The Angels May Take The Torch As The Best All Around 1-4 Lineup In The MLB
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Saturday, January.19, 2013
Josh Jones (Angels Correspondent): Follow @joshjones4
The 2013 Los Angeles of Anaheim have the opportunity to post one of the most fearsome foursome’s in Major League Baseball history. The lineup posts three MVP-caliber talents. American League Rookie of the Year Mike Trout leading off with Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton hitting third or fourth respectively makes Angel fans ecstatic to watch this year’s club. Either Howie Kendrick or Erick Aybar will flank Trout and Pujols, hoping to take pitches and take walks in order to allow Trout to run and Pujols to have a bounty of runners on. The 1-4 hitters have the potential to be one of the greatest lineup toppers that the game has seen. Let’s compare them to some of the best 1-4 lineups in the last few decades:
Josh Hamilton signs autographs right after his Angels Press Conference:
Kenny Lofton followed by Omar Vizquel , Roberto Alomar, Manny Ramirez . Even Jim Thome and Richie Sexson hit 5th and 6th in this vaunted lineup. Lofton stole 25-30 bases each year and hit in the high-200 to low-300’s – with plenty of walks for the big bats that followed. Vizquel hit 2nd for the majority of the campaign – hitting .333, while scoring 112 Runs and adding 42 SB. Alomar put together incredible seasons with the Indians – with his best year coming in 1999 where he his .322/.422/.533 with 24 HR 120 RBI, 37 SB and the aforementioned 138 Runs Scored. Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome were an incredible 4-5 tandem -putting together at least 75 Home-Runs combined, while posting absurd peripherals to boot. Ramirez hit .333/.442/.663 with 44 HRs and 165 RBI in 1999 – and had even better Average numbers in 2000 for BA/OBP/SLG – .351/.457/.697! All 4 guys scored over 100 Runs in 1999. Even the number 6 hitter (Richie Sexson) belted 31 HRs and added 116 RBI in just 479 AB in 1999.
Rickey Henderson followed by Willie Randolph, Don Mattingly and Dave Winfield. The greatest Lead-off hitter of ALL- Time did just that for these Yankees stealing at least 80 bases in both 1985 and 1986. He also is the last MLB Player to score more than a run per game over 100 Runs. (146 Runs in 143 Games in 1985) Henderson also scored 130 Runs in 1986. It didn’t hurt that he got on base in the .380’s each and every year. Willie Randolph didn’t hit for much power but did a great job of getting on base (posting OBP of .382 and .393 in ’85 and ’86). Both Randolph and Mattingly were amongst the toughest in the AL to Strikeout either. Randolph only Struckout 130 times between 1984-1986 – while he walked 265 times. Mattingly hit over .320 with 30+ HR and 110+ RBI a virtual reality each and every year. And Winfield supplemented some power to protect Mattingly. He hit .340 in 1984, and clubbed 25 HRs and 100+ RBI 2 Years in a row (85-86)
(These clubs had virtually a ‘Big 3’): 2004 World Series Champions with Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez (again) and David Ortiz. Late 80’s A’s with Henderson and the Bash Brothers of Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. 2008 Philadelphia Phillies with Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. The 1993 Blue Jays were not too shabby either featuring the top 3 Batting Averages in the AL out of their 1st four hitter, however the power was not as great.
Overall the 2013 Angels match up pretty well with these aforementioned clubs. Mike Trout has the potential to be a Rickey Henderson-caliber player with his amazing blend of power and speed. Trout hit 30 HR and stole 49 bases last year and those numbers should improve over time. I’ll predict a .285/.380/.520 season for Trout thanks to a year in which the opponents make adjustments to how they attacked him last year. He should hit 20-25 HR and steal 60 bases this year. Howie Kendrick or Erick Aybar will be slightly-above average hitters who should benefit hitting in between Trout and Pujols (even though both didn’t do well in that spot last year).
I’ll give the nod to Kendrick since manager Mike Scioscia seems to like Erick Aybar in the bottom half of the order to give the club a stolen-base threat there. Kendrick’s average slash line is .287/.325/.400 and he doesn’t stray from those stats every year. He’s not flashy or exciting but at least he’s consistent. Albert Pujols is Albert Pujols, a guy who’s average year is .325/.414/.608 with 41 HR and 125 RBI. While he had a down year last year thanks to an abysmal April, a .310/.380/.550 season with 35 HR and 115 RBI would be a decent prediction for the 33-year old. Josh Hamilton should hit about .290/.340/.530 with 32 HRs and 120 RBI, giving the 3-4 in the order a predicted production of almost 70 HR and 240 RBI (which is about what Manny and Thome gave the aforementioned Indians).
The Angels really have a “Big 3” with Kendrick hitting in the 2 spot since they don’t have much else that fits there. I’d rank them above the mid-80’s Yankees but below the late-90’s Indians. Still, being better than the mid-80’s Yankees who won at least 90 games every year is exactly where the Angels would want to be. Let’s shoot for 95 wins and an AL West title boys!
Think I have missed or overlooked a lineup – join the discussion and leave your comments for me below or on Twitter.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners.***
A big thank-you goes out to our ‘Angels Correspondent’ Josh Jones for preparing today’s featured article. Josh Jones claims to be the biggest Angels fan there is. He has been religiously following the team since 2005 and have watched every game since. His girlfriend and him attend about 40 games a year and love every minute of attendance. Josh is currently a senior at California State University, Fullerton working towards his Bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing. Josh wishes to thank all of the readers for viewing his posts. Follow Josh on twitter Follow @joshjones4
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Posted on January 19, 2013, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged @joshjones4 on twitter, AL West, albert pujols, american league MVP, anaheim angels of los angeles, angels, boston red sox, carney lansford, chase utley, dave henderson, dave winfield, erick aybar, howie kendrick, jim thome, jimmy rollins, jose canseco, josh hamilton, joshua jones, kenny lofton, manny ramirez, mark mcgwire, Mike Trout, new york yankees, philadelphia phillies, rickey henderson, roberto alomar, rookie of the year, ryan howard, shane victorino, silver slugger awards', Sporting News Player of the Year, toronto blue jays, willie randolph. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.