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Number Two Spot: Key For Angels Lineup in 2011

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I’m starting to get excited for the 2011 Angels.  I’ve said it before but I’m kind of an eternal optimist, so you should take my excitement  with a grain of salt.  So what has me so excited? Well, while crunching some numbers and thinking of the Angels offensive outlook for 2011, I unearthed a potential Halo lineup that shows great promise. Strangely enough my ideal lineup is centered around what happens in the often overlooked number two hole.

 In baseball the number  two batting position is kind of like  the awkward teenage boy. Its just not quite sure of  itself. Some managers insist on having high contact guys who can bunt , have some speed and are adept at moving base runners around. Other skippers require either a high OBP or some power from their number two hitters. Mike Scioscia has shown a mix of both approaches. Maicer Izturis, Bobby Abreu and Howie Kendrick have all hit second in the past few years. All three players embody some sort of the number two hitter traits we listed above. Since to date the Angels have yet to sign a power hitting third basemen or true lead off hitter, the number two spot suddenly becomes key for the 2011 Halos. By keeping Bobby Abreu in the middle of the lineup (and out of the # 2 spot) the Angels are able to produce a fairly deep middle of the order which will be key to generating runs this season.

Lets take a look at the Angels potential lineup in 2011 with Abreu hitting somewhere in the middle.

By keeping Bobby Abreu out of the number two spot in the batting order Mike Scioscia will be able to deploy a much deeper lineup and also play the Angels traditional style of baseball. Maicer Izturis should have the first crack at winning the third base job and hitting second in the lineup. Izturis is not your prototypical power hitting third basemen but he has been an elite numebr two hitter before. For his career Izturis has posted an impressive .293/.351/.429 slash line in 625 at bats from the number two spot in the lineup. By using Maicer in a hitting role where he has the potential to be among the best, the Angels are immediately able to turn a positional weakness into a strength. IF Maicer can produce and stay healthy.  He should be given every opportunity this spring to prove himself and if succesful Izturis should be penciled in the number two hole virtually every day. Erick Aybar who is still a work in progress at the lead-off spot should get first crack at the top of the lineup again this year. All things considered Aybar was average yet not specatular there last season posting a .279/.336/.370 line in 387 at bats.

With Aybar and Izturis (Callaspo occasionally)  at the top of the lineup the Angels suddenly become a much more dangerous offensive club. Here is how it would look.

  • Aybar – SS
  • Izturis/Callaspo – 3B
  • Abreu – DH
  • Morales – 1B
  • Wells -LF
  • Hunter – RF
  • Kendrick – 2B
  • Conger/Mathis – C
  • Bourjos – CF

For better righty/ lefty  balance the lineup could also look like this:

  • Aybar – SS
  • Izturis/Callaspo – 3B
  • Wells -LF
  • Morales – 1B
  • Hunter – RF
  • Abreu – DH
  • Kendrick – 2B
  • Conger/Mathis – C
  • Bourjos – CF

While not spectacular, both of these lineups have the potential to be really solid. By hitting Izturis second the Angels would have a truly deep middle of the order . In whatever combination, a 3-6 featuring  Wells-Morales-Hunter and Abreu is pretty good. Scioscia would be allowed to play the small ball hit and run , bunting, base stealing brand of baseball he so loves with Aybar, and Izturis at the top and Peter Bourjos in the nine spot. This lineup gives the Angels much needed speed throughout and power in the middle. If this batting order is deployed virtually everyday in 2011 I predict Halo fans will be sharing in my excitement.

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Tags: 2011 Lineup Maicer Izturis

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