Ten random thoughts about the Angels

July, 18, 2012
7/18/12
12:20
AM ET

Final score: Los Angeles Angels 13, Detroit Tigers 0. Thoughts for tonight ...

1. Mike Trout is good at baseball.

That two-run blast to right-center off Jacob Turner made me happy just to be a baseball fan. As @dianagram tweeted, "OK ... that Trout shot to right-center ... that was Piazza-like oppo power ... wow!"

He four hits all told. He's not slowing down. He may not slow down until 2028.

2. Mark Trumbo is Orange County strong.

Player A: .298/.371/.612
Player B: .311/.364/.634

Player A is Josh Hamilton. Player B is Trumbo. The only Angels player to slug .600 was Troy Glaus in 2000. Trumbo could do it this year.

3. Are the Angels too right-handed?

It's a minor issue. Against the right-handed Turner, manager Mike Scioscia's first four batters all hit right-handed. He has been concerned enough to usually hit the switch-hitting Kendrys Morales between Albert Pujols and Trumbo, but the correct decision is to move Trumbo into the cleanup spot. It's just common sense to hit your best hitters higher in the order and not get overly worried about late-inning relief matchups.

4. Should Peter Bourjos play every day or be traded?

I wouldn't trade him. I love the idea of a 2013 outfield of Trout, Bourjos and Trumbo once Torii Hunter's contract expires after this season. You have two Gold Glove-calibers fielders in Trout and Bourjos and big offensive production from Trout and Trumbo. Bourjos is attractive trade bait, but he's more valuable than another middle reliever. In fact, I think you can make the argument that the Angels' best lineup this season has Bourjos in center field and Trumbo at designated hitter instead of Morales. Understandably, Scioscia is reluctant to lose Morales' bat, but it's not like he's tearing it up. It's also possible Bourjos would hit better with regular playing time.

5. Garrett Richards throws hard.

He didn't rack up the strikeouts in Tuesday's outing (just two), and he doesn't always know where the ball's going, but he cranked his fastball up to 98 mph and his final pitch in the seventh was clocked at 95. If I were the Angels' front office, I'd be very reluctant to include him in a trade.

6. Ervin Santana. Discuss.

We know Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson are good. Santana and Haren were supposed to be the other half of a great four-man group. Among 43 qualified American League starters, Santana ranks 41st in ERA at 5.60. Plagued by inconsistency and too many flat breaking balls, he has been hammered on the road. His walk rate is up and strikeout rate down from 2011. Only Seattle's Jason Vargas has allowed more home runs among AL starters. At this point, once Haren returns from the disabled list, you have to wonder if Jerome Williams stays in the rotation and Santana gets sent to the pen for a spell.

7. Dan Haren was so underrated for so long that he almost became overrated. What is he now?

A question mark. Haren's trip to the DL was the first of his career and led to his first missed start. Haren told ESPNLA.com's Mark Saxon that his back felt great in Monday's rehab start and that's he's ready to face the Rangers this weekend. He didn't enjoy missing time. "At the All-Star break, I had insomnia," Haren said. "I slept like nine hours in three days, total. I was just stressed about not being out there and I stayed home. That was really hard, watching the team on TV. Especially if you lose a game or two -- we lost that tough one [Friday] -- it's just hard not being there."

8. They do need bullpen help.

The bullpen ERA is ninth in the AL and Jordan Walden just went on the DL with a strained biceps. Ernesto Frieri finally gave up his first runs and his control issues will always make Angels fans a little nervous when he enters (as we saw the other night when Scott Down and then Kevin Jepsen were required to close out a lead against the Yankees). Still, it's not an awful pen. There's depth with Downs, LaTroy Hawkins and Jason Isringhausen, but the group doesn't seem to inspire a lot of confidence. Look for the Angels to add another arm here.

9. Angels catchers ...

No, they're not very good. They're hitting a collective .211 with 20 RBIs. Hey, I hear Miguel Olivo is available.

10. May Vernon Wells' rehab assignment last forever.

"Get well. Really well. Are you absolutely sure you’re OK? I don’t know, I think you need to achieve peace of mind. Have you been to Nepal? Ever tried getting there by canoe?"

PHOTO OF THE DAY
Bryce HarperJoy R. Absalon/US PresswireDavid Wright and Bryce Harper have a slight disagreement over who third base belongs to.

David Schoenfield | email

SweetSpot blogger

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