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The new Angels lineup

Dec 8, 2011, 7:30 PM EDT

The guess here is that Mike Scioscia is going do a lot of scratching out starting nines on the back of napkins over the next couple of months.

Here’s the Angels’ current top 11, along with their 2011 numbers and all the positions they could see action at.

Chris Iannetta: .238/.370/.414, 14 HR, 55 RBI, 6 SB in 345 AB – C
Albert Pujols: .299/.366/.541, 37 HR, 99 RBI, 9 SB in 579 AB – 1B
Mark Trumbo: .254/.291/.477, 29 HR, 87 RBI, 9 SB in 539 AB – 1B, LF, RF, 3B
Howie Kendrick: .285/.338/.464, 18 HR, 63 RBI, 14 SB in 537 AB – 2B, 1B, LF, RF
Alberto Callaspo: .288/.366/.375, 6 HR, 46 RBI, 8 SB in 475 AB – 3B, 2B
Erick Aybar: .279/.322/.421, 10 HR, 59 RBI, 30 SB in 556 AB – SS
Maicer Izturis: .276/.334/.388, 5 HR, 38 RBI, 9 SB in 449 AB – 3B, SS, 2B
Vernon Wells: .218/.248/.412, 25 HR, 66 RBI, 9 SB in 505 AB – LF, CF
Peter Bourjos: .271/.327/.438, 12 HR, 43 RBI, 22 SB in 502 AB – CF
Torii Hunter: .262/.336/.429, 23 HR, 82 RBI, 5 SB in 580 AB – RF
Bobby Abreu: .253/.353/.365, 8 HR, 60 RBI, 21 SB in 502 AB – LF, RF

I’m excluding Kendrys Morales, who will likely be non-tendered, and Mike Trout, who figures to begin the season in Triple-A. It should shock no one, though, is Trout is the Angels’ second-best hitter come September.

I find the group pretty fascinating, because outside of Pujols hitting third or fourth, pretty much everyone else can be moved around at will. No one in the whole group has to be penciled into the eighth or ninth spot right from the start. Aybar, Bourjos and Izturis are all perfectly reasonable leadoff options. Callaspo, Kendrick and Abreu can hit second. Hunter and Kendrick would seem to be the best options to bat behind Pujols, barring a big turnaround from Wells.

Obviously, it’s still not an ideal lineup. The Angels would be a lot better off if they could take Abreu’s $9 million and give it to a left-handed-hitting power guy like switch-hitter Carlos Beltran, Carlos Pena or Jason Kubel. But it is interesting. If it were my call, I’d probably start the season like this:

1. Bourjos
2. Callaspo
3. Abreu
4. Pujols
5. Kendrick
6. Hunter
7. Iannetta
8. Wells
9. Aybar

Scioscia, though, will probably go with something more like:

1. Aybar
2. Abreu
3. Kendrick
4. Pujols
5. Hunter
6. Wells
7. Callaspo
8. Iannetta
9. Bourjos

  1. scatterbrian - Dec 8, 2011 at 7:48 PM

    The Rangers lineup is still better

    • paperlions - Dec 8, 2011 at 8:12 PM

      Far better…that lineup still leaves a lot to be desired. The Angels offense was bad last year, with the additions of Pujols and Ianetta it should be decent…but it doesn’t approach the guys the Rangers can throw out there.

      • cintiphil - Dec 9, 2011 at 1:08 PM

        It is all about the pitching. They gave a lot of money for Albert, but if the staff doesn’t come through, they will lose to the Rangers again. The staff has not only to repeat last season, but actually get better. If they can get one or two of the young talent to win 20+, then they will beat the Rangers. That is possible, but not assured.

    • mirmz - Dec 9, 2011 at 12:06 AM

      Who the F cares. Look at the Halos’ goddamned pitching rotation. And in the fog of these two signings, people are forgetting the Halos added the needed right-handed pitcher at the back of the bullpen. Is this the best line-up in baseball? No. Top 5 team in Baseball? Definitely.

      • cintiphil - Dec 9, 2011 at 1:09 PM

        NO, not by a long shot. You think too much of this staff.

  2. xpensivewinos - Dec 8, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    The Giants and Cardinals disagree…….

    • cintiphil - Dec 9, 2011 at 1:11 PM

      the Giants and Cardinals? The Phills will argue a little also.

  3. camleck - Dec 8, 2011 at 8:13 PM

    Kendrys Morales non tendered? Really?

    • Matthew Pouliot - Dec 8, 2011 at 8:27 PM

      It’s not a lock, but that’s what it sounds like. A trade would be tough to pull off with his status for 2012 still in doubt.

      • camleck - Dec 8, 2011 at 8:48 PM

        I think someone would trade for him. If he can recover fully from the ankle, you wouldn’t expect it to be recurring and it shouldn’t affect his hitting. He was looking like becoming one of the best hitters in the league before he went down.

  4. theonlynolan - Dec 8, 2011 at 8:14 PM

    A .248 obp is hilarious

  5. Gonzo - Dec 8, 2011 at 8:22 PM

    Isn’t it common practice to bat your best hitter 3rd in the lineup? Hit Abreu 2nd with his awesome career .397 OBP and Pujols will always have men on base hitting 3rd.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Dec 8, 2011 at 8:27 PM

      It’s not uncommon, and Scioscia might well do that. Analysis, though, suggests that it’s quite a bit better to hit them second or fourth, since the goal should be to avoid having your best hitter up with none on and two outs.

  6. sfm073 - Dec 8, 2011 at 8:42 PM

    That really isn’t that great of a lineup. Hunter, Abreu, and Wells are all washed up.

    • dwrek5 - Dec 8, 2011 at 8:52 PM

      Huh? Washed up is a little extreme. Hunter and Abreu both OPS+ over 100 last year.

      • Gonzo - Dec 8, 2011 at 8:53 PM

        And Abreu can get on base with his eyes closed. All he has done for his career is take a walk every other atbat.

      • cosanostra71 - Dec 9, 2011 at 1:11 AM

        Abreu did not have a great year. But having Pujols will help everyone in the lineup.

    • Ari Collins - Dec 8, 2011 at 9:02 PM

      Abreu and Hunter are actually still decent. In fact, aside from Wells, there aren’t any bad hitters in the lineup. And there’s one really, really great one.

  7. janknessgv - Dec 8, 2011 at 8:49 PM

    what an unimpressive lineup. albert left the cardinals for this? whose gonna pitch to him?

  8. 1historian - Dec 8, 2011 at 8:54 PM

    With all his talent, Pujols was only on two W.S. winners in his 10 years with the Cardinals. Each time his team caught fire at exactly the right time. And the other guys on the team contributed just as much as he did, except for maybe those 3 HRs. I think it’s a matter of chemistry and I really don ‘t think the Angels will have it next year, no matter what kind of stats Alberto puts up. Was there one game where he came to bat and won the game, except of course for that one game? Remember Reggie Jackson had his 3 HR game in the game that won the series.

    I think the Angels will rue this move and I don’t think it will take 5 years for that to happen – I don’t think it will be any more than 2 years before we hear a “whoops” coming out of Anaheim.

    By then it will be too late.

    • cosanostra71 - Dec 9, 2011 at 1:11 AM

      only two World Series? Wow, how terrible!

    • cintiphil - Dec 9, 2011 at 1:21 PM

      I don’t entirely agree with your assumptions, except that Albert did not do much for most of the year. It was Berkman and Holliday who seemed to carry the team early on and then Albert caught fire in Aug. and part of Sept to put them into the playoffs. It is no accident that the team led the majors in double plays and Albert was king in that contest. Not a good stat. Also, Albert was really nowhere in the W-S, except for one game, where the entire Cardinal team took it to the Rangers. It was just that Albert hit the 3 dingers. He did little else in the series, except make a poor throw to Carpenter wick almost cost a pitching hand. Yes, he was walked a lot, but Freese was the real hero. I could not believe he could come through with so many big hits when needed (neither did the Rangers). You might also point to Berkman who drove in two with two outs in the 10th. So, Albert did not make THE difference in the last W-S, however he has a good post season record after all.

  9. nuyoricanz - Dec 8, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    Spending like the Yanks

  10. cinfante54 - Dec 8, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    Um, didn’t Pujols hit .299? not .266

    • Matthew Pouliot - Dec 8, 2011 at 9:09 PM

      Yep, fixed.

  11. joeymichaelsstudios - Dec 8, 2011 at 9:12 PM

    I just looked at the LA Times web page. The headline is about the Lakers trade for Chris Paul. Quite a bit below that is the reference to the Pujols/Wilson deal, and near that is the Mythbusters cannonball mishap. Welcome to a completely different planet, Mr. Pujols.

    • paperlions - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:39 PM

      That can’t be….I hear the Angel’s are taking over LA…even though, you know, they play baseball in a different city.

      • cintiphil - Dec 9, 2011 at 1:25 PM

        Little difference in LA & Anaheim.

    • mcgrrrrrr - Dec 9, 2011 at 12:24 AM

      You might want to look at the Orange County Register…..LA is 40 miles to the north

    • cosanostra71 - Dec 9, 2011 at 1:12 AM

      try going to the OC Register!

  12. dlevalley - Dec 8, 2011 at 9:17 PM

    According to David Pinto’s Lineup analysis tool, the optimum lineup would be (based on their 2011 #s):
    Iannetta
    Pujols
    Bourjos
    Kendrick
    Hunter
    Aybar
    Abreu
    Wells
    Callaspo

    That lineup would score 5.031 runs/game. The worst lineups would score 4.708 runs/game. It’s going to be a good lineup, but certainly not great. With their pitching, though the Angels likely just pulled into a tie with the Rangers as co-favorites for the AL West.

    Link to tool: http://tinyurl.com/6pqd66u

  13. tashkalucy - Dec 8, 2011 at 9:54 PM

    Trout will be starting not too far into the season. And will be the superstar picking up for Albert when he slows down.

    I’d also look for the Angles to pick up a quality 3B in trade. Heaven knows they have a surplus of everyday players to package together.

  14. phillybai - Dec 9, 2011 at 12:15 AM

    I created this name just to second camleck. Only a moronic GM would non-tender Morales the guy was a batting 300 and crushing 35 homers a year before he went down(after rounding the bases on a homerun)…… Morales-Pujols back to back in the heart of the line up and youre about to drop him!?

  15. Gonzo - Dec 9, 2011 at 3:03 AM

    Morales only has 4+ years of service. Shouldn’t he still be under Angels control? He avoided arbitration in 2011. So he should be eligible again. someone help me out here.

  16. paperlions - Dec 9, 2011 at 8:17 AM

    There are concerns that his injury may be a career ender, he hasn’t played for nearly 2 seasons, and may not be healthy enough to play (or play much) in 2012.

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