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Lineup Overhaul


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While the bullpen remains the biggest concern, it is becoming increasingly clear that the lineup needs an overhaul. Obviously Trout, Simmons, Upton and Ohtani stay. Maldonado's weak bat is forgiveable due to his work behind the plate. But Pujols, Cozart, Valbuena, Kinsler, and Calhoun are stinking up the joint. My thoughts on each:

Pujols - He's unfortunately not going anywhere soon, but should eventually lose starts to Fernandez and then Thaiss. While I'd like to see him sit for Fernandez now, realistically I don't think he loses significant playing time until well into 2019 when Thaiss is ready to take over as the starting first baseman. 2018 might be his last year as a full-time regular, but it could be 2019 unfortunately, and it should have been 2017.

Cozart - His defense is good enough to carry a .700 OPS and hopefully he'll do better. But it does look like 2017 was a fluke year. He's not going anywhere, and it seems he might stay at 3B, with Fernandez and Fletcher in the queue at 2B. Another possibility is that sometime in 2019 Ward or even Fernandez ends up at 3B, Fletcher at 2B, and Cozart as the super utility infielder - an expensive one, but a very useful player to have.

Valbuena - Why is he getting so many starts? Drop his ass for Fernandez, who is a much better hitter. He seems to be a Scioscia favorite, though, but I can't imagine he's long for the major league team, with Fernandez and Fletcher, not to mention Marte, all capable of better play.

Kinsler - The time is running out. While I suppose the vet deserves the benefit of the doubt a bit longer, if he doesn't correct course then he's going to lose his job to David Fletcher and/or Fernandez. Mid-season?

Calhoun - Again, not really any better options so he gets a bit longer. But if Hermosillo takes another step forward, Kole could come down with a mystery injury. At this point he could lose his job before the all-star break, or he could revive himself and play out the rest of his contract and be the starting RF until Brandon Marsh takes over in 2020. I think we'll know more within the next few weeks.

 

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17 minutes ago, Angelsjunky said:

Huh?

AJ, just kidding but with all due respect we have to stop pretending to contend with Albert in the middle of the order or in any part of the order. Kinsler is crap, Calhoun is a lost ball in high weeds, Cozart looks like 2017 but trying to play 3B and you know what our bullpen looks like. 

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4 hours ago, Angelsjunky said:

While the bullpen remains the biggest concern, it is becoming increasingly clear that the lineup needs an overhaul. Obviously Trout, Simmons, Upton and Ohtani stay. Maldonado's weak bat is forgiveable due to his work behind the plate. But Pujols, Cozart, Valbuena, Kinsler, and Calhoun are stinking up the joint. My thoughts on each:

Pujols - He's unfortunately not going anywhere soon, but should eventually lose starts to Fernandez and then Thaiss. While I'd like to see him sit for Fernandez now, realistically I don't think he loses significant playing time until well into 2019 when Thaiss is ready to take over as the starting first baseman. 2018 might be his last year as a full-time regular, but it could be 2019 unfortunately, and it should have been 2017.

Cozart - His defense is good enough to carry a .700 OPS and hopefully he'll do better. But it does look like 2017 was a fluke year. He's not going anywhere, and it seems he might stay at 3B, with Fernandez and Fletcher in the queue at 2B. Another possibility is that sometime in 2019 Ward or even Fernandez ends up at 3B, Fletcher at 2B, and Cozart as the super utility infielder - an expensive one, but a very useful player to have.

Valbuena - Why is he getting so many starts? Drop his ass for Fernandez, who is a much better hitter. He seems to be a Scioscia favorite, though, but I can't imagine he's long for the major league team, with Fernandez and Fletcher, not to mention Marte, all capable of better play.

Kinsler - The time is running out. While I suppose the vet deserves the benefit of the doubt a bit longer, if he doesn't correct course then he's going to lose his job to David Fletcher and/or Fernandez. Mid-season?

Calhoun - Again, not really any better options so he gets a bit longer. But if Hermosillo takes another step forward, Kole could come down with a mystery injury. At this point he could lose his job before the all-star break, or he could revive himself and play out the rest of his contract and be the starting RF until Brandon Marsh takes over in 2020. I think we'll know more within the next few weeks.

 

I think you have options for an immediate impact by dropping Valbuena, Young, and Kinsler and promoting Fernandez, Fletcher or Cowart, and Hermosillo.   Fernandez can assume a bit of a Valbuena role while trading starts at 2B with Fletcher and 3B with Cozart and Hemosillo can see if he can stick while getting some starts from Calhoun as a platoon partner

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21 minutes ago, OHTANILAND said:

AJ, just kidding but with all due respect we have to stop pretending to contend with Albert in the middle of the order or in any part of the order. Kinsler is crap, Calhoun is a lost ball in high weeds, Cozart looks like 2017 but trying to play 3B and you know what our bullpen looks like. 

You...realize we are one of the most competitive teams in baseball, right? That we are almost certainly going to the playoffs this year, despite being in one of the strongest divisions in baseball?

Trolls gonna troll.

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15 minutes ago, mulwin444 said:

I think you have options for an immediate impact by dropping Valbuena, Young, and Kinsler and promoting Fernandez, Fletcher or Cowart, and Hermosillo.   Fernandez can assume a bit of a Valbuena role while trading starts at 2B with Fletcher and 3B with Cozart and Hemosillo can see if he can stick while getting some starts from Calhoun as a platoon partner

I completely agree with you, unfortunately, I don't think that's a realistic scenario for several reasons. First, they're going to give Kinsler more time to see if he has anything left in the tank.  Second, adding all those rookies is a risky proposition for a team that is currently contending for the division.

I don't agree with those reasons, but that's how I see it.

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1 minute ago, IEAngelsfan said:

I completely agree with you, unfortunately, I don't think that's a realistic scenario for several reasons. First, they're going to give Kinsler more time to see if he has anything left in the tank.  Second, adding all those rookies is a risky proposition for a team that is currently contending for the division.

I don't agree with those reasons, but that's how I see it.

I think if Kinsler is still hitting .200 .580 OPS mid-June he's likely gone, especially if the team is still struggling to score runs.  Fernandez, at 30, is an experienced player who is tearing up AAA with both power and patience.  Both he and Fletcher have walked more than they've struck out this season so it seem less likely their success is due to the thin air at SLC.  Maybe only one of them is promoted which in that case I'm guessing would be Fernandez.

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There is light at the end of the tunnel with Valbuena and Kinsler, as they are both effectively on the final year of their contracts.

I have hope for Kinsler still.  His defense is still very solid at a premium defensive position, so I am willing to wait him out and see if he can start to improve offensively.

Unfortunately, we desperately need a good LH hitter.  We have Ohtani, but only for 3-4 games a week offensively.  Otherwise, we have Valbuena and Calhoun who are both immensely struggling.

This is why, in the argument of Harper vs Machado, I opt for Harper - we desperately need some kind of LH offensive presence, as we literally only have one right now, and he only hits for half the games.

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I do think we see Fernandez added to the 40-man roster some point soon.  Kinsler isn’t getting dumped for players who have yet to take an MLB at-bat.  We have to make sure these guys are capable MLB players first, and only at that point would we consider moving on.

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11 minutes ago, OHTANILAND said:

almost certainly 

ok

I know, its unlikely that the 1. We don't pass the Astros, 2. Twins, Jays, A'ths, or Seattle will pass us, AND 3. We don't end up passing the Red Sox or Yankees by the end of the year, but it is technically still possible.

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It's funny how within the context of a baseball season, a lot of us ride the roller-coaster of emotions as the Angels will play well, and then slump. I always find it funny how quiet this forum gets when the Angels play well, but then they start to play poorly you would think that we were the 2003 Detroit Tigers. Hell just watching @Chuckster70's Twitter feed during a game is a fun adventure all its own. We are a pretty good team, we have the 2 most exciting baseball players in baseball, a pitching rotation that is finally coming into its own, but you wouldn't think that the way our team has been playing lately. Our team has issues as well, a bad bullpen, a 52 year old cleanup hitter, and a lasagna eating tub of meatballs who is actually quite progressive if you think about it (Allowing a six man rotation to accommodate Ohtani, shuffling the lineup) but he refuses to hurt Albert's precious feelings by moving him from the cleanup spot.

My point is that we are a pretty good team that is a few adjustments away from being a great team, and also we are not the Dodgers. Talk to me in 10 years when we pine for the days of Ohtani and Trout.

 

always-look-on-the-bright-side-of-life-gif-4.gif

 

 

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1 hour ago, OHTANILAND said:

AJ, just kidding but with all due respect we have to stop pretending to contend with Albert in the middle of the order or in any part of the order. Kinsler is crap, Calhoun is a lost ball in high weeds, Cozart looks like 2017 but trying to play 3B and you know what our bullpen looks like. 

Well we ARE contending with Albert in the middle of the order. I'm not Albert's biggest fan, but I just don't think he'll be replaced anytime sooner - partially because there is no obvious replacement. Blash and Carter are similarly flawed as hitters. Thaiss isn't quite ready, and there is no certainty he'll be much more than an average hitter. Fernandez seems possible, but he has to reach the majors first.

That said, there is no way he is a regular for the three years after 2018 that remain on his contract. He'll be phased out at some point, if gradually. Maybe it starts happening in small amounts later this year and more next year. I could see a phase out like so:

2018: 140 starts

2019: 120 starts

2020: 100 starts

2021: 60 starts

If he really starts sucking, then maybe it will be more extreme than that. But I think we assume 20 fewer games per year as a starting point.

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