Thursday, March 16, 2006

Garret Anderson's foot injury, though reportedly not as serious as a similar injury twice suffered by Tim Salmon that relegated him to designated hitter, still kicks off a potential domino effect that might help the team overall.

A minor injury to Garret, one bad enough to keep him out of the field but not so bad as to keep him out of the lineup, would allow Juan Rivera to play in left while Garret DHes. We all know that Juan Rivera is a far better defensive player than Garret at this point; zone rating indicates there was a difference of a couple of runs between them last season (though that difference would grow over a full season -- Garret played more than 600 more innings in left than Rivera did in 2005), and the numbers in The Fielding Bible would have us believe that the difference was closer to ten runs.

Simply replacing Garret with Rivera in the field might lead to one additional win for the team. Doesn't sound like much, but this is shaping up to be a tightly-contested division, so I'd like every break we can get.

If Garret's injury ends up being sufficient to keep him out of the lineup altogether come Opening Day, this might lead to a roster spot for Tim Salmon (who hopes to waive a clause in his contract saying that the team has to make a decision on him by this coming Wednesday) or, possibly, Kendry Morales.

Kendry is hitting 406/441/688 this spring, and though I give almost no credence to Spring Training statistics, it does demonstrate that he's doing well in his first chance to impress the Angel major league staff. It's only 32 at-bats, but it's good to see, and he's now making the short-list of guys who might be able to help out at DH this season.

A scenario in which Morales was the DH and Garret were at all healthy would preclude Juan Rivera from playing in left, but if Morales is really ready to produce at the major league level, that may well be a trade worth making.


One player not in our immediate future is Brandon Wood, who has been re-assigned to minor league camp. There seems to be some surprise about this around the Halosphere, but I have no idea why. The guy has barely played above High-A ball, and is at least a year away from the majors. It seems to me, with just over two weeks left until the season, that it's time to send him to minor league camp.

Brandon was only 1-10 in his Spring Training at-bats, but no one seems to care about that. Mike Scioscia claimed, "Out of all the youngsters we had in camp, he was the most impressive in a lot of ways. The way he carried himself and the way he was in camp. He and Erick Aybar showed they can be Major League shortstops. [Wood] has the chance to be a terrific defensive shortstop." (Rob got to most of these articles before I did, so a universal hat tip is in order.)

Let that last statement serve as a warning to those who assume Brandon's future is at the hot corner.


I don't know if you've been watching the World Baseball Classic, but there have been some exciting games, and all that hype you may have heard about the WBC being a big success is justified. The Koreans have impressed, going 6-0 through the first two rounds, led by their slugging first basemen, Seung-Yeop Lee. I had either forgotten about this or never knew it, but on the heels of his record-setting 56-homer 2003 season, Lee came out to SoCal to visit Anaheim (this was before it was Los Angeles of Anaheim) and Chavez Ravine, then trekked up to check out Seattle. He ended up signing to play in the Japanese leagues.

Lee has been one of the top batters in the WBC so far, hitting an AVG/OBP/SLG line of 400/480/1150 in 20 AB, with a tournament-leading 5 home runs (he took Dontrelle Willis deep at the Big A in the second round). His OPS ranks second in the tournament to a red-hot Ken Griffey Jr. (588/650/1235 in 17 AB), and you have to think that someone stateside will try to grab him when his time in Japan is completed. Lee turns 30 in August.

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