When the Orioles took two of three from the Angels over the weekend, there was still good reason to look past the team losses to the underlying positives on an individual level. Several players seemed to be trending up, especially on offensive side, and a three-game set in Texas seemed the perfect opportunity for those positive strides to continue. But then they mostly didn’t.
Carlos Perez had another multi-hit game and Nick Tropeano tossed his second straight quality start, but just about everything else went pear-shaped for the Angels in Arlington. Their extremely righty-heavy offense failed to do much of anything against two lefty starters, Hector Santiago crashed hard back into the bad part of his Jekyll/Hyde routine, Johnny Giavotella picked the most inopportune moment (i.e. his promotion to the No. 5 spot) to end his hit streak, the team batted just .227 (5-for-22) with runners in scoring position, and the bullpen absolutely imploded on Wednesday to cap it all off.
For now the Angels can still hang their caps on being better than the preseason favorite Houston Astros despite a deluge of injuries, but that could change if they can’t quickly right the ship this weekend.
C.J. Cron Is Still A Terrible First Baseman
There was some hope this spring that, like Johnny Giavotella‘s offseason work with Ron Washington, C.J. Cron’s extra time spent on his glovework over the winter would help him become at least an average defender at first. Well… it hasn’t.
All of Cron’s defensive shortcoming were on display in Texas: his lack of range, his awkward footing, his stone hands, his poor decision-making under pressure. Most of those things negatively impacted the team on Wednesday alone.
A injury-riddled Albert Pujols remains a better option at first, and it’s hopefully only a matter of time before he starts taking most of the starts there. Perhaps an even more pressing reason to make the switch? Albert has a .958 OPS this year as a first baseman, but a .581 OPS as a DH.
Prospect Hype Is Weird
Nomar Mazara is absolutely demolishing the baseball in his first month-plus of MLB action. After going 6-for-12 with two dingers against the Angels, the 21-year-old is hitting .320/.365/.500 in 167 plate appearances on the year. What baffles me about his early success in the league is not how good he’s been, but rather how little notice he received on the national level before his call-up. Despite being several months younger than Carlos Correa and No. 5 on BP’s Top 101 this winter, Mazara was anything but a household name upon his promotion to Texas in April.
It’s not like Mazara was a completely off the radar, but his arrival pales in comparison to those of Correa, Kris Bryant, Xander Bogaerts, etc., who were fawned over for months before they ever stepped foot on a big-league diamond. More than anything, I just find it strange that prospect hype is seemingly still so diffuse and regional despite the overwhelming amount of information out there these days.