With the possible exceptions of Jayson Werth and Josh Hamilton, there’s been no greater bust-out performance so far this season from a position player other than Angels C Mike Napoli. The O.C. Register’s Randy Youngman points out that Napoli is on pace to hit 56 homers and drive in 134 runs, and the Halos might need every bit of that production given the paucity of power from the rest of their lineup.
Sluggers Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero, the Angels’ two highest-paid players earning a combined $33 million in 2008, have combined for nine home runs this season.
Catcher Mike Napoli, who splits time behind the plate and usually bats eighth in the lineup, is tied for the AL lead with 10 homers ” in just 89 at-bats ” and also would be leading the league with a .607 slugging percentage if he had enough bats to qualify.
By the way, Napoli’s salary this season is $425,000, not much more than the $390,000 major-league minimum and about $14 million less than Guerrero’s and $18 million less than Hunter’s.
Let’s just say “Nap”, as his teammates call him, leads the Angels in delivering the most bang for the buck after hitting two homers and racking up a career-high five RBIs in the Angels’ 10-2 romp over the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon at Angel Stadium.
So I asked Hunter if the Angels’ Millionaires Club is going to take up a collection for Napoli, or at least buy him an extra steak on the road trip beginning Tuesday night in Toronto.
“We’re going to wait. It’s early,” said Hunter, who signed a five-year, $90 million free-agent contract with the Angels over the winter. “But if he keeps this pace up, I’m going to buy him a fake fake Rolex …”
Hunter paused, for effect.
“From the ‘hood,” he said, flashing his trademark grin. “You know, one of those discount watches.”
After watching the Yankees drop a pair to the Mets this weekend by a combined score of 18-6, Bronx Banter‘s Alex Belth writes, “We don’t need to be embarrassed about anything. Hey, we weren’t embarrassed to root for them when they were winning. Doesn’t mean we have to be happy about what’s going on, but in the end, their performance doesn’t have much to do with us at all, does it?”
So there’s some consolation for Hank Steinbrenner. While that “restoring order to the Empire” project is most certainly a work in progress, he can at least be proud of presiding over Yankee fans adopting a healthy sense of perspective.