When it comes to the Angels this season, words thrown around to describe the team generally lean towards the negative end of the vocabulary spectrum. Underwhelming, uninspiring and underachieving are a few examples. And far it be it for me to blame the media for using them. This team has simply not lived up to the lofty expectations that placed on them before the season began. And to be frank, they deserve it.
But that doesn’t mean that everyone has been uninspiring or underwhelming or has been an underachiever. Two Angels hitters have already passed the century mark for hits this season, and join 16 other players in Angels history to accomplish the feat. Those players are Mike Trout, and Howie Kendrick.
Sophomore slump be damned. Mike Trout has already put up an fWAR (Fangraphs WAR) of 5.1 and only needs to accrue another 4.4 wins to pass Rogers Hornsby for the greatest age-21 season ever. At least, if you go by fWAR. Which I am. Because it’s easy. And I reserve the right to be lazy every once-in-a-while. Trout’s 112 hits have him tied with Mickey Rivers and Alex Johnson for seventh in Angels history. Rivers only collected 21 more hits in 1974. Alex Johnson went on to hit .329/.370/.459 in 1970, collecting a batting title in the process.
Howie has slowed down since getting his average up over .330 earlier this year. His .308/.350/.466 slash line is nothing to scoff at, but it looks less like a sure-fire All-Star than it did back in late May. His cool down phase wasn’t enough to keep him from 100 hits before the break though. His 105 hits are tied with Mo Vaughn for 13th ever. 2000 was, as you may recall, the only full season Big Mo would play for the Halos. He missed all of 2001, and then was shipped to New York prior to the 2002 season. Bye Mo, don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya.
Nobody is touching Darin Erstad‘s ridiculous season in 2000. Nobody. Ever. Well, maybe Trout will. But probably nobody ever.
The Angels have shown signs of life over the last couple of weeks. Even signs of some players turning things around (See Hamilton, Josh). Maybe they have it in them to get back into the playoff race. Maybe they take one of the two Wild Card spots.
Maybe I hit the lottery Maybe they take the AL West. Maybe they continue to be an inconsistent mess and the only thing that fans have to cheer about are the few players having good to very good seasons. It’s not fair to take it out on Howie because Joe Blanton is terrible.