Thursday, April 28, 2011

Los Angeles Angels' Hank Conger Watches
(AP Photo - Hank Conger)

By Gary Beaston - Contributor

The Angels' thus far in the young 2011 season have been both exciting and frustrating to watch. While it was a tough to watch Tyson Ross dominate the Halos on Wednesday, witness Wells and Bourjos look like the bad news bears in the outfield or the club come out limp in the bottom of the 10th -- remember that just yesterday us Angels fans were filled with excitement after the first two games in the Oakland series.

Now, hopefully I can shed some perspective on the Halos season to this point, as they head to Tampa this weekend.

Ten points

1. Angels are over .500, in second place in the AL West, only 1.5 games behind Texas. By contrast, the pundits preseason pick for your 2011 World Series champs -- The Boston Red Sox -- are in last place in their division, 4 games back. Preseason AL Central favorite Minnesota is in 4th place, 5.5 games behind. After a 1-3 start, the Angels are 13-8, which projects to 100 wins over a full season.

2. The Halos have an 8-4 road record, best in the AL.

3. The Halos have lost just two series so far.

4. Angels' pitchers have the 2nd best ERA in baseball, behind Oakland. They also lead the majors in BAA, .217

5. Angels are 5th in the AL in batting average, and 2nd in total hits, one behind Kansas City.

6. The bullpen has put up excellent numbers after a tough first week or so. Walden is looking like an elite closer.

7. Pineiro is coming back soon this Saturday and Chatwood looking much better than Kazmir as our #5. Santana will probably start pitching more like he used to, and be a reliable #3 starter.

8. Conger, Bourjos, and Amarista are three of the most exciting young players in baseball. Trumbo can be included in that group, though he has struggled a bit lately.

9. Aybar (.326) might actually turn out to be an excellent leadoff hitter this year. Erick also has three stolen bases and has yet to be caught on the young season.

10. Wells HAS to hit better than this at some point soon. Same with Torii Hunter. Bobby Abreu is getting on base a lot and is 2nd in the league in walks.

Bonus: The Angels may have the best one-two punch from the starting rotation since Ryan and Tanana. If Jered Weaver and Dan Haren don't excite you, or get you out to the ballpark when they're pitching, nothing will. Howie Kendrick has slugged six home runs thus far on the young season. If he could keep up that pace he'll give the Halos another hitter that will produce a 20+ home run output. Maicer Izturis avoided a DL stint, at least for now (Hallelujah). Oh and Kendrys Morales might actually return this season and take up where he left off. We can only hope!
Love to hear what you think!

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