Point/Counterpoint – Handicapping the Next Angels’ Manager
By Nate Trop and Glen McKee, Unprofessional Gamblers
For the first time since before I (Glen) started shaving my head, the Angels are looking for a new manager. That’s a long time. Think about it: when Scioscia became manager of the Angels, Bill Clinton was still in office. Y2K was still a thing. Pamela and Tommy divorced. “South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut” was released. You get the picture. Now, the Angels have to find a new manager, and next season I’ll finally get my wish of having somebody else to be angry at after the Angels lose. As I mentioned somewhere on the board earlier, it will probably be somebody I’ll have to google as soon as he is announced because I’ll have no idea who he is. However, that won’t stop Nate and Me from handicapping the odds of who will be at the helm as we head into the second-to-last season of the Pujols decade.
Eric Chavez: (+250 trips to the DL) Billy Eppler made him a favorite (not the favorite, a favorite) by giving him a big promotion near the end of this season, shortly after it was hinted that Scioscia would be stepping down (aka not getting a contract offer after his current contract expired). His history with the DL should give him an edge with the Angels, who have more time on the DL than, well, somebody who really likes to keep things on the DL.
Dino Ebel (+200 windmills) Dino is not a favorite as Eppler has indicated he is looking outside the organization, but we wanted to take a moment to appreciate Ebel’s years of fluid arm movements, as it appears he will not be back. Godspeed, and take care of that rotator cuff.
Josh Paul (+FU Eddings) There would be some slight irony if Josh was to take the reins.
Brad Ausmus (-100 mehs) Possibly the safest choice. There isn’t much exciting about him, and he’s named “Brad.” He prefers to go by “B-Rad” because “Brad” is his slave name.
Mickey Hatcher (+500 false walks) Don’t sleep on the chances of the Joe Biden of Scioscia’s coaching teams to take the helm. Ah, go ahead and sleep. We could all use some more sleep and the jokester supreme won’t take over.
“Sike Mcioscia” (+??) We only have one picture of this mysterious candidate:
Albert Pujols (+374 GIDPs) Some people have posited the idea, hopefully jokingly, of Pujols being a player/manager with the overwhelming emphasis on “manager.” To quote George Carlin: “Some people are really Facking stupid.” We like Pujols as a person. As a player, well…you know.
Juan Rivera (+50 bat sniffs) Hey, he needs a job. (Glen) I don’t know about you guys, but I sorta miss him. Maybe we could make him co-manager along with Yunel Escobar. That would be a dugout worth watching.
Erick Aybar (-25 IQ points) His on-the-field career is over, and he would be even better in the dugout that the Rivera/Escobar tandem. Hide your hotdog buns, we have a manager that will keep things loose and fun!
Joe Espada (+1000 reality) Joe has emerged as the current favorite, which means absolutely nothing. However, he checks a lot of boxes (which sounds like a crude job description of a gynecologist) (sorry, to the handful of women two women random woman that reads this): outside the organization, comes from a winning team, brown, has a lot of vowels in his name…dude has it all.
Terry Collins (+100 NOOOOO!) He is available, has Angels connections, and almost certainly would be a trainwreck, which is exactly why he will get the job.
Old Hoss Radbourn (+1 great nicknames) This guy has a great nickname, and whoever runs his Twitter account is brilliant. He is also dead, but you can’t get any worse than Scioscia.
Joe Girardi (+more lasagna) He is italian, a former catcher, and an old school type of manager. Where have I heard that before? This would probably be my worst nightmare.
Angelswin.com (+162 sick lineups) What could possibly go wrong with the board managing the team? Man, imagine the fights every single day.
Danny Glover (+1 Tony Danza) Only mentioned because of the movie I won’t name, but imagine him after every loss doing the facepalm and saying “I’m getting too old for this shit.” That would make the losses at least a bit more tolerable.
I’m sure there are more on Eppler’s list that we haven’t covered, but really…
View the full article
Mike Scioscia stepped down as manager after spending 19 seasons with the Angels Sunday at the conclusion of game-162 in walk-off fashion.
Scioscia’s managerial record is: 1,650 – 1428)and he’s one of five managers all-time to lead a team for 19+ consecutive years. His 19 seasons with the Angels make him the longest tenured manager in the Majors. Fifth all-time in games managed with one franchise (3,078). Owns a (.536 winning .pct) and his 1,650 wins rank 18th all-time and are second most (Walter Alston – 2040) by a manager with one team. Scioscia was the only Angels manager to make seven playoff appearances (previous best was two) which ranks tied for 12th all-time. Sosh was the only Angels manager to win six division titles, and has won 21 career playoff games including the 2002 World Series.
12 of his 19 teams have finished .500 and above. His .536 winning percentage is the best in club history and is one of six managers all-time to win 1,500 games with one team. Mike Scioscia is also Two-time BBWAA A.L. Manager of the Year (2002 and 2009).
Here’s what former players, colleagues and the Angels current owner had to say about the Angels greatest manager in the history of the organization.
“The dedication and commitment Mike Scioscia has given Angels Baseball over the last 19 years greatly contributed to our evolution into an elite Organization. Mike’s tenure as Manager of the Angels includes six division titles, a pennant, and a World Championship that transformed this franchise, and its perception on both local and national levels. We will always be grateful and proud that the Angels played a part in his Hall of Fame career.
On behalf of the entire Angels Organization, we want to express our gratitude to Mike for his time and devotion as our Manager. We wish Mike, his wife Anne, and children Taylor and Matt the very best; you will always be a part of the Angels Family.
– Arte Moreno, Los Angeles Angels Owner
“As I said in my Angels Hall of Fame speech, Mike changed the culture of the Angels. We went from thinking we could win to knowing we could win. Every spring he talked only once of winning the World Series. He then then turned to using the analogy of taking one step on a ladder to reach our goal. The first season he took over was the most mentally fatiguing season I’ve ever had because I bought into our two biggest thieves were yesterday and tomorrow. He taught me how to prepare for that day to win a major league game.”
– Garret Anderson, Angels Hall of Famer
“Mike Scioscia impacted my career is ways I’m forever grateful for. He brought leadership, vision, and a winning style of play to the teams I was a part of. As the architect of our 2002 World Championship he taught us the importance of “checking your ego in at the door” and playing as a team. I will always remember Sosh’s hilarious morning meetings each spring that were so instrumental in building team chemistry and bonded our teams in ways I had never seen before. His “one day at a time” montra kept his players focus where it needed to be and was the hallmark of the blue collar teams he lead. Sosh’s consistent demeanor and steadiness influenced those around him and brought the Angels organization stability at the helm and their greatest run of success the past 19 seasons. Words of gratitude just don’t seem to be enough for what Mike has meant to us all.”
– Tim Salmon, Angels Hall of Famer
“Mike Scioscia is a true Angel. Mike has dedicated his heart and soul for the last 20 years to making the Angels a first class organization. Over this time, he has become one of the best and most respected managers in the game today. I am forever grateful to Mike Scioscia for giving me the opportunity to start my major league career. He took a chance on me when most experts in the game deemed that I could not play in the big leagues. I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to play for him, learn from him and win with him. I am blessed to call Mike Scioscia a mentor and friend, and the game still has a lot to learn from him. “
– David Eckstein, Member of Angels 2002 World Series Champions
“I had the pleasure to work alongside Mike since his arrival in 2000 until 2011. I simply believe that Mike is one of the brightest baseball minds in the history of the Angels Organization. His passion and commitment to the finest details of his craft are evident in his performance throughout his 19 years in the Angels dugout. From the memorable Spring Training morning meetings and our late night conversations following Angels ballgames to a 2002 World Championship, Mike was the consummate professional. His personal accomplishments never outweighed his desire to compete and win. I was his baseball conscience and he was mine. I wish nothing but the best to Anne, Matt and Taylor. Much success in the next chapter.”
– Tony Reagins, former Angels General Manager
“In the year 2000, the Angels brought on board and welcomed a former “Dodger” …Mike Scioscia as our new manager. Little did we know how the trajectory and the path of the organization would change for the better with his hiring. I have had the opportunity to ‘compete against’ as a player….’play for’…’coach with’… and ‘coach against’ Mike. He defines everything a ‘Champion’ represents. Mike changed the expectations of our organization….brought out the best in all of us…AND no longer did we hope to win BUT we were going to win.
As a player for him; he challenged me, pushed me to new limits and introduced me to a new approach….”Play Free.” He was a World Series champion as a player, so Mike brought instant credibility into our dugout. As a coach on his staff; he showed me how important preparation, conviction, passion, and boldness were in the dugout. Those days when we were not playing well…Mike was always at his best….calm, determined and adamant that we would turn things around. As a coach against him; he forced you to be more prepared than ever. Ready for anything. You never knew what he was going to do next. If your team did not play sound, fundamental baseball then Mike would expose it and capitalize on it.
Mike came into the Angels organization at a time when we had a difficult time reaching the next level. His leadership, knowledge, work ethic, and confidence helped pushed the organization to new heights. Those flags you see out there …flying beyond the centerfield wall say it all…..and….speak volumes about what Mike Scioscia meant to the Angels organization.
Much love and Thanks Mike !”
– Gary DiSarcina, former Angels Infielder & Coach
“I’ve known Mike a long, long time. First as a person I competed against, and then as person I learned so much from. First and foremost, I have the utmost respect for him as a husband and father. His upbringing set the foundation for him treating all of us as his family. His leadership skills and intelligence were the best I’ve seen as a manager since the late Dick Howser in my opinion. I wouldn’t play poker with him because I never knew if we were up by 10 or down by 10. I cherish our friendship. His sense of humor was highly underrated. I conclude by saying to me, he is a Hall of Famer in the baseball world and off the field also.”
– Mark Gubicza, former Major League Pitcher & current Angels Broadcaster
“I first met Mike Scioscia when I was broadcasting for ESPN in the early 90’s. It was a game at Dodger Stadium and Mike was catching Orel Hershiser that night. I asked Mike if he had a few minutes before BP to discuss his catching philosophy along with his game plan for Hershiser that night. We must have sat in the dugout for fifteen minutes as Mike went on about growing up in Philly, then who helped him along the way, from John Roseboro, to Roy Campanella, to Del Crandell. He gave me a scouting report on not only Orel but each Dodgers pitcher. It was awesome. I must have used everything he gave me that night on the air. A decade later, I would truly get to know Mike when he took over the Angels and led them to their first World Championship. He was a natural leader, a man who not only challenged every player but inspired them to be their best. And that 2002 team became the best. From Eck, to Ersty, to GA to Percy, to Tim Salmon, they were a reflection of their manager. No one cared who got the credit. They just wanted to win. And when the team struggled, Sosh gave them a pat on the back, when they got on a roll, he told them they could do better, and when a member of the media went after one of his players after they made a mistake, Sosh had this unique ability to twist the conversation in some self-deprecating way that had the media laughing and the players mistake somehow forgotten. I’ll always remember the look on his face when Ersty caught the final out to win the championship. It was a look of pride, and not for himself, as he searched for coaches and players and trainers and clubhouse guys to hug. Great managers are people who share their success and believe that incredible things can happen when no one cares who gets the credit. Sosh is one of those guys. He’s the very definition of what we want in our leaders. Integrity, trust, toughness. Mike Scioscia is a good man, good son, good father, good husband, good friend. It was my honor to broadcast games he managed. Blessings always,”
– Steve Physioc, former Angels Broadcaster
“I don’t know that I can fully explain what Mike Scioscia has meant to me personally over the last 9 seasons but I’ll certainly try. From the moment I went out to dinner with Arte, Mike and his coaching staff in March of 2010, he has been nothing but the most accommodating person on a daily basis. Maybe it was the connection to Philadelphia through my dad but whatever the case, he made me feel like I mattered every time we talked. And it wasn’t just with me, he made every member of my family feel as if they were the most important person in the room when he visited with them. He was never in a hurry and always took the time to chat about the previous night’s game, his Eagles/Flyers/Sixers and/or everyday happenings in and around the ballpark. I wish more fans had a chance to see this side of Mike. He’s a man of integrity whose loyalty you never questioned. They broke the mold with Mike Scioscia. Tough as nails competitor that wanted to beat you every single night and it carried over into the dugout as manager. What a run…Hall of Fame husband, father and manager. Our loss is the Scioscia family’s gain. Be well, Skip!”
– Victor Rojas, Angels Broadcaster
“Mike encouraged the players to have an aggressive, team-first style of play. His positive attitude enabled the players to focus on the job to be done today regardless of what may have happened yesterday.”
– Bill Stoneman, former Angels General Manager
“In the nearly two decades that I have known Mike Scioscia, the trait that has most impressed me about him is his character. His integrity, honesty and kindness are things I admire in someone I will always consider a dear friend. Professionally, Mike has distinguished himself in baseball as both a player and manager. In his tenure as manager of the Angels, he guided the franchise to heights it had never previously attained. Mike is an integral part of the Golden Years of Angels baseball. He is a Hall-of-Famer in his profession, but most importantly as a person.”
– Terry Smith, Angels Broadcaster
“Sosh is someone that I would want to study under if I was to become a manager one day. I watched him think outside the box on so many different occasions in the clubhouse and on the field. He didn’t care about the scrutiny and the aftermath that came with his decisions. It was the one he felt he had to make at that crucial moment. That’s what true leaders do for everyone he/she is leading. I’m proud to have spent 5 years playing for him. I’ve learned so much in the years I played for him.”
– Torii Hunter, former Angels Outfielder
“Mike was essential in my success and longevity as a MLB player. His ability to show he believed in me on a daily basis as well as teach me tough lessons along the way made it possible for me as a player to fit in and help his team and my future teams moving forward. No matter what point in the game, whether it was offense or defense, you knew you could look in the dugout and have his confidence and support that we would get the job done. His strong presence in the clubhouse as our leader gave us added confidence. Mike created a new buzz in and around Anaheim with his team’s style of play that the fan base will forever appreciate.”
– Adam Kennedy, former Angels Infielder
View the full article
Hall of Famer and MLB Network analyst Jim Thome broke down Shohei Ohtani’s swing last night during a MLB Tonight live look-in of his eighth inning home run. Ohtani’s blast proved to be the game winner in last night’s 3-2 Angels victory against the Texas Rangers.
In the clip (below), Thome said, “Ohtani’s kind of got his hands up, watch the front foot get down quick, so there is a little bit of pause there. When you pause and you get your front foot down quick you become an arm and hands hitter. If you get the front foot down and there’s pause one, pause two then you become an arm and hands hitter, it’s a two part [swing]. But, if the front foot hits and then boom, pause and you swing, then that’s where you gain most of your power because it’s a fluid [motion].”
View the full article
All eyes have been on Angels rookie sensation Shohei Ohtani this season, and he continues to amaze, both on and off the diamond.
Ohtani continues to crush home runs, and he’s been doing this with UCL damage, which will cause him to undergo Tommy John Surgery in the offseason. Most players would have called it quits during that time, but not Ohtani, who continues to amaze.
Speaking of amazing, you need to see this video of him signing “Despacito” on the team bus, which his teammates talked him into doing as rookie hazing.
That’s a heck of a lot better than dressing up in some eccentric outfit, as many teams have rookies do.
View the full article
We all love it when there’s an opportunity to use the #PitchersWhoRake hashtag, but Los Angeles Angels two-way player Shohei Ohtani has brought a whole other meaning to it during the 2018 season.
Sure, he’s only appeared as a pitcher once since the beginning of June and is now potentially facing a long road back to the mound via Tommy John surgery, but that hasn’t stopped him from raking at the plate. He showed us the kind of focus he has on the day it was announced he may need to go under the knife by staying in the lineup and belting two homers a few hours later.
Ohtani’s production on offense has run a little deeper than just this one game, though. He’s been a rousing success overall at the plate — entering Sunday’s action, he’s the proud owner of a .290/.372/.592 triple slash with 19 home runs, and 53 RBI in just 289 plate appearances, which is good for a 161 wRC+.
But the dude’s been on another planet since the start of August.
So if some quick math is done, you can see that just about half of his offensive production for the entire season has happened in the last five weeks. If we include Saturday’s game, he’s actually hit more homers and driven in more runs over his past 90 plate appearances than his first 199.
Mental math is hard for me, so here’s the quick breakdown because I like tables.
Ohtani has even thrown in six stolen bases since the start of August after swiping just two bags in the four months prior for good measure.
It’s a huge bummer that he can’t finish out the year as a two-way player due to his injury, especially when he ends up on lists like these.
What we can enjoy for now, though, is Ohtani the hitter, as he’ll finish the year in that role while deciding exactly how he wants to approach the situation with his throwing arm. For now, let’s just sit back and watch him continue punishing baseballs for the last three weeks of the season.
About Matt Musico
Matt currently manages Chin Music Baseball and contributes to The Sports Daily. His past work has been featured at numberFire, Yahoo! Sports and Bleacher Report. He’s also written a book about how to become a sports blogger. You can sign up for his email newsletter here.
Angels slugger Mike Trout was born and raised in New Jersey, but he’s always been an Eagles fan.
Trout has made it very clear during interviews, and has also been spotted at a few Eagles games.
He apparently attended Thursday’s season-opener at Lincoln Financial Field between the Falcons and Eagles, as he was able to snap a photo holding the Lombardi Trophy. His squad earned it after defeating the Patriots in Super Bowl LII, and Trout reaped the benefits.
Given the mediocrity that surrounds the Angels franchise, that could be the only piece of silverware Trout ever gets to hold, unfortunately.
View the full article
By Jonathan Northrop, AngelsWin.com Columnist
I wrote a post several weeks back about Ohtani’s overall upside, positing that as good of a hitter as he is, his pitching upside is just greater. Whereas he could turn into a top 20 hitter, he could be a top 5 pitcher – his stuff is just that good. Of course the problem is volatility. A hitter’s peak value is generally only eroded by chronic injuries, while a pitcher’s entire career can be put into jeopardy by a single injury.
Anyhow, I wanted to talk about Ohtani’s upside as a hitter, inspired by his bomb off Verlander. As of this writing (after the bomb) he’s hitting .276/.353/.542 with a 144 wRC+ and 14 HR in 253 PA. He’s got a 10.3% BB rate and a 28.5% K rate. His BABIP is pretty high at .345, but not so much that we should expect huge regression. In other words, Ohtani has produced close to a .900 OPS, is on pace for 30+ HR over a full season, and his wRC+ would be tied with Manny Machado for 12th best in the majors if he qualified.
In other words, Shohei is already a top 20 hitter in his first season.
One thing that is easy to forget, or at least that I forget, is that he only just turned 24 years old. He’s a few months younger than Taylor Ward and David Fletcher. So while he played in the Japanese majors for a few years, he’s still young enough that he should improve – maybe substantially so. I don’t expect him to become one of the very best hitters in the majors, but he could be close.
What do you see as his offensive upside? Given what we’ve seen so far, how much better can and will he get? Obviously his big issue is hitting left-handers. Compare his splits before tonight:
vs. RHP: .307/.379/.626, 172 wRC+ in 183 PA
vs. LHP: .167/.265/.233, 45 wRC+ in 68 PA
That 172 wRC+ vs RHP is good for 4th in the majors among players with at least 100 PA, behind only JD Martinez, Mike Trout, and Jose Ramirez, and just ahead of Mookie Betts.
That 45 wRC+ vs LHP, on the other hand, is #303 out of 327 batters with 50+ PA vs lefties. Ouch.
He can only get better against left-handers. Let’s say he consolidates against right-handers. All of a sudden his .276/.353/.542 line becomes something like .290/.370/.580, maybe better in peak years. Crazy to think.
View the full article
By David Saltzer, AngelsWin.com Senior Writer
In Part 1 of this 2-part series, I’ll discuss some of the complicating factors involved in making a trade. I’ll share some insights into all those involved in the process and how they all work together to make a trade happen or how they can each individually prevent a trade from occurring.
It’s the July trade deadline, and baseball fans are in fever pitch about making trades. On any given day right now, fans are logging millions of visits on sites like MLBTraderumors.com, and posting thousands of trade ideas on sites like AngelsWin.com.
Personally, I like reading Robert Cunningham’s articles for Angels trade ideas, as he does a thorough job analyzing the needs and values of trades from multiple perspectives. His ideas are sound and well-reasoned, and about as logical as any on the internet. They are definitely more thought-provoking than most.
But, for all the other keyboard GMs out there, I thought I’d share some of the insights I’ve gained over the years to show just how complicated it is to make a trade.
So, you want to make a trade? Great! Quick question: how do you do so? If you really think that GM “A” from Team “A” calls up GM “B” from Team “B” and proposes a deal, and gets it done in a single phone call, like in “Moneyball”, then you’ve been duped by Hollywood. Just like no one who lives in Southern California believes that Jack Bauer could drive from West LA to Simi Valley in less than 20 minutes of “real time”, no one I’ve ever talked to within the industry has ever said an MLB team would make a trade of any significance in just 1 phone call and no advance work.
If that’s not how it’s done, then how is it done? To answer that question, you have to really answer two different questions: First, how many individuals/groups within an MLB club need to approve a trade before it gets done? Second, how do you get them all to agree to the trade?
By my count, in talking with many within the industry, before any substantial to quasi-substantial trade happens, there are at least 8 different groups/individuals within every MLB organization who need to approve it. And for many cases, that list can grow to 10 or more groups and individuals. These groups/individuals are: the external scouts (those who watch other organizations), the internal scouts (those who scout their own organization), the analytics team, the director of player development, the MLB team management (field manager and coaches), the medical staff, the financial/contract managers, and the GM. In many cases ownership, and some special advisors to the GM are often very much involved in the decisions.
That’s just for both of the teams involved in the trade! If the player has any limited trade clauses in his contract, add the player and the agent into the mix. The player may have strong preferences as to where he ends up playing, and through his agent, may try to exert some leverage for a contract (such as having an option picked up or not exercised by the team).
So, before any trade actually happens, all of these independent and moving parts have to come together in consensus to make a trade.
Knowing all of this, it’s actually somewhat surprising to see how often trades actually occur throughout the year. Each individual/group plays a substantial and different role in the process, and many trade ideas fall apart because all the groups can’t come to agreement.
I will give you some examples in generality. I will not mention names, teams, etc. You can choose to believe these examples or not, but they are entirely true based on actual discussions that I’ve had with people within the industry.
Many times I’ve talked with people within the industry about certain players that are listed as “available” by fairly reliable sites or reporters. Sometimes, I’ve had scouts tell me “I really like him, but I can’t get the analytics guys to sign off on him.” In that situation, the scouts–the eyes of the game—can’t convince the sabermetrics team (every club has a group dedicated to statistical analysis) to believe that what they are seeing on the field is better than what the numbers are telling them. I’ve heard of many trades killed for players that scouts want because the sabermetrics might say that the player “won’t play as well in our ballpark” or might have some flaw that their analysis found, such as “too much swing and miss in their swing”.
In other cases, I’ve talked with management types who would love to acquire a player but can’t get it done because there is a clause in that player’s contract that the financial people don’t want. The GM may even send one or more scouts to watch that player in every game and will call the scout asking if the player did anything to impress enough to justify the trade. The scout may nix the deal because he’s determined that the proposed player is playing with an “unreported injury,” or “not doing enough to impress him [the scout],” even though the numbers might imply otherwise. And of course, there’s always the possibility that the player’s personality “won’t work in the [new team’s] clubhouse”.
There are times when the team’s manager may be desperate to acquire a player to fill a role on the team, but the internal scouts or player development won’t approve of giving up the talent that it would take to acquire him. This might push a team to making a lesser deal, or even no deal, if the asking prices skyrocket.
Lastly, teams with very involved owners, or owners who have placed firm financial caps on a club has to always get ownership to approve of any deals. That’s not always easy. Trying to convince an owner to go over those limits, or take on a player that ownership doesn’t want, is always tricky. The bigger the move, the more the ownership will be involved in the decision. Even clubs going through a complete rebuild might be reluctant to trade off a key piece if they perceive the player to be an integral part of the team’s marketing.
As for getting all of these individuals and groups to agree, that’s an unbelievable complication that can’t be summarized in any single article. Every trade and non-trade has its own story and nuance. There are so many factors that come into play. Each individual/group involved in the decision has its own interests and goals that may be separate from actual baseball decision. For example, larger market teams are under greater pressure to never do a full rebuild, so even if a team can benefit long-term from a trade, the short-term marketing/financial consequences may prevent the ownership and management from agreeing to it.
Far more trades get into the exploratory phase than ever get reported. Every team is constantly looking for ways to improve on this season and into the future. The amount of information available to organizations is rather staggering, and by the time a trade is completed, has been thoroughly vetted by numerous individuals and groups within an organization. If you, as a fan, are wondering why deals that appear to make obvious sense aren’t getting done, it’s probably because somewhere in the process, one or more parts failed to come together.
So, now that we’ve seen just how many different individuals and groups are involved in making a trade, and how complicated it is to get them all to agree to a trade, in Part 2, I’ll share some insights as to how trades are actually done according to those who have made them.
View the full article
By Robert Cunningham, Angelswin.com Senior Writer
Entering the 2018 Trade Deadline the Angels unfortunately have little to offer the buyer market.
Garrett Richards, who would have been a viable piece, is having Tommy John Surgery. Matt Shoemaker would have been a potential target, but he too got injured earlier in the season. Kole Calhoun might have been on the table, but despite his recent performance his value is wildly depressed.
Beyond that group you do have valuable chips such as LHP Tyler Skaggs, LHP Andrew Heaney, RHP Justin Anderson, RHP Cam Bedrosian, SS Andrelton Simmons, CF Mike Trout, SP/DH Shohei Ohtani, and RHP Noe Ramirez, among others.
The problem here is that if you trade any of these players you are creating a hole that must be filled in 2019 and beyond. Some of those holes would be so big (Trout or Ohtani) that you could never fill it in free agency or trade.
Eppler wants the Angels to compete across the remainder of the Mike Trout window of contention and subtracting good players will probably not help the Angels 2019 squad do that, thus trading any of those valuable assets above is likely non-value added to our future.
That leaves a set of probable assets which includes RHP Blake Parker, C Martin Maldonado, LHP Jose Alvarez, and 2B Ian Kinsler. Besides Blake it is a rather uninspiring group in terms of not only value but total performance. Let us look at the probable assets and set some reasonable expectations.
As of the time of this writing, Parker, who just turned 33 years old a month ago, is currently running a K-BB% of 18.8% against LHHs and 21% against RHHs. Beyond the remainder of the 2018 season, he has two years of team arbitration control remaining, making him more attractive to an acquiring team. Blake is making a very reasonable $1.8M this season which means he is still owed approximately $1M for the last half. Because Parker has such good overall splits, his list of suitors could be extensive.
The Cubs, in particular, have not fared well against both sides of the plate. Additionally, the Giants and Athletics could use a dual-way threat like Blake in their bullpen. Finally, the Braves, Diamondbacks, and Cardinals could also be likely suitors. This list certainly is not comprehensive, but it does represent the most likely set of trade partners.
To be clear the Angels could simply choose to retain Blake and it would be one less hole to fill in 2019, particularly in a bullpen that has been inconsistent this season. However, the flip side is that Parker is on the wrong side of 30 and his rising arbitration cost would begin to impact team payroll after this year. If the Angels get a good offer for him, you must think Eppler would consider it.
Top 3 Trade Partners: 1) Cubs, 2) Giants, and 3) Braves
Potential Return: Blake is not a pure rental and has reasonably good cost control at this point in his career and his arbitration prices are likely to be suppressed if a team brings him in to pitch in a non-closer role. Parker could bring back a quality MLB-ready player or a Top-150 prospect in combination with one or two additional prospects of varying quality.
Machete is having another strong defensive season with an accumulated FanGraphs DEF value of 7.5. He is hitting better against RHP (86 wRC+) than LHP (67 wRC+) but his overall career splits are nearly identical. However, his offense is not what he is known for and there are many teams out there that could use him defensively behind the dish and take advantage of his excellent pitch-framing ability. He is making $3.9M in his last year of team control which means he has about $2M left for the last half of this season.
To understand which teams would benefit from a more defensive-oriented catcher like Maldonado we have to take a special deep dive using team catcher defensive values to determine which of them could use his services. In the end the following teams could benefit from Martin’s services including the Rockies, Diamondbacks, Red Sox, Cardinals, Nationals, and Brewers.
Because the Angels have not extended Machete at this point, he is almost certainly going to be traded by the deadline or the end of August waivers. Before that happens though the Jacob Realmuto situation will need to resolve itself and he is likely to be traded to a team with a better farm system which means that the Angels will more likely deal with the remainder of the playoff teams looking for an upgrade.
Top 3 Trade Partners: 1) Red Sox, 2) Cardinals, and 3) Rockies
Potential Return: Maldonado is a pure rental, as he is a free agent after this season. His $2M salary is not cheap but it is manageable for virtually every team in baseball, so it is not a roadblock. Martin will not bring back a truly significant piece, but he could command a good quality relief prospect or one mid-level prospect or two lottery ticket types from the low Minors.
Long an unappreciated lefty-killer, Alvarez has quietly performed since he was acquired in trade with the Tigers for Austin Romine in 2014. Jose currently is making $1.05M in 2018 which means he has about $600K left on his 2018 contract. However, he does have two more years of arbitration control and is only 29 years old, so his controllability will garner some interest.
Jose continues to perform well against left-handed hitters and is currently running an 18.6% K-BB% in 2018. His split against right-handed hitters is well below average at a 7.8% K-BB% so an acquiring team would be bringing him aboard strictly as a LOOGY which limits his overall trade value.
Looking at our playoff-bound team list the following teams might have interest and include the Cubs, Cardinals, Braves, Brewers, Giants, Athletics, Diamondbacks, and Phillies.
The relief market will need to settle a bit before Alvarez is potentially moved so he is more likely to be traded closer to the deadline or more likely, perhaps, in the August waiver period. If the Angels move Parker, Jose will likely remain on the squad for the remainder of the year as Eppler probably does not want to completely reshuffle the deck chairs for the 2019 bullpen.
Top 3 Trade Partners: 1) Diamondbacks, 2) Cubs, and 3) Mystery Team
Potential Return: Alvarez is a long-term controllable piece, but his value is limited overall by his inconsistent ability against right-handed hitters. His market heading into the 2018 Trade Deadline seems limited which makes me believe that unless a team suffers a significant injury he is more likely to be kept and moved in the offseason or retained for the Angels 2019 bullpen. If he is moved Jose would probably bring back a mid-to-low level type prospect or two lottery-ticket types from the low Minors.
The Angels 36-year-old, rental 2B has struggled mightily in 2018. His BABIP has been about 50 points lower than his career numbers and despite his low strikeout rate (9.7%) he is failing to find the holes, resulting in a wRC+ of 80 which is 28% lower than his career average. Basically, he is in full age decline and he may find it difficult to acquire a starting position in 2019.
On top of those negative numbers and outlook, Kinsler is making $11M this season and that means he has approximately $6M left for the year, making him an expensive rental. This in turn will make any potential return a low one, perhaps even just a cash trade to get his salary off the books.
Beyond the doom and gloom there are a couple of reasons he could find a new home by the end of August waivers. The first is that his usually good defense is still in place and there may be one or more teams that would find value in that. The second item is that his offense against RHP is still solid at a wRC+ of 96 year-to-date.
So what team needs a 2B that is potentially heading to the playoffs? Here we must take our 2nd table (vs. RHP) and filter it by 2B to generate the following list of teams that includes the Rockies, Brewers, Dodgers, Mariners, Red Sox, and Indians. All those teams have suffered poor 2B offense against RHP.
Top 3 Trade Partners: 1) Rockies, 2) Brewers, and 3) Mystery Team
Potential Return: Kinsler is a pure rental who can still provide sufficiently good offense against RHP and is above average defensively at the keystone. There are only two teams that are desperate for an upgrade at 2B right now, the Rockies and Brewers, and Kinsler is certainly not the only available keystone player available on the market as Brian Dozier will probably draw more interest for sure. Certainly, the Dodgers, Mariners, Red Sox, and Indians have probably thought about upgrading as well but Kinsler may not represent enough of an improvement for them. This means that Ian will probably, at best, bring back a lottery ticket type player based on his remaining salary for 2018 unless the Angels kick in some money.
There are certainly other Angels team members that would have significant value in trade but if you move any of them you will create another hole to replace on the roster for 2019.
Rumors have circulated that Tyler Skaggs, Andrew Heaney, Cam Bedrosian, and Justin Anderson have all received inquiries leading up to the 2018 Trade Deadline and rightfully so.
However, Skaggs and Heaney have finally worked through their injury issues and seem to be performing at the level we hoped they would so does it really make sense to remove what could be a strong component of our 2019 rotation, particularly since both are lefties?
Additionally, Billy Eppler must be careful which, if any, pieces he moves out of the bullpen in trade. Parker is just as likely to stay as he is to be moved and replacing his production will require a free agent signing or trade to fill that gap. Moving young prospect Anderson with his 6 years of team control or Bedrosian who is still has 3 years of arbitration control after this season will create a new hole the Angels will have to address.
The bottom line is that the pieces that have value in trade also have potential value for the 2019 squad, unless they are in their last year of control, like Maldonado. Eppler’s vision of the 2019 team will be augmented by the decisions he makes now.
It is the author’s opinion that Martin Maldonado will be traded before the end of August and there is approximately a 60% probability that Blake Parker will be traded as well. Jose Alvarez will likely be retained for now and Ian Kinsler will probably be shipped off to the Rockies or the Brewers if they miss out on someone like Dozier.
The rest of our tradeable assets seem more remote as they can all make our 2019 team strong and we are trying to win in the Mike Trout window of contention. Certainly, Eppler might have a trade on the table for someone like Heaney for instance that makes a lot of sense in a 2019 retooling of the team, but it is hard to see how we can definitively move Andrew and sufficiently replace his production next season.
Angels fans need to prepare for the probability of little-to-no fireworks at the Trade Deadline this year.
View the full article
By Robert Cunningham, Angelswin.com Senior Writer
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…” – A Tale of Two Cities
It was the 13-3 start, it was the 36-46 record since, it was another potential Trout MVP season, it was a galore of injuries to match.
The Angels had a lot of promise heading into 2018. And despite the fact some of that potential was realized, the team’s inability to find a consistent rhythm and create steady production has the Angels limping toward the 2018 Trade Deadline with some important decisions to make about their future.
This two-part series will examine the Angels potential trade chips and which teams could possibly benefit in executing a trade with the Halos.
To determine which teams have the greatest likelihood of being buyers before the end of July, we need to examine the standings and create a list of ballclubs that might pull the trigger on a trade.
In order to build a list, we will use FanGraphs Projected Standings, sorted by 2018 Year to Date Win Percentage, to see which teams are in the driver’s seat for their Division race and those that have a decent chance at a Wild Card spot:
FanGraphs 2018 Year to Date by Winning Percentage as of 07/21/2018
The American League seems all but locked up at this point. The Yankees and Red Sox and the Astros and Mariners are vying for the Eastern and Western Divisions, respectively. The Indians appear to have their Division locked up (barring a surprise surge by one of their Central rivals). Only the Athletics have a chance to close the gap, and they will need to improve to have a better shot at making that a reality.
On the other side, in the National League, the spread is much larger. In the Eastern Division the Phillies have a small lead over the Braves, followed by the fading Nationals. The Central has the Cubs ahead of the Brewers by just a couple of games with the Cardinals within striking distance. Finally, in the West, the Dodgers have pulled into first but the spread behind them is tight with the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and even the Giants within arm’s length of not only the Division title but the Wild Card.
So essentially about half of the teams in baseball are potential buyers at the Trade Deadline. Some of these teams are more heavily invested in winning this season, particularly the Mariners, Diamondbacks, and Giants and to a lesser extent the Nationals. Those teams are probably the ones more likely to spend the last of their prospect capital to improve however they can. The rest can afford to be a bit more selective but have the resources to make a big splash on a Jacob deGrom, Zach Britton, or Chris Archer type if they so desire.
The next question, as we posed last year, is what general areas do each of these playoff teams need to improve upon?
Using FanGraphs, again, we can determine those general areas of need by utilizing left and right-hand splits for both team hitting and pitching to reveal playoff team’s strengths and weaknesses.
FanGraphs 2018 Team Hitter Splits (wRC+) vs. LHP as of 07/21/2018
Playoff teams that are more likely to need help here include the Brewers, Phillies, Giants, Nationals, Athletics, Dodgers, Cardinals, Rockies, and Red Sox. These teams may be more likely to fill a position of need with a hitter who is good against lefties as the Dodgers recently did with the acquisition of Manny Machado (thereby denying other playoff teams the best overall hitter on the market).
FanGraphs 2018 Team Hitter Splits (wRC+) vs. RHP as of 07/21/2018
Against the other side of the mound the following teams are more likely to need help, including the Diamondbacks, Rockies, Braves, Phillies, Nationals, Brewers, Giants, and Cardinals.
FanGraphs 2018 Team Pitcher Splits (K-BB%) vs. LHH as of 07/21/2018
On the pitching side, teams that are more likely to need help against left-handed hitters include the Cubs, Cardinals, Braves, Brewers, Giants, Athletics, Diamondbacks, and Phillies.
FanGraphs 2018 Team Pitcher Splits (K-BB%) vs. RHH as of 07/21/2018
Finally, against right-handed hitters, the following teams are more likely to need help, including the Cubs, Athletics, Rockies, Giants, Mariners, Braves, Diamondbacks, and Cardinals.
An interesting note from this simple exercise is that there are three teams that don’t seem to have a clear weakness based on the numbers presented above and include the Astros, Yankees, and Indians. There is certainly a case to be made that all three of these teams could enter the offseason as they are currently constituted and would have a real shot at winning.
The reality, however, is that all three of these teams can and should (and have in the case of the Indians acquiring Brad Hand) improve incrementally to not only strengthen their playoff chances but to deny their potential competitors from acquiring strong rentals to use against them.
So, the final step in this basic evaluation is to examine each probable Angels trade piece and see if there is a good fit in trade with one of these potentially playoff-bound teams and will be presented in Part 2 of this mini-series.
View the full article
By Steve Zavala, AngelsWin.com Columnist
When the season began, the Angels starting rotation was much of an unknown filled with questions and concerns. Andrew Heaney, Garrett Richards and Nick Tropeano were all coming off three straight injury-riddled seasons. Prized prospect Shohei Ohtani was coming over from Japan with high expectations. Alex Meyer and J.C Ramirez hurt the Angels depth early on with season-ending injuries. The team had several promising pitching prospects in the minors but did not have a set timeline as to when they would be ready for a call-up to the majors.
And most importantly, the team has been waiting for a pitcher to step up and finally have an All-Star caliber season to lead the rotation.
In the midst of it all, the starting rotation has overachieved expectations as they have been led by the emergence of a new ace, Tyler Skaggs.
The 26-year-old left-hander is currently having a breakout, near All-Star type season and by far the best year of his career. Skaggs is currently on pace to set career highs in ERA, innings pitched, and strikeouts while also sporting an impressive 2.3 WAR– which is higher than his first five seasons combined (0.8). His eight quality starts this season has already tied a career from that of his 2014 season but he has done it in three fewer starts so far.
Skaggs is most notably impressing with his 2.69 ERA, which leads all Angels starters and currently ranks 9th among qualified AL starters. June has arguably been his most impressive month. Among qualified AL starting pitchers with at least 20 innings pitched, Skaggs leads all starters with an outstanding 0.67 ERA in June.
Now while ERA does not paint the entire picture as to why a pitcher is having major success or is struggling, Skaggs has in large part been able to successfully minimize damage when in trouble and finish with a quality start. While Skaggs has allowed a mediocre .246 opponents batting average (BAA), he has been fair in allowing a .226 average with runners in scoring position (RISP) and an overall .199 average with men on base. This can be credited also to his success against lefties as he has held them to a .178 average.
Seeing a pitcher be able to take command of a situation when in trouble such as when the opposing team has RISP is like a breath of fresh air for Angels fans. The fan base has had to endure seasons with starting pitchers who struggled mightily to escape RISP situations such as with Joe Blanton, Ricky Nolasco and C.J Wilson.
Skaggs has delivered the most when needed by the Angels, whether it has been to end a losing streak or to clinch a pivotal series win. Over the course of the first half of the season, Skaggs has earned the trust of Angels manager Mike Scioscia to go deeper into games and fight his way through difficult innings. From his seven scoreless innings performance against the Astros in April to his latest start which saw him go seven scoreless against the Royals, Skaggs has been the workhorse pitcher that the Angeles desperately needed this season.
Now when digging deep to examine his pitch arsenal, he uses four pitches: four seam fastball, curveball, changeup and sinker. None of his four main pitches are a nasty, lights out pitch that can fool batters time after time even when the opponent has an idea of which pitch to expect. Instead, Skaggs has been effective with his command and aggressive when ahead of the count.
Starting with his four seam fastball, the pitch has undergone gradual improvement over the years. His fastball is not an Aroldis Chapman type that would light up the radar gun or a Max Scherzer type with excellent command in the high 90s. Instead, it ranges in the low 90s with an average speed of 92 mph. It is not outstanding like Scherzer’s or atrocious like Jered Weaver late in his career but at the end of the day, it is effective.
Skaggs utilizes his fastball 41% of the time, most of any pitch. Last season in 16 starts, opponents were hitting .290 off of his fastball but in comparison to this season, opponents are hitting .235. Also last season, he recorded a .303 on batting average on balls in play (BABIP) while having a .295 BABIP this season. As alluded to before, it is not great nor atrocious but it gets the job done.
One trait about his fastball is that he is beginning to throw it high out of the zone. This is preferable for Skaggs especially when he is ahead in the count and looking to fool a batter. As seen in this pitch, Skaggs goes for the high 92 mph fastball to strike out Jake Marisnick.
Onto his curveball, the pitch has become one that Skaggs is relying on more but has not had consistent results with it. Last season, he threw the curve 432 times in 113 plate appearances while recording a .208 BAA. This season, he has thrown the curve 455 times in 116 plate appearances but opponents are hitting .264 against it. The .264 BAA is not something to worry about but rather a pitch that could need vast improvement, especially down in the zone.
When used effectively and with control in the zone, it could be his biggest strength pitch. A 75 mph curve, which he has recorded 40% of his strikeouts with, can be his nasty pitch if developed well. Skaggs’ curveball has a good, late drop as seen in his last start against the Royals with his 6th inning strikeout of Salvador Perez.
Skaggs’ 84 mph changeup, his 3rd main pitch, has also undergone a positive transformation with superb direction and movement. Opponents are hitting .180 against the pitch. He has also doubled the SwSTR%, swings and misses percentage, up to 14.8%. To an extent, his changeup success can be credited to playing behind an outstanding Angels defense as the pitch has a .207 BABIP.
With his 4th and final pitch, Skaggs’ 91 mph sinker is far from what he had hoped it would deliver this season as opponents are hitting .300 against it. He has recorded just three strikeouts from it with a 40.2 Swing%. If he can get the sinker to suddenly become a reliable one that can be used as a strikeout pitch, it would only give him more flexibility and options to finish off a batter.
Even with his success this season, there is still room for improvement. His fastball and changeup are two pitches that he has had promising success with when located in the zone but he must still work to perfect his sinker and curveball. At this stage in his career, Skaggs is a work in progress but there is promise in his pitch arsenal. The Angels are finally starting to see Skaggs’ potential as a starter but at this rate, the best is yet to come.
Skaggs is one of the bright spots on an unbalanced Angels team that is currently on a rough patch over the past month. If the team begins to pick it up with the offense producing up to their capabilities and bullpen suddenly becoming a reliable force, then Skaggs could very well be leading the pitching staff into a tightly contested playoff race. Among others, the Angels hope that Skaggs performances over the past three months are not a one-hit wonder but rather the beginning of a new chapter as the Angels prominent ace.
View the full article
By Tres Hefter, AngelsWin.com Contributor
Piggybacking off this thread from the winter…with so many threads jumping up each day on different bullpen trade ideas, I thought it might be a good time to create one centralized “What would you do?” thread for all to post their ideas in.
We’re still 6 weeks out from the trade deadline, but signs point to an earlier than usual trade market developing this year, and the Angels certainly are in a position where they may need to move sooner rather than later to stay in the race. Needs and costs will obviously change over the next month and a half, but we’re probably at a point where we can generalize these ideas enough to come close to the mark.
Here’s my ideas…
1) Acquire a controllable SP // Angels trade LHP Jose Suarez, OF Michael Hermosillo, and IF Leonardo Rivas to Miami for RHP Jose Urena
The Angels receive Urena (2-8, 4.18 ERA, 3.75 FIP, 1.16 WHIP) immediately steps into the back of the Angels rotation and offers stability with significant upside at a great value, as he’s making league-minimum and is under control through 2021. His presence allows the Angels to utilize Tropeano and Pena as additional bullpen depth, and he helps fill a 2019 rotation void if Richards leaves via FA.
The Marlins receive an MLB-ready SP prospect in Suarez who would have been titled an Angels’ rotation too far left, an OF prospect they can play everyday instead of Shuck and Maybin, and a promising potential lead-off hitter and IF prospect in Rivas.
Expansion Idea: The Angels add OF Brandon Marsh (and perhaps RHP Cam Bedrosian) to the deal, and receive either RHP Kyle Barraclough (1.11 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 0.77 WHIP, 9.5 K/9) or RHP Drew Streckenrider (3.55 ERA, 3.01 FIP, 1.24 WHIP, 10.9 K/9) as well, replacing the #2 trade on my list.
Comparable Targets: Dylan Bundy (BAL), Jake Junis (KCR), Aaron Sanchez (TOR), Zack Wheeler (NYM), or Jameson Taillon (PIT) with Marsh added into the deal.
2) Acquire a controllable RP // Angels trade RHP Joe Gatto, RHP Jesus Castillo, and RHP Cam Bedrosian to Toronto for RHP Ryan Tepera
The Angels acquire a steady reliever in Tepera (2.75 ERA, 3.51 FIP, 1.17 WHIP, 9.5 K/9) who comes under control through 2021 and cheaply, on the verge of entering arbitration.
The Blues Jays receive a change of scenery project in the option-less Bedrosian who is squeezed out of the ‘win-now’ Angels pen, as well as 12 years of control of projectable arms who should see MLB innings in Gatto and Castillo who are a little less crucial after the acquisition of Urena and growth of Canning, Barria, Pena, and Jose Rodriguez, as well as the ’18 draft class.
Comparable Targets: Adam Cimber, Kirby Yates (SDP), Mychal Givens (BAL), Ryan Stanek, Jose Alvarado, Chaz Roe, Matt Andriese (TBR), Jared Hughes (CIN), Tony Barnette (TEX), Bruce Rondon, Luis Avilan, Xavier Cedeno (CWS), Sam Freeman, Jesse Biddle, Dan Winkler (ATL), Alex Wilson, Shane Greene, Louis Coleman (DET), Kevin McCarthy (KCR)
3) Acquire another RP, either a pending FA or expensive vet // Angels trade RHP Cole Duensing and OF Nonie Williams to Chicago for RHP Joakim Soria
The Angels add another layer of depth to the pen, absorbing a few million in salary for veteran presence and potentially declining talent. Soria (3.00 ERA, 2.50 FIP, 1.15 WHIP, 10 K/9) provides an option with closer experience.
The White Sox receive salary relief, but also two once-heralded prospects who have failed to achieve any real results, but still have time on their side.
Comparable Targets: Darren O’Day (BAL), Tyler Clippard (TOR), Bud Norris (STL), David Hernandez (CIN), Yusmeiro Petit (OAK), Anthony Swarzak (NYM), Trevor Cahill (OAK), any of the names mentioned in #2
4) DFA Luis Valbuena…and maybe Jefry Marte.
Luis, I’ve been one of your strongest supporters, but you haven’t been able to find a rhythm this year and the future is nigh. Cut bait and send him packing, maybe he gets warm enough Eppler is able to replicate a Cron for Rengifo or David Hernandez for Luis Madero heist.
Jose Fernandez replace Luis, and while he won’t match the power numbers, he’ll be a far steadier and balanced offensive player, costing pennies and able to play additional positions. If Marte returns and also fails to produce, he too finds an end to his Angel days, replaced by Fletcher, Cowart, or even Thaiss or Ward.
…and, cheating a bit by throwing a hypothetical fifth move (or first post-midseason move?) one post-deadline August trade possibility:
5) Acquire Adam Jones or Andrew McCutchen
Either would handle 4th OF/RF during a stretch run or playoff series, should Calhoun, Young, and Blash fail to ever amount to anything. Their salaries and age are high enough that it likely wouldn’t cost much more than one or two of names like, at most, Jewell, Pena, Rodriguez, Barash, Lund, Walsh, Houchins.
Resulting roster: SP: Likely Richards, Skaggs, Heaney, Barria, Urena, with Lamb, Felix Pena, Luis Pena, Miguel Almonte, and Canning as depth, and Ohtani, Trop, Shoemaker on DL and possible to return.
RP: Soria, Parker, Tepera, Anderson, Alvarez, Noe Ramirez with above SPs, Jewell, Paredes, Morris as depth and Johnson on DL.
Line-up: Remains the same.
Bench: Fernandez IF, Briceno/Rivera C, Marte/Fletcher/Ward/Thaiss/Cowart IF, and Chris and Eric Young/Liriano/Blash/Revere as 4th OF options
New Top 30 Prospects:
Adell, Canning, Marsh, Jones, Thaiss, Ward, Maitan, Jordyn Adams, Rengifo, Jeremiah Jackson, C. Rodriguez, Soriano, Lund, Rivera, Deveaux, Hunter Jr., Pena, Knowles, J. Rodriguez, Soto, Walsh, Gibbons, Bradish, Hernandez, Yan, English, Uceta, O. Martinez, A. Ramirez*, Bonilla*
Graduates: Barria, Fletcher, Jewell, Paredes
Departures: Suarez, Hermosillo, Rivas, Gatto, Castillo, Duensing, Nonie Williams
I tried to make moves that took advantage of our farm, without eating into our best prospects, and still securing MLB-ready players who would help for the long-term without breaking payroll. It also sets up the team well enough to still conceivably push for the playoffs now, but definitely doesn’t boost our chances significantly.
View the full article
By Jonathan Northrop, AngelsWin.com Contributor
What I’m about to share with you is so mind-blowing that it is worth its own thread outside of the Troutstanding one. Let me take you for a journey…
I went through every seven-year span in baseball history, from 1871-77 to the current one, 2012-18, and looked at WAR leaders over those seven year stretches. Why seven years? Because that is how long Trout has been a major league regular, so it encapsulates the fullness of his career thus far. I then compared the WAR leader to the runner-up, and noted the gap the two. Why? Well, when we are talking about dominance it is always relative to his peers. I would argue that the best definition of dominance is just that: how good a player is relative to his peers. There have been many players who have had truly amazing years, but seven years gives us a sense of sustained dominance, and the true greats combine peak greatness and sustained dominance. For instance, Norm Cash (10.2 fWAR in 1961), Darin Erstad (8.7 fWAR in 2000), and Jacoby Ellsbury (9.4 fWAR in 2011) have all had seasons that could safely fit into a Hall of Famer’s peak, but the difference is that players like Mantle, Bonds, and Trout have those kinds of performances season after season.
Anyhow, so we’re looking at 142 seven-year spans of time, from 1871-77 to 2012-18. There are 33 players who have had the most dominant seven-year spans, from Ross Barnes to Mike Trout. Trout has done it for three years in a row, starting in 2010-16 even though he didn’t play in 2010 and barely in 2011. The current span, 2012-18, is his first full seven-year stretch and, of course, we’ve still got 90 games to play.
Here’s the current WAR leaders (Fangraphs) for 2012-18:
1. MIke Trout 60.4
2. Josh Donaldson 35.9
3. Andrew McCutchen 34.9
Anything look funny there? Well, the gap between Trout and Donaldson is huge: 24.5 WAR, or 3.5 WAR a year! Trout has averaged 8.6 WAR during that span vs. Donaldson’s 5.1. Think about that for a moment.
OK, so how does that 24.5 seven-year gap compare to the rest of baseball history? How many seven year gaps are as big or bigger? The answer is….
And none are particularly close. The second largest gap is 1989-95 when Barry Bonds accumulated 58.5 fWAR over Cal RIpken’s 38.6, a gap of 19.9 WAR. And no, it wasn’t early 00s Bondzilla, when Alex Rodriguez was always relatively close and a terrifically great (if roided) player in his own right. And no, it wasn’t Babe Ruth, when the often under-remembered Rogers Hornsby was a strong second fiddle (although the two of them were often quite far ahead of the rest of the pack).
So let me put this another way: Mike Trout has been more dominant relative to his peers over the last seven years than any position player in major league history.
Let that sink in. I’ll say it again in a slightly different way for effect, so you really get it: Over the course of Trout’s full-time career, he has been more dominant relative to the field of position players than any player has been in all of baseball history. According to fWAR, of course.
So let me ask you. If that is the case, is it not then the case that Trout–so far, at least–has been the greatest player ever? I mean, isn’t that the logical extension?
We can leave that as an open-ended question, because I’m not quite ready to answer in the affirmative, even though the numbers say as much. But let’s finish up with a bit more.
So there have been 33 “7WAR” leaders (seven-year span fWAR leaders). Of the 33, 20 have done it at least three times – which is Trout’s current total. Given Trout’s lead over the lack, he is an absolute lock to do it at least two more times, so five. So far only 12 players lead 7WAR five or more times. Chances are Trout will do it a time or two more.
And the most? No, it isn’t Ruth, its Bonds, with 15. Yes, that’s right. Bonds has been the 7WAR leader 15 different times, every year from 1986-92 to 2000-06. What a beast.
OK, I’m done. Hope you had a cloth of some kind nearby.
View the full article
Here’s a quick look at the Angels top minor league players at the midway point of the season.
Congratulations to Jose Miguel Fernandez on graduating to the majors, while collecting his first major league hit in his first at bat against the Twins this past weekend. Fernandez is hitting a cool .444 with two doubles across three games for the Halos thus far.
Hermosillo was also recalled a few weeks back after Kole Calhoun went on the DL, but I wanted to make sure we gave him some love for his accomplishments with Salt Lake over his 2+ months of play there.
So who’s the next Angels farmhand to get promoted? Your guess is as good as mine, but let’s take a look at the numbers they’ve put up to see who may warrant a promotion next.
1B Jose Miguel Fernandez: .345/.412/.562 10 HR, 20 BB
2B David Fletcher: .353/.398/.566 6 HR, 7 SB, 37 RBI
SS Luis Rengifo: .330.432/.491 3 HR, 26 SB, 35 BB
3B Taylor Ward: .348/.439/.525 7 HR, 33 RBI, 10 SB
LF Brennon Lund: .276/.367/.388 3 HR, 33 R, 14 SB
CF Jo Adell: .283/.339/.549 10 HR, 39 RBI, 8 SB
RF Jabari Blash: .324/.421/.746 18 HR, 44 RBI
C Jack Kruger: .275/.367/.360 3 HR, 26 BB, 10 SB
DH/U Jared Walsh: .287/.384/.622 18 HR, 54 RBI
1B Matt Thaiss: .293/.352/.513. 10 HR, 38 RBI
2B Jahmai Jones: .253/.352/.419 6 HR, 30 BB, 9 SB
SS Leo Rivas: .238/.376/.350 3 HR, 6 SB, 45 BB
LF Torii Hunter Jr.: .274/.362/.391 1 HR, 14 SB
CF Michael Hermosillo: .265/.387/.477 7 HR, 7 SB
RF Brandon Marsh: 257/.348/.372 3 HR, 34 RBI, 9 SB
C Connor Fitzsimons: .372/.400/.655 2 HR, 5 RBI (8 Games)
U Jose Rojas: .304/.383/.514 6 HR, 5 SB
SP Griffin Canning: 1.85 ERA, 55 K, 48 2/3 IP, 1.03 WHIP
SP Jose Suarez: 3.31 ERA, 77 K, 51 2/3 IP, 1.35 WHIP
SP John Lamb: 3.44 ERA, 54 K, 49 2/3 IP, 1.29 WHIP
SP Luis Madero: 3.05 ERA, 35 K, 44 1/3 IP, 1.11 WHIP
SP Luis Pena: 4.27 ERA, 63 K, 59 IP, 1.20 WHIP
RP Jeremy Rhodes: 1.70 ERA, 27 K, 37 IP, 1 Save, 0.89 WHIP
RP Ryan Clark: 3.23 ERA, 39 K, 30 2/3 IP, 6 Saves, 1.34 WHIP
RP Jake Jewell: 2.86 ERA, 32 K, 34 2/3 IP, 5 Saves, 1.56 WHIP
View the full article
Interview Conducted by David Saltzer, AngelsWin.com Senior Writer
There’s no doubt that the Angels organization is resurgent. As we approach the 2018 draft, the Angels have rebounded from their nadir two years ago, and are on a path to a much higher organizational ranking.
One of the many emerging players in the Angels organization is Brandon Marsh, a left-handed outfielder with the Inland Empire 66ers. Drafted in the 2nd round of the 2017 draft, Marsh has the tools that make scouts drool and organizations covet. He can hit for average and power, has plenty of speed, and plays all of the outfield positions.
This season, Brandon has been on an accelerated pace. After getting some time with the Major League club in Spring Training, he blew through his initial assignment with the Burlington Bees, posting a .295/.390/.470 line in 34 games, he’s now starting to heat up with the High-A Inland Empire 66ers. There, he’s paired with two other top Angels prospects, Jo Adell and Jahmai Jones.
Below are three at-bats by Brandon Marsh in the May 27th game. Unfortunately, it was a tough game for the 66ers, as they were no-hit for 8 and 2/3rds innings. But, as noted, Marsh has been heating up, and has posted a 4 for 5 performance on June 3rd.
Brandon Marsh Batting May 27 2018 from AngelsWin.com on Vimeo.
Seeing Jones, Adell, and Marsh all in the lineup should have any Angels fan excited. And, imagining a future outfield with Marsh, Trout, and Adell is something that should have Angels fans very excited. Making the drive out to San Bernadino to see and meet these players is something that So. Cal. fans should definitely do.
Please click below to watch our interview with Brandon Marsh, and get to know a little bit about how him as a person and how his season has been going.
View the full article
Dan Duffy from Philadelphia is both an amazing artist of word art, but also a huge sports fan. Specifically a fan of the greatest baseball player in the game, Mike Trout.
“First off, he’s going to be one of the greatest to ever play the game, so I knew I was always going to do a Mike Trout piece. The image is handwritten with his batting stats (Date, Team, Hits, At Bats, HRs, Walks) from every game of his 2014 MVP season, the first season his greatness was *officially* recognized by the league. Second, I’m from Philly and he is revered here…he grew up in nearby Millville, NJ.
While growing up – local weather stations always referred to that area as Vineland, NJ (A larger town). But after Trout entered the majors – the local weather stations switched it to Millville – Trout LITERALLY put his hometown on the map. Not only is he the face of baseball – everyone I run into who knows him has nothing but great things to say about him and his family as well.
I figured this would be an interactive piece of art for Angels fans to try and find the games they had attended that season!”
This is an amazing piece of artwork to own for both Angels & Baseball fans alike. Whether it’s framed and hung on the wall in your house, man-cave or work office or desk, I encourage you all to pick up a print today!
Below are your print options, shipping info and a link to purchase a print:
$39.99- Unframed Fine Art Print 16″ x 20″ (Standard Size)
$199.99- Double Matte + Framed Print – 22″ x 26″
FREE U.S. Shipping
Ships within 3-5 business days.
Order your print here!
Visit the Internet home for Angels Fans for 24/7 Discussions on the team
View the full article
Interview by David Saltzer, AngelsWin.com Senior Writer
Over the past two years, the Angels organization has taken a giant step forward in terms of its prospect rankings. One of the many players leading to this improvement is Jo Adell, who is considered by most, including AngelsWin.com, to be the top prospect in the Angels organization.
Drafted in the 1st round of the 2017 draft (10th overall), Adell has moved rapidly through the Angels organization, and recently was promoted to High-A ball with the Inland Empire 66ers. It’s easy to see why: he hits for power and average, is one of the fastest runners in the organization, has a powerful arm, and fields well.
What stood out most when interviewing him was how mature Adell is. With all the accolades that have been heaped upon him, he seems to be taking it all in stride. Like his teammate Jahmai Jones, it’s easy to see how Adell will become a fan favorite not only for his on-the-field performances, but for how approachable he will be off the field.
Below are the first three at-bats by Jo Adell on May 27, 2018. Unfortunately, it was tough day for the 66ers as the team was no-hit for 8 2/3rds innings. In his last at-bat, which was not recorded, with two outs and Jones on via a walk, Adell delivered a 2-run opposite field homerun to breakup the no-hitter and shutout in one blow.
With the way that Adell has been improving, and with how aggressively the Angels have been promoting their prospects, Angels fans should definitely make the drive out to San Bernadino soon to see Adell and others, and have a chance to meet him before he arrives in Anaheim. You’ll be glad you did.
Click below to watch our interview with Jo Adell.
View the full article
We’re about 1/3rd of the way through the season and by most accounts, a reasonably successful one so far. But one of extremes.
A 13-3 start followed by 15-20. Streaks of 7 wins and 5 losses.
The offense went .291/.825 through those first 16 games. .226/.694 since.
3.19 era for that 13-3 start. 3.84 era since.
SP to during that early streak? 3.84 era. Bullpen? 2.45 era. SP since then? 3.45 era. BP? 4.45.
12-17 at home. 16-6 on the road. 1-4 in extras. 3 walk off wins. 2 walk off losses. 3 times being shut out. 3 times shutting out the opponent.
4.25 era at home vs. 2.79 on the road. 94 wRC+ at home vs. 118 on the road.
Our current record is fairly legit. Matching up with our pythag (pantherian) and base runs estimates. So it appears we are what our record says we are, but what are we?
The off season plan was fairly clear. Fix LF (or keep it fixed), 2b, 3b, and shore up the pen
LF had been a horrible problem for going on 10 years. Solved at the non-waiver deadline during the 2017 season but that tricky opt out could have meant losing Grayson Long and Elvin Rodriguez would have been for not. But a 1 year extension taking Justin through age 34 got him to stay. He’s been solid so far albeit streaky (as per his m.o.). But a B to B+ level presence in the middle of the lineup. Defense was a little shaky early on, but seems to have stabilized as well. It’d be nice to get a bit more from him and the 28mil at age 34 isn’t looking awesome, but overall, the move gets a B so far.
2b has been an issue since Howie left and Eppler has whiffed terribly on both of his attempts. Danny Espinsoa had -1.0 WAR and a 38 wRC+ in 254 PA last year and was finally let go after his July 8th game. Kinsler is on his way to a similar fate with a wRC+ of 50 and WAR of -0.2 through 163 PA. The frustrating part of about Ian is that he used to be really good and now all we see is flyout to CF/LF/RF. He’s always been a fly ball guy but that HR/FB rate of 3.4% vs. his career of 9.1% speaks volumes about where he’s at as a player. That means over the last two years, we’ve given up Kyle McGowin, Austin Adams, Troy Montgomery and Wilkel Hernandez. There not a ton of future value with those prospects, but more than the below replacement value we’ve gotten from the 2b position the last two years. The offensive production from Kinsler would warrant an F, but he’s been excellent defensively so the move gets a D.
3b – what is it about the halos’ challenges in filling these three positions. Again, it’s been since figgy that we had someone good although Callaspo had a couple of decent seasons. That’s right, we are wishful of Callaspo level production. Making a 3yr/39 mil commitment to Zack Cozart should have given us at least that. Right? Right! We’re getting closer. I guess. We all knew Cozart’s 2017 was an outlier and while something above his career avg would be acceptable, we were all secretly hoping he’d be the guy he was last year. Well, not so much. Turns out the move to 3b also took a fair amount of his value away as he’s been below average defensively at the position. Still, it hasn’t been awful. His versatility bring value and a potential move to 2b could restore some of that. The move gets a C for now but I feel like that’s a bit generous.
Bullpen – dammit Billy!! This is a massive disappointment. I didn’t want to be right so I trusted the 2017 performance by a random collection of retreads as something reproducible. Now it’s a mess. Losing Middleton has hurt so it’s not all on him but that speaks to the lack of depth. Blake Wood may have helped as well. But knowing that your starters were going to be limited in their innings due to previous injury and a lack of experience, this should have been given much more attention. Now what? Trades? Bring up some young guys and start their clock? When you’re bringing in Jim Johnson to keep things tied in a 1-1 game, you’re in trouble. This gets a D-.
Ohtani – he gets his own category. He’s been all we could have hoped for and more. By all accounts, Billy cultivating the relationship over a long period is what got Shohei to the halos. Personally think we’re at or below .500 without him. an A+ move.
1b/util/bench – So you can’t do anything with Albert. I get it. That’s not Eppler’s fault. But the Valbuena commitment from last year (which I admit to thinking was a good move at the time) is having a negative impact on this team. Especially with Cron doing so well. But, getting a solid prospect in Rengifo for CJ was a nice offset as has been keeping Marte who’s been solid in part time play. The addition of Rivera was smart and working out until the injury. The OF depth created at AAA has been helpful although I think it’s time to use that more considering how horrible Chris Young has been. He’s just bad at baseball. Overall, a C.
Sometimes, it not just the moves you make, but the ones you don’t. Steering clear of SPs was a good move. There was some pen value that he missed, but a lot of it went pretty early. His choice for a 4th OFer was horrible and Moustakas at 3b and Cozart at 2b would have been better. C
Bear in mind, I didn’t grade on a curve. In other words, there may not have been an A grade move available for 2b, 3b or the pen.
B, D, C, D-, A+, C, C
1st trimester GPA – 2.14. Bonus – to C+ overall because of the farm system. Keeping the farm intact and improving the team is important and will pay dividends long term.
View the full article
New York Giants star wide receiver hit batting practice tonight in Anaheim ahead of the Angels game against the Tampa Bay Rays. OBJ sported a throwback Devil Rays jersey of current Rays pitcher Blake Snell, who brought in OBJ as his guest for the night. The roots of their relationship is unclear, but it gave OBJ the opportunity to show off his swing.
It’s only batting practice; but OBJ’s one-handed catches have shown that he is a superhuman, so it may already be fair assumption to say that OBJ could be the next Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders, or (do I dare say it?) even the next Tim Tebow.
OBJ played football, basketball, track, and soccer in high school, and it probably was not very difficult for him to pick up a bat and go yard during batting practice. If OBJ ends up finding professional football too easy, maybe he will choose to challenge himself and become a two-sport athlete. And I don’t think anyone would question his athletic ability.
As a matter of fact, his New-York-sports neighbor Mets could definitely use his help right now.
View the full article
Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani has been getting it done both on the mound and at the plate, but he appeared to meet his match during Wednesday’s game against the Astros.
Ohtani nearly went golfing attempting to hit a slider from Justin Verlander, and it almost caused him to hit the deck as a result.
He lost his balance offering at the pitch, but was able to remain upright — preventing embarrassment.
In Ohtani’s defense, Verlander has done that to many other players over the years.
View the full article
By David Saltzer, AngelsWin.com Senior Writer
In a stunning 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law banning states from legalizing sports betting. The decision in Murphy v. NCAA clears the way for many states to legalize and regulate the estimated $150 billion annual sports betting industry (including legal and illegal gambling). Many states are expected to rush into the process of legalizing this industry to tax a mostly underground and offshore industry (it is estimated that only about 3% of all sports bets are placed in Las Vegas).
Normally, AngelsWin.com fans would say “great, but why are you talking about this on a baseball website?”. Well, this has everything to do with baseball, and in particular, with the Angels.
Under the current baseball schedule, travel is a major factor and affects teams differently. Some teams, such as the Angels, have years in which they put on close to 50,000 miles in travel to complete the season. Other teams put on less than half of that. The difference in travel has become a factor in how well teams perform, and has led to many changes such as afternoon “getaway” days that affect attendance. Owners and players would rather have a greater chance to win a game and play in front of a smaller crowd than to do the opposite.
This needs to stop. Baseball needs to realign the divisions and teams to remove travel as a competitive advantage for some teams and disadvantage for others. It has become a true disadvantage for teams in the American League West, almost all of whom tend to log the most, or nearly the most miles in a given season. Constantly rushing to and from airports, late night arrivals, hotel transfers, time zone changes, etc. takes a toll on a player. It can and does affect the outcome of games. It can and does affect the overall standings throughout a season.
At the same time, baseball needs to expand to 32 teams to make scheduling far easier and to make an 8-division format equal for all teams. The question, though, has always been where can baseball expand? It’s fairly clear that any realignment and expansion team would have to be located in a western city and state.
For a while, Portland has been long suggested as one destination. But, as a fan, I am very skeptical of how well Portland can sustain a Major League team. And the last thing baseball needs is another struggling or failing team with low attendance.
It’s not as if Portland hasn’t had a a baseball team. Several times, Minor League baseball has expanded to or located a team in Portland during its history. In one of its most recent attempts, the Pacific Coast League allowed a team to relocate to Portland from 2000. It lasted until 2010. During that time, the team typically finished in the bottom half of league attendance and struggled to survive economically. After the 2010 season, the Portland AAA team was sold and relocated.
So, if Portland isn’t the answer, where in the west could MLB expand? My answer is Las Vegas.
Think about it, millions of Americans from all over the country go to Las Vegas every year. There already are plenty of reasons to do so. The city has the hotel and food accommodations to handle any influx of fans. All it needs is an indoor stadium or one with a retractable roof if the owners and fans would prefer. It’s not as if such a stadium hasn’t been built or that it’s too difficult to build a site located near the city.
Imagine for fans, if in addition to all the other fun things to do in Vegas, they could also go to see a series with their favorite baseball team? How much of a draw would that be? Imagine a weekend series with the Angels or Dodgers. How many of us would make that drive or catch that flight in order to watch our team? Las Vegas has often struggled with family friendly events and entertainment ideas, but what is more family friendly than baseball? The advertising and commercials write themselves . . . Come to Vegas to catch a game with [insert team name] and enjoy so much more.
The argument against putting a Major League team in Las Vegas has always been that the risk of gambling was too great for the players and coaches in Las Vegas to expand there. Baseball does not like gambling, or even the appearance of gambling on the sport, especially by the players. Pete Rose serves as a good reminder about that.
But, that’s where this recent Supreme Court comes into play. If states can (and in all likelihood will) legalize sports betting to increase tax revenue, then how will they be any different than Las Vegas? Again, according to sources, only about $4.8 billion out of an estimated $150 billion in total sports bets were placed legally in Las Vegas (the rest were bet illegally). And, according to sources, as many as 32 states are prepared to legalize sports betting.
With that many states vying to legalize sports betting, it will affect Major League Baseball whether MLB wants it or not. Some of the biggest states, such as New York, California, and Illinois have large budget issues that could be eased by a new source of revenue such as sports gambling. Politically, it’s a lot easier to legalize gambling under the guise of solving the budget crunch rather than raising taxes elsewhere or cutting services.
If states start legalizing sports betting, MLB will have an interesting decision: abandon teams like the Yankees, Mets, Cubs, Dodgers, Angels, Giants, etc. to maintain the separation between legalized gambling or develop new ways to deal with the perceived threat to their business. My guess is that there is no way that MLB will abandon those franchises, so, it will have to develop a plan and guideline for how to handle the perceived threat of legalized gambling that would deal with it in any state and under any scenario.
So if MLB (along with all the other sports leagues) will have to develop a guideline to handle legalized gambling, shouldn’t that cover them for a team in Las Vegas? It’s not as if Las Vegas has more organized crime than New York or Chicago. And, with only about 3% of all sports bets placed in Las Vegas, it means that 97% is currently happening, and most likely will continue to happen, elsewhere. That means that other players and teams are far more likely to fall pray to the negative influences of gambling in other places than Las Vegas. Why should MLB abandon Las Vegas to the NFL, which is already planning on relocating a team to the region?
In a separate piece, I will outline my ideas on how to radically realign baseball and balance the schedule. But, one big factor in my plan is placing a team in Las Vegas. With the ruling in Murphy v. NCAA, I believe that becomes a far more likely scenario.
Let’s hear from you, the fans. Would you want a team located in Las Vegas? How many of you would plan a trip to Las Vegas to coincide with a homestand with your favorite team playing there?
View the full article
What a special moment for Albert Pujols, his family, friends and teammates last night at Safeco Field.
Pujols has joined some exclusive company. Here’s everything you need to know about Pujols and what he has accomplished on his path to 3,000 hits.
First off, in case you missed it.
Albert Pujols has joined an elite group as the 32nd player all-time to log 3,000 career hits and the first since Adrián Beltré, who collected his on July 30, 2017 vs. Baltimore. Pujols also joins Beltré as the only natives of the Dominican Republic to reach the plateau. Pujols is the fourth player all-time to collect 3,000 hits and hit 600 home runs, joining Hank Aaron (3,771 H/755 HR), Willie Mays (3,283 H/660 HR) and Alex Rodriguez (3,115 H/696 HR). He becomes the 12th player in Major League history to record 3,000 hits through his first 18 seasons and is the second player in an Angels uniform to become part of this club, along with Rod Carew (Aug. 4, 1985).
Became the 32nd player all-time to reach the 3,000 hit mark and first since Adrián Beltré, who collected his 3,000th hit July 30, 2017 vs. Baltimore.
Joins Adrián Beltré as the only natives of the Dominican Republic to reach the 3,000 hit plateau.
Pujols, who is in his 18th big league season, is just the 12th player to reach the milestone in their first 18 seasons.
Has joined Stan Musial and Alex Rodriguez as only players with 3+ MVP Awards and 3,000 hits.
Joins Rod Carew (Aug. 4, 1985 vs. Minnesota) as the only players to log their 3,000th hit in an
At 38 years, 108 days, is the 10th youngest player to reach the 3,000 hit mark.
View the full article