With summer vacation just about to start for most students here in Southern California, a report card is the furthest thing from their minds. For the Angels, however, a quarterly review is not only needed, it has to be signed by a parent and returned ASAP.
This isn't going to be pretty.
1B – A
– Kendry Morales is on pace for his second straight 30 homerun/100 RBI season. I am not a big fan of his homers being called “Cuban Missiles” by Victor Rojas, but you can't pin that on Morales.
2B – C-
– The .260 average is troublesome, but the main reason for the low grade is the 5 errors. Howie Kendrick only had 4 miscues all of last season.
SS – B-
– Erick Aybar gives you what you want from a shortstop: steady play on the field and at the plate. He certainly has his shortcomings (see lead-off grade), but as a SS, he is passing.
3B – D-
– Brandon Wood is close to failing, but I hate to give out F's the first quarter. There has been talk in the teachers lounge about sending him back down, but we understand we can't do that because he is out of options. He will likely get one more crack at the position but, after that, he's looking at the dreaded F if things don't improve drastically.
C – B+
– The Angels two-headed backstop is as lethal this year as ever. The only thing keeping them from an A is the discord that was evident before Jeff Mathis was injured–and discord that may return when he does.
LF – C+
– Juan Rivera has been steady. He isn't making anyone forget Garrett Anderson, but he does a decent job in LF. Needs to improve his batting average but that can be said for the entire class. Too bad I don't grade on a curve.
CF – A
– The face of the Angels is having a typical Torii Hunter year. I wonder how many of these years are left in the tank, however?
RF – C+
– Bobby Abreu has averaged 20 homeruns and just fewer than 100 RBI's in his illustrious career. He will be hard pressed to match those numbers this year. A two-year commitment to this 36-year old may have been one year too many.
DH – C+
– OK power numbers for Hideki “Godzilla” Matsui, but little else. When did the Angels become so old?
Bench – C-
– Napoli has filled in nicely for Mathis and Kevin Frandsen has been a nice surprise spelling Wood. Reggie Willits has done nothing however and Macier Izturis is on the DL. A bench upgrade would be nice.
Standing – D+
– Third place, 4.5 games back of Texas just isn't enough.
Lead-off position – D-
– A lead-off hitter has to get on base then wreak havoc. The Angels rank second to last in On Base Percentage at .312 and second to last in Stolen Base Percentage at 65%.
Power – C
– A fifth place in most homeruns (46) and ninth place in slugging percentage show promise, but they are still pretty average. Bronx Bombers the Halos ain't.
Hitting – B-
– A paltry .251 batting average doesn't keep opposing pitchers up nights. Then again, the team with a league leading .279 average, the Kansas City Royals, isn't mowing down the opposition with an 18-27 record.
Fielding – C
– Too many errors and a poor fielding percentage hurt the team in this category. The occasional “wow” play helps, but not enough.
Pitching – B-
– A mixed bag here, the team has a poor team ERA and BAA (Batting Average Against), but, they are in the top six in league in strikeouts, complete games, saves and shutouts.
Bullpen – C+
– Don Stanhouse, the former closer for the Dodgers and Orioles, was known as “full-pack.” He earned the nickname for the number of cigarettes consumed while watching him pitch. He, like Brian Fuentes, was effective, but scary. No Troy Percivals or K-Rods in this pen. Sadly, no Scot Shields either.
Starters – C-
– A 16-19 record with a 4.52 ERA just won't get it done. Acquiring Roy Oswalt would be a knee-jerk reaction, however. This is a quality set of pitchers; they just need to get their acts together. Fast!
Manager – A
– Mike Scioscia always seems to say the right thing. Managers don't get Manager of the Year honors on losing teams, but this will likely be the year Scioscia has to do his best job just to get the team to respectability.
Cumulative GPA – 2.36 or a solid C.
Teachers note: The Angels are a pleasure to have in class, but are in danger of not advancing unless they being to assert themselves better. I am available after-school for tutoring for a nominal fee.