Chat with Mark Saxon
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, 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 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT!
Mark Saxon (2:14 PM)
Sorry we're a little late getting started. Let's hit it.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What Angel Players is Out For the Season in 2012 & will not Play again until 2013 due to Injuries?
Mark Saxon (2:15 PM)
Chris, The Angels haven't had a season-ending injury yet.
Can you see Angels winning division and Mike Trout being rookie of the year and MVP ala Fred Lynn?
Mark Saxon (2:16 PM)
Michael, Yeah, I can see that. Didn't Ichiro do it also? I would still be a little surprised if the Angels win the AL West, because I think Texas is a little stronger due to their lineup, but I expect the Angels to make the playoffs.
Mike (Utica, NY)
Do you agree with Hunter saying Trout could be another Rickey Henderson or do you see a different type of player in Mike Trout?
Mark Saxon (2:18 PM)
Mike, I think Rickey is probably the best comparison we have to work with right now. Trout has similar explosive athleticism and don't forget, Rickey hit for power, too. He got on base like Trout does. Mike Scioscia has mentioned a young Kirby Puckett, when he could still run well and play center field. All in all, when the only comparisons are to Hall of Famers and you're 20, you're doing pretty well.
I attended the game on Monday and later heard Williams went to the hospital with breathing problems/anxiety. Why the anxiety when he admitted he'd never had it before while pitching?
Mark Saxon (2:21 PM)
Alex, I'm not a psychologist, but I imagine something like that can come on at any time. Jerome was very emotional working against the team that drafted him when he was a teenager, shortly before his mom died of cancer. I imagine there was a lot going on in his head and it's a very unfortunate situation. Let's hope there is nothing medically serious going on.
How did a guy like Mike Trout fall so far in the draft? The kid is unreal. As a Rangers fan, I was never worried as much about the Angels' offseason additions of CJ and Pujols as I was about the young talent in Trout and Trumbo. The race for the AL West is getting intense...
Mark Saxon (2:23 PM)
David, It's funny. I was thinking about that last night. When Pujols bats now, I don't necessarily feel like I have to pay minute attention. When Trout and Trumbo are up, I tend to. Great question about the draft. One thing I've heard is that the Yankees, who drafted immediately after the Angels, were about to pounce on him. Guys who come out of the northeast don't tend to get scouted as well as players from the sunshine states because they generally haven't played in as many games due to weather.
When is the Futures Game rosters announced? Any Angel prospects deserving to play in the game?
Mark Saxon (2:24 PM)
Not sure about that, Steve, but probably within the next couple of weeks. Jean Segura would be the one player I suspect could be on the team. Garrett Richards might have been, too, but he'll be busy pitching for the Angels for a while now.
Luke Leno (Dickinson, ND)
Does Jerome Williams going on the DL help or hurt Ervin Santana? Obviously, it helps him short term, but does it give Garret Richards more opportunity to prove himself in Williams' absence?
Mark Saxon (2:26 PM)
It helps him in the short term, for sure Luke, because he was probably one bad start from going into the bullpen. Now they need him. Overall, though, if he continues to pitch like the guy before this last start, I don't see their faith lasting all season. You quickly get exposed at the major league level.
scotty l (utah)
Will halos make a push for a 3rd baseman?
Mark Saxon (2:27 PM)
I don't think so, Scotty, unless some names we haven't heard wind up being available in the trade market. I was told Youkilis isn't a fit and is Chase Headley much of an upgrade over Callaspo? If the other guys keep hitting for power, the Angels can afford to give up power at third.
Will Trumbo and Trout keep it going for the remainder of the season?
Mark Saxon (2:29 PM)
Um, I'm not only not a psychologist, I'm also not a fortune teller. Trout's pattern in the minor leagues seems to be playing out here. He comes up, takes a while to get adjusted and then just takes off for the rest of the year. As consistent as Trumbo has been, I suspect there will be a monster slump in there at some point. It's the nature of the beast with power hitters, but he doesn't get enough credit for what he's done so far.
Hello Mark. Last time I wrote in I asked you to name the 5 players I was thinking of that were deserving of being All-Stars. Now we have 6 players who all deserve to be there: (Trout, Trumbo, Wilson, Weaver, Frieri and Downs)! Who's getting snubbed??
Mark Saxon (2:30 PM)
Justin, I'd say Frieri. He spent the first month in the National League and he's right-handed. I would say Downs is about 50-50. The other guys should certainly be there, especially Trumbo.
scott (salt lake)
When Wells gets back, can trumo play 3rd and have halos be a serious contender or do they need to make a move? Someone besides youk
Mark Saxon (2:32 PM)
Scott, I think there's no way Vernon Wells will return to being a regular outfielder. But if you're right and he does, then they have to put Trumbo back into that rotation of playing OF, 1B, DH and 3B. Of those positions, I think he'll spend the least time at third.
Mark- this team is really coming together. I know you have mentioned it in your 3 up and 3 down, but do you think Howie is coming around? I think it would be huge if Mike would let him play a week straight instead of him giving the tough righty "day off"
Mark Saxon (2:33 PM)
Anthony, until last night, I saw no signs that Howie was turning it around. But he hit a missile off the center field wall off a very tough pitcher, Ryan Vogelsong, then did his thing where he smacks the ball into the gap in right-center. That was the first time in weeks, Howie looked like himself. Yeah, him getting going is huge.
Have you seen Tony Reagins at any Angels Games? He is Dennis asst right?
Mark Saxon (2:35 PM)
Technically, I think he is still that, Travis, but I haven't seen Tony Reagins around all year. I think that title was hastily assembled to preserve some dignity for Tony while the Angels continued to pay him through the end of his contract.
Does Jerry Dipoto travel with the Team every time the team is on the road? And if so does every G.M. travel with its team?
Mark Saxon (2:38 PM)
Hey Adam, Jerry seems to go on select trips. He flew to Cleveland for a little crisis control when the team released Bobby Abreu and called up Mike Trout. He went to Colorado, where he lived and worked for a long time. Like most GMs, Jerry travels here and there but generally stays back and looks at the big picture. One GM I covered, Billy Beane, couldn't bear to watch the games because he got so emotional, so he listened on a transistor radio while he ran on the treadmill.
Adam (New Jersey)
Can Trumbo keep it going throughout the rest of the season?
Mark Saxon (2:39 PM)
Adam, We just posted a story on that topic. Peter Bourjos, who has seen him play as long as just about anybody, thinks he can:http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/angels/post/_/id/6274/mark-trumbo-the-angels-shadow-mvp
Mike (Long Beach)
If the Angels attempt to make a trade for a 3B during the season, what players (either in the minors or majors) do you think will most likely be included?
Mark Saxon (2:41 PM)
I have this suspicion, Mike, that Hank Conger could be traded. If the Angels thought he could be their every day catcher, why has he flown back and forth between Salt Lake and Orange County more than most Delta flight attendants? If they include other prospects, expect them to be position players. The Angels don't want to trade away any more young pitching and, frankly, they don't have much more to give.
Dave (Simi Valley)
A lot of Angels fan are saying this team needs a 3B and they need to trade for one.. Why not give Luis Jimenez a try.. Angels farm system is already weak because of past trades..
Mark Saxon (2:43 PM)
Interesting question, Dave. Jimenez is doing well at Triple-A, though he has a woeful .311 OBP. Jean Segura is also a possibility to play third now that the Angels have extended Erick Aybar. If the team parts with both Izturis and Callaspo after this year, look for those guys to be in competition for that job.
Dave (Simi Valley)
Albert Pujols needs to be told its ok to take a BB.. Most of the time the pitcher falls behind the count and Albert swings at pitches that should of been a ball and grounds out or pops up.. He is still trying to hard.. Just get on Base.......
Mark Saxon (2:47 PM)
There is something to that, Dave, but his OBP in June (.375) is dramatically better than in either of the two previous months (.265 and .309), so give it a little time. He is gradually becoming Albert Pujols again.
What do the Angels do with Vernon Wells? Can we just pull the band-aid off and get rid of him? We did the same with Gary Matthews.
Mark Saxon (2:49 PM)
I don't know, Preppy, but unless somebody (or even two guys) get hurt, I can't see how they start him in their outfield. I think the smart money is either on releasing him or sitting him down and explaining he's now a fourth outfielder. Another possibility, if they are somehow committed to living with him in their lineup, is they convince Torii Hunter to agree to a trade.
Garrett Richards (Here To Stay)
Better get acquainted with me Mark. I'm never going back to Salt Lake. Never.
Mark Saxon (2:49 PM)
OK, Garrett. I will.
From a journalistic standpoint, what type of story are you a bigger fan of? A blockbuster FA signing like Pujols which no doubt gives you a lot of stories at the beginning and over time seeing if he lives up to the deal? Or someone like Trout, where we could possibly seeing a once in a generation talent that will grow up with the team? Or is this kind of apples to oranges?
Mark Saxon (2:51 PM)
Tom, Not so much on a journalistic level, because you just sort of cover the story as it evolves, but on a personal level, I'll take the Trout story. It's really fun to watch a player's career evolve. I see salty vets like Joe Nathan and Jason Isringhausen and Eric Chavez who I covered when they were so young as their styles change. Trout is such a special talent, it's going to be a delight to document his growth.
Mark, The Angels had the fewest picks in this year's draft because of the signings of Pujols and Wilson. Were the Angels happy with the players they drafted and only drafted players they would be able to sign?
Mark Saxon (2:52 PM)
Every team in the majors is pretty sure they just had the most brilliant draft in history. We'll know in about three years. In the Angels' case, maybe sooner, because they took almost nothing but college players. If they're not making an impact as soon as next year, it probably wasn't a great draft.
Mike (Long Beach)
Ethics questions- If my Dodger freinds took me to a game last week, I have to retrun this favor this weekend, right?
Mark Saxon (2:53 PM)
Absolutely. In fact, you might have to take him to two games, because Dodgers tickets cost more.
Does Mr. Moreno still attend most Angels games?
Mark Saxon (2:55 PM)
Keith, Arte has been far less prevalent at games this season. When he is there, he seems to avoid any brushes with the media. I'm not sure why he has gone underground, but he has. You would think he might want to communicate with his customers via the media, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
Steal me the workout routine trout uses yeah?
Mark Saxon (2:55 PM)
Actually, Paul, I gave him mine.
Mark Saxon (2:56 PM)
I think that was the first time I've posted every question we got, because every question we got was so good. These things get better every week. See you next Thursday.
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