4 Anaheim Angels A strong bullpen, a weak rotation and a big-bang offense add up to mediocrity

March 26, 2001

For Shigetoshi Hasegawa, watching Hollywood movies in his native
Japan was a maddening experience. He'd sit in the theater, half
listening to the English-speaking actors while he scanned the
subtitles that appeared at the bottom of the screen, all the
while wondering if those printed characters were telling him
everything he needed to know. "I wanted to know if what I read
was the truth," he says. "A lot of times it wasn't, because it's
tough to translate English into Japanese."

A similar curiosity drove Hasegawa to the Angels. He wanted to
live in the U.S., and pitching for an American big league team
would make that wish come true. "For other Japanese players, the
dream is just to play in the major leagues," says Hasegawa, who
spent six seasons with the Orix Blue Wave of Japan's Pacific
League. "My dream was to live here, to experience the American
lifestyle."

Anaheim has been the beneficiary of that dream. In his four
seasons with the Angels, Hasegawa, 32, has been a key man in the
bullpen, and last year he almost singlehandedly kept a leaky
pitching staff afloat. Working first as a setup man and then
taking over for closer Troy Percival, who went down with
tendinitis in his right elbow, Hasegawa led the Anaheim staff
with 10 wins, had a 3.57 ERA and saved nine games. After the
All-Star break he had a 2.05 ERA and held opponents to a .205
batting average; over one six-week stretch he went 30 innings
without allowing an earned run. "From May on he was our most
reliable, most consistent pitcher," says pitching coach Bud
Black. "He was counted on tremendously." As was the entire
bullpen: Anaheim relievers worked the second-most innings and
had the second-lowest ERA (4.13) in the league.

Meanwhile, the Angels' hitters--even without slugger Mo Vaughn,
who'll miss the season with a torn biceps tendon--can mash with
anyone. Last year Anaheim (along with Toronto) became the first
AL team with four 30-homer hitters (Vaughn, Troy Glaus, Garret
Anderson and Tim Salmon), and four members of this season's
lineup (Anderson, Glaus, Salmon and Darin Erstad) knocked in at
least 97 runs. Throw in new DH Jose Canseco, who will continue
his slow march toward 500 home runs (he needs 54) as long as his
easily broken body lets him, and scoring runs won't be a worry
for the Angels.

What Anaheim can't do is trot out a bona fide frontline starter.
The callow Ramon Ortiz, Jarrod Washburn and Scott Schoeneweis
(average age: 26) are tantalizing but unproven talents, and
Ismael Valdes and Pat Rapp would be better cast as
back-of-the-rotation inning eaters, which means Hasegawa and his
bullpen mates are in for another heavy workload. That's fine
with Hasegawa, a fanatical student of hitters and viewer of
videotape. "A lot of relievers sit out in the pen and look
around, but from the first pitch Shigetoshi is paying
attention," says Black. "He's as prepared as any relief pitcher
I've ever been around."

That preparation is facilitated by Hasegawa's near perfect
English and his assimilation into life in the U.S. He conducts
interviews without an interpreter, and during the off-season he
and his wife, Erie, and their son, Kohto, stay in California,
visiting their home country for only a few weeks. "I don't think
of him as being from Japan," says Percival, who has resumed his
closer's duties. "He fits right in."

That's what the Angels will do in the West--blend in without
drawing much attention to themselves. Anaheim somehow finished
two games over .500 last season with its action-movie offense and
horror-flick rotation. No subtitles needed here: The odds of that
happening again are slim in any language.

--S.C.

COLOR PHOTO: ROBERT BECK Hasegawa's American dream has come true as he's mastered English, settled in California and become the Angels' most reliable reliever. COLOR PHOTO: OTTO GREULE

[ENEMY LINES]
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Angels

The Angels don't have any pitcher resembling an ace. Ramon Ortiz
is inconsistent, and his breaking pitch isn't that great. He
throws a lot of flat fastballs. The rap on Ismael Valdes is that
if he has any kind of nagging injury, he won't go to the hill.
Jarrod Washburn has the highest ceiling of the group. He throws
90 to 94 mph and has a plus slider and a changeup that's
developing...Troy Percival still throws in the low-to-mid-90s,
just not as consistently as he did. He'd be more effective if he
used his curve more. Shigetoshi Hasegawa's stuff is just fair,
but he locates the ball, and he'll take it every day...Wally
Joyner has lost a step. His bat speed isn't there...Adam Kennedy
has to come back from a broken finger, but he always hits. He
steals a lot of bases. He's not that fast, he just knows how...
Gary DiSarcina may not be back, and that's a huge problem. Benji
Gil's tools are diminishing...Troy Glaus has learned to hit the
ball the other way, and he has power to all fields. We might be
looking at a home run champ for years to come. He has a very
easy swing--it's no effort for him to hit the ball 50 feet
beyond the fence...Jose Canseco is no longer all bulked up. If
he stays in the lineup, 20 to 25 homers are possible...Darin
Erstad was wasted in left, so the move to center is good. He has
unmatched hand-eye coordination, and he never gives up an at
bat...Tim Salmon has lost a step, but his arm is still good. To
get him out, you have to pitch him up...Ben Molina is a solid
catch-and-throw guy, but pitchers started to figure him out at
the end of the year.

[THE LINEUP]
projected roster with 2000 statistics

2000 record: 82-80 (third in AL West)
Manager: Mike Scioscia (second season with Anaheim)

BATTING ORDER B-T PVR BA HR RBI SB

CF Darin Erstad L 14 .355 25 100 28
2B Adam Kennedy L-R 241 .266 9 72 22
3B Troy Glaus R 12 .284 47 102 14
LF Garret Anderson L 53 .286 35 117 7
RF Tim Salmon R 91 .290 34 97 0
DH Jose Canseco[1] R 145 .252 15 49 2
IB Scott Spiezio S-R 265 .242 17 49 1
C Ben Molina R 148 .281 14 71 1
SS Benji Gil R 326 .239 6 23 10

BENCH

IF Wally Joyner[1] L 280 .281 5 32 0
IF Larry Barnes* (R) L 286 .257 7 54 3
OF Orlando Palmeiro L 320 .300 0 25 4
C Jorge Fabregas[1] L-R 373 .282 3 17 1

STARTERS PVR W L IPS WHIP ERA

RH Ramon Ortiz 100 8 6 6.2 1.36 4.55
LH Jarrod Washburn 81 7 2 6.0 1.20 3.74
RH Ismael Valdes[1] 168 2 7 5.3 1.53 5.64
RH Pat Rapp[1] 219 9 12 5.7 1.64 5.90
LH Scott Schoeneweis 153 7 10 6.3 1.47 5.45

BULLPEN PVR W L S WHIP ERA

RH Troy Percival 50 5 5 32 1.44 4.50
RH Shigetoshi Hasegawa 99 10 6 9 1.44 3.57
RH Al Levine 236 3 4 2 1.54 3.87
RH Lou Pote 245 1 1 1 1.37 3.40
RH Mike Fyhrie 257 0 0 0 1.31 2.39
LH Mike Holtz 271 3 3 0 1.34 5.05
RH Tim Belcher 314 4 5 0 1.65 6.86

[1]New acquisition
(R) Rookie
B-T: Bats-throws
IPS: Innings pitched per start
WHIP: Walks plus hits per inning pitched
PVR: Player Value Ranking (explanation on page 156)
*Triple A stats

"With Glaus, we might be looking at a home run champ for years
to come."

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)