The Halos are approaching the end of a successful month of August, having just come off a road sweep of the rival Mariners, and at this time appear to be in good position to win the AL West.
At this time I think it is appropriate to look back on the season of one Desmond DeChone Figgins and appreciate what he has meant to this team. Other than perhaps Escobar or Lackey one would be hard pressed to come up with a candidate as deserving of Angels Team MVP for 2007. In fact, I think he'll win the award hands down.
Despite this probability there are many fans out there in Haloland who either flat out don't like Figgy as a player or simply want to see him traded. I know this because I've read the posts here on Halosheaven. Granted, the Haters have been largely silenced by Figgy's performance this season, however, I for one have not forgotten the disparaging comments, piling on and the unending criticism which accompanied what was admittedly a down year for Figgy in 2006.
The disappointing thing for me in my attempts to come to Figgy's defense on many occasions last season (I'm sure a search of the Archives will reveal many a heated debate on the subject of Figgy's worthiness as an Angel and major league starter) was that what I considered to be my logical and dispassionate defense of Figgins was more often than not countered with the worst kind of conformity and Groupthink that I have encountered on the Internet. It seemed that just about everyone on this site was frothing at the mouth as part of the torch wielding, Figgins hating band.
Posters such as darkangel, and if my memory serves me (correct me if I'm wrong here)scareduck bemoaned his high strikeout rate and low OBP.... I believe it was darkangel who countered my commonsense argument that Figgy was a career .290 hitter coming into 2006 with the statement that he was not leadoff hitter material. To this I replied that he would return to form, and that he had proven himself as a major league hitter with a reasonably large sample size....
I added that Figgy would for the next few years likely be one of the top lead-off men in the game, along with Ichiro. I certainly feel that is a justified claim at this point.
After a slow April and May in which Chone was still recovering from a broken hand and was a combined 15/94 (an AVG. of .159)he has been one of the best hitters in the game. Figgy was a scorching 53/115 in the month of June for a MLB best .461 AVG. He coupled this with a .574 slugging percentage and an OBP of .496.
Chone didn't slow down much in July, when he went 33/94 for and AVG. of .351. His OBP was not the unbelievable .496 of June but was still a very impressive .417. That number in August was again above .400 (.411 to be exact).
In short, Figgy has been doing everything you would expect a lead-off man to do. He has been getting on base, stealing bases and scoring runs. And as for his defense, without having examined the numbers carefully my subjective impression has been that he has been more than adequate at third. It doesn't matter that he is not the prototypical bodytype for a thirdbaseman -- he makes the plays he should make and in addition makes some incredible ones as well.
In addition, We all know about his defensive flexibility and the value he provides as a switch-hitter. There is really nothing not to like about Figgy...
I think it is time for some folks to come forward and eat some steamed crow....
For all those who either last year or unimaginably, still this year, are calling to trade Figgy, I say this: Take a long walk off a short pier! Chone Figgins is here to stay !