Results tagged ‘ American League Rookie of the Year ’

The Question That the Angels Must Never Answer

Through the annals of baseball there have been players that have defined the game; players whose impact on the game is so great that one cannot talk about baseball without mentioning these giants of the game. Players like Roberto Clemente, Sandy Koufax, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron. It takes a very special player to be mentioned among these greats. A player must do something so astonishing that the event has an effect not only on the baseball fanatic but on the casual fan alike.

Mike Trout is becoming one of those players even at this young age. Since his debut in the major leagues he has impacted the game in ways fans would not have been able to imagine much less predict. He has been either the winner or runner up in the American League Most Valuable Player Award race in each of the last five years. He was the 2012 Rookie of the Year, a two-time American League Most Valuable player in 2014 and 2016, back-to-back All Star Game Most Valuable Player in 2013 and 2014, and a Silver Slugger Award winner in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

However, an impact player is also measured by the intangibles of the game; the ability to perform in a clutch situation when it matters most whether it is the big hit or the two sky-walking catches that he is remembered for the most. The first one in Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland and the second one at the Big A in Anaheim. He reminds me of Hank Aaron in his humble approach to the game. It is not often that a player this talented is this humble. It is a very refreshing thing to see.

Some would argue that an MVP is measured by the impact that a player has on his team. Furthermore that an MVP can only be measured by the collective success of his team. I would argue however, that it is quite the opposite. An MVP should embody not only the impact on his team but the sustained success of the impact of the individual player. A player may have a good year but it is that sustained success that a player is remembered for.

The Angels were a sub .500 team this past year. How long can the team continue in this way? Marquee players such as Trout need a good nucleus around them something that Angels franchise has yet to provide. Baseball is referred to as a show. How long can the show continue like this in Anaheim?

It is my sincere hope that the Angels’ franchise realizes the caliber of player that they have on their hands. While I am sure they do realize it their actions have yet to reflect adaptation to the class of talent in Trout.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame will have Vladimir Guerrero on the ballot for the first time this coming year. There is no question that Guerrero will be a hall of famer. The only question is if he goes into the hall as a Montreal Expo or as an Angel. The Angels organization must do everything in their power to make sure that’s the question that surrounds Guerrero is never the same question that will surround Mike Trout if and when he enters the Hall of Fame.

-ICE

Happy “Halo”days!

After a long involuntary absence, The Angels’ Ace is back on the pitching mound ready to throw more fireballs. The motherboard of my laptop went out. So I have been unable to write for a couple of months now, months of agony, it’s very difficult to program another computer to recognize voice recognition now that my motherboard is repaired and I am back in business!

Given that the flash player produces snow on the MLBblogs website this time of year. I decided to write a holiday themed post, I will be discussing Halo gifts received (awards) and the Halo gifts exchanged (trades) then I will discuss my letter to Santa Claus hopefully there will be gifts waiting for me under the Angels tree this year.

“This is so exciting, which gift shall I open First?”

Let me start with the obvious one, congratulations to Mike Trout for winning the 2014 American League Most Valuable Player award. After two years straight of being a runner-up for this award he finally gets it. I guess the third time is the charm.

Speaking of runner-ups congratulations to Matt Shumaker for being the American League Rookie of the Year runner-up, the committee did well in considering him. If it wasn’t for his performance, I don’t know what the result of this past season would have been. He saved the Angels’ season, and his contribution was definitely a critical one which allowed the Halos’ to claim the best record in Major League Baseball this past year.

If Garrett Richards’ season had not ended early, I believe he was a strong contender for the American League Cy Young Award.

Gifts Exchanged

The Winter Meetings for the Angels was largely uneventful in comparison to years past. Although none of their transactions were headline grabbers, I do want to concentrate on one transaction in particular, more specifically the Howie Kendrick trade to the Dodgers. The truth is I’ve never been in love with Kendrick’s bat, in fact my friend Shaun jokingly teases me saying that Kendrick is my favorite player. I’ve told him on numerous occasions that I simply want an upgrade at second base, especially during the postseason when Kendrick seems to leave his bat at home. However, I’ve always respected Kendrick’s defense, the Angels now have a gaping hole at second base defensively. I honestly think that Grant Green is definitely not the long-term answer.

Another transaction that I find intriguing is the acquisition of Matt Joyce from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for Kevin Jepsen the long-time reliever that was drafted by the Angels. I think Joyce can contribute immediately to the Angels’ organization and make the Halos better. What does this mean for C. J. Cron? Only time will tell.

Dear Santa,

Now for the wish list, of course Max Scherzer and James Shields are at the top of the list, but it’s unlikely that the Angels can make a run at either one. This team has been plagued with a history of bad contracts in recent years, another long-term contract is not what this team needs.

Part of the Christmas spirit is to be selfless, so Santa please give Josh Hamilton a hitting instructor for Christmas since he is far removed from his MVP season with the Texas Rangers.

Santa, I would like Jason Grilli, and Gordon Beckham back in an Angels’ uniform. They were the motor of this team this past season, and these two players would be good for the overall competitive spirit of the club.

The ultimate wish would be a World Series trophy this year, this is the one gift that all Angels’ fans can enjoy. This also would be the best way to spread holiday cheer that would last a lifetime. Happy “Halo”days!

-ICE

Without a Doubt the Best Player of This Generation is Trout

Jackie Robinson, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, and now one can add Mike Trout to this impressive list. All the players listed above were game changers not only for the respective teams but for baseball as a whole. Mike Trout’s resume includes: The American League Rookie of the Year, two-time American League Most Valuable Player runner-up, and three-time American League All-Star in only his third year in baseball. His newest accomplishment is most valuable player of the All-Star game. Quite an impressive career thus far for a player who is only 22 years old; given all his accolades, it is equally as impressive that his ego hasn’t stockpiled concurrently with his accomplishments. Trout’s attitude is refreshing.

I know I am a little late on posting my reaction regarding the All-Star break, especially given the fact that an Angels’ player was involved so heavily in the festivities. However, I wanted to wait until the much rumored pending transaction would materialize; it did, Houston Street is now part of the Halos’ bullpen. The acquisition of Street solidifies the bullpen, the team’s glaring weakness and biggest question mark in recent years.

Ladies and gentlemen, get ready for a dog fight for the right to claim the American League West championship. This is reminiscent of the battles the Angels and A’s have had in years past. These teams are not only competing in the division, but they are competing with transactions; matching each other punch for punch akin to a boxing match that neither competitor wants to lose.

Both teams are building team chemistry quite successfully. It’s no coincidence that these two teams have the two best records in baseball. I truly believe the Angels have the edge however, they lead all of baseball in runs scored, they strengthened a weakness called the bullpen, with the acquisition of Houston Street. The Angels now have options whether it’s Houston Street, Jason Grilli or Joe Smith they now have weapons in the bullpen. However there is one greatest advantage above all other advantages, his name is, Mike Trout.

-ICE

The Sky Is Always Darkest before the Dawn

Now that the Major League Baseball awards season is over, one can say that the off-season is in full swing. I’m happy that Mike Trout was voted the 2012 Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year by the baseball writers of America, however I am disappointed he was not selected as the 2012 American League Most Valuable Player. I believe that the most valuable player award belongs to the player who’s made the most valuable impact on their respective team. To me, Mike Trout has been that player. His W. A. R. (Wins Above Replacement) was higher than any player in recent baseball history. These are things that team cannot control, so the only recourse is to congratulate Miguel Cabrera on winning the American League Most Valuable Player award.

There is no solace in the things that team can’t control however, in my eyes the Angels get A failing grade in not offering and signing Torii Hunter to a long-term contract.. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, and I will never get tired of saying it, Torii Hunter was the leader and heart and soul of this Angels’ team! They simply let him walk away without offering him a qualifying offer, which would at the very least guarantee the Angels compensatory picks if he decided to sign with another team, which is exactly what happened. The Angels could have offered Hunter if we are contract with a player option after the first year and the club option after the second year thereby, protecting both the interest of the club and the interest of the player.

Hunter has since signed a two-year contract with the Detroit Tigers. His contribution is sure to bolster the Tigers’ lineup. Torii, thank you sir for the wonderful memorable years spent with my beloved Angels, I am very sad to see you go, in my heart, you will always be a member of the Angels.

A lot people argue that Hunter needed to go in order to open a roster spot on a permanent basis for another player. The Angels trust Vernon Wells that much? I surely don’t, and I think there are a lot of the Angels’ fans that feel the same way I do. Sure, you can install an outfield of Mark Trumbo, Mike Trout, and Peter Bourjos; but as fans, does the age organization honestly expect us to believe that they will sit Vernon Wells given the size of his contract? I think not, Torii Hunter proved his worth to the Angels’ organization. It’s really a shame that both sides could not work things out.

It is said that the sky is always darkest before the dawn. For the Angels sake, I hope it doesn’t get any darker this off-season and that dawn is just around the corner.

-ICE

Brooms Sweep the White Sox into the Heavenly Hamper

The hunt for red October continues, the Angels swept the Chicago White Sox with a 4-2 victory. Jared Weaver was a masterful, winning his American league-leading 19th game of the season, on his way hopefully to a 2012 Cy Young Award.

The Angels potentially can collect their fair share of hardware, Jared Weaver in my opinion is the leading candidate for this Cy Young Award, and Mike Trout is a surefire American League Rookie of the Year. His numbers are so astronomical the season, that it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the American League claiming that award and depending on how the Angels finish and if they make the playoffs, Mike Trout may be in the running for the American League Most Viable Player Award. He may be able to add an American League Gold Glove based on his spectacular play in Center Field this year.

It’s late September, and as I mentioned before it will be an uphill battle for the Angels to be able to punch your ticket into the postseason party. With nine games left play, the Angels find themselves 3 1/2 games back of the first Wild Card position and 2 1/2 games back of the second Wild Card position. With only one game separating the Oakland A’s and the Baltimore Orioles.

The A’s start a four-game series with the Texas Rangers tomorrow while the Angels have their last off day of the season. Strangely enough the rivalry that I’ve been craving for all year, the Angels versus the A’s is indirectly happening. I reluctantly find myself rooting for the Texas Rangers to defeat the A’s to knock them out at wild-card contention and allow the Angels to replace the A’s or the Orioles in one of two Wild Card spots. See the Angels in the playoffs is sweet but to deny the A’s a playoff berth would be even sweeter.

I’m also reluctantly willing to concede the AL West to the Texas Rangers if that allows the Angels to punch their ticket into the postseason. After all, the only thing needed to be eligible to win a World Series is to be invited to the party.

However the Angels are treading in dangerous waters, let us suppose a Texas Rangers clinch too early, they may decide to rest their players for the postseason, since even if the A’s are somehow able to surpass the Rangers and when the American League West. The Rangers are already guaranteed at least a Wild Card berth since at this point they would virtually have to lose all the games on the remaining schedule to be left out.

Another interesting scenario arises in my mind, let us suppose although unlikely, that the Orioles somehow have a monumental collapse and somehow drop out of contention for the American League Wild Card. One would be left with three teams from the American League West fighting for an invitation to the playoffs.

All this predicated of course on the Angels winning the vast majority of their remaining games. Although this is very difficult I have faith that they can do it. I truly believe that they can somehow punched their ticket, and once invited, I sincerely believe that they have the talent and the firepower to win their second World Series in franchise history. It’ll be exciting to see if the postseason includes a Halo.

-ICE

Monkeys and Fish Are Part of the Angels’ Tradition and Legacy

As a fan, it is difficult if not near impossible to lose faith in one’s team. Such is the case for the Angels this year; with 10 games to play they find themselves only three games out of the American League Wild Card play in game due to the loss of the Oakland Athletics to the New York Yankees.

The Angels are contending until the end. The play of Jared Weaver, Zack Greinke, Albert Pujols, and Torii Hunter are influential factors in the success of the Halos. With the win yesterday the Angels secured themselves a winning season no matter the outcome; whether they make the postseason or not.

Monkeys and Fish have become part of the Angels’ tradition and legacy. Who can forget the influence of the Rally Monkey during the 2002 World Series run. The Angels led the major leagues in comeback wins. The Rally Monkey supplied Angels’ fans with energy, and the Angels team fed off the energy that ultimately helped them win the 2002 World Series. 2002 was also a memorable year for Tim Salmon, “Mr. Angel” or as Angels’ fans lovingly refer to him “The King Fish” the only Angel in team history to spend his entire career in Anaheim. The Angels success has been often predicated and associated with different species of fish.

As stated above there are many players who are influential in the Angels success this season. None more than Angels rookie Mike Trout who should easily win the American League Rookie of the Year, and depending on whether the Angels make the playoffs he should be in consideration for the American League Most Valuable Player award. The description as Trout as a phenom is very accurate, his phenomenal numbers include a .326 Batting Average, 28 Home Runs, 78 Runs Batted in, 46 Stolen Bases and a .395 On-Base Percentage. Phenomenal numbers by any stretch of the imagination, for a rookie or a veteran.

I sincerely hope the Angels re-sign veteran Torii Hunter regardless of the log jam in the Angels’ outfield. He is the heart and soul of this team, and deserves is a generally shot at a World Series championship. He is definitely interested in returning to the team; and I for one, would love to have him back. He has a career-high .305 Batting Average with 84 Runs Batted in, and he is also a great humanitarian and I am proud to have him as a member of the Angels. He is also one of my personal all-time persons.

With 10 games to play the Angels are in the thick of the postseason race, let’s hope my next post is one of us celebratory nature, rather than one that looks forward to the 2013 season.

-ICE

Halos, Elephants, Cowboys, Sailors, and Comets? I Personally Prefer a Rattlesnake over the Comet

The off-season brings about intrigue to a franchise; the Angels’ organization is no exception. There is a lot of uncertainty yet great anticipation of what was what is, and what can be. It’s also the time of year that my entries become less analytical and more based on my fan enthusiasm. This is where reflection, anticipation, and expectation converge.

I believe angels made a statement this past season, although they were eliminated from postseason participation this year, they were still able to make an impact. Jared Weaver was the runner-up to a 2011 American League CY Young Award, and Mark Trumbo was a runner up for the American League Rookie of the Year Award. Clearly this demonstrated to me that the Angels have the talent to be a championship caliber team they just lack if you pieces that need to be in place to reinforce an already talented team full of potential.

Potential is not always good, the team has to be developed said potential, in order to accomplish that. They must be crafty in the way they approach the transactions both made in the off-season and during the season. Angels’ General Manager, Jerry Dipoto was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying that free agency was not the only option; the team has the option of improving and solidifying itself via trade as well. Let’s think about that for a second, on the one hand, I agree with him the Angels must stay away from bad contracts. Then why go after C. J. Wilson? The 31-year-old left-hander wants a six-year contract; let’s do the math this multimillion dollar contract would end when he is 36 years old. Isn’t that the essence of a bad contract?

If one is going to risk that much money why not go after Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder? At least in Pujols’ this case one is taking a similar risk but I think a reward would be much more likely. In the 2011 World Series, Wilson was a lackluster player who seemed to crumble under the bright lights of the fall classic. As opposed to Pujols who seemed to shine especially in game three and tied Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson for the most home runs in one game. Wilson reminds me a bit of Chone Figgins. Who is a great player during the regular season, but seems to wither away during the playoffs.

The winds of change are apparent in Major League Baseball, in the way of division realignment, it seems to be a done deal; the Houston Astros are coming to the American League West. Giving all divisions in Major League Baseball five teams.

I myself would rather see the Arizona Diamondbacks transfer over to the American League West simply because that would keep all the teams in the Pacific time zone; the Angels, the Athletics, and the Mariners, from traveling to time zones to face a division opponent, and the Rangers would go to the Pacific time zone something that they’re already accustomed to doing with the other three teams in division. This move would keep the American League West strong by adding a quality Baseball team like the Diamondbacks, and not give them the East Coast pundits one more reason to downgrade the quality of baseball in the American League West. Let’s face it, the Astros don’t really help the American West solidified itself as a strong division, and with the exception of the Texas Rangers that he wasn’t Astros don’t really mean much, nor are they as strong attendance draw for the rest of the American League West. From a financial standpoint it doesn’t make sense to bring in a weak team into the division. I’m certainly not opposed to bringing a fifth franchise into the American League West. I do believe in balance, however let us bring in the team that strengthens the division while at the same time makes geographical sense, and does not put one team at an advantage over the other three teams in the division.

-ICE

The Keys to Creating a Winning Recipe for the Angels

The Angels continued to impress, Shortstop Erick Aybar has won his first Gold Glove of his career, joining Torii Hunter, Ken Berry, Rick Miller, Gary Pettis, Devon White, Jim Edmonds, and Darin Erstad.

The Angels potentially have a very bright future, in addition to Erick Aybar’s Gold Glove season; the Angels also have the American League Rookie of the Year Mark Trumbo; in addition 3/5 of their rotation Jared Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana can go toe to toe with any starting rotation in Major League Baseball. Let us not forget young upstart Mike Trout, if the Halos were to add one or two decent arms to the starting rotation and maybe an above-average bat, quite possibly they may have the ingredients for a championship soup.

 As I stated before, the Angels need a a lot of reinforcements in different areas. In my previous entries I touched upon their need to address the bullpen. I also addressed how the Angels need to part ways with Jeff Mathis who is a sub .200 hitter for his career. Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder are maybe out of the question financially, but the Angels could possibly court Yadier Molina, who is a career .400 hitter that demonstrated in the 2011 World Series that he has a cannon for an arm that can throw runners out at any base. If the Angels are able to acquire the youngest Molina it would solve two issues at once, it would put a pretty good bat in the lineup while the same time address the need for a defensive catcher, the type that Mike Scioscia seems to covet so much.

Again congratulations to Erick Aybar for his Gold Glove and Mark Trumbo for being the American League Rookie of the Year. They are both very deserving of their individual awards respectively. It is my belief that the Angels have the right ingredients for a championship soup. However, it has yet to be seen if the new Angels’ General Manager can add the right spices to make the soup devastate and endear the taste buds of Angels’ fans simultaneously.

-ICE

The Five Seasons of Baseball

As any true baseball fan knows, the Major League Baseball cycle consists of five phases of what I call the five seasons of baseball; more like mini seasons.  Spring Training, the first half of the season, the second half of the season after the All-Star break, a postseason and finally the off-season.

 

With that being said, Major League Baseball is in the transitionary period between the postseason, which I see as a last phase of the cycle, and the off-season which is a first phase that begins a new baseball year. The Angels as an organization have already made news in both of these cycles with Mark Trumbo winning The Sporting News American League Rookie of the Year for 2011 as voted by his Major League peers.

The Halos have also selected Jerry Dipoto as the new Angels General Manager. the former Diamondbacks Vice President was signed to a five-year deal. I have yet to do research on his background since news of the selection only hit the media yesterday, and he was formally announced as the General Manager today.

 

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of General Manager he turns out to be. I can sit here and dissect everything he said during the press conference today. But obviously as we all know playing to the media versus actually following through with what you state are two different things altogether. I honestly hope he is an aggressive general manager that can bring a plethora of championships to this organization since he seemed to understand during the press conference that this is the direction the organization wants to go, win championships.

 

How does Jerry Dipoto do that? Well, first and foremost he is not building a fantasy team. So to those Angels’ fans that argue that we should go after both Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder; are being a bit unrealistic. First how do you plan to use to first baseman? Especially with the bounty of first baseman that we already have, I am mainly talking about Mark Trumbo and Kendrys Morales. The argument that’s been floating around in the media and various blogs is to convert Mark Trumbo to third base. Although that’s entirely possible, and I do as he that move happening, what do we do with both Pujols and Fielder? Both individuals are going to want to play every day. How do the Angels handle that balancing act and their personalities? Second, I don’t think it would be wise for the Angels to sign both players from a financial standpoint, if you stockpile at one position that doesn’t leave enough room to rebuild the bullpen and perhaps add another arm of the starting rotation. Which in the case of the bullpen especially, it needs to be revamped, most of the games that ran away from us this past season was because our middle relief was atrocious.

 

Jerry Dipoto talked about the building are minor-league farm system which I completely agree with, let’s find and develop our own homegrown talent and pay them what they deserve rather than look for a high profile and high paid free agent, however, before that can happen I think it is quintessential to make the passive fans to believe once again in the Angels product so they can spend their money this would in turn allow the organization to gather the money necessary to do everything they need to do. But in order to do that they need to be able to get butts in the seats.

 

Well, that’s all for now if anything of note happens in the off-season this is the place to read about it, for example, if the Angels sign a key free-agent, make a big trade, because one thing is for certain they can’t even dream about getting back to the postseason without aggressively filling in their weak points.

 

-ICE

The Synopsis of the Angels 50th Anniversary Season, at a Glance

The dog fights of summer, sometimes they win, and sometimes you lose. Unfortunately for the Angels they came up with a short end of the bat this year. They were officially a limited from playoff contention on September 26, 2011. However, like I mentioned to my friends and in previous entries; I much rather be eliminated in late September with three games to go than in early to mid August.


As fans we have a lot to look forward to, the return of Kendrys Morales, contributions from my pick for American League rookie of the year; Mark Trumbo, Mike Trout, and contributions from our veterans like Torii Hunter who was hurt in the beginning of the season hence limiting his contribution. We’ll must not forget Vernon Wells, who unlike many Angels’ fans; he has not lost my support and I still maintain that he will be an excellent contributor in the future. The problem is that many Halo fans expected him to make an immediate impact. Some people can, and some people can’t, I for one am willing to cut him a little slack.

 

Torii Hunter, I heard his interview on the Jim Rome show a few days ago, he stated that when his contract is up with the Angels at the end of the 2012 season, he would love to re-sign with the Angels. He loves Southern California, he wants to play for a contender, but above all he loves their fan base in Anaheim. A lot of his critics say he is too old, that we need to get younger. I unequivocally and vehemently disagree, Torii Hunter is one of the greatest influences on this wonderful team, it would be a travesty if the Angels do not retain him. He is not only a great player, he is a great leader in the locker room, and above all what I most admire about him is that he is a great humanitarian, in a very loyal player to his team; I’ve been told by people who I met at Angel games that he is very fan friendly. I personally have not had the pleasure of meeting him yet, but I hope I have an opportunity to change that very soon.

 

Now for some random thoughts about the off-season, there are some key free agents that the Angels might want to take a look at this off-season. I am principally speaking about Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols, the Angels should definitely consider signing one of those two players. However, as much as I would like a big bat, I think that the Halos would benefit more from a solid starting pitcher that they can add to the rotation to accompany Jared Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana. There is an old adage, “Defense wins championships” I am a strong believer in that, because it really doesn’t matter how strong the Angels offense is, if we can not keep the opposing offense from scoring.

 

The bullpen must also be addressed, our middle relievers were atrocious this year, the Angels would be best served if they let Fernando Rodney walk away from the organization. Clearly a change of scenery would do both parties well, Rodney was unhappy with his role for most of the season. I believe he did not play into his role to earn further consideration; therefore, he must be given no further opportunities, my points fit verbatim for Jeff Mathis he has to go.

 

Well, as always it’s been a pleasure to write for you about the team that I love. This is the end of the Angels’ 50th Anniversary Season.  it would have been great to have the season capped off with a World Series Championship, however that was not to be. But as I mentioned before, I would rather go down fighting with three games to go, than to be eliminated in mid August.

-ICE

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