The next question in our “Burning Questions” series could be the biggest concern of all. Lyle Spencer recently addressed this in his mailbag. Lets take a look at Lyle’s thoughts and then we’ll give you the Hangout take after the jump.
Adrian Beltre, at six years and $96 million, was too big a risk in my opinion. I say let’s stick with what we have at third base and retool later if necessary. I really believe Brandon Wood is going to break out in 2011, and I would rather see him do it with the Halos and not kick ourselves later for it.
— Robert L., Temecula, Calif.
With Beltre in Texas, third base is back in the hands of the holdovers — Alberto Callaspo, Maicer Izturis and Wood — and that might not be as bad as so many fans believe. Callaspo is the favorite to get the most playing time heading into the spring, but Izturis is the club’s best leadoff option and is just as good as Callaspo at third defensively, if not better. The issue with Izzy is keeping him on the field.
It should play to Wood’s advantage that he does not feel the pressure to live up to all the expectations this spring. Hopefully, he’ll come in with the attitude that he can just play the game and see where his substantial talents can take him. From a purely personal standpoint, I’d love to see him have a great spring and put himself back in contention to claim the job. He’s respected as a good teammate with real offensive talent and a steady glove; I know this is a broken record, but he’s not the first young hitter with a big swing who struggled in his early years in the Majors. If he ever puts it all together and breaks out, the Angels and their fans will be amazed and what he can do.
2010 was a brutal season for all those who attempted to man the hot corner for the Halos. Brandon Wood (once a highly touted “cant miss” prospect) epically failed by posting a .146 batting average and striking out 71 times in 226 at bats!. Alberto Callaspo, acquired from Kansas City mid season, also struggled to a .249 average and .291 on base percentage. Meanwhile, Maicer Izturis was, well… Maicer Izturis. He played ok when he was in the lineup but as usual he was unable to stay healthy.
To sum up how poor the third base play was, all you need to do is digest the following stats: No other team’s third basemen combined to hit fewer home runs, post a lower batting average , OPS, drive in fewer runs or collect fewer total bases than the Angels in 2010!
That brings us to the burning question. Since the Angels failed in their attempt to sign Adrian Beltre, who will play third base for the club in 2011?
The Hangout View: Barring a miraculous “Ruthian” Spring Training performance, Brandon Wood should not be counted on as an option for third base in 2011. It’s almost unbelievable that someone could be as bad as he was in 2010. So with that said, this is the only positive he has going for him; He just cant perform any worse than he did last year, can he? Maicer Izturis and Alberto Callaspo basically have the same ceiling. In a perfect world, they will hit .275 – .290 12 home runs 70 RBI and an OPS somewhere in the .700’s. These numbers would be fine assuming the Angels had a line up filled with additional high slugging OBP types, but since they don’t, Maicer and Alberto are not the answer. In my opinion the Angels should take a flier on free agent third basemen Jorge Cantu. He is still relatively young ( 29 on opening day) and has the power potential that could bolster the Angels lineup with some much needed pop. His flaws, OBP and at times spotty defense are what make him an affordable option that the Halos should pursue.
All in all, there are too many questions at third base that probably won’t be answered until Spring Training breaks. Let’s all hope and pray that someone emerges as a vastly improved player! The Halos need it!
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