Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Johnny G, The Red Baron and Why The 2015 Angels Are Always Fun to Watch

Yeah, it's the middle of May and the Angels are still under .500.

Yeah, we had to deal with the entire Josh Hamilton fiasco throughout April and now the Angels are paying him to play for rival Texas.

Yeah, Jered Weaver has looked more like Jeff Weaver for 85% of his starts.

But honestly, this year has already been a lot of fun.

Last night against the Colorado Rockies, Johnny Giavotella (Howie Kendrick's replacement at 2nd base) hit his 6th Game Winning RBI of the season.  Considering the Angels have only won 16 games to this point, that is quite the impressive feat (even more impressive, he only has 13 RBI on the season, so roughly half of his RBI's have won the game for the Halos).  Not only is Johnny G ridiculously clutch, he is also just a fantastic at-bat to watch every time he steps up to the plate.

He makes the pitcher work almost every time up, even if he isn't getting on base or driving in a run.  He knows what he is looking for and when he gets it, he almost always connects.  Although I don't know if messing with success is the right thing to do, Johnny G seems like the perfect #2 hitter for this Angels lineup.  He would make things happen, he isn't afraid to sacrifice an at-bat to move a runner over and he can drive in more runs hitting higher in the lineup.

Also a ton of fun to watch this year is Kole Calhoun (who has been dubbed the Red Baron by Angels announcer Victor Rojas).  Calhoun has been a pretty solid outfielder for the Angels the last couple of seasons, slowly improving his game piece by piece, but it seems like 2015 is the year he puts it all together.  He leads the Angels in batting average, is 2nd on the team in RBI (despite hitting lead-off) and has been gold glove caliber every night in Right Field.  His at-bats are what you want from a traditional lead-off guy.  He sees a lot of pitches and when he gets on base (second on the team in OBP) he has enough speed to distract the pitcher.  Kole Calhoun is one of two Angels who should be locks for the All-Star Game, and hopefully the rest of the country catches on soon enough.

Even though this year hasn't been without it's pitching woes (don't get me started on Weaver, Shoemaker or Houston Street), it's also had plenty of surprises as well.  Hector Santiago came over last season in the trade that sent Mark Trumbo to Arizona (we also got Tyler Skaggs in that deal), he immediately got off to a rough start (0-7, with a 4.50+ ERA).  He eventually calmed down and had a mostly respectable 2nd half of the season, but expectations were still pretty low coming into 2015.  Now, he has a 2.57 ERA (HALF of where it was this time last year) and has looked pretty damn good in all six of his starts so far this year (even in giving up four runs to the Giants a few weeks ago, he was locating his pitches pretty well and a few got away from him).  He isn't going to be winning a Cy Young anytime soon, but as a #4 Pitcher, he is exactly what the Angels need right now.

Speaking of pitching, the true ace of the staff this season has been... wait... this can't be right... no, yeah... it's CJ Wilson.  Aside from one bad start in his 2nd game of the season, Wilson has been far more consistent this year than in his first few as an Angel.  While Weaver has struggled and Richards is getting back to 100% after knee surgery last August, Wilson has certainly stepped up as the ace of this staff.  While the Angels are 4-3 in games started by Wilson, he has certainly given them the best opportunity to win (with the exception of that start against the Royals in his 2nd game of the year).  His walks and home runs are way down, as are his WHIP and ERA.  Even if he hasn't been perfect, I'll always feel good about a game CJ Wilson is starting in 2015.

So there you have it, just four of the multiple reasons why the 2015 Los Angeles Angels are always fun to watch.  I also got through this entire article without mentioning the MOST fun reason to watch the Angels: Future President of Earth Mike Trout.  Yeah, you know... the best player in baseball who basically eliminated his only weakness, the high fastball.  Even if this season ends with 85ish wins and an early exit in the playoffs, it will a lot of fun to watch thanks to guys like Johnny G, The Red Baron and the gang.