Following up on yesterday’s post, I thought I’d demonstrate how the Angels can add 50 HR in 2008 without spending $30 million/year for Alex Rodriguez or trading the farm for Miguel Cabrera.
The central point of my argument is that injuries cost the Angels their power this year, not a lack of talent. Keep the lineup healthy in 2008, add a little experience for the youngsters, and hand over third base to Brandon Wood, and adding 50 HR is pretty easy.
Let’s start with Garret Anderson. Once healthy, he was his old self. In 108 games, Anderson hit 16 HR. Project that to 150 games and you get 22 HR. That includes games in the first half where he was playing hurt, but for the sake of argument let’s say a healthy Anderson adds 5 HR.
Casey Kotchman hit 11 HR in 137 games, but as we know his power disappeared after he was hit in the head by that pickoff throw. In 2008, he’ll be more experienced and his body will have matured a bit more. Can a healthy Kotchman playing every day hit an additional 10 HR? That’s a reasonable assumption. So now we’re at +15.
Juan Rivera missed most of 2007 after breaking his leg last winter in Venezuela. He managed to appear in 14 games in September and hit two homers. In 2006, he hit 23 HR in 124 games. So if Rivera stays healthy all year, can he add 20 HR to the lineup? That’s reasonable. So now we’re at +35.
Howie Kendrick hit only 5 HR in 88 games, missing half the season due to hand injuries. With a strong hand, a full season and a year of experience under his belt, do you think he can hit 10 HR instead of five? Yeah, that’s reasonable. So now we’re at +40.
Finally, we turn over third base to Brandon Wood. It’s his rookie year and, like Mike Schmidt, he’ll probably be a whiff machine his first season but it’s reasonable to think he’ll hit 10-15 HR. Let’s be conservative and pencil in 10 HR. So now we’re at +50.
Playing Wood at 3B leaves no place for Chone Figgins. He can remain as a super-sub, or coming off a career year I’d prefer to include him in a trade that brings up a #3 pitcher, maybe adding Kendry Morales to the package.
In conclusion, there’s just no reason to empty the vault for Rodriguez, or to flush the farm for Cabrera. The solutions are already here. The Angels just need to stay healthy.
By the way, adding 50 HR this year would have given the Angels 173 HR, compared to 166 HR for the Red Sox. So much for the "Big Bat" anxiety.
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