Hey, Tony Reagins, remember when you said Aybar could easily fill Figgins' shoes at the top of the lineup? Yeah, about that... When the Angels decided to let Chone Figgins walk away via free agency, they thought they wouldn't have much of a problem replacing him at the top of the order, despite him having (mostly) been an excellent catalyst for the Halos. That looked like a master stroke of genius from Tony Reagins early in the season as Figgy arrived in Seattle to immediately fall on his face, like it was some kind of brilliantly orchestrated prank by Reagins. It turns out that the joke wasn't just on Seattle, it was on the Angels too. As bad as Chone has been in Seattle, his replacements in Anaheim have been even worse. Figgy has thus far put up a disappointing OBP of .340 for the Mariners, a figure that sadly bests the OBP of anyone (except the eternally patient Bobby Abreu, who checked in just ahead at .350) the Halos have auditioned at the leadoff spot. And that is no small feat either, seeing how Mike Scioscia has tried nearly every position player on the roster at leadoff this season. In a season where Scioscia and his notoriously amorphous batting order has seldom ever remained the same, seven different players have received multiple starts atop the Angel lineup. Let's review that list of leadoff wannabes, shall we:Hey, do you want to bat leadoff for the LA Angels? Why not? Everyone else has. It is almost like that might have something to do with the Angels' offensive ineptitude. Hmmmmm....
- Erick Aybar: 387 AB, .279/.336/.37o. Albeit, not the worst slash line in the world, but also not one that belongs at the top of the order. Sadly, Aybar's tenure at the top was one of the most productive for the Angels, though it was marred with wild inconsistency, which is why he wound up losing the job in the first place.
- Bobby Abreu: 76 AB, .263/.356/.474. Now we're walking (see what I did there?). If getting on base is the name of the game, Abreu is your man. Even still, Bobby's overall struggles this season translated to his time at leadoff as well, making it hard to justify leaving him there when he was only a marginal upgrade, on base-wise, when he also possessed one of the few bats in the Angel lineup capable of driving in runs.
- Alberto Callaspo: 54 AB, .148/.179/.204. I think we can all safely say hitting leadoff doesn't suit Alberto. Great trade, Tony.
- Howie Kendrick: 46 AB, .261/.320/.413. This was during Scioscia's George Costanza-inspired "do the opposite" phase. All the supposedly patient hitters on the roster flamed out at leadoff, so what not try out a guy who is generally allergic to talking pitches. This little experiment didn't work out either, surprising exactly no one.
- Reggie Willits: 29 AB, .310/.429/.379. As you can see, Reggie has done a fine job at leadoff when given a chance, though it didn't happen very often. Alas, it wasn't meant to be since Scioscia insisted on wasting so many at-bats on Juan Rivera. Who needs a leadoff man that can get on base when you can have a six-hole hitter that grounds into doubleplays like it is going out of style?
- Maicer Izturis: 28 AB, .214/.313/.321. Izturis' numbers aren't very good, but he does have good plate discipline and makes a lot of contact, so it is actually rather surprising that he didn't get more starts at the top of the order. Or at least it would be if Mighty Maicer didn't choose to start his annual parade to the disabled list just when Scioscia had lost patience with Aybar in the one-hole.
- Peter Bourjos: 19 AB, .263/.333/.263. Because, hey, why not? Sure, Peter hasn't hit much, hasn't walked much and has struck out quite a bit, but he profiles as a future leadoff-type. That's got to be worth a look at least, right? Like the Aybar leadoff experiment, this is a nice idea but put into action a few years too soon.