Chat with Mark Saxon
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPNLosAngeles.com's Los Angeles Angels writer Mark Saxon will stop by to chat some baseball.
Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.
Send your questions now and join Saxon Thursday at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT!
Mark Saxon (4:37 PM)
OK, the season's underway. Lots of issues to talk about, so let's go.
Jordan (Fayetteville, Arkansas)
Is Scott Kazmir the answer as a 5th starter in the Angels rotation?
Mark Saxon (4:38 PM)
Hi Jordan, The best answer I can give to that is: TBD. It's to be determined. He pitched well for a month or so after coming from Tampa, then struggled in the playoffs. He has dealt with some minor physical issues and in the past he hasn't pitched well dinged up. We'll see. I have my doubts.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
When was the last time that the Major League Baseball All-Star Game was at Angels Stadium before 2010?
Mark Saxon (4:39 PM)
Chris,1989. Remember Bo Jackson's monster home run? That was there.
Jesse (Santa Paula,CA)
Mark, are the Angels having any Contract talks with the Agents of Aybar,Mathis,Napoli,Morales,Kendrick,Weaver or Saunders? It seems like every team is signing their young talent and buying a couple of years of F.A.
Mark Saxon (4:40 PM)
Hey Jesse,The truth is I don't know for sure on all those guys. Nobody volunteers to reporters when they're in contract talks. But I'm pretty confident they're not having those talks with the agent for Morales or Weaver, because that's Scott Boras. He'll probably advise his clients to go to free agency.
I've been a long time Brandon Wood supporter and I have been waiting for him to start at the Major League level. Now I'm not so sure. He still looks very Raw. He doesn't look good at the Plate. Should we give up on him and put Izturis at 3 base?
Mark Saxon (4:43 PM)
Gee Spence, That seems to be the hot topic right now. I think we have to give Brandon another week or so before making grand pronouncement. He was nervous on opening night. He's trying to do something that's not easy. I think Scioscia will give him about a month uninterrupted, but he's not going to allow him to get into late June struggling, a la Steve Finley. Maicer Izturis is too good.
Mark, the Angels have 3 good Catcher in Mathis,Napoli and Wilson. They also have Hank Conger waiting for his call to Anaheim. Which Angels catcher has more trade Value of the 3?
Mark Saxon (4:46 PM)
Hmmm Gary, that's the best question in a long time. I'm thinking right along with you, by the way. I wouldn't be shocked at all if they traded one of the three on the club soon, probably Wilson. My guess is Napoli would have the most trade value, because he could produce offensively as a DH or first baseman and also catch, though his defense isn't very good. Mathis is pretty much just catch and throw.
carter (baton rouge) [via mobile]
Will the angels be in the playoffs as a division leader, wildcard, or will they make the playoffs at all?
Mark Saxon (4:47 PM)
Carter, in our ESPN predictions, I left them out of the playoffs. I'll stick with it. I think they're a good team, but not dynamic in any given area. I think their lack of depth at Triple-A will be a serious problem eventually.
Keith (Santa Ana,CA)
Since the Angels have 5 top picks in this years draft. What position will the Angels be looking at come draft day.
Mark Saxon (4:49 PM)
Hi Keith, I think I saw a slideshow somewhere about that very topic, but I can't remember where. I doubt they'll draft particular positions, but they might draft based on a theme. Last year, they tried to add power. My guess is they'd look for pitching because they don't have much high-end inventory other than Reckling.
Even with Matsui in line up I still think Angels made the wrong move letting Vlad go. He is having a awesome season so far. Even better numbers than Matsui.
Mark Saxon (4:51 PM)
Denice, It's nice to hear somebody with a little loyalty to Vlad, maybe the greatest player in franchise history. A lot of fans really turned on him last year. I would caution you, however, not to get too excited about the first few games.
The Angels farm system has been rated low by B.A,ESPN. I recently read a Blog from Eddie Bane and he was saying that real baseball people and scouts say that the Angels should be rated a lot higher. What do you think.
Mark Saxon (4:52 PM)
Hola Wayne,They've got a guy from your neck of the woods, Mike Trout, who opened a lot of eyes in spring training. He definitely didn't look scared. I've talked to Eddie about that topic and see his point. The problem is so few of their guys are ready to help this year (and maybe not even next year). They're definitely thin in talent in the high minors and I think it could become a problem.
Mark, Before the start of the season I believe the Angels had the Best Starting Rotation in Baseball even with out Lackey. I was worried more about the Bullpen. The Bullpen looks awesome so far. Do the Angels miss Lackey's vocal leadership.
Mark Saxon (4:55 PM)
Joey, Yeah, I think they do, but most players are used to teammates moving on by now. It happens all over and especially with the Angels. They've really made little effort to keep most of their major free agents in recent seasons. I agree about the bullpen, by the way. It could be special. If it is, the rotation doesn't need to be dynamic, which I don't think it is. I think it's just good.
Is Randal Grichuk the Next Ryan Braun? What potentials do you think Randal has?
Mark Saxon (4:57 PM)
Hey Austin, when the Angels drafted him I heard the knock on him was that he was pull-happy and might be exposed as he rose through the system. We'll see. I don't know enough to make a pronouncement on a kid who just got out of high school.
Reggie Willits is having a rehab game. Scott kazmir is also almost coming back. What happens to Evans, Wilson.
Mark Saxon (4:59 PM)
Rachel, Those are very tough questions because (as you probably know) they're both out of options. Here's one guess: Evans gets traded, Matt Palmer has to go to Triple-A and Wilson gets to stick around a little longer.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
How has Hideki Matsui been able to fit in so quickly into his new situation and is there something to Reagins poaching two former Yankees in Matsui and Abreu?
Mark Saxon (5:00 PM)
I think he fits in because he's a pro's pro and very quiet and unassuming in the clubhouse, though I've heard he has a wry sense of humor. Yeah, I think the coincidence is that the Angels felt the need to inject more patience into their lineup and the Yankees had been doing that for years.
Mark, I know its only been 3 games but should we worry about Brandon Woods ability to hit Major League pitching? Have you seen him spending extra time with Mickey Hatcher During BP?
Mark Saxon (5:02 PM)
Hi Daisy, I haven't been that surprised because we saw it in previous seasons with Brandon and he struck out a lot in the spring. I would have been more surprised if he was getting a bunch of hits, frankly. Again, I think it's way too early to draw any major conclusions about his future.
Who has a better season Angels or Dodgers?
Mark Saxon (5:02 PM)
Jame, I'll go with the Dodgers but not because I think they're better. They're in a worse division and a worse league.
How wins today's game? Will Brandon Wood have a good game tonight?
Mark Saxon (5:03 PM)
Bobby, Is your bookie going to give me a cut if I tell you? I have no idea on either count, but I'd better get in the car and go to the ballpark so I can find out.Cheers everybody! See you next week.