Tag: Garret Anderson

Ranking the Top 5 Los Angeles Angels Players in Franchise History

The Los Angeles Angels franchise has enjoyed plenty of success since being established back in 1961. While the Angels have a relatively short franchise history in comparison to some MLB teams, there has been no shortage of both team and player achievements. The Angels have seen multiple MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of Year Award winners, as well as a World Series Championship in their franchise’s history.

With players like Nolan Ryan, Tim Salmon and Mike Trout documented throughout franchise record books, determining the top-five players in Angels franchise history is no easy task. However, a careful analysis of statistics and player value may help give perspective to this never-ending debate.

This list will count down the five best players in Angels franchise history.

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Garret Anderson Retires: A Legacy of Terrible, Terrible Plate Discipline

On July 27, 1994, a 22-year-old outfielder named Garret Anderson made his MLB debut with the California Angels. Now, 17 years and 2,228 games later, he is calling it a career.

Angels fans will also remember Anderson as the owner of the franchise record books. In his fifteen years with the Halos, he set club records in almost every major offensive stat, including hits (2,368), RBI (1,292), runs (1,024) and total bases (3,743).

To be fair, though, that’s to be expected from a player who also has the most games played (2013), at-bats (7,989), plate appearances (8,480) and outs made (5,936) in team history.

For those fans who live outside Anaheim, he will be best remembered for the 2002 season, when he helped the Angels to their first-ever World Series championship and finished fourth in the AL MVP voting (albeit undeservedly).

He finished his career with 287 homers, 1,365 RBI (good for 77th on the all-time list), and an average just a hair under .300 (.293). So even if he wasn’t one of the defining offensive machines of his era, he’ll doubtlessly be remembered as a good hitter.

Except he really wasn’t.

Yes, Anderson finished with a solid batting average, and even if his power declined quickly, he still finished with an above-average .168 ISO. And yet, according to his 99 WRC+, he was actually a below-average hitter for his era.

What gives?

The answer is his .324 career OBP. If you’re thinking that a .324 OBP seems a little low for a guy who hit almost .300, you’re right. You don’t need to see the numbers to know that Anderson didn’t walk much.

But in this case, “doesn’t walk much” seems like an understatement. We’re not talking a guy like Ichiro Suzuki who makes contact with everything, or Pablo Sandoval, who swings at everything.

Anderson has never walked more than 31 times in a season. In 2002, when he was an MVP candidate, he walked 30 times in 678 trips to the plate.

Yes, Anderson’s most enduring legacy will be having one of the worst batting eyes of all time. 

Anderson’s career walk rate will stand forever at a putrid 4.7 percent. When you sent him up to the plate, the odds of him letting four bad pitches go by were less than one-in-20.

Want some perspective on that? In the history of Major League Baseball, 256 players have accumulated at least 8,000 plate appearances. Of those men, Anderson finishes 251st in walk rate. More than half (140) have career walk rates of at 9.4 percent or higher, or more than double Anderson’s mark. Twenty-seven players in that group walked thrice as often, and three men—Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds and Ted Williams—worked free passes with over quadruple Anderson’s frequency.

Of course, the game has changed dramatically over the last 100-plus years; the modern game has a new emphasis on plate discipline, so putting Anderson’s walk rate in a historical context isn’t quite fair. What happens if we instead compare him to his contemporaries?

Anderson’s career spanned 17 seasons, from 1994-2010. Over that span, 101 MLB players accumulated at least 6,000 plate appearances. Of those, his plate discipline is dead-last.

Vladimir Guerrero, the master of swinging at everything, has a walk rate of 8.5 percent. Miguel Tejada, who was quoted in Moneyball saying that, if he didn’t take more walks, “Billy Beane send me to Mexico,” has walked 32 percent more often than Anderson.

Things get even worse if one considers that nearly a quarter (24.2 percent) of his free passes have been intentional. Counting only the walks he earned while the pitcher was actually trying, his walk rate drops to just 3.6 percent.

A base on balls every 28 plate appearances? That’s about the rate at which my MVP Baseball 2005 team walked, and I could pretty much hit home runs at will.

Baseball lost a good player today—three All-Star appearances, a pair of Silver Sluggers, and 15 consecutive seasons of at least 108 games played is nothing to shake a stick at. But the only thing about Anderson that should be remembered in the annals of history is his complete inability to take ball four. 

For more of Lewie’s work, visit WahooBlues.com. Follow him on Twitter @LewsOnFirst or  @WahooBlues.

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Meeting the Los Angeles Dodgers: Who Is Jay Gibbons?

The last we heard of Jay Gibbons was in 2007 while a member of the Baltimore Orioles. Three years later, Gibbons has finally made it back to the Majors, and thus far, he is making it count.

Jay Jonathan Gibbons was born in 1977 in Rochester, Mich. However, he spent the majority of his childhood in California, graduating from Mayfair High School in Lakewood. Following high school, Gibbons was a standout at UCLA

The 6-foot, 205-pound outfielder was drafted in the 14th round of the 1998 amateur draft by the Toronto Blue Jays.

Gibbons immediately began making an impact, becoming the Triple Crown champion of the Pioneer League, with 19 home runs and 98 RBI while carrying a .397 batting average.

Following the 2000 season, the Baltimore Orioles claimed him in the Rule 5 draft. He made his major league debut on April 6, 2001. Gibbons rookie season with the Orioles in 2001 was off to a great start.

The young slugger had 15 home runs and 36 RBIs in 73 games before becoming hampered by a hand injury.

The following season, 2002, was a career-best for Gibbons. That season he hit 28 home runs for the Orioles,

In 2003, he followed up that performance with career highs in batting average (.277) and RBI (100). He was voted team MVP and many considered 2003 his break out season.

However, in 2004, the injury bug once again bit Gibbons. He appeared in just 97 games, a great reduction compared to the 160 games the year before. Gibbons collected just 47 RBIs while striking out 64 times.

The Orioles were convinced his declining numbers weren’t due to just injuries. In his shortened playing time, he also struggled at the plate while not complaining of physical discomfort.

The lefty had LASIK eye surgery following the 2004 season, and his numbers improved immediately in 2005. 

Gibbons smashed 135 hits in 139 games, re-emerging on the scene as a legitimate force at the plate. But it was short-lived.

The 2006 and 2007 seasons were once again plagued with injuries. Gibbons didn’t play over 100 games in either season.

To add insult to injuries, Gibbons was named by pitcher Jason Grimsley as an anabolic steroid user in a September 2006 report by the Los Angeles Times.

He was also named in the infamous Mitchell Report  in late 2007 as a steroid user and was eventually released by Baltimore on March 29, 2008. 

Left without a team and on the outside of the fringe having been linked to steroids, Gibbons spent four months from late March to late July as a free agent, before being given another shot by the Milwaukee Brewers.

However, he never appeared in a major league game for the franchise, and was again released in November. 

Gibbons was signed in January 2009 by the Florida Marlins, but spent less time with them than he did with the Brewers, and was released in March of the same year.

The outfielder found himself signing a deal to play for the Newark Bears of the Atlantic League.

Finally, in 2010, Gibbons impressed the Dodgers enough to be given an invitation to Spring Training. Gibbons took the invitation to heart, determined to reach the majors again to prove he could still compete.

While with the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes, Gibbons batted .347 in 94 games while hitting 19 home runs.  

Injuries to Manny Ramirez and Reed Johnson, coupled with the consistent underachievement of veteran Garret Anderson, prompted the Dodgers to promote Gibbons to the 25-man major league roster.

Thus far, you’d never guess Gibbons hasn’t played in the majors since 2007, as he has found his way into two Dodger games, and it would be difficult for Gibbons to perform any better. He is 4-for-5 with a home run and four RBI (Gibbons’ RBI single).

His current performance leaves Dodger fans pondering two questions: What took so long for the team to promote him? What would the season look like had he been called up much earlier?

In any event, the hometown kid may be here to stay, and is certainly making his case to cement a roster spot for the remainder of the season, and possibly into the future.

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MLB Trade Deadline: Five Players Dodgers Should Have Dealt

This season’s trade deadline held no surprises for the Dodgers and General Manager Ned Colletti.

As per usual, the tenacious GM pulled off some big moves in the 11th hour, acquiring best-of-the-remaining starters Ted Lilly, a reliable infielder and everyday starter in Ryan Theriot, a seasoned veteran fireballer in Octavio Dotel, and stability and speed in the outfield with Scott Podsednik.

However, there are still several players on the Dodgers’ roster that should have been shipped out in the process.

It is certainly considered a victory when a team can pick up established stars for little more than prospects and cash, but Los Angeles has expendable players to move to make room for the regular starters to have a place on the active 25-man roster.

Here are five players squatting on the Dodgers’ roster that should have found new homes.

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MLB Trade Rumors: L.A. Dodgers Must Clean House Before Making Next Move

According to Los Angeles Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti, he’s only just begun.

Just moments after finalizing the deal for Kansas City Royals outfielder Scott Podsednik, Colletti said to the media, “As of right now, it’s all pitching between now and the 31st.”

But clearly, with just a little over two days remaining before Saturday’s 4:00 pm trade deadline, the Dodgers have some sorting out to do with their roster.

By adding Podsednik, Los Angeles gets a player who is almost a mirror image of current Dodgers outfielder Xavier Paul.

Both are left-handed hitters, the only differences between the two are Podsednik is a bit quicker on the basepaths and offers a ton more experience, while Paul has a much stronger arm defensively.

So it’s safe to suppose that if Manny Ramirez returns in the coming weeks that Paul is either included in another trade package which will take place before Saturday, or he will be optioned back to Triple-A Albuquerque to create roster space.

For now, Paul is safe as Colletti emphasized that the biggest reason for acquiring Podsednik was to use him as a safeguard in case Ramirez and injured Reed Johnson remain sidelined longer than expected.

Assuming that the starting outfield for the most part will consist of Ramirez, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier down the stretch of the season, 16-year veteran Garret Anderson will likely be pushed aside, clearing space for Podsednik and a healthy Reed Johnson as reserves.

While the Dodgers’ most recent struggles have obviously been caused by a lack of offense, especially in the power department, Jay Gibbons, John Lindsey, and Russ Mitchell continue to tear the hide off the ball in Albuquerque.

Yet, instead of giving an opportunity to one of these farm players, Los Angeles has decided to play with a total of four outfielders and 13 pitchers over the recent weeks. Among the four outfielders, Garret Anderson maintains a roster spot, despite batting .182 and having only two home runs, 12 RBI, and a .277 slugging percentage in 148 at-bats this season.

And among the 13 pitchers on the squad, James McDonald (11.12 ERA), Travis Schlichting (3.00 ERA), Jack Taschner (27.00 ERA as a Dodger), Jeff Weaver (4.09 ERA), and George Sherrill (6.94 ERA), have all been used as middle relievers in tight contests over the last few weeks, and have been nothing short of eaten alive by opposing hitters.

To add insult to injury, Sherrill has been occupying a very valuable roster spot despite being placed on waivers by the club on July 14.

As lefty ace Clayton Kershaw continues to serve his five-game suspension for plunking a San Francisco Giants outfielder last week, John Ely is expected to get at least a spot start this weekend, which will require an additional vacant roster spot. Also, yet another opening on the squad will be needed to make room for Podsednik on Thursday. 

All that being said, both Ned Colletti and manager Joe Torre will be busy over the next 24 hours playing musical chairs with personnel.

As Colletti says he’s finished with making moves for position players before the trade deadline, the Dodgers bench still lacks any kind of pop whatsoever in the power department.

Podsednik (5 HR), Reed Johnson (0 HR), Jamey Carroll (0 HR), Brad Ausmus (0 HR), Garret Anderson (2 HR), and even Ronnie Belliard (.213 avg., 2 HR) pose the least bit of threat to knock the ball out of the yard if used in pinch hitting roles. Overall, Los Angeles ranks 25th in the Major League in home runs as a team.

As of Thursday evening, the Dodgers have won five of their last seven games, yet they still remain six games back of the division leading San Diego Padres. Their weaknesses are clear—lack of offense and ineffective middle relief in the bullpen.

Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Russell Martin, and Casey Blake have all been playing below their potential, and need to find their grooves in a big kind of way if Los Angeles is going to have success.

In terms of making trades, perhaps Ned Colletti needs to prioritize middle relief pitchers over the starting rotation, because the starters have been throwing just fine.

And get the roster back in working order, too.

With only 61 games remaining on the schedule, and the Dodgers hoping to close out in strong fashion, there’s absolutely no room for error—and certainly little room for players batting less than .200, or pitchers with more than a 6.00 ERA.

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X-Man Evolution: Xavier Paul’s Return to Dodgers Could Be Permanent

The bad newsthe Los Angeles Dodgers are expected to place left fielder Manny Ramirez on the 15-day disabled list sometime before the start of Saturday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The good newsXavier Paul will be recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque for the third time this season; and this time, chances are Paul will remain on the squad for the rest of the year.

On June 29, Ramirez strained his right hamstring while running the bases at AT&T Park in San Francisco, and an MRI taken on Thursday confirmed muscle inflammation.

Manny reported slight progress on Friday, however Dodgers’ manager Joe Torre doesn’t think it is worth playing a man short until Ramirez is 100 percent.

Saturday will mark the third recall already this year for Xavier Paul, but this time around his stay in the majors could very well be permanent.

Twice before when Paul was optioned back down to Albuquerque, the Dodgers were faced with a decision either to keep him, or make a determination on veteran outfielder Garret Anderson, whose numbers have been less than productive.

But both times, Dodger management elected to retain Anderson, who was considered more valuable for his veteran leadership, his pinch-hitting ability, and his thorough understanding of in-game situations.

The problem with Anderson, however, is that he’s not producing at all—which has been the case the entire season.

In 61 appearances and 122 at-bats for the Dodgers this year, Anderson has produced just 22 base hits, while his batting average, now at .180, has hovered well below the Mendoza Line for the bulk of the season thus far. He’s also added two home runs and 11 RBI to his stat line.

His .198 on-base percentage and .286 slugging percentage also validate his struggles at the plate.

Even Dodger broadcaster Vin Scully stated during Friday night’s game that “the Dodgers are going to have to make a decision soon.”

Paul on the other hand, has been making the best of his time with the Isotopes. In 45 games and 181 at-bats, he is averaging .348, with a .404 OBP and a .635 slugging percentage.

His 14 doubles, one triple, 12 HRs and 34 RBI are especially productive, considering he normally hits in either of the top two slots in the batting order.

In addition, during his time up in the majors, Paul proved that he could be effective in the show. In the 20 games he appeared for the Dodgers this year, he registered 16 hits in 57 at-bats, while compiling a .281 average, a .325 OBP, and a .423 slugging percentage.

Paul’s strongest assets besides his hitting are his speed, both on the bases and defensively in the outfield, and his arm strength, which is rated well above average by most who have seen him play.

Depending on how things play out over the next two weeks, and if Paul does indeed retain his roster spot when Manny Ramirez returns, Garret Anderson may be forced to decide to walk away from the game completely, or attempt to elongate his career with another squad.

Whatever happens, Garret Anderson is a highly respected icon in the game of baseball, and will always be remembered as a competitor who “played the game the right way.”

His personality, attitude, and gamesmanship suggest that he will have a long career ahead of him in MLB as a coach, instructor, or consultant.

Regardless, it will be business as usual for the Dodgers Saturday night as they look to rebound against the Arizona Diamondbacks after falling Friday, 12-5.

Look for Xavier Paul to start in left field as Arizona sends right-hander Rodrigo Lopez to the hill.

Clayton Kershaw will start for Los Angeles. Game time is 6:40 p.m. PST.

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Three’s a Charm: Garret Anderson Walk-Off Leads Dodgers To Series Sweep

Before the series began on Monday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, no Dodger fan would have ever imagined the outcome.

Ticket holders at Dodger Stadium certainly got their money’s worth: three walk-offs in three days, and a series sweep.

Game one took a walk-off balk to bring a victory to Los Angeles, while game two saw a flair for the dramatic with a Matt Kemp walk-off home run in the bottom of the tenth inning.

And Wednesday afternoon proved to be no different as Garret Anderson blooped a single to shallow center field in the bottom of the 14th inning to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers past the Arizona Diamondbacks, 1-0.

Wednesday’s triumph clinched another series sweep for the Dodgers, their second against the Diamondbacks already this season.

Los Angeles has now won 18 of their last 23 games, while Arizona has seen defeat in 10 straight.

Anderson had the opportunity to win the game for the Dodgers in the bottom of the tenth inning when he came up to the plate with a runner on second base and two outs; however, he struck out swinging, which resulted in streams of booing from the impatient Dodger crowd.

“I don’t mind hearing boos when I’m out there not doing the things I’m capable of. I’ve had that before, and it was well-deserved,” Anderson said after his walk-off hit.

“I mean, I wasn’t getting some things done. But I just try to contribute as much as I can. Fortunately I was able to do something today when it counted.”

After Matt Kemp led off the bottom of the 14th inning with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch, Diamondback center fielder Chris Young was unable to track down the bloop by Anderson.

Dodgers starter Carlos Monasterios was again effective on the mound, throwing five scoreless innings and striking out three while surrendering only two hits.

Rookie Travis Schlichting closed the game for the Dodgers and earned his first major league victory, throwing four scoreless innings of relief despite allowing four hits and a walk.

Cesar Valdez took the loss for Arizona.

Former Dodgers pitcher Edwin Jackson was exceptional for Arizona, completing nine full innings of work. Jackson only gave up three hits and three walks while striking out nine batters, but it wasn’t enough for the struggling Diamondbacks.

Ramon Troncoso, Justin Miller, Jonathan Broxton and Ronald Belisario also combined for five scoreless innings of middle relief in setting up Schlichting for the win.

“Anybody who doesn’t think pitching is the name of the game, take a look at the numbers of this series,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.

Although the pitching was indeed excellent, the Dodgers’ bats seemingly went dry until when it absolutely counted.

Many people expected to see a power surge from Los Angeles when slugger Andre Ethier returned to the lineup to begin the series, but there aren’t any style points awarded in Major League Baseball, and everyone in Dodgertown is elated with the series sweep.

Los Angeles is hot on the trail of the division leading San Diego Padres, who are closing a series with the New York Mets Wednesday evening at Petco Park.

Moving forward, the Dodgers have no time to relax as the sizzling Atlanta Braves come into town to open up a four game series beginning Thursday night. Hiroki Kuroda will take the hill in the opener for Los Angeles and will be opposed by Kris Medlen of Atlanta. Game one is scheduled to start at 7:10 PST. 



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Hang ‘Em Up: 5 Major Leaguers Who Need To Call It a Career

We see it in every sport, a once great player hangs on too long, refusing to accept that his time has passed. It’s hard to watch our heroes become mere mortals right before our eyes, and many fans seem to take it personally.

It’s no great mystery why it happens. All these athletes know is the game they have dedicated their lives to, given their blood, sweat, and tears for.

Could you walk away if you were in their shoes?

Regardless, this article isn’t about the choices that face these players, it’s about shining light on once great ball players who are now, sadly, shells of their former all-star selves.

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