One of the few Angels highlights of 2016: Mike Trout hitting a home run against the Dodgers in Anaheim, with former longtime Angel Howie Kendrick looking on. Photo courtesy of nbclosangeles.com
TWO DODGERS AND ONE ANGEL WHO DESERVE TO REPRESENT SOCAL IN THE UPCOMING MIDSUMMER CLASSIC IN SAN DIEGO ON JULY 12
With the 30 teams playing Major League baseball, including our Dodgers and Angels, having played slightly more than half of their scheduled 162 games.
And with the annual All-Star game being played for the 87th time a week from this writing,
I feel obliged to offer my opinion of who, among SoCal’s two MLB teams, deserves to represent the National and American Leagues in this most glorious of exhibition games.
We’ll start with the team that’s currently on a five-game winning streak, a team whose list would be a bit longer if it wasn’t for the face of the franchise, Clayton Kershaw, who’s having his usual season for the ages, being out for a month with a bad disk in his back…
The most likely 2016 NL Rookie of the Year. Photo courtesy of hngn.com
Average – .305
Home Runs – 17
RBIs – 41
Hits – 100
* Is currently on a 17-game hitting streak
There was a big campaign by the Dodgers to get this rookie elected as a starter in the upcoming All-Star Game in San Diego’s Petco Park.
As he leads the team in every major offensive category and has been a major factor in L.A. starting to make a push to perhaps catch the San Francisco Giants in the N.L. West, Seager – as sure as I am writing this – will be named the league’s Rookie of the Year in November, possibly by unanimous vote.
Personally, I feel that he certainly deserves to be playing in San Diego on July 12th.
Just not as a starter.
The reason? Only one:
The fact that he’s a rookie, and rookies often don’t fare well in second halves of the season after starting in all-star games.
The proof? His teammate, Joc Pederson.
The Dodger center fielder was making a big splash with his homers at the all-star break, but couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat afterward as he was fortunate that his final average was .210.
I don’t want that to happen to Seager as what he does after July 12th is FAR more important than what he does on July 12th.
Don’t worry Dodger fans, there will be plenty of time – at least 15 years – for #5 to be a starter for the National League at shortstop or third base.
Seager hitting three home runs against the Atlanta Braves on June 3, 2016
Blowing the opposition away at Dodger Stadium. Photo courtesy of dodgernation.com
Saves: 25 out of 28 opportunities
Strikeouts: 44 in 34.2 innings
* His 25 saves ranks second in the National League and all of MLB
No one would argue that this has been his best season.
Anyone who breaks Eric Gagne’s all-time franchise saves record, which Jansen recently did, would acknowledge that Jansen is a superior closer.
If he’s not on that N.L. pitching staff at Petco Park, then nothing makes sense in sports.
I do have one concern…
The fact that he’s in the last year of his contract, meaning he will be a free agent the day after the World Series ends.
As he will be looking to get a nine-figure salary, the big question is will the Dodgers be willing to pay?
Because if they let Jansen walk, like they let Zack Greinke walk last winter, the fan base may well shrink in anger.
That’s the Dodgers’ overwhelmingly number one priority this coming off-season:
RESIGN KENLEY JANSEN TO A LONG TERM DEAL AND MAKE HIM A DODGER FOR LIFE.
Or they will be very sorry.
Jansen striking out the side against the Cleveland Indians in Spring Training
As for who should be representing Orange County’s big league team…
The resemblance to New York Yankee legend Mickey Mantle is quite uncanny, don’t you think? Photo courtesy of tigerdroppings.com
YOU-KNOW-WHO (Come on, do I REALLY have to state his name?)
Average – .324
Home Runs – 17
RBIs – 54
Hits – 99
Stolen Bases – 13
* Is in the American League’s top ten in batting average (5th) and runs batted in (tied for tenth), and leads the Angels in every major hitting category except for RBIs, where he trails Albert Pujols.
Let’s have some truth – this is a lost season for this Anaheim-based club, being that they’re sitting in last place in the A.L. West, having lost their 50th game of 2016 on the 4th of July.
And to add a little salt to the proverbial wound, only the Minnesota Twins, at 27-55, the Atlanta Braves, at 28-55, and the Cincinnati Reds, at 30-54, are worse.
However, as expected, this newly engaged young man has been by far the brightest of the Halos’ very few bright spots for a team whose pitching, as I observed before the season, leaves much to be desired and is the top factor for why the Angels sport a Bad News Bearish record.
My big worry for Angel fans is this…
Although this star has expressed no desire to leave, there will come a time, as it does with every professional athlete, where he will want to win a championship.
What with the Angels not only suffering at the big-league level, but also with their farm system as it has been rated as the worst in baseball,
And with owner Arte Moreno so reluctant to ante up for big-name free agents due to his not wanting to pay the luxury tax, meaning that there will be no quick fixes,
This current best player in baseball and all-time Angel great (yes, we can say it now) may well want to opt out of his contract when he’s able to in a few years and go to a team that’s a contender and aiming to win now.
A team like the New York Yankees, perhaps?
Time will tell whether or not that possible nightmare scenario will unfold.
But for now, I hope that red-clad fan base appreciates what they have in #27.
Because as Joni Mitchell once sang,
“You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone”.
You-Know-Who’s many highlights for a half-finished 2016 season, courtesy of YouTube.com