Since second baseman Howie Kendrick was called up in the 2006 regular season he has been a consistently productive player for the Los Angeles Angels. This year it could be another step forward for him.
Last season, the 30-year-old batted .297 with 13 home runs, 54 RBI and a .439 slugging percentage in 122 games played. Despite missing 35 games due to a left knee sprain that he suffered in early August, Kendrick put up decent numbers for a year that was somewhat hampered by an injury. Last season he was also one of the league’s hottest hitters in a two-month span as he hit .314 in May and .356 in June.
In May, he recorded hits in 21 of 29 games played in the month which included 11 multi-hit games and a seven-game hitting streak. In his best month of the season, Kendrick would collect hits in 20 out of 27 games played in June that included 11 multi-hit games with a 13-game hitting streak and was highlighted by a four-hit game in the Angels 8-6 loss against the Chicago Cubs on June 5. After that two-month period, Kendrick cooled down as he hit .241 in July, suffered his knee injury in August and returned to play 13 games in September while hitting just .271.
So with their torrid 2013 season behind them, Kendrick and the Halos have extra motivation to finish atop of the standings in the AL West this upcoming season. With that extra edge, it may help the Angels’ second baseman recapture his 2011 form where hit .285 with career-highs in home runs (18), triples (6), slugging percentage (.464), walks (33) and runs scored (86) to go along with 63 RBI.
What also plays to Kendrick’s advantage is that he can use the trade rumors over the offseason to help him become more focused on the 2014 season where at the same time he can prove his worth to Los Angeles and help his team reach the postseason. He also has the aid of his teammates Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton as they will be leading the charge for the Angels, and that will provide more opportunities for Kendrick to potentially have a career-best season.
With a clean slate for the 2014 season and motivation to prove his worth to the organization, Kendrick could be in line for a very productive year in 2014.