Part two! And, because of the recent Vargas trade, you guys get a couple of bonuses in this part. Because Bourjos will now be the everyday center fielder, thus moving Vernon Wells to the fourth-outfielder spot, Kole Calhoun breaks through as the 25th man on the roster now (with Jason Vargas also replacing Garrett Richards, who'll likely be in AAA). So, Calhoun will be in today's installment.
Also, since Bourjos' playing time has been VASTLY increased, his role completely changed, I've re-adjusted HIS projections that I released Tuesday. Those updated projections will be at the end of this post as well!
Rather than delay the inevitable any longer, let's move forward with this series and kick off the second part with Canada Dry himself, Kole Calhoun! (Get it, because he's a ginger? Ginger ale...ah screw it, my jokes aren't funny. On to what you want to see.)
KOLE CALHOUN, OUTFIELDER
...well. For a 5th outfielder, I must say, Calhoun ought to be pretty reliable. He's got no future beyond a reserve outfielder here, so perhaps Dipoto ships him off as trade bait come July if we still are missing a piece (though I doubt we'll be at that point). However, a trade would not be beneficial to our bench; Calhoun surprises me by projecting to be a league-average bat after posting an OPS+ of 32 in his short stints here last season.
Next up...ladies and gentlemen, it's time to Rock the Cassevah.
BOBBY CASSEVAH, RELIEF PITCHER
Wait, what? Isn't Bobby Cassevah a crappy mopup guy? That's what we all thought, right? Turns out, when he's here for a full season, used as a long reliever, it makes a few things different. For one, he's always had a low home run rate (at least, in comparison to other members of the bullpen). Also, he's had the unfortunate task of (as Scioscia tends to do with any reliever making
Now for Mike Scioscia's new Napoli, Hank Conger!
HANK CONGER, CATCHER
Well...he is our backup catcher. And let's face it, as much as we love him, he's fallen victim to Brandon Wood Syndrome, and 2013 will likely prove it. Having been stuck in the minors for so long because of our longtime catching logjam, and now FINALLY being unclogged from Salt Lake, a mere seven years after he was drafted, he'll (likely) finally be a mainstay on the roster. Conger has simply become aged by the system, and because of Soth's obsession with catchers of his own likeness, guys like Conger that could've been starters two years ago get screwed over because they become overseasoned and eventually rotten, like that one relative we all have that dumps half a bottle of A1 on their ribeye. It isn't Hank's fault--not by any means. I blame this one on the Fatalian.
Now for the man from Kentuck I thought was Canuck, Scott Downs.
SCOTT DOWNS, RELIEF PITCHER
A return to his 2011 form...mostly. His 1.34 ERA is unlikely for him to reach at any point ever again, but I must say, I won't complain with a 2.17. This line of stats would pretty much be the halfway point between his 2011 and 2012 seasons, so if this is the final year of his contract and he puts up these stats, not only would I be happy with it, I'd be perfectly content bringing him back on a one-year deal with an option.
And now...it's time to get ERNASTY.
ERNESTO FRIERI, RELIEF PITCHER
That is one sexy season. Some All-Star numbers--heck, some HISTORIC numbers--that Frieri would be spotting in the setup role (but then again, he had an ERA of 0.00 when he went up for Final Vote, and placed fifth). He'd narrowly miss becoming one of a handful of Angels to ever put up 100 K's in less than 100 innings (amongst the likes of Mark Clear, Francisco Rodriguez and if I'm not mistaken, Troy Percival), but who's complaining? As I mentioned in the first installment, he, Burnett and Madson could very likely become the best bullpen trio in the American League (and if not for O'Flaherty, Venters and Kimbrel, the best in baseball).
The newest Angel in the outfield (and soon to be baseball's first $30MM per season player come 2016), Josh Hamilton!
JOSH HAMILTON, RIGHT FIELD
Hambone ought to do just fine here. In fact, if he were to play a full 162, he could breach 30 HR, 100 RBI and 90 R. But Hamilton has yet to play a full 162 in any season, and I won't be upset at all if he plays the projected 139. These are solid numbers--not eye-popping, but solid. We didn't bring him on with the expectation that he surpass Pujols and Trout in terms of production. But he will certainly put himself up there with the top producers in the lineup. I expect good things--and these stats are definitely good things.
Because of special circumstances, I was able to readjust a few projections. The Morales-for-Vargas swap rearranged three things on the roster: firstly, it removed Kendrys Morales completely from the depth chart, freeing up a spot for Kole Calhoun on the bench. Secondly, it added Jason Vargas to the depth chart, pushing Garrett Richards back to AAA, making Hanson and Blanton the new 4 and 5, respectively. And thirdly, it pushed Mark Trumbo to the primary DH, moving Hamilton to right field and...wouldn't you know, PETER BOURJOS to start in center field. I feared letting him go, and now he's a starter for the long term once again, giving the Angels arguably the best defensive outfield in baseball.
These readjusted projections for Bourjos are contingent on one key component: If Peter Bourjos consistently bats NINTH in the lineup, these numbers are extremely likely. The nine-spot between Iannetta and Trout is almost as golden as the two-hole between Trout and Pujols, because you're looking at, like with the latter, two high-OBP guys leaving no escape. You can't put the nine-hitter on intentionally if Trout awaits on deck. Your only hope is to go after him and hope he un-jams the jam that would possibly be created. And THESE are the results of going after Peter Bourjos with Trout on deck (WARNING: possibly overly optimistic):
PETER BOURJOS, CENTER FIELD
That last stat at the end of the table is quite possibly the driving factor behind the All-Star quality season Bourjos projects to have: an astronomical BABIP, bloated by the presence of Trout, Aybar and Pujols behind him. There's nowhere to go if Peter Bourjos is batting, because there's no relief in sight. Iannetta's stats will also get a slight bump because of this phenomenon, but not nearly as drastic as Petey. Trout's presence and ability to get on base at the top will have a trickle-down effect down both sides of the lineup. The nine-hole will see a little less of this than the two-hole, only because the two-hole also has some Pujols runoff going to it as well. A consistent ninth hitter--rather than the carousel of Iannetta, Bourjos, Hester, Wilson, Aybar and Callaspo from last season--will solidify this point. And this point means Bourjos will very likely have his first All-Star season.