (1 starts) in his first five years in the minors and he is 15-4 with 8 saves, a 3.01 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. Berg could get his first shot in the show later this year for the Angels.
The Angels have designated 32-year old righty swinging infielder Brendan Harris for assignment. Harris played in 44 games for the Angels this year and he was 22 for 107 (.206 avg, .607 OPS) with 14 runs scored, 4 homers and 9 RBIs. Harris has now played in 529 games in his first 8 years in the majors and he is 434 of 1,694 (.256 avg, .695 OPS) with 208 runs scored, 33 homers, 167 RBIs and 5 stolen bases. I think he will clear waivers, so it will be interesting to see if he accepts an outright assignment to AAA to stay with the Angels.
UPDATE: (7/23/2013) – Brendan Harris has elected to become a free agent.
The Los Angeles Angels aren’t going to be sellers, as they just spent way too much money this year to give up. But, I don’t see them making any major trades either. I think they could use a good backup infielder and some relief help. I would call the Mets and offer them Luis Jimenez and Michael Roth for infielder Justin Turner and righty relievers LaTroy Hawkins and David Aardsma. The Mets would likely jump at that kind of deal. Turner would help the Angels’ bench and Hawkins and Aardsma would really help the pen in the second half of the 2013 season.
The Los Angeles Angels finished the first half with a 44-49 record (47.3%), which has them in third place in the A.L. West, 11 games behind the A’s. They are also 9 games behind the Rays and Rangers for the Wild Card Spots in the A.L. Here is a look at the guys that made the biggest impacts for the Angels in the first half of the 2013 season, in my opinion:
TEAM MVP: Mike Trout – 21-year old righty swinging outfielder Mike Trout is having another rock solid year for the Angels. He has played in 92 games for the Angels so far this year and he is 119 of 370 (.322 avg, .964 OPS) with 65 runs scored, 15 homers, 59 RBIs and 21 stolen bases. Trout also has 29 doubles and 8 triples so far this year as he is hitting everything hard!
BIGGEST SURPRISE: J.B. Shuck – 26-year old lefty swinging outfielder J.B. Shuck was a long shot to make the team this spring. He has played in 67 games for the Angels so far this year and he is 58 of 197 (.294 avg, .714 OPS) with 23 runs scored, 0 homers, 20 RBIs and 3 stolen bases. Shuck has been a big time asset for the Angels so far in 2013.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Josh Hamilton – The Angels broke the bank to sign 32-year old lefty swinging outfielder Josh Hamilton last winter, and he’s mailing in his performance so far in 2013. Hamilton has played in 89 games for the Angels so far this year and he is 76 of 339 (.224 avg, .696 OPS) with 48 runs scored, 14 homers, 39 RBIs and 3 stolen bases. Hamilton has looked helpless at the plate at times as he has whiffed 95 times while only walking 26 times so far this year.
The Angels could really use some help in the bullpen if they are going to try to mount a serious playoff run in the second half of the 2013 season. 25-year old righty swinging 3B Luis Jimenez would definitely interest selling teams later this month. Jimenez played in 24 games for the Angels earlier this year and he was 16 for 69 (.232 avg, .539 OPS) with 10 runs scored, 0 homers and 2 RBIs. He has also played in 32 games in AAA-ball for the Angels this year in which he is 38 for 128 (.297 avg, .765 OPS) with 17 runs scored, 3 homers, 21 RBIs and 8 stolen bases.
21-year old righty swinging outfielder Mike Trout has been elected to start the All-Star Game by the fans. Trout has played in 87 games for the Angels so far this year and he is 111 of 352 (.315 avg, .947 OPS) with 60 runs scored, 15 homers, 57 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. Trout has not let his team’s slow start effect his performance as he is putting up big time numbers for the Angels in 2013. He is the true meaning of a five tool baseball player.