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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Brian Kamenetzky On The Angels At The ASB

"Death, Taxes, and the Angels: The Halos at the All Star Break" is a useful summary of where the Angels are at the "halfway" point:
It’s not that the Angels aren’t a good team. They are. Very good, actually, if only because they rarely give anything away, forcing the opposition to beat them. But at this point, with the Angels comfortably ahead in the AL West, being chased by an Oakland team that doesn’t seem to be pushing for a title this year (see Harden, Rich), the question really centers around whether the Angels are good enough to outpitch and outscore teams in the playoffs. The former isn’t that big of a problem- the Halos have a killer rotation, and a solid pen backed by one of the game’s best closers- but as it seems to always be at this point of the year, the latter is a question mark.

Offensively, the Angels are something of a Jekyll and Hyde act. In April the Angels were one of baseball’s more productive offensive teams. In May and June, however, they scored only 201 runs. That’s only six more than the Dodgers managed over the same period of time. Yes, the Angels played one less game, but to be in the same ballpark as the Dodgers in anything related to plate performance is a very bad thing.

The 2009 Angels are poised to be a real problem offensively, with Vlad questionable along with the whole outfield, and Casey Kotchman seeming to settle into something less than a more powerful Mark Grace, with declining pop and OBP. Chone Figgins will be another year older, and his is a skill set that won't likely age well. Add up the offensive zeros behind the plate and of a sudden the Angels become a serious non-threat to even contend if their pitching depth becomes an issue — which it has already been this year.

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Chone Figgins will be another year older, and his is a skill set that won't likely age well.

Isn't it one-dimensional sluggers who don't age well, while defensively ambidextrous speedsters defy Father time?
Figgins is really a four tool player: he's speedy, he can hit for (some) average, and he can throw well. But among them, his speed is the number one asset. It's not that he's monodimensional, it's that so much of his value rests on his legs.

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