The 20-year-old Angels hitter is leading the AL with a .348 batting average
By Cam Cain ◊ 7-17-12
There have been a lot of headlines surrounding the first half of the season; including 12-1 knuckleballer R.A. Dickey who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in the offseason. Arguably the biggest newsmaker in baseball has to be rookie phenoms Bryce Harper of the Nationals and Mike Trout of the Angels. Both are all-stars. Both are playing for teams that would currently be in the playoffs if the season were over. However, I think the wrong one is getting the bulk of the publicity. We all know that Bryce Harper is the face of baseball for the next 20 years and yada yada yada he’s going to be the best. But he’s not playing that well yet this year. I’m not doubting him but I don’t believe Harper should’ve been an all-star, or even Rookie of the Year for the NL. More deserving than Harper is the very under-the-radar Reds third baseman Todd Frazier. In 87 fewer plate appearances, Frazier has a higher batting average (.278 vs .273,) more home runs (10 vs 8,) more RBIs (30 vs 25,) and a much higher OPS (.913 vs .797). While Harper has more stolen bases, Frazier has legged out more triples. Why is nobody talking about him?
As for Trout, it’s hard to find anything bad to say about him. He is leading the American League in batting average and is tied for the Major League lead in stolen bases with Dee Gordon. Trout is one exciting player. He also has MLB Network’s #1 play of the first half, a catch to rob JJ Hardy of a home run where over half of Trout’s body was over the wall. He is the most dynamic player in the league not named Andrew McCutchen (who is my early pick for the NL MVP.)
However, despite how well Trout is playing, until the Angels move into first place, the MVP will still be Josh Hamilton. He has been injured a lot but is still leading the majors in RBI and is tied for second in Home Runs.
So, what do you think?
Pujols signs near-record deal with Angels
By Cam Cain 12-8-11
Well, Albert Pujols has officially signed with a team. And it’s not the Cardinals or the Marlins. Not even Theo Epstein’s Cubs. Nope. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (phew that’s a mouthful) have swooped up out of nowhere and signed the superstar to a 10-year-deal worth reportedly $254 million. This news comes much sooner than expected as the Winter Meetings in Dallas. are only a couple days in. You can make a strong case for him as the greatest first baseman of all time. That’s saying something since he plays the same position as did Gehrig and Foxx. He is a three time MVP but has also won 2 Gold Gloves. Only once has Pujols “failed” to hit 35 or more Home Runs. 2007 was the only year in which he didn’t. He hit 32. Following that year, Pujols won back-to-back MVPs. He also has a career batting average of .328, first among active players, as well as 455 career home runs, or 42 per 162 games.
So here we see another example of a star leaving his team for a load of money. Like A-Rod in the offseason before 2004 leaving the Rangers to head to Steinbrenner’s Yankees.
So what does this deal mean to the other teams?
First they will have to deal with the shock of losing their franchise player who they’ve had since 2001. But they won the World Series for reasons besides only Big Albert. They’re not just a one-dimensional team. They will definitely be crippled, especially with first year manager Mike Matheny, who has never managed at any level.
Sure, they missed out on the big free agent prize but Prince Fielder is still out there. They don’t even need a first baseman anyway with 2011 All Star Gaby Sanchez playing the position. They are still the big free agent getters this offseason with Shortstop Jose Reyes and closer Heath Bell. They also signed pitcher Mark Buehrle. Buehrle played under Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen on the White Sox. I think Miami will be just fine without Pujols.
Reds and Brewers:
Both of these teams are in a great position. The Reds are hoping that the Brewers lose Prince Fielder so that they could have a clear path with their talented youth. They have also shot down Joey Votto trade rumors several times. The Brewers have the best team now and could be ready for a deep run.
Of course the Angels themselves:
These 2 additions have strongly boosted the Angels. There have been rumors of trading Rookie of the Year candidate Mark Trumbo who is a first baseman. The signing of pitcher C.J. Wilson from the rival Rangers has boosted an already superb rotation which already included Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana. Is it too early to slap on the Dream Team tag?
NOTE: This photo is not mine. Statistics from baseballreference.com