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Number Two Spot: Key For Angels Lineup in 2011


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

  • http://baseballsoup.blogspot.com Nate D.

    Callaspo is the best fit for the 2 spot because of his versatility there. Check out my blog:

    baseballsoup.blogspot.com

  • http://halohangout.com Kalup Alexander

    Thanks Nate. I would expect you to want Callaspo in the 2 hole as a Rangers fan. Alberto is a good contact hitter but is in no way a more versatile offensive player than Izturis. Callaspo may be the slowest player on the team now that Matsui is gone and that inability to score from first on an extra base hit is key for any player that hits so high in the batting order.

    Maicer is the better option as he has plus speed, is a better bunter and is a proven hitter with RISP. I do agree with you however that when Callaspo plays the 2 hole or 7th /8th is where he belongs.

  • Mike

    Hey Kalup, I agree with your proposed lineup for the most part. However, why would you choose to put Mathis in front of Bourjos? I know Mathis is more experienced, but from what I hear, Bourjos’ power is very underrated and the Angels are trying to make him their permanent CF. Then again, that’s what they thought about Brandon Wood at 3B, and look how that turned out. I’d like to hear you take on this. Great site, btw, just discovered it today

  • Mike

    Also, with the Angels have four guys playing 3B (Izturis, Callaspo, Wood, Sandoval) are we looking at a mid season trade? In my view, the smart thing would be to trade Sandoval and Wood for a back up 1B and a reliever for the bull pen

  • Kalup Alexander

    Hey Mike – Glad you like the site!

    As for why I see Bourjos in the ninth spot , we must think about how Mike Scioscia likes to operate. He essentially views the 9 hole as a second lead-off hitter. Remember Adam Kennedy hit there for so many years then Aybar etc. I’m thinking until Bourjos can claim the lead-off role he will likely hit 9th so when the lineup flips over Scioscia can play his small ball game and use Bourjos’ speed to create runs.

    I agree with you though Bourjos has some surpising power and could hit 10 -15 hr’s this year.

  • Kalup Alexander

    Mike – My guess is the Halos plan to see how 3rd base shakes out and then as you said if something needs to be done the trade deadline could be a great time to strike.

    If the Mets are not in contention David Wright may be available. I’ve always thought from the moment Callaspo was acquired that either he or Iztruis would be traded at some point. I think that still holds true.

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