Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Angels Hot Stove Report

Much has been made in the sabermetric community about the Angels lack of an Oakland A's type offense, and their overall position in the Beane Count. As much as people want to tell me that because their success was due to a high batting average, and that it means they are likely to fall back to earth, I'm not buying it. First, of course they'll likely regress. They won 99 freaking games last year, and last time I checked, thats a lot. But people fail to remember that they made contact hitting a major part of their philosophy, and they struck out 100 times fewer than the next best team. They hit into very few double plays, and while they weren't driving the ball out of the ballpark, they were driving it down the line and into the gaps, which is why they hit a ton of doubles.

As for the pitching, I don't see much of a drop off. I don't think anybody expects Frankie Rodriguez to be as unhittable as he seemed to be in the post-season. I do think that he'll have a very impressive first half as he makes his way around the league for the first time. I think with what we've learned about balls in play, if Ramon Ortiz can keep it in the yard, he may be due for a big jump. I really don't see the defense being any worse. Sele is definitely a question mark, but I think given a whole year to work with Bud Black, Mickey Callaway and/or Matt Wise will be ready when called upon. Chris Bootcheck may also be a possibility in an emergency role, and after the strides he made in the Arizona Fall League, Bobby Jenks may soon be ready. I honestly expect them to win between 90 and 95 games next year, which just may well be good enough to get into the post-season again, especially if Texas improves and takes a few wins away from the A's and Mariners.

Feel free to email me if you agree or disagree.

No comments: