Howie Kendrick's Potential Career Year Wasted With Los Angeles Angels

By Thom Tsang
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

In a season where just about everything has gone wrong for the Los Angeles Angels, everything has gone right for Howie Kendrick.

In fact, you might even say that things have never been better for the second baseman.

Coming off what was a somewhat disappointing 3.0 fWAR season that saw him hit just eight home runs after what was a breakout 18-homer, 5.6 fWAR season in 2011, Kendrick has demonstrated that the power game might be here to stay as opposed to being a one-year mirage. With eight home runs through 273 PA, he’s already topped his mark from 2012, and is on pace to set a new career-high with 20.

Not only that, but he’s hitting just about everything that opposing pitchers are throwing at him these days.

After an inauspicious .282/.318/.417 start in April, the 29-year-old has only picked things up since, posting a .844 OPS in May, a number that’s jumped to 1.071 through 46 PA in June heading into play on Thursday, good for third place among all second baseman in the bigs.

The hot bat was once again on display on Wednesday as Kendrick went 2-for-4, both doubles, including one of an RBI variety that tied the game up at two in the top of the fourth inning in what turned out to be a 9-5 halos win over the Baltimore Orioles. It was his second multi-hit game in a row, and continued a run of him having safely hit in eight of 11 games in June, with multiple knocks in seven of those games.

So yeah, as that .452/.500/.571 line will tell you, making outs is not something that he’s doing a whole lot of these days.

Now, he is carrying an incredible (and unsustainable) .529 BABIP in the month, but if you think that it’s going to come crashing down to a point where his numbers will seem like nothing but a simple hot streak, think again: Kendrick’s success with batted balls have improved right alongside his line drive rate, which has gone from 24.7 percent in April to 28.7 percent in May, and is now at an excellent 34.3 percent.

Is he a little lucky? For sure, but he has also been absolutely drilling the ball as well.

If you happen to be a Kendrick fan who happens to like pace numbers, you’ll like the fact that he’s on pace for a career-best .324/.364/.474 triple-slash, as well as career-highs in RBI 81 and stolen bases with 15. Already the second most valuable player on the Angels at 1.9 fWAR, he might even give Mike Trout a run for his money when the year is said and done.

Now, if the 28-38 fourth-place Angels could only take advantage of the success he’s having …

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