2.05.2013

Los Angeles Angels 2013 Depth Chart: Second-Base

In January of 2012, Jerry Dipoto signed Howie Kendrick to a four-year, $33.5 million dollar contract. Paul Swydan of Fangraphs wrote the following on the extension deal last January:
"Howie Kendrick is never going to be a superstar, but he has been solid throughout his career[...] Jerry Dipoto and co. were wise to lock him into a contract that is very similar to [Rickie] Weeks, with whom he compares favorably. His new deal should prove to be a good value, and if he can come close to replicating his offensive performance from last season — a performance that boosted his value to more than $26 million — the Angels could end up with a steal on their hands."
So did Howie come close to replicating his 2011 performance last year? Yes and no. Kendrick's power dropped off significantly from his 2011 campaign. In 2012, Kendrick hit only 8 home runs and he posted a .113 ISO, the lowest of his career. He also grounded into the second most double plays in the AL with 26. Elsewhere, Kendrick was mostly the same. His contact rate was identical to 2011 while his K% and BB% were also very similar to his career numbers.

This all accumulated to Kendrick posting a 2.8 WAR (via Fangraphs) in 2012. A big drop off from his 2011 campaign where he posted 6.0 but also very much in line with what he's done since 2009. Thus, it's probably safe to conclude that Kendrick's 2011 power numbers were more of a bit of an outlier and that Kendrick's offensive performance will likely look similar to 2012 than 2011. Defensively, Kendrick has remained mostly league average and there's not indication that would change in 2013.

With the departure of Maicer Izturis to Toronto, the Angels lost a bit of depth beyond Kendrick. As mentioned before in my assessment of the depth at the shortstop position for the Angels,  27-year old Andrew Romine will compete for a spot on the 25-man roster with Thomas Field and the recently acquired Bill Hall also looking for a roster spot.

In the minors, the Angels have a few interesting prospects at the four position. Taylor Lindsey is due to start the season in Double-A after three impressive years between rookie ball and Single-A. Having just turned 21 in December, he's scouted to be an excellent hitter with good gap power but not a lot of home run potential and average defense. It will also be interesting to see where former University of Mississippi star Alex Yarbrough starts the season after his first season of pro ball in Low-A last year. Both Lindsey and Yarbrough have been invited to spring training and it should be fun watching two possible future major leaguers.

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