Skaggs Bouncing Back… Again

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P-JAYS10MAY TORONTO, ON- MAY 10 – Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs (45) pitching during the game. Toronto Blue Jays lost 5-3 to the Los Angeles Angels at the Rogers Centre May 10, 2014. David Cooper/Toronto Star

The Angels are still sorting out their starting rotation for 2017, and have a couple of bounce-back candidates that are vital to the club’s chances to compete. With Garrett Richards making strides toward a healthy and productive season, another starter who is heading in the right direction is lefty Tyler Skaggs.

 

With four innings of one-run ball in Saturday’s spring game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Tyler only allowed four hits and struck out three. This added to a string of three sharp outings since going back down briefly with shoulder soreness as he was getting his arm back into a starter’s routine. That was after his fastball velocity dropped into the high eighties quickly in his first outing.

 

Skaggs’ fastball is currently clocked at 90-94 miles per hour. And the 25-year old hopes to get up to around eighty pitches in his next start.

The Halos have yet to announce their rotation. However, at this point all eyes are looking at him locking down a spot.

Angels Official Podcast: The Opening Day Starter

Click on the thumbnail to go to the latest episode of the Angels Official Podcast, where MLB reports Alyson Footer and Maria Guardado discuss the club’s opening day starter.

Luis Valbuena Out 4-6 Weeks

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The Angels will be without one of their newest additions until early May. Infielder Luis Valbuena suffered a grade one hamstring strain on Wednesday during Spring Training game against the Texas Rangers and will start the 2017 regular season on the disabled list.

The injury is the same one that took him out of last season, and eventually had his surgery on. As of right now, this is not as serious. Perhaps this is merely a road block in getting the hamstring back to full strength after the procedure.

This also opens the door for C.J. Cron and Jefry Marte to get more playing time at first base to start the season, as Valbuena was in line to share time at the position, in addition to other spots in the infield. This does hurt the bench depth for the Halos a bit. However, there are still plenty of options. The injury bug has not bitten the Angels much at all so far this spring.

The timetable for Valbuena’s return targets the first week of May.

Here’s MLB Tonight discussing Valbuena signing with the Angels, and where the team was at since he was pretty much their last key addition over the offseason…

Torii Hunter Jr. Made His Debut… In Front of Dad!

The Angels put in a pinch runner for Mike Trout during Sunday’s game. And his name was Torii Hunter. Not that Torii Hunter! No, his son. Asked to come in and take over for Trout in the sixth inning of a 7-0 deficit at the hands of the Chicago White Sox, Hunter Jr. made his debut with ‘that’ Torii Hunter watching from a suite above. Yes, dad was there, and was nervous…

 

Hunter Jr. went 0-for-2 in his first game with the Halos. But he was as excited as ever. And so was dad, as they both expressed in their interview with Jose Mota after the game…

 

What a moment for a father and son. And whether or not Junior makes it, this is special.

Carlos Perez Has a Leg Kick!

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Fighting for the majority of playing time behind the plate with the Angels this season, catcher Carlos Perez has a new addition to his swing at the plate: a leg kick. Hampered by a career batting average over his first two seasons that is a bit below league average, and an on-base percentage that is struggling to get over .300, the young backstop decided it was time to try something new.

Below we have Carlos’ old hitting style that got him to the Big Leagues, but opposing teams caught up to rather quickly. Notice him feeling for the ball. Kendrys Morales had this same problem in his limited time with the Halos before his breakout in 2009. Perez looks a bit apprehensive…

 

And now we have Perez’s new leg kick. He basically starts timing the pitch as soon as the pitcher separates his hands to begin his motion toward the plate…

 

This is something that really helped Josh Donaldson, although his kick is almost a Michael Jackson impression. Vladimir Guerrero used to start his timing mechanism early as well. And of course, it also helped Kendrys Morales. Perez’s is somewhere in between Vladdy and Donaldson, and probably closer to Morales. Now we’ll have to see how the leg kick works when games count.

Alex Meyer’s New Delivery

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Looking for a starting rotation spot with the Angels, young righty Alex Meyer has sped up his windup in an effort to ease the stress on his arm. Opening his shoulder too quickly has been a problem for Meyer, and has contributed to his injuries as a prospect.

You can even see in the featured image above that his throwing shoulder is dragging like he’s trying to throw a sand bag.

Below is a report on Meyer’s status in the Angels’ system. And as you watch, notice his delivery and how awkward and lanky it is. Seems like everything is going in different directions.

 

Now watch Meyer’s new delivery in his latest outing…

 

Much more compact, and he finishes in better fielding position. The changes are subtle, but overall it’s a much more well-balanced delivery. Hopefully this will really help Meyer land a rotation spot on either Opening Day or sometime during the 2017 season.

Albert Could Be Ready Opening Day

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Just a few months removed from another foot surgery, Albert Pujols may end up being ready for Opening Day 2017 for the Angels after all. He’s progressing faster than expected. He’s determined. The Machine still needs to get his legs more mobile, not that he’s all that fast anymore. And he’s already swinging the bat with power!

 

With CJ Cron on fire and Luis Valbuena coming back from a mild injury, the first base battle has just heated up! Only two-and-a-half weeks left to see how it plays out!

Angels Official Podcast: Who Will Close?

Click the thumbnail above and you will be taken to the Angels Official Podcast at MLB.com where reporters discuss the current state of players, coaches, executives, etc. In the latest episode, Alyson Footer talks with other writers about Huston Street and who will close in his absence.

April 25, 1993: Red Sox vs. Angels

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The young Angels were red hot going into the final game of a three game series at the Big A on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball against the Boston Red Sox on April 25, 1993. They had won five in a row, and were scoring over six runs per game. They were off to their best start in their history. Then, they ran into Roger Clemens.

But did they let that scare them?

This team may have lost 91 games that season, but they were definitely showing a preview of what the Halos were capable of later in the 1990’s. And it was also the beginning of a core of players that eventually won the World Series as decade later.

Funny thing is that J.T. Snow is a center piece going into this game, and was in that Fall Classic in ’02, just on the other side. But Tim Salmon took over in this contest, as he would for many years with the Angels…

Oh, and by the way. There’s a book out that explains the 1993 Angels as the one team with the highest win difference between the actual players on the roster and the original players that were traded away prior to that season.

You’ll know that that means when you click the link below…

Now enjoy a really good game!

Billy Eppler on the Baseball Tonight Podcast