Optimism About the Modern Angels

Moved over from the diaries...

To my mind, the Modern Angels -- the post-2002, younguns-rich, model of a team that we'll be enjoying for the next half-decade at least -- began in earnest when Mike Napoli established himself as a big-league starter, and Jered Weaver joined the rotation for good from July. Why those two events? Because in both cases a high-quality player who'll be with us for the next several years replaced a comparative black hole.

The team's record since Jered joined the rotation for good:

2006 -- 52-29 (.642)
2007 -- 63-45 (.583)
Total -- 115-74 (.608)

We are, at root, a .600 team, and once Napoli & Kendrick come back I have no doubt that we'll creep back up to that level. To see the Napoli effect alone, here's the team's record when he plays most of the game since last July 3:

with mn: 31-14 (.689)
without: 21-15 (.583)
with mn: 35-23 (.603)
without: 28-22 (.560)
with mn: 66-37 (.641)
without: 49-37 (.570)

Another reason for optimism can be located when you break down the team's record over that period behind our top four starters:

26-12 Lackey (.684)
21-13 Escobar (.618)
19-14 Weaver (.576)
17-4 Saunders (.810)
83-43 Total (.659)

Having four quality starters is a huge improvement over having just three, even if Saunders won't be as good as he has shown.

And here is the record of the team behind the other starters:

18-18 Santana (.500)
11-9 Colon (.550)
3-43 Moseley (.500)
0-1 Carrasco (.000)
32-31 Total (.508)

We remain vulnerable to an injury to Vlad or our Big Three starters, but this is basically a .583 team that's just upgraded to four quality starters from three, and will soon have back difference-making hitters at catcher and 2B. Yes, I'd love a big bopper playing 3B, but I just do not get how any of you can seriously consider the guys we have now to be a second-place team.

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