Thursday, January 15, 2004
Posted 1:23 PM by Sean
The most immediate impact of Vladimir Guerrero's tenure with the Angels, of course, will be quite a bit of improvement on the offensive side. With Guerrero in right, Salmon will move to DH, while Darin Erstad will switch from center field to first base and Garret Anderson will move from left to center. The previously-signed Jose Guillen will play left. In essence, Guerrero and Guillen replace Scott Spiezio and Brad Fullmer (plus some ABs from Shawn Wooten and Jeff DaVanon) in the lineup. Let's examine the numbers:
Angels' first basemen, 2003: .293 BA, .362 OBP, .492 SLG, 21 HR
Angels' DHes, 2003: .258 BA, .332 OBP, .421 SLG, 20 HR
Jose Guillen, 2003: .311 BA, .359 OBP, .569 SLG, 31 HR
V. Guerrero, 2003: .330 BA, .426 OBP, .586 SLG, 25 HR
Of course, some caveats are in order. Brad Fullmer was injured in the middle of a monster year, so the Angels' numbers at both first and DH (he played a little of both) are slightly lower than they would be otherwise. And no one's sure if Jose Guillen is going to repeat his breakout performance of 2003. And Vlad played in only 112 games last year due to a back problem, so his HR number is artificially low. Realistically speaking, however, the Angels figure to score a whole lot more runs in 2004 than they did in 2003.
There's also some hope that Guerrero may have an even better season than he would normally, because putting Guerrero on didn't have the impact in Montreal that it will have in Anaheim. Vlad's usual protection in the lineup was Brad Wilkerson, a fine young player whose .268 BA, .380 OBP, .464 SLG, and 19 HRs made him, at a salary of $315,000, one of Montreal's bright spots from a value perspective. But with the Angels, Guerrero will (according to Scioscia) hit third, with Garret Anderson following in the cleanup spot. Anderson's 2003: .315 BA, .345 OBP, .541 SLG, 29 HR. Yowza.
Putting all this in context, the Angels finished eleventh in runs scored last year, and tenth in OPS. Clearly, that's going to change.
Tomorrow, we'll look at what the realigned Angels will look like defensively.