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Angels in First Place as Season Hits 1/5th Mark

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At 33 games old, the 2011 season is already 20 percent finished. Let's take a closer look at how the 19-14 record was achieved and how it can be sustained, shall we?

Howie Kendrick has been on fire at a consistent pace. If anything, his impact on the team has been somewhat mitigated by usually being the baserunner eliminated in one of the many Hunter/Wells GIDPs. Howie leads the team with 1.9 WAR and doesn't seem to be doing those cruddy "Howard's" commercials. It would be baseball history if he kept that pace up and compiled 9.5 WAR for the whole season; but if this is the year that he "puts it all together" so let it be written, so let it be done.

Maicer Izturis still cannot get people to pronounce his name right, but 1.5 WAR is a hell of a big number considering his days off for aches an pains (112 Plate Appearances so far compared to Howie's club lead of 151). No way he delivers 7.5 WAR this season but the regular rest rotation seems to be working.

Peter Bourjos is the most exciting Angel to watch even though the bush league broadcasts form FSN-West cannot for their life simply follow this exciting player around the bases or in the field. Always a sharp cut to where the action isn't and then a closeup of some face or crotch instead of the athlete's body in motion. The loser network cannot take away PB's 1 WAR in the first fifth of the season and I could see his glove and speed delivering 5 total WAR even though none of us would see it on FSN-Worst.

Erick Aybar is not the solution at leadoff but his glove and situational bat have added up to 0.9 WAR and that makes him as valuable a commodity as this team might have to part with in a trade. Otherwise he is moving toward putting up franchise-impressive numbers. Watch out if he ever gets the reputation of being "clutch".

Hank Conger is at 0.7 with insultingly limited playing time, Alberto Callaspo is at 0.6 WAR, Bobby Abreu and Mark Trumbo are 0.5 WAR apiece.

In the negative is Jeff Mathis at -0.2 and Vernon Wells at -1.1 ... these guys are the worst of the worst in all of baseball, not just their own team.

Pitching:

Jered Weaver is the king of WAR with 2.2 Wins Above Replacement after seven starts in 33 games and a start tonight in Game 34!

Dan Haren is close with 1.9 WAR, Jordan Walden has 0.8 WAR, good for 4.0 WAR over the course of a whole season if he remains operating at this pace. Joel Pineiro is at 0.6 WAR after only two starts, albeit two great ones. None of the other Angels pitchers have over 0.5 WAR but only two are in negative territory: Hisanori Takahashi is at -0.3 WAR, so he is basically worse than Jeff Mathis if that is to be believable and Scott Kazmir's one lousy start still yielded -0.4 WAR and a trip to the disabled psyche List.

Looking forward to remaining 4/5ths of the season, just a little digging out of his hole from Wells, more Conger and a consistent Santana might be all we need to take this division, although we know that everything changes, especially smooth numbers from a month and a half of play.