Results tagged ‘ Juan Rivera ’

Abreu update

Bobby Abreu, playing right field and batting third, walked and struck out twice in Venezuela’s 3-1 decision over the Netherlands on Saturday in Miami in the second round of the World Baseball Classic.

Abreu, through five Classic games, is batting .313 with a .389 on-base percentage and .563 slugging percentage. He has a homer and three RBIs. Abreu was hitting .333 in four Cactus League games with the Angels before joining Team Venezuela.

“We should get him back for at least seven or eight [preseason] games,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Abreu, who is expected to share left field and the DH job with Juan Rivera. “That should be enough time to integrate him into the offense.”

Former Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez registered a four-out save for Venezuela against the Netherlands, yielding one hit while striking out a pair of hitters. K-Rod hasn’t given up a run in three Classic appearances. 

Wood stays scalding hot

Brandon Wood apparently is serious about making a point. He wants to be on the Angels’ Opening Day roster.

Serving as designated hitter on Tuesday against Indians right-hander Carl Pavano, Wood unloaded a three-run homer in the second inning after getting ahead 2-1 in the count. Howie Kendrick and Juan Rivera had singled in front of Wood, whose homer was his second of the spring and gave the Angels a 3-2 lead.

Wood is 10-for-21 (.476) after the homer with 20 total bases for a .952 slugging percentage. He is trying to bang his way into the lineup at shortstop or third base. 

PECOTA trashes Angels

If manager Mike Scioscia needed any ammo to fire up his troops, it was grooved like a Doc Gooden fastball at the belt by stat maven Nate Silver in his PECOTA ratings for Baseball Prospectus.

Silver, it turns out, doesn’t think much of the Halos — specifically, what he sees as an aging offense creating more headaches for Angels pitchers than rival managers. PECOTA has the Angels finishing 16 games off their MLB-best 2008 pace with a mere 84 wins, barely managing to prevail in what it envisions as a weak AL West.

I can understand some anticipated slippage with Mark Teixeira and Garret Anderson departing; those are two high-quality offensive players. But Bobby Abreu has been a fairly consistent 100/100 man (runs. RBIs), and he should fit nicely between Chone Figgins and Vladimir Guerrero in Scioscia’s projected top third. Of course, a big spring by Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar or Maicer Izturis could convince Scioscia to plant Abreu in the No. 3 hole, with Guerrero fourth and Torii Hunter fifth.

The rest of the lineup is deep and potentially much more explosive than PECOTA imagines. Mike Napoli has the tools to go 30/100 with enough at-bats, joining Guerrero on a surgically-repaired knee, and Hunter, Kendry Morales, Juan Rivera all are capable of exceeding 20 homers with 80 to 100 RBIs. If Hunter bats fourth, behind Vlad, he could surpass his career high of 107 RBIs from 2007.

Call me an incurable optimist, but this shapes up as a pretty fair attack — and it has a nice blend of youth and experience, top to bottom.

It was last year at this time that a lot of snipers were relegating the Angels to second place in the AL West behind Seattle, with its new ace,  Erik Bedard. Scioscia, I’m sure, got some clubhouse mileage out of that. I’m sure PECOTA and its views might surface in one of his pre-game chats with the players before too long.     

Abreu, Angels close to a deal

There is still no official confirmation, but it appears that the Angels and Bobby Abreu are hammering out a one-year deal worth $5 million plus incentives, according to multiple reports. Abreu would provide left-handed balance in a heavily right-handed offense and would join a four-man rotation for the three outfield spots and designated hitter role with Vladimir Guerrero, Torii Hunter and Juan Rivera.

This will give the Angels another crowded outfield,with Gary Matthews Jr. (recovering from knee surgery) and Reggie Willits pushed down the depth chart. Both are versatile outfielders with talents that could play in other cities if the Angels decide to shop them. Matthews will have to prove he’s fully recovered from the knee operation, and Willits also needs a good spring to reestablish himself as a quality Major Leaguer after an injury-riddled 2008.

The upshot of the Abreu move is that it pretty much slams the door on any chance of Garret Anderson returning after 14 years as the club’s most productive career hitter. With Adam Dunn going to Washington, Anderson is the most attractive hitter left in free agency not named Manny Ramirez.        

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