Tag:Mike Napoli
Posted on: August 25, 2010 11:49 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2010 12:00 am

Angels continue to refuse Napoli playing time

Mike Napoli Poor Mike Napoli.

Napoli is one of the better hitters in the game, working on a .251/.320/.483 mark, bashing his 21st home run on Wednesday. Going 2 for 4 with six RBI, Napoli clearly is one of the Angels' better hitters, as he has been the last few years with a career OPS of .835.

However, the catcher can't get no respect. He's been playing behind Jeff Mathis for years. While Mathis is a strong defensive catcher, he can't do much with the stick. That's why, when Kendry Morales went down with a freak injury earlier in the year, it was thought Napoli might finally get his chance at first.

While he's received significant time at first, he hasn't exactly been the full-time starter, and prior to Wednesday's outburst, manager Mike Scioscia revealed that Napoli would split time at first with Juan Rivera, reports the Los Angeles Times .

Why? Because Rivera has been a more consistent hitter lately, Scioscia contends.

Here is the month-by-month totals for both hitters, Napoli first. This is through games of Tuesday, so Napoli's outburst on Wednesday hasn't made it, which would completely change the complexion of his August totals:

April: .167/.300/.214 in 50 PA
May: .322/.385/.713 in 96 PA
June: .228/.295/.426 in 112 PA
July: .250/.287/.463 in 87 PA
August: .224/.304/.367 in 56 PA

No, not exactly consistent, but he shows that despite a lack of contact he still has a strong eye and power, something lacking in the Angels these days.

And Rivera:

April: .247/.299/.420 in 87 PA
May: .209/.292/.390 in 89 PA
June: .263/.317/.461 in 82 PA
July: .319/.338/.449 in 71 PA
August: .256/.304/.326 in 46 PA

"Consistent" isn't what comes to mind when looking at Rivera's numbers. "Bad," maybe. "Lacking upside, like Napoli," perhaps.

In addition, Rivera has exactly three games of experience at first, one coming in 2008. Napoli has proven so far to be an average fielder, and Rivera may be much the same, but it's not as if Rivera is a gifted defensive outfielder who can be expected to make the transition seamlessly.

However, given Rivera is due $5.25 million in 2011, he'll get the playing time. Napoli has two more years of arbitration ahead of him, but here's hoping Los Angeles cuts the cord and sends him somewhere where he plays. Napoli's stick is extremely valuable behind the dish, but if he sticks to just first and DH, can still be a valuable player to a team.

It's too bad the Angels can't seem to realize that.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: August 17, 2010 1:27 am
Edited on: August 17, 2010 1:29 am

Year has not been kind to Angels' bats

Torii Hunter
The Orange County Register points out that Wednesday is the one-year anniversary of a historic feat, and provides a reminder of how much things have changed for the Angels.

After a 5-4 victory over the Indians last August 18, all nine batters in the Angels lineup had a batting average of .300 or better (you can see the box score here ). It was the first time a team had been in that situation since the 1934 Tigers.

A year later, not one of those nine players is batting .300. Here's the lineup, with last year's August 18 average and their current average:

Chone Figgins (now with Seattle) .308/.251
Bobby Abreu .310/.266
Juan Rivera .310/.257
Vladimir Guerrero (now with Texas) .313/.297
Kendry Morales .303/.290
Torii Hunter (pictured) .307/.290
Maicer Izturis .300/.249
Mike Napoli .300/.254
Erick Aybar .313/.271

Explains a lot about how the Angels were 5 1/5 games up in the American League West then and 8 1/2 back now.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: July 28, 2010 10:56 pm

Should Angels look to sell?

Angels general manager Tony Reagins met with manager Mike Scioscia and the team's coaching staff for 45 minutes following the team's 7-3 loss to the Red Sox. It's probable they didn't spend that time lamenting Derrek Lee's decision not to go west.

According to the Orange County Register's Bill Plunkett, neither Reagins nor Scioscia would publicly say the team is giving up on 2010.

"I don't like labels," Reagins told Plunkett. "What I would say is we're going to look to improve. If we can, we will."

Said Scioscia, "There's nobody who feels were'' out of this."

Or perhaps, there's nobody who will say it. The team lost starter Joel Pineiro for six to eight weeks with an oblique injury. Pineiro is 10-7 with a  4.18 ERA in 20 starts this season.

With Wednesday's loss, the Angels dropped to 52-52, nine games behind the Rangers in the American League West. The Angels are now 12 games back in the wild card, behind six teams.

After making some of the most aggressive moves in the post-Cliff Lee trade market by acquiring Dan Haren and Alberto Callaspo.

The Angels gave up former pinch-starter Sean O'Sullivan in the trade with Kansas City. In the Haren deal, the team gave up lefty Joe Saunders and Triple-A right-hander Rafael Rodriguez. Los Angels also gave up three Class A pitchers between the two moves. That's a lot of arms that the team could hope to replenish with some other moves.

The team could move third baseman Brandon Wood, who is being labeled as a disappointment and a "former" prospect, after hitting .168/.185/.225 in 57 games for the Angels this season. Wood is 25 and once ranked the third-best prospect in baseball by Baseball America.

Veterans Brian Fuentes, Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli could also be moved to bolster the minor league system.

The Angels have lost four in a row and seven of their last eight.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: June 30, 2010 10:50 am
Edited on: June 30, 2010 10:51 am

Stars skipping Derby

Josh Hamilton Could the Home Run Derby be going the way of the NBA's Slam Dunk Contest?

At the NBA's All-Star weekend, the league flies in a collection of bench players, nobodies and Knicks to fill out its skills competition, including the dunk contest. This year's participants were Nate Robinson, DeMar DeRozan, Shannon Brown and Gerald Wallace -- not exactly LeBron James or Kobe Bryant.

Baseball's best are turning down the Home Run Derby as quickly as James will declined joining the Los Angles Clippers when NBA free agency opens at midnight tonight. So far, Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols and Vladimir Guerrero have publicly said they don't want to participate. Even Angels catcher Mike Napoli has said he doesn't want to participate.

So far, the only taker has been the Angels' Reggie Willits, who has as much of a chance of making the All-Star team as former White Sox minor leaguer Michael Jordan. Willits, by the way, has zero home runs in 871 big-league plate appearances.

"I'll do it," Willits joked to the Orange County Register 's Bill Plunkett . "My swing is the last thing I'd be worried about -- it's my pride."

Others, though, are worried about their swing.

"For some guys who have the approach that I'm trying to use now, it might have a negative effect -- guys who don't have an uppercut in their swing or who swing down on the ball," Hamilton, who two years ago put on one of the great Derby shows of all-time told the paper.

Bobby Abreu is the poster child for skipping the event. In 2005, he had 18 home runs at the break and then won the event with a record 41 homers. He hit six the rest of the season.

"I understand very well why they say no," Abreu, now an Angel, told the Register . "It takes a lot of out of you. Your hands, your fingers get sore. When it happened to me, I was tired. I hit 41. That's not counting all the swings you take that aren't home runs. I don't know how many swings I took."

Even Napoli, who has 14 homers, said he'd prefer not to participate.

"It always seemed that after I did one, I struggled for awhile," Napoli said. "It affects your swing. I did one in Double-A and went like, 9 for 90 after that. Let the superstars do it."

When it comes down to it, superstars can -- and likely will -- turn down the assignment, so it may be left to the secondary stars.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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