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By Glen McKee, Something or Other
When I came back from camping last Sunday the Angels still had a chance at the second wild card spot in the AL. Technically speaking, they still do, but yeah, I know. It’s over. Last week was the equivalent of driving down the road at 55 mph and then suddenly and simultaneously getting four flat tires. We shouldn’t be surprised, though. The Angels jalopy has been driving all year behind a truck with a bed full of nails and for some strange reason, a fan blowing those nails onto the road. It’s no surprise that this happened, it’s a surprise that the team made it this far.
The bad. Obviously, you start with the 1-5 record and work your way down from there. Everything about the team was inconsistent but most of the time, the Angels were playing from a deficit even when the starters did well. The Angels scored 18 runs in six games, making for some easy math to figure out they averaged a sad three runs per game. They gave up 30 runs in those six games, making for more easy math: five runs per game. The Angels had a -12 run differential last week during a crucial stretch. Welp.
Mike Trout – Trout continued his September to disremember, hitting .217 last week but showing some faint signs of a pulse yesterday. He’s hitting .233 for September with two home runs. Trout’s slump has been discussed enough on the board, so let’s move on.
Yusmeiro Petit – Yusmeiro has been nails for us most of the year so it’s hard to get down on him. He just ran out of gas last week, pitching in three games and losing two of them while posting a 20.25 ERA. Yikes. He still has a 2.64 ERA on the season, almost two runs below his career average.
Eduardo Parades – This week he turned back into Eduardo Parades, giving up five runs in 2.1 innings over two appearances. His ERA for the season is now 4.71.
CJ Cron – Cron disappeared last week, hitting .158 but managing to hit a home run that nobody other than AO will remember.
Andrelton Simmons – He was slightly better than Cron, hitting .182 last week.
This list could go on and on, but it’s already giving me a sadgasm so let’s move on.
The good. What, there was good last week? Of course there was! Let’s look at the few things that pierced the funk that was last week.
Justin Upton – He only hit .241 last week but he had four home runs and five RBI. Those five RBI were more than 25% of the Angels runs scored last week. He’s making a pitch to be the Angels LF again next year, even if he opts out. Seven HR and an OPS of 1.021 in September. I know, it’s a walk year of sorts and beware of stats put up in said years. Just think about how many players have come to the Angels and tanked (not Tanked, which is going vegetarian). He’s worth a shot for next year.
Garrett Richards – You have no idea how happy it makes me see him make this list. Six IP, zero ER against Houston. An ERA of 1.76 and a WHIP of 0.72 for September. My only regret about this season ending is that we won’t get to see more of him, but he’s giving us hope that next year we’ll have Ace Richards.
Ricky Nolasco – Five IP, two ER is good for Nolasco. He starts again today, which means he’ll get another start later this week just so we can see him one more time. After that, it’s Godspeed, Ricky. I’m sure you’ll sign with another team next year and have an ERA in the threes.
Keynan Middleton – This cat is interesting. He has the stuff to be a closer and I think he’s worth sticking with. 3.1 IP last week, zero ER.
Blake Parker – 2.1 IP, zero ER last week. He has to be looked at a closer candidate for next year.
Ben Revere – He seems to be thriving as a pinch-hitter, and who knows, perhaps he’d thrive with regular AB. 3-3 last week pinch-hitting.
The rest. Since being called back up on September 1, Carlos Perez has had three AB. Huston Street is about ready to pitch off of a mound, or something, who cares. Kaleb Cowart has gotten two more AB than Perez this month. Somehow, Luis Valbuena has hit 21 HR this season while posting a .194 BA.
The week ahead. Do you really care? I care, dammit! This is the last Angels baseball we’ll see until spring training next year. Four in Chicago against the White Sox and the season ends with three at home versus the Dipotos.
Predictions. Who gives a flying fart? I do! The Angels will give us some false hope, winning three in Chicago and moving us a bit closer to that second wild card spot, but then they’ll lose the first two against the Dipotos before ultimately winning the last game of the season.
Next Monday. The last LWIAB for the season. I’ll try to go out in style, with all the stuff that was missing from this week’s edition. I’ll try to make it worth your while to read it. Until then, enjoy the last week of Angels baseball this year.
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Michael Nelson "Mike" Trout (born August 7, 1991), nicknamed The Millville Meteor, is the center fielder for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Major League Baseball. Trout was the American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2014, is a four-time All-Star, and a two-time All-Star Game MVP since becoming a regular player in 2012 (More on that below from our Top-50 Greatest Moments in Angels History).
Trout was a first-round pick by the Angels in the 2009 MLB draft, and made a brief major league appearance in 2011. He became a regular player for the Angels the subsequent season, and unanimously won the 2012 AL Rookie of the Year Award. Trout finished second in AL MVP voting in 2012, 2013 and 2015. In addition to being named Most Valuable Player in 2014, he won the 2014 AL Hank Aaron Award. Trout is under contract with the Angels until the end of the 2020 season.
Trout's MLB performances have received praise from both the mainstream media and sabermetricians, and he is regarded as one of the most outstanding young players in the history of baseball, as well as one of the best current players in all of MLB. Trout has led the major leagues in wins above replacement (WAR) during his first three full seasons in MLB (according to Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference.com) and was second to Bryce Harper in his fourth.
Trout's combination of power and speed has drawn comparisons to Hall of Fame center fielder Mickey Mantle. Trout has hit at least 27 home runs and 35 other extra base hits per season between 2012 and 2015, while also maintaining a high batting average and walk rate. He is particularly able to hit pitches that are low in the strike zone. Trout's speed has allowed him to be an above average defender in center field (according to ultimate zone rating) and he is also a proficient baserunner, stealing 113 bases between 2012 and 2015 at a success rate of 84 percent.
In the four-year period since Trout became a regular player, he has been MLB's most productive batter, according to Fangraphs. Trout led all MLB players in total runs above average (park-adjusted wRAA) with 221.5 runs, and led all qualified players in productivity per plate appearance (wRC+), producing runs at a rate 71 percent above league average. Trout's exceptional performance at his young age has caused him to be compared to Ted Williams..
Some baseball writers and pundits would tell you that there is such a thing as “Trout Fatigue.” That he is so consistently good, and makes it look so easy, that baseball fans and experts take him for granted. I believe it to be true so to claim another MVP award on a team that quite frankly stunk would be a huge accomplishment. As the 2016 season wound down the usual conversation was going on, stop me if you have heard this before… Trout lead the league in WAR, runs, OPS+, OBP, second in OPS, and the list goes on, but he was on a team that was not ever close to the playoff race, and the young Mookie Betts of the hated Chowds seemed to be the favorite to win the award, he had an excellent season and he played for one of the best teams in baseball. Also in the conversation was Jose Altuve, a lovable short guy (seriously, who doesn’t love a short guy) that played for a team that just missed the playoffs and lead the league in average and hits while playing excellent defense. Fortunately, the Trout Fatigue was overcome and once again Mike Trout was rightfully recognized as the best player in the AL with his second MVP award.
As Angels fans, it really is great to be able to watch the best player in baseball do his thing day in and day out..
A running list of Mike Trout's accomplishments
Mike Trout Highlight Video clipsK BELOW TO LISTEN TO A FISH LIKE THIS