The Advanced Scout – Los Angeles Angels

Brett visits the land of the slumping seraphim to find out about the locationally-challeged Angels.

Ready for a road trip to Southern California? It’s time for beaches and smog and…beaches…yeah. Well, another West Coast road trip for the Red Sox, and their first stop is Orange County to play the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (of California [of the USA {of the world}]).

LOS ANGELES ANGELS41-44, 3rd place in the AL West

The Angels are one of those super-teams that gave out huge contracts to big-name players and then floundered when the regular season rolled around – mostly because there were some big weaknesses with said players. Age-related decline, impatience at the plate, etc. While they still have some great players, they have a long way to go to get themselves out of the hole they’re in. The Angels’ 8-2 record in the last ten games played is a step in the right direction.

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP

Mike Trout1 – J.B. Shuck – LF - .293/.342/.362

  • Interesting resumé in the minors. Always walked more than he struck out, and by a pretty sizable margin.
  • Speedy outfielder, but is slightly below average in the field. His speed hasn’t given the team anything on the base paths, either.
  • Little power to speak of (.069 ISO). Owns a .342 OBP, but a lower .312 wOBA.

2 – Mike Trout – CF - .314/.389/.537

  • A season and a half in the bigs, and this guy is already projected to be a perennial MVP candidate. Pretty sure he’s not human.
  • A true five-tool player. Already on his way to another 20-20 season, and might get 100 runs & 100 RBI as well.
  • The most terrifying part? Compared to last year, his walk rate has remained steady while his strikeout rate dropped by a whopping FIVE PERCENTAGE POINTS.

3 – Albert Pujols – DH - .244/.318/.418

  • Despite being a historically great hitter, he’s having a real down season. Not a “down season” where he still hits .280 & 35 homers – this one’s bad.
  • Still doesn’t strike out a lot. One of the few seasons his strikeout rate is above 10%, and even then, it’s not by a lot.
  • wRC+ is an even 100. Fangraphs hasn’t liked what he’s done so far at all: below average in fielding & baserunning, with a -0.1 fWAR.

4 – Josh Hamilton – RF - .226/.288/.400

  • Impatience personified in a baseball player. 24.7% strikeout rate. Doesn’t walk enough to compensate, as his walk rate sits just under 8%.
  • The power is still there in terms of his .174 ISO, but Hamilton’s .400 slugging percentage is easily the lowest of his career to date.
  • Not a great fielder, but certainly not terrible. Just slightly below average in right field.

5 – Howie Kendrick – 2B - .318/.361/.466

  • Prolific line drive hitter. 29.1% of all his hits are liners. While that’s unsustainably high, Kendrick won’t drop off too much.
  • Doesn’t really walk much (5.4 BB%). Relies on a higher-than-average BABIP to get on base, and has shown a talent for getting BABIPs around .340.
  • His OPS is the second-best of all qualified players on the team. Trout is the only one who trumps him.

6 – Mark Trumbo – 1B - .254/.322/.477

  • Monstrous power. He was projected to hit over 30 homers in 2013, and it looks like he’ll easily reach that mark.
  • Trumbo’s ISO of each of the last 2 1/2 seasons: .223, .222, .224. That’s some consistency with the power stroke right there.
  • Walk rate has increased with every full season. The strikeout rate still hovers somewhere in the early 20s, though.

7 – Alberto Callaspo – 3B - .265/.331/.361

  • Walks quite a bit, doesn’t strike out much at all. Puts the ball in play and relies on line drives & grounders to get on base.
  • Odd fielding metrics. Callaspo is five runs below average with the glove this year, but was 10 runs above average last season.
  • No power to speak of, and is sub-par with the bat in general – .303 wOBA.

8 – Chris Iannetta – C - .211/.359/.351

  • Very patient at the plate. 18.8% walk rate, and that shows in the huge difference between his average and on-base percentage.
  • His average may be pulled down by a .264 BABIP, but with a career mark around .273, it’s hard to make that distinction.
  • Both Angels catchers have a wRC+ over 100: Hank Conger has a 107 mark, Iannetta with a 106.

9 – Erick Aybar – SS - .290/.308/.381

  • Fast middle infielder with good contact skills. 23.5% line drive percentage so far this year. Really dislikes hitting fly balls.
  • Wherefore art thou walk rate, Aybar? Even for a guy with a career 4.7 BB%, a 2.6% mark isn’t the best – he’s cut it in half.
  • Gives me an excuse to post this fantastic gif from the 2008 ALDS where he couldn’t get an out at second.

Who’s hot? – Last 14 days:

  • Josh Hamilton: 9 runs, 1.100 OPS, .468 wOBA
  • Mike Trout: 11 RBI, 4 SB, 4 XBH

Who’s not? – Last 14 days:

  • Albert Pujols: .218 OBP, 27 wRC+, -0.5 fWAR
  • Mark Trumbo: .191 avg, .238 wOBA, 4.1 BB%

SERIES PROBABLES

Photo by Kelly O'Connor of sittingstill.smugmug.com

Photo by Kelly O’Connor of sittingstill.smugmug.com

Felix Doubront vs. C.J. Wilson

Wilson, via fWAR, is by far the best pitcher on the Angels this season. He totes the best strikeout rate of all the starters, and doesn’t give up homers like crazy. At a glance, this looks to be the toughest matchup the Red Sox will face in Anaheim.

Ryan Dempster vs. TBA

I couldn’t find much on TBA. No stats, nothing. So for this game, just hope Dempster doesn’t get homer-happy with the likes of Hamilton, Trout & Trumbo.

John Lackey vs. Jered Weaver

Not much to say about Weaver that isn’t about his velocity decline, other than the fact that he doesn’t strike out as many people as you think. 6.35 K/9 this year, and a really ugly 4.57 xFIP despite a 3.79 ERA. This game’s gonna be on ESPN, so The Greatest Starting Pitcher in the History of Baseball(tm) gets some national limelight.

INJURY REPORT

  • Boston
    • Stephen Drew: Doubtful for Friday’s game (July 5th, tightness in right hamstring)
    • Clay Buchholz: 15-day DL (June 9th, strained neck)
  • Los Angeles
    • Robert Coello: 15-day DL (June 10th, right shoulder inflammation)
    • Jason Vargas: 15-day DL (June 18th, blood clot in left arm pit)
    • Tommy Hanson: 15-day DL (June 27th, tightness in right forearm)

IN CONCLUSION

So you want to rally, Angels?

And we’re done here.

Categories: Albert Pujols Alberto Callaspo Boston Red Sox C.J. Wilson Hank Conger J.B. Shuck Jered Weaver Josh Hamilton Los Angeles Angels Mark Trumbo Mike Trout Tommy Hanson

Brett Cowett is a young, die-hard Red Sox fan. An undergrad at Arizona State University, Brett is studying digital journalism with a minor in Dustin Pedroia studies. Apart from laughing at Nick Swisher's escapades in the field, Brett enjoys the occasional sci-fi flick, playing Halo, and being snarky. Follow him at @BACowett for more baseball, random musings, and random baseball musings.

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