The April 23rd, 2014 edition of daily news for the Los Angeles Angels including the resurgence of Pujols, more Trout-Harper comparisons and much more…
The Story: The resurgence of Albert Pujols.
The Monkey Says: The power is back and, yes, it is clear that he is able to move much better. It almost all seems to be tied to health, so the real trick is whether or not he can stay health.
The Story: Albert Pujols is only kind of resurgent.
The Monkey Says: This nails it much closer. Pujols is not and won’t even be the prime Pujols again. His plate discipline began eroding years ago, but he has turned back the clock a little bit. He’s swinging at fewer pitches out of the zone but he is still swinging in the zone almost more than he ever has and his contact rate is down over two percentage points from his career average, though it is still excellent. If he keeps this up, he should still have a great season, just not a super-human season like he did in his prime.
The Story: Mike Trout is not getting caught up in the comparisons to Bryce Harper.
The Monkey Says: Nor should he, because he is miles better right now and would be looking down for his comparison. There’s nothing productive in that. I would argue there is nothing productive in focusing on any singular comparison, up or down.
The Story: Bryce Harper is not interested in comparisons to Mike Trout.
The Monkey Says: Oh, snap! Trout’s not getting “caught up” but Harper isn’t even interested. THE GAUNTLET HAS BEEN THROWN! Or, again, comparisons are pointless and more for the fans than they are for the players.
The Story: The Harper-Trout series is an ad for interleague play.
The Monkey Says: It definitely is. It would be a better ad if they could censor the part where the Angel pitchers have to hit. If only there was a simple rule change that could fix that.
The Story: Is Bryce Harper ready to join Mike Trout as an elite player?
The Monkey Says: See? Why can’t this omit the Trout framing device? Harper is his own entity. You should be able to ask this question of him at any time, not when he faces off against Trout just because they are of similar ages.
The Story: Trout and Harper are baseball’s best young duo ever.
The Monkey Says: This is a kind of acceptable linking of those two players because it is more about the historical precedent of having two players that are so uniquely young and talented. It just doesn’t happen often. Even then, I’m not sure it really means much because it is just an unrelated confluence of circumstances that led each player to debut at similar ages at the same time.
The Story: Trout-Harper is the rivarly that isn’t.
The Monkey Says: This is all that I have been saying.
The Story: Is Ian Stewart the new Angels’ third baseman?
The Monkey Says: NOPE. Freese is struggling, but anyone that knows Scioscia knows he’ll probably give Freese a lot more rope before he seriously considers pulling the plug on him. Stewart’s recent playing time has more to do with Freese tweaking his quad and getting some of those infamous “mental days off” Scioscia likes to give struggling players. Besides, I think if Freese does get benched, Dipoto will press to have Grant Green installed at third full-time or as part of a platoon with Stewart. On a side note, if Stewart ends up replacing anyone, I would think Ibanez is more likely (but still not actually all that likely).