Report Card Time! Handing Out The Angels First Half Grades

(Photo Credit: MLB.COM)

Yea so what schools everywhere are officially out for the summer. For baseball fans the All Star break has always been the time to sit back and reflect on your team’s first half performance and evaluate the upcoming outlook for the second half of the season. Were all about tradition here at the Hangout and so in keeping with that spirit were handing out first half grades to the Angels. With the Angels surging to a All star break record of 50 -42 its important to remember that just about a month ago this team was vastly underachieving and slogging along with a 31- 36 record. The Halos will therefore be graded accordingly.

Pitchers

  • Trevor Bell – (I):  Incomplete.  Bell has appeared in only 14 games (3.22 ERA) so far in 2011. He could play a larger role in the second half if the Angels are unable to solidify the front end of their bull pen.
  • Bobby “Rock The” Cassevah - (I):  See above. Only 8.1 innings pitched ( 4.32 ERA)
  • Tyler Chatwood( C+): Chatwood has really been the Angels third best starter since his call up in April. The rookie has shown poise and potential in route to a ( 3.62 ERA ). If he can limit his walks (4.71 BB/9) Chatwood could continue to emerge down the stretch.
  • Scott Downs – (A):  Downs has been brilliant for the Angels so far in 2011 (0.84 WHIP, 1.52 ERA)  . The only thing keeping Downs from an A+ is the chunk of time he missed to start the season with weird injuries.
  • Dan Haren(A): Haren has been about as consistent as they come in 2011. After a hot start to the season Haren hit a little rough patch-  but has since regained form. For the season Haren has posted a 2.61 ERA, O.95 WHIP and held opponents to a .217 BAA. Along with Jered Weaver Haren gives the Angels two legit aces.
  • Kevin Jepsen – (D): Jepsen was brutal in 16 appearances before being sent to the minors (7.62 ERA, 2.31 WHIP). The promise he showed for parts of 2009 & 2010  is quickly becoming a distant memory.
  • Michael Kohn - (I): Kohn shows flashes every now and then but gets an I both for not enough time (just 9 IP) and inconsistency (4.82 ERA).
  • Joel Pineiro – (C-): After starting the year on the DL Pineiro came off to start the season red hot. Since then he has regressed to his normal self only a bit worse than last season. In his last 5 outings Pineiro has allowed 4 earned runs each time out. He’s probably just a little bit better than what he has shown so far in 2011 ( 3.90 ERA, 1.43 WHIP). Expect Pineiro to get his grade up to a solid C by years end.
  • Fernando Rodney – (F) – Don’t trust him a far as I can throw him and I’m not that strong. The insanely high walk rate (6.14 per 9) , the crooked hat, and the fact that he looks like he just smoked a bowl every-time he takes the mound.  Everything about him makes me uncomfortable.
  • Ervin Santana(C-): Santana has had to work hard to pull his grade up. A string of 5 straight quality starts sends Santana to the break looking to build on his recent performance in the second half. Ervin regaining his sometimes dominant form could be key for the Angels post season hopes. You would think he should improve upon his current ( 3.89 ERA ) but that remains to be seen.
  • Hisanori Takahashi(D): This may seem a bit harsh given Takahashi’s peripheral numbers ( 3.62 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 6 Holds) but when its mattered most it seems  Hisanori has been bad. He will need to pick it up in key situations to become a more valuable member of the Angels pen.
  • Rich Thompson - (B): Outside of Downs and Walden Thompson has surprisingly been the Angels best reliever posting a 2.97 ERA and 1.23 whip IN 33 1/3 inning pitched.
  • Jordan Walden(B+): He’s blown 6 saves but somehow didn’t really look that bad doing it. For a rookie closer he’s been everything Angel fans have craved. A flame thrower with improving command capable of closing games without much drama. Look for him to improve upon his (2.84 ERA and 1.18 WHIP) if he learns to utilize and control his slider more often in the second half.
  • Jered Weaver – (A+): Weaver has been among the best pitchers in baseball in 2011. Posting a staggering 1.86 ERA, and 0.91 WHIP.  His strikeouts are a bit down from last season but he’s pitching deeper into games as a result. There’s nothing to complain about here and Weav is a leading candidate to hoist the Cy Young award in 2011.

Position Players

  • Bobby Abreu – (C+): Abreu has been consistent all year for the Halos and again leads the team in On Base Percentage (.394). A recently slump has his average down to just .277 at the break and his inability to drive the ball ( just 3 home runs) has his Slugging percentage on pace for a career low .363.  At age 37 its unlikely we see any kind of major power surge in the second half but if Abreu can continue to hit for a decent average and get on base he still fills a need for the team.
  • Erick Aybar - (B) Aybar has been fairly good at the plate for most of the year amassing a .282/.315/.429 slash line. The .315 On Base percentage leaves a lot to be desired as Atbar has abandoned the more patient approach he took much of last season. The increased slugging has been a nice bonus as Aybar’s 6 home runs have already set a new career high. Aybar has twice as many home runs as Bobby Abreu and appears to finally have figured out how to steal bases 18/20. Defensively if you trust UZR Aybar has not shown too well in 2011 posting a -2.07 UZR. On the positive side Aybar has just 6 errors- more than making up for any loss of range rather real or perceived.
  • Peter Bourjos – (B): His defense has been epic and now that his bat has begun to come around .272/.323/.397 a solid offensive second half and an improvement in the base stealing arena (just 11) will make this a no doubt A come October.
  • Russell Branyan - (D+) Branyan has not added the pop they Angels were looking for since he was acquired in May ( just 1 HR). However his lone home run as an Angel was as big as they come giving the Angels a big lift and a win over the Dodgers.
  • Alberto Callaspo - (C): Callaspo has been steady for the Angels in 2011 posting .281/.355/.356 slash line. Callaspo is what he is. While not the coveted power third basemen Halo fans have long coveted – Alberto is a solid utility man and a capable fill in. Defensively Callaspo can be shaky at times and he might be the worse base runner in all of the MLB. Making this C grade very generous and largely a result of Alberto acing his last test.
  • Hank Conger(D): Despite not receiving the playing time he should Conger has struggled at the plate and on defense and really needs to pick it up in the second half. He is much better than a .221 hitter but more importantly in order for him to wrestle away playing time from Mathis Conger will need to improve his throwing and game management from behind the plate.
  • Torii Hunter(D+): Torii needs to pick it up in the second half and I fully expect that he will offensively. Only A recent hot spell has raised his slash line to .250/.321/.396 with 11 home runs and a team leading 45 RBI. Defensively in right field Hunter has again become an elite defensive outfielder. His performance at the plate will be key for the Angels post season hopes.
  • Maicer Izturis – (C+): Maicer has been a pretty consistent threat for the Angels in 2011 providing a solid bat  and plus defense wherever he’s penciled in. The All Star break couldn’t have come at a better time for Maicer as he was beginning to look worn down in the teams last few games. Still yet his timely hitting and consistency have remained in tact for much of the season. .277/.339/.388.
  • Howie Kendrick – ( B+): Howie has been the Angels best hitter so far in 2011 posting a team best and career high .822 OPS to go along with a surprising 8 first half home runs and 21 walks. Keep in mind Kendrick walked 28 times in all of 2010! A solid second half could see the first time All Star post some really solid numbers .305/.363/.458 is a very realistic possibility with 15 home runs and 15 steals to boot.
  • Jeff Mathis – (F): Well at least Mathis is consistent. He’s again hitting under .20o not throwing any base runners out and being praised around the league as a great defensive catcher. We’ve said it before. If Mathis was truly an elite defensive catcher then maybe we could all look his offensive shortcomings but since he’s not we wont. We all wait and pray for the day Mike Scioscia plays hank Conger most of the time
  • Mark Trumb0(B): Trumbo has filled in the large shoes vacated by Kendrys Morales at first base quite nicely. His 17 Home runs lead the club and a continued middle away- right center approach will see the big rookie only improve his Batting average and On Base numbers. For now his.260/.305/.483 slash line have him in serious contention for AL Rookie Of The Year.
  • Bobby Wilson - (I): Love his game when he plays but somehow he is blocked by Jeff Mathis!
  • Vernon Wells – ( D) He’s been red hot for about the past month but his start to the season was historically bad. Currently sitting at just a .222/.248/.409 there is nowhere to go but up. On the positive side Wells has made the transition to left field from center and it has gone smoothly. The Halos will be counting on Wells to sustain his recent momentum into the second half.

 

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