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Know Your Foe: Los Angeles Angels descend on Colorado for a two-game set

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The 44-38 Angels are second in the AL West to Houston

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

If you're in Denver today or tomorrow, do yourself a favor and catch one of these next two games. Because seeing Mike Trout in person is something every baseball fan needs to do.

I first saw him in 2012, during a sunny series-opening game at Coors Field in June. He scattered three hits and scored three runs en route to leading the Angels to an easy victory. The way he moved in the outfield was like nothing I've ever seen before; he ran like a greyhound released from the gate, pulling down fly balls that had "gapper" written all over them. He hit everything hard, including his outs. He stole two bags that afternoon. I don't remember anything else about that game, but I remember Trout's mastery of the entire field. The normal boundaries of the game could not contain him, like he was playing on a smaller field or with lowered gravity.

Two days later, I was watching the last game of the series on TV, and the Angels were polishing off a series sweep. Trout slapped a line drive to left field, moving the fielder a few feet to his right, a sure-fire single, until Trout turned on the nitrous and zoomed hard into second base to beat the throw by a foot. It was his eighth hit of the series. I remember hearing Drew Goodman, in a stupefied voice, declare this series the coming-out party of the next great Major League superstar. Trout was twenty at the time.

Drew was, uh, right about that. Trout would hit .326/.399/.564, swipe 49 bases, hit 30 homers, play phenomenal center field defense, and accrue 10.3 WAR, according to Fangraphs. And he wasn't even called up from the minors until April 28!

Trout went and had another 10 WAR season in 2013 and an 8 WAR 2014, when he finally captured an MVP trophy. And whadda ya know, he's on pace for about 9 WAR this year. Mike Trout is going to have a Hall-of-Fame caliber resume by the time he's about 26 years old.

So what I'm saying is, get out there and watch him play. The way old-timers talk about Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, and Roberto Clemente is how people will talk about Trout in about 40 years. You can be one of those old-timers. When little grandson Timmy asks if you ever saw Mike Trout play, your eyes can acquire this faraway look, and you can say, "Ayuh, I saw him play."

That presupposes that kids will care about baseball in 40 years of course...or that humanity hasn't been destroyed by robots or aliens...or that we haven't invented time travel so that anyone can see Trout play, so no one cares about your silly stories, old man.

Anyway, I'm digressing, the point is Trout = good.

You know who else is good again? Albert Pujols. After suffering through a horrible, injury-plagued 2013, Pujols rebounded somewhat in 2014 to swat 28 homers and be worth 2.9 WAR. Not superstar numbers, or pay-this-guy-24-million-dollars numbers, but pretty solid. But 2015 has seen even more of a bounceback for Albert, at least when it comes to power. He has 25 home runs already and is on pace for a solid 5 WAR season.

But other than those guys, the Angels really don't hit much. Their next best regular, Kole Calhoun, has a 107 wRC+. The rest of the lineup is filled with low-power, low-on-base role players. The Angels are an average team by most offensive metrics--runs scored, team wRC+, position player WAR--but that is almost solely due to Trout's and Pujols' heroics. Get around those two guys, and you have a chance against the Angels.

Angels hitting stats

Name G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ BsR Off Def WAR
Mike Trout 82 351 21 60 45 9 12.00% 23.40% 0.276 0.345 0.299 0.393 0.575 0.407 170 2.9 30.3 0 4.5
Albert Pujols 79 332 25 50 53 1 8.70% 9.90% 0.292 0.224 0.265 0.337 0.557 0.379 150 -3.1 15.6 -4.3 2.4
Erick Aybar 79 323 2 42 27 6 5.00% 13.00% 0.07 0.318 0.28 0.319 0.35 0.296 93 2.5 -0.2 1.6 1.3
Kole Calhoun 79 336 9 33 46 4 7.40% 20.20% 0.138 0.312 0.266 0.32 0.403 0.317 107 -0.2 2.4 -2.1 1.2
David Freese 79 313 10 33 36 1 7.30% 22.00% 0.16 0.283 0.242 0.31 0.402 0.313 105 -0.2 1.4 -1 1.1
Collin Cowgill 35 66 1 6 2 1 6.10% 24.20% 0.115 0.227 0.18 0.231 0.295 0.233 49 0.1 -3.7 4.5 0.3
Daniel Robertson 17 37 0 3 2 0 2.70% 8.10% 0 0.3 0.273 0.294 0.273 0.254 63 -0.2 -1.7 3.3 0.3
Efren Navarro 35 80 0 9 5 0 6.30% 16.30% 0.053 0.323 0.267 0.313 0.32 0.278 80 0.2 -1.6 1.1 0.2
Chris Iannetta 54 188 3 15 15 0 14.90% 25.00% 0.082 0.245 0.19 0.309 0.272 0.268 73 -2 -7.6 3.4 0.2
Johnny Giavotella 80 300 3 29 31 1 7.00% 13.30% 0.09 0.301 0.271 0.32 0.361 0.3 95 0.5 -1.2 -7.3 0.1
Carlos Perez 35 114 2 3 13 0 2.60% 19.30% 0.092 0.279 0.239 0.257 0.33 0.257 65 -1.4 -5.9 2.1 0
Taylor Featherston 50 63 1 9 4 2 4.80% 36.50% 0.086 0.171 0.121 0.161 0.207 0.165 1 1 -6 3.2 -0.1
Kyle Kubitza 12 31 0 3 1 0 6.50% 41.90% 0 0.375 0.207 0.258 0.207 0.215 36 -0.9 -3.1 0.6 -0.2
C.J. Cron 41 137 3 11 15 0 1.50% 21.90% 0.115 0.283 0.238 0.263 0.354 0.269 74 -0.1 -4.1 -2.5 -0.2
Marc Krauss 11 38 1 2 5 0 7.90% 28.90% 0.143 0.174 0.143 0.211 0.286 0.223 41 0.1 -2.4 -1.3 -0.3
Matt Joyce 73 244 4 16 18 0 10.70% 22.50% 0.121 0.237 0.192 0.284 0.313 0.269 73 -1.8 -9 -9.5 -1.2

When it comes to pitching, the Angels seem to have an average staff. We're going to miss their best starters, Garret Richards and CJ Wilson. The Rockies will face Andrew Heaney, a top prospect making his third start, and Matt Shoemaker, who had a solid 2014 but has struggled this year. If the Rockies felt like getting frisky and actually winning some games, this series could be set up for a two game sweep.

Of course, that requires Chad Bettis and Chris Rusin to get around the Hall-of-Fame duo of Trout and Pujols. Good luck with that.

Angels pitching stats

Name W L SV G GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB ERA FIP xFIP WAR
C.J. Wilson 7 6 0 17 17 108.1 7.73 2.82 0.91 0.281 73.20% 44.40% 10.30% 3.82 3.82 3.87 1.4
Garrett Richards 9 5 0 15 15 94 7.09 3.26 0.67 0.265 72.80% 54.70% 8.40% 3.35 3.66 3.92 1.4
Hector Santiago 5 4 0 17 16 101.1 8.08 3.02 1.15 0.234 89.00% 29.80% 8.80% 2.4 4.11 4.47 1.1
Joe Smith 2 2 0 37 0 35.1 8.15 2.29 0 0.299 71.80% 48.40% 0.00% 2.8 2.12 3.1 1
Huston Street 3 2 23 34 0 34.2 9.09 2.34 0.78 0.218 82.10% 25.60% 6.50% 2.34 2.97 3.68 0.6
Jered Weaver 4 8 0 15 15 96.2 4.56 1.49 1.49 0.275 70.30% 36.20% 10.90% 4.75 4.78 4.74 0.5
Fernando Salas 1 1 0 37 0 33.1 9.18 1.89 0.81 0.302 61.50% 33.30% 7.30% 4.59 2.93 3.47 0.4
Matt Shoemaker 4 7 0 15 15 84.1 7.58 2.03 1.71 0.286 68.90% 39.10% 14.50% 4.91 4.61 3.96 0.4
Andrew Heaney 1 0 0 2 2 13 8.31 2.08 0.69 0.161 92.10% 37.50% 8.30% 1.38 2.93 3.21 0.3
Cesar Ramos 2 0 0 32 0 24 6.75 1.88 0.38 0.329 88.60% 46.50% 4.50% 1.88 3.13 3.86 0.3
Nicholas Tropeano 1 0 0 1 1 6 7.5 1.5 0 0.278 100.00% 50.00% 0.00% 0 1.92 3.54 0.2
Jose Alvarez 2 1 0 28 0 34.2 8.57 3.12 0.78 0.237 70.70% 46.90% 8.80% 3.38 3.69 3.93 0.1
Trevor Gott 1 0 0 10 0 10 3.6 0.9 0.9 0.182 90.90% 44.10% 7.70% 1.8 3.88 4.39 0
Ryan Mattheus 0 0 0 1 0 1 18 9 0 0 100.00% 100.00% 0.00% 0 2.08 2.08 0
Edgar Ibarra 0 0 0 2 0 4 6.75 6.75 0 0.308 85.70% 38.50% 0.00% 2.25 3.83 4.87 0
Drew Rucinski 0 1 0 2 1 4.2 3.86 7.71 0 0.5 69.20% 44.40% 0.00% 7.71 4.8 6.28 0
Adam Wilk 0 0 0 1 0 2 9 4.5 4.5 0.2 100.00% 50.00% 50.00% 4.5 10.58 5.47 -0.1
Cam Bedrosian 0 0 0 15 0 15.2 7.47 5.74 0.57 0.392 75.20% 46.00% 6.70% 4.6 4.36 4.86 -0.1
Mike Morin 1 1 0 21 0 16 7.31 2.81 1.69 0.239 50.60% 39.60% 12.50% 6.19 5.02 4.67 -0.1
Vinnie Pestano 1 0 0 17 0 10.2 10.97 6.75 1.69 0.355 76.90% 27.30% 11.10% 4.22 5.33 5.24 -0.2

Probable Pitchers

Chad Bettis v. Andrew Heaney

Chris Rusin v. Matt Shoemaker