Angels at the 2014 One-Third Mark, A Report Card

Don't let Rev see the snot, Mang... - Ezra Shaw

54 games is one third of the 162-game season. The Angels played their 54th game on Friday.

There are three outs in an inning. there are 9 innings in a game. 3x9 = 27. Each team has 27 outs in a game. 27 x 2 = 54. 54 x 3 = 162, and that is how many games are in a season.

We have reached the one-third mark of the angels season.

If I told you at the start of the season that the Halos would be 30-24 and a few games back of Oakland in second place you would have been relieved after the turkey-trot starts the team has had in recent seasons. So despite the downcast sentiment in Anaheim after a lost weekend in Oakland, look at it this way - they started the first third of the season getting swept at home by Seattle and rebounded well. They can start the second third of the season getting swept on the road by Oakland and still maintain a good pace that should keep them ahead of the pack.

Here is an overview of the team at the one-third mark:

THE BIG GUYS - TROUT, PUJOLS, HAMILTON
Well two out of three ain't bad. Mike Trout is All Star material and Albert Pujols is likely on the cusp. Josh Hamilton hurt himself after a week.
GRADE: B-

THE NEW BATS: IBAÑEZ and FREESE
Worthless. At least have the self-respect to bat your weight. Better yet, just go. David Freese personifies mediocrity and would have been benched or released if he hadn't cost us Peter Bourjos and Randall Grichuk. The best surprise has been that the Raul Ibañez occasional defensive appearances have not been total embarrassments. Let's quit while we are ahead.
GRADE: F

THE OLD GUARD: HOWIE and AYBAR
Neither is going to the All Star game (barring some insane hot streak) but neither has tanked. Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar are better contributors than they will ever be given credit for.
GRADE: B+

THE CATCHERS: IANNETTA and CONGER
Don't EVEN complain, look at almost any other team and then look at what the Angels have in the persons of Chris Iannetta and Hank Conger here and just enjoy it. GRADE: B+

THE ROLE PLAYERS: COWGILL, CALHOUN, CRON and GREEN

Sure Kole Calhoun is a starter but with all that time off for an ankle injury he is here and he is okay, his comeback has been slow so it dragged him down a bit. Collin Cowgill and David Freese each have 141 Plate Appearances - Cowgill has an OPS+ of 122, Freese's is 56. Cron has been fantastic for a green rookie. While his 145 OPS+ will certainly regress a bit, you can bet that Rauuuul's 53 OPS+ is not going to regress anywhere close to a point where the two touch. If Grant Green were being drilled at 3B every day or playing it in the minors he could take over for Freese soon (as in yesterday). The early demoting of J.B. Shuck was the best move of the season so far. GRADE: A-

STARTING PITCHING:
C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver combined for 2.7 WAR in the first third of the season (1.4 and 1.3 WAR respectively). Weaver seems to be dropping from a peak. Wilson maintains as he nibbles. Tyler Skaggs has had moments of brilliance and rocky passages, while Garrett Richards just fell off a cliff in the last few starts in May. Replacing Hector Santiago with Matt Shoemaker might have come a little late but better late than never. Not much here to make you sleep like a baby over but better than 2/3 of what MLB is dealing with so not the headache of the year. GRADE: C+

RELIEF PITCHING
The headache of the year. We'd be the best team in baseball record-wise if we simply had a league average pen. Not counting Matt Shoemaker who started the season in long relief, we have employed fifteen relief pitchers this season. Five relievers have combined to be worth 1.1 WAR (Joe Smith at 0.3, Fernando Salas and Michael Kohn at 0.2 plus Jose Alvarez and Mike Morin each with 0.1WAR). Since Alvarez is being stretched in the minors to start, here are four relievers going forward. Kevin Jepsen has 0 WAR and only in five of his 17 outings did he have a negative WPA (Win Percentage Added) so keep him for now, what the heck that makes five. Put Ernesto Frieri on the DL and teach him a changeup that will complement his served-on-a-tee fastball and call up Cam Bedrosian form the minor leagues. Otherwise the pen is going to get the same grade it is getting now. GRADE: F-

If we play like we have over the next two-thirds of the season and maybe add in a ten-game winning streak in a 25 out of 40 run, we will take the division with ease. Historically, under Scioscia, teams get better as the season goes on.

The middle third of the season started Saturday, let's do this.

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