I was on the twitter feed yesterday when I saw a tweet that made me want to go with Napoli next on The Intangibles series. Someone asked what a pizza named after Mike Napoli would be called, the best answer I saw was “The Italian Dirtbag”. After laughing hysterically I decided Napoli was next on the list.
With the Darvish signing all of our eyes are looking forward and not behind us, which is both a good and bad thing. There comes a time when we need to get over the loss in the WS and look toward a bright future of good baseball, but good performances shouldn’t go overlooked. Mike Napoli had what you can call an amazing performance.
He began the year as the backup catcher to Yorvit Torrealba, the backup First Baseman to Mitch Moreland and Michael Young, and the backup DH behind Michael Young. He ended the year as the guy whose bat could not be out of the lineup, the starting catcher, and had they won, the almost sure thing WS MVP. How did he do it you ask? I’ll Tell you.
On June 12th he was headed to the DL with an oblique strain and no one cared. I don’t know what happened while he was on the DL but something must have. After getting back in the game he proceeded to arguably be the best hitter in the game. He hit for a rock solid .320/.414/.631 in only 369 PAs with 30 home runs. Watching this guy was insane. The crowd loved him and continually showered RBiA with chants of NAP-O-LI NAP-O-LI.
His time in Los Angeles was split behind the plate with Jeff Mathis, arguably the worst hitter in the game. How LA never gave this guy more playing time is beyond me. They traded him away for Vernon Wells(bahahahahaha) and then was thoroughly dissapointed in the production from their backstop.
One of the main reasons the Angels traded him away was because of some guy named Mike Scoscia said that he was a sub-par defender and didn’t know how to call a game. I’ll end this paragraph with his catcher’s ERA, which ended up at 3.14, good for top five in the AL.
His rode his nearly year long hot streak right into the playoffs and continued to shine for the Rangers. During the playoffs he hit .328/.414/.500 and smacked 3 home runs. His game winning double during the World Series was probably his most memorable hit though.
His World Series heroics, however, were shadowed by the loss. Now, with spring training right around the corner, we hope his ankle has healed and he produces again next year. In his short tenure with the Rangers, he has quickly become one of the most loved players on the team. I know I’m not the only one that can’t wait to see him play next year. Until next time, Go Rangers.