Nothing like a slow off-day in June in the rainy northwest. Someone please let me know when Spring gets here. I voted for Kotch 25 times already and need more so here goes...mlb draft is a slow watch with no Angel picks!
I have posted a couple of blogs on SoCalSportsHub.com. Linkie to article which is copied below. I live in the Seattle area and love HH and the community of fans here. I like the give/take we have in HH. Many thanks to the Rev!
My PS/update to the article below is that I believe the Angels will place Vlad and probably Shields on the DL in the next day or two. I think one of the main lessons learned from last season is that the Angels know they have the talent and depth to win the west without all of their guns. The trick is to be as healthy as possible come October in order to play the Red Sux at full strength! This also allows young players who really have little to learn at AAA such as Wood, Aybar, Mathis, et al to play and learn at the highest level. A Vlad trip to the DL probably affords Kendry or Evans or some other hot Bee (Brown?) some major league time. Enough PS and on to the blog...
Here is my latest post...I did the unthinkable and chose Vlad as my topic...read on...
We just got home from the June 2nd game in Seattle. Good guys won by the way, 4-2. Outstanding pitching by Ervin Santana again AND on the road no less. Vlad was an unannounced late scratch from this game (entire series as it turns out). Some hack named Gary Matthews Jr. played right field for the Angels. Hardly the guy we paid to go see in right field.
Thus far Guerrero’s season looks like this, April .271, 3 HR, 14 RBI. May .219, 4 HR, 14 RBI. He is currently hitting .249, which at this point of the season is the lowest of his career (and .249 is rounding up!). These are not Vladimir Guerrero numbers. Guerrero and Lou Gehrig are the only two batters in major league history with ten or more consecutive seasons with an average over .300 and 25 or more homeruns. Mike Scioscia insists there is nothing physically wrong with Vlad.
I asked my 16 year-old son (proud owner of a #27 jersey) on the way home for his perspective of what ails Vlad. His first answer has been my greatest fear of this year. Is Vlad 32 in Dominican years? Is this the Tejada syndrome? Turns out Miguel turned 34 in May, not 32 as originally advertised. Is this common practice in major league baseball? I recently heard a former player say he was encouraged to change his age by about 4 months when he was a young minor leaguer. Does this mean Vlad really turned 34 or more back in February? Judging by the way he has played thus far it sure makes me wonder.
I would ask if you think Vlad is happy that May is over, but he promptly fouled an inside pitch off of his left knee over the weekend against Toronto. Another one of his futile attempts to hit a ball a foot inside over the fence. To his credit he gamely sucked it up and remained in the game. Then he promptly jammed his knee sliding hard into third base in a valiant effort that was a big part of the Angels comeback victory. He has not played since.
Vlad is a large man (6’3" 235 lbs) with a large strike zone. He has always been compared to the likes of Roberto Clemente for his lack of plate discipline and knack for hitting balls outside the strike zone. This has proved to be a blessing and a curse. He extends the strike zone to the point that pitchers do not have to throw him a strike to get him out. When he is going well it does not appear to matter, and when he is struggling it makes him look silly, stupid, (enter appropriate adjective here). Vlad has taken this struggle to new heights in 2008. Frequently swinging at enough balls out of the strike zone to have drawn a walk and gets himself out. It is brutal to watch and must be very frustrating to him.
I leave you with two thoughts to contemplate. First, what would Vlad's career numbers be if he had the pitch selection of a Manny Ramirez or Adam Dunn? How many times would he have hit .400?
Lastly, I have heard many fans of the Angels complain about the "east-coast" bias of the national sports media. In this instance, I suspect Vlad is very lucky to be playing for a west coast team. Imagine for a second if he played for the Yankees or Red Sox and was putting up numbers such as these. Think the pressure is getting to him now? He might never recover. From what I have read from the west coast media thus far, he is getting a free pass. How much longer until he starts to hear from disgruntled fans?