Most important Angel of the 2nd half? …
Not surprised. The Angels need him to be the stable, frontline rotation arm he’s always been to give them the kind of depth they thought they’d have going into the year. It’ll be very hard to get a quality arm on the trade market, specifically this year, so Haren needs to get right. I’m just surprised more people didn’t vote Albert Pujols — you know, the $240 million first baseman who was brought here to be a lineup catalyst.
Anyway, Angels start their second half (the celebrated one, at least) with a weekend series at Yankee Stadium and have a brutal schedule moving forward. Coming up, they’ll have: Yankees (road), Tigers (road), Rangers (home), Royals (home), Rays (home), Rangers (road), White Sox (road). In other words, six of their next seven series will be against legit playoff contenders, and two of them will be against the division-rival Rangers — a team they’ll face 13 times in the second half, including six times in the final two weeks.
The five biggest keys for the second half, in my mind …
1. Haren and Ervin Santana getting right.
2. Pujols being elite.
3. Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo continuing to be catalysts; Ernesto Frieri continuing to dominate the 9th.
4. Chris Iannetta getting healthy.
5. Jerry Dipoto shoring up holes at the Deadline (starter? reliever?).
As for the single most important player? Here’s what you said …
Dan Haren (44 %)
@sidpat77: We need him healthy and consistent!!!!
@lostkiwi: The only right answer is Haren. If he’s right, we have 3 lock-down starters, win the West; w/o him, wild card & disappointment.
@Tstevens80: If he gets it going like he’s suppose to, we will be unstoppable.
@jonathon_welch: We can make the playoffs without his ace stuff, but if we want the West we need 3 aces.
@2protectandsurf: We gotta have that arm.
@JstnBsn: Dan Haren because there isn’t a replacement for the games they’re losing by him not being 100%.
@awilly13: We can’t get by on Wilson/Weaver alone.
@rlara1092: If he bounces back then we have a solid 1-4 again. Santana is a goner.
@Mr_DAnthony: Solidifying the rotation could mean a tremendous second half.
@AngelsWin: Starting Pitching. Specifically I’ll go with Dan Haren since he was our #2 guy going into the season. We need him big time.
@mlepley119: If he doesn’t get it together, the rotation doesn’t look as good as it did in the preseason. Need him to dominate!
@jrjantreshunt: Dan Haren, cuz trade pieces are limited & market 2 acquire starting pitching is flooded. Halo’s catch TX if Dan aces up.
@rybeck28: Dan Haren needs to get back on track or else Dipoto’s going to be forced to dump the farm for a guy like Greinke.
@alansmafra: Some may say Trout, Trumbo, etc., but truly it’s Haren. If he comes up to his old dominance, it will be a 1-2-3 combo again.
@caiobraz: Haren, because if he can get back on track, I see the Halos going straight to the top!
@wompsandwobbles: Angels can’t afford for him not to return to 2011 form, or we’ll be in trouble in the 2nd half!
@rowast: He adds so much depth if he’s on his game and healthy.
@CBeilstein: Dan Haren because we need our starting pitching to produce if we want to gain ground on the Rangers.
Mike Trout (14 %)
@Angelsfan4life: Since he came up, chemistry of team is different. His love 4 the game is obvious & skills r like I have never seen b4.
@aaronburkart: Mike Trout, easily. Has to keep up his stellar first half.
@Halofan25: Trout … because of the way he picked up this team and the spark he has provided.
@Sauceda062: Gotta truly say Mike Trout!! This guy is needed. #catalyst
@ChuckRichter70: Just look at the Angels’ record since he was recalled. #BOOM
@galel: He’s the spark!
Albert Pujols (13 %)
@striker2theline: If he REALLY gets going, the rest will feed off of him and TnT.
@DaveSaltzer: He is capable of putting the team on his back and making everyone else in the lineup better. The Angels did well with him having a subpar 1st half, but if he gets hot, the team will be unstopabble. We need him to be huge in all the head-to-head games with Texas.
@Cabrera_09: Albert Pujols, no question about it. Especially if he emulates his second half of last year.
@Jborman9: I’m tempted to say Santana — he was so awful the first half and needs to improve. But I’ll say Pujols. He needs to go on a tear.
@talk_angels: If any players start to slump, we need to be able to look at him to boost us.
@ThatDrewCray: If Pujols can turn it on like he was in St. Louis, can you say playoffs?
@bsnuckolls: If he can have a monster second half, everything else will fall into place (we already know what TnT can do).
Others (29 %)
@Vandygrift: Howie Kendrick: Why? To make sure whoever he’s following — Morales/Trumbo — gets pitched to, instead of pitched around!
@citizenkrown: Santana. No explanation needed.
@pattimelt95: Mike Scioscia. He’s the one that’s gonna have to figure out what to do with Wells coming back and how everyone will fit in.
@realjoe_emery: Trumbo. With Pujols not performing as we expected, we need someone like Trumbo to hit guys in.
@coachtom966: Erick Aybar. We need him to keep hitting like he has the past few weeks. Strengthens the bottom third of the order.
@Katb777: Kendrys Morales — we need more power and consistency from the left side of the plate.
@SurfinjJoel: Vernon Wells … could make or break team.