April 16, 2011

Hank Conger is "it"

Mike Scioscia won’t admit or commit to it; but he has to be thinking it. Just about every Angel fans wants it and you know the baseball analysts would probably recommend it. It’s time to make Hank Conger the #1 catcher.

It’s actually beyond time, but we’ll take what we can get these days.

Is it just me or is it blatantly obvious that Hank Conger is the best man for the job of starting catcher? I mean offensively there’s absolutely no contest. It’s not even close. Conger has two homeruns and is hitting .286 and has struck out just four times. Jeff Mathis on the other hand is hitting below his career average; which is hard to do when you consider that his career batting average is .199; he’s hitting .192 while striking out eleven times.

Mathis’ OBP (.185) is actually lower than his batting average and that’s hard to do! Leave it to Mathis to stand out for all the wrong reasons (let’s not forget the day he went 0 for 6 hitting and trying to throw out base runners in Kansas City).

Defensively, it’s not that close either. Conger has a 1.000 fielding percentage and Mathis is at .982. Mathis has an error and a passed ball charged to him and Conger doesn’t any such blemishes. Wait, it get’s better. Opponents have stolen 11 bases off Mathis and only 3 off Conger. Let’s just say that when Mathis is behind the plate, opponents have a track meet on the bases.

Oh it’s time all right; it’s beyond time for Conger to assume the role as the top catcher on this team.

By the way, it was reported today that Jeff Mathis had a closed door meeting with Scioscia before the game. I'm guessing, it was to give his blessing to Conger taking over. Then again... probably not. Torii Hunter; Jeff Mathis is not.

Next up... let’s hope its Tyler Chatwood taking over Scott Kazmir’s spot in the rotation. Seriously, Scioscia is on a roll right now and is making all the right moves. As I’ve said before, I believe he’s really managing differently this year and I like it a great deal.

Chatwood was impressive today; going seven innings while giving up just five hits and two bases on balls. His lone mistake was a pitch to Carlos Quentin that was absolutely crushed; however, to his credit – Chatwood didn’t fall apart. The kid has poise and confidence and his talent is definitely major league caliber.

I know it’s early in the season, but these two guys are giving Angel fans something to think about and to definitely cheer about as well.

And don’t look now, but the Angels are just a game back of the Texas Rangers; the same Rangers that started the season red hot; the same Rangers some were ready to declare the American League West champions.

Analysts were falling over themselves as they heaped tons of praise on the Rangers when the season started. I was growing a little tired of hearing terms like “dominating” and “impressive” when pundits discussed the Rangers. Some people thought they were going to run away with the west and it looks like that’s just not happening.

Again, I know it’s early, but things are going well right now and Angel fans couldn’t be happier and guess who’s up for the Angels when they leave Chicago? Yup… the Texas Rangers. Game on folks. Things are getting interesting; very interesting. Just saying.

PHOTOS: The photographs in this post are from April 11, 2011; the night Tyler Chatwood made his major league debut.

Shameless plug: If you enjoy True Grich, please visit my other blog: The Baseball Docent as well. Thanks.

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