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Early returns on Angels GM Billy Eppler's 2018 off-season

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. Overall: 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.
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AngelsWin.com

AngelsWin.com

 

Odell Beckham Jr. Can Apparently Play Baseball, Too

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.
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AngelsWin.com

AngelsWin.com

 

Justin Verlander nearly makes Shohei Ohtani fall down with sick pitch

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.
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AngelsWin.com

AngelsWin.com

 

It's Time for MLB to Expand to Las Vegas

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?
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AngelsWin.com

AngelsWin.com

 

Congrats to Albert Pujols on hit #3000

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
Angel uniform. At 38 years, 108 days, is the 10th youngest player to reach the 3,000 hit mark.
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AngelsWin.com

AngelsWin.com

 

Who's In Your Angels Legendary Lineup?

CIRCA 1970’s: Nolan Ryan #34 of the California Angles pitches during circa mid 1970’s Major League Baseball game. Ryan played for the Angles from 1972-79. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) By David Saltzer, AngelsWin.com Senior Writer One of the many joys of having children is that as they grow up, you can have much deeper conversations about things, and they can understand so much more. The passions that you have can become their passions, and you can teach them about why you love the things that you do. When my sons woke up Sunday morning, they started working on sorting and organizing their baseball card collections. Like them, when I was young, I had a decent sized baseball card collection, and still have some of my favorite cards. At lunch, one of my sons asked me “Dad, who would you say were the best Angels players in Angels history?” One of my twins decided to take it to another level (because the best isn’t good enough for him) and asked me who were the most legendary Angels players. At first we had to decide what “legendary” meant because lots of players could be legendary for positive or negative things. We decided that to be a legendary Angels player, a player had to play a substantial portion of his career with the Angels and be forever associated with the team and a position. Once we had the definition in place, we spent the rest of the lunch we discussed who would in my 25-man roster. It was not an easy process as there were many players up for consideration. There were many positional battles, and sometimes players had to be moved to make it all work out (or at least work out in a way that made me happy). Some players who had great years with the Angels ultimately had to be cut. Towards the end, it got brutal, to be honest. Ironically, and unbeknownst to us, at the same time, Topps Beckett Media is doing its 30 Teams in 30 Weeks as it counts down to the most Legendary Lineup for every Major League baseball team. You can check out their lineup for the Angels here. When I came up with my team, I had no idea who would be on their team, as their team wasn’t unveiled until today. Since today is an off-day today, let’s discuss my team. Who did I leave off of your list? Who did I get right? Compare my list to the Topps Becket Media list. Which one is better? Where did they get it right and I got it wrong? And, if you want to have fun, you can start making your own Angels legendary lineup. Here’s a reference that will surely help. Catcher: Bob Boone This wasn’t easy. For me, it came down to Boone and Bengie Molina. Both were incredible, but I consider Boone a bit better defensively. Since catching is a defensive position, that tilts the scale over Molina’s better offense. It really is close between these two. Since all teams really need two catchers, Molina will make it on the bench, and the two of them will split the season with each playing about half the games. That way, they both will be rested, and will both be that much better. First Base: Wally Joyner When I think of an Angels 1B, I can’t help but think of the joy and fun that Wally brought to Anaheim. If you were an Angels fan in the mid 80s to early 90s, all you heard at times was: Wally! Wally! Wally! Albert Pujols is the best first baseman to ever play the position for the Angels, but Wallyworld will forever be synonymous with the Angels. That’s legendary. I heavily debated Rod Carew, but in the end, I thought that Carew would be associated more with the Twins than the Angels as he played far more seasons there and had more of his hits with them. Second Base: Bobby Grich This was the second easiest position to decide for me (if you can’t figure out the easiest one, then you haven’t been paying attention as an Angels fan). Sure, he spent the first part of his career with Baltimore, but, Grich was part of the Angels first three playoff appearances and played the majority of his career with the Angels. He was part of the big spending spree by Gene Autry, and put up offensive numbers from a position that at the time generally was not known for much offense. The only other choice who garnered any consideration was Howie Kendrick. While he was a great player, and has the 8th best batting average and 5th most doubles for any qualified Angels player, Grich had the overall better Angels career in my opinion. Shortstop: Jim Fregosi I never got to see him play, but I’ve seen footage. And, before he passed, I got to meet him a few times. In talking with veterans from the era, he was the real deal. An All-Star almost every year he was a Halo, he has to be the choice. The only real competition at the position for me was Andrelton Simmons. I’ve said on many occasions that Simba’s defense is worth the price of admission, and I mean it. If he continues for about 5 more years as an Angel at the level he’s playing, he may surpass Fregosi to be the most legendary Angels shortstop. His defense is amazing, and fans will discuss it for years. But, he needs more time to become legendary. So, for now, that honor still resides with Fregosi. Third Base: Troy Glaus This position came down to two people: Troy Glaus and Doug DeCinces. Comparing the two, Glaus had better overall numbers as an Angel Glaus bests DeCinces in HRs, doubles, and OB%. And, most importantly, Glaus was part of our only World Series win. DeCinces did help the team reach the playoffs twice, but, also spent the majority of his career in Baltimore. Like Carew, DeCinces will probably always be more associated with another team rather than the Angels whereas Glaus and the 2002 team will become the stuff of legends. Right Field: Tim Salmon Any legendary Angels team has to have the King Fish. He spent his entire career with the Angels, during the free agent era, and leads the team in homeruns hit as an Angels. When you’re known as Mr. Angel, you are the icon. But he had a lot of competition. Thank goodness there is a DH spot to help make this all work out. Sure, Vlad is our first-ever Hall of Famer, but the legend belongs to Salmon (don’t worry Vlad will make the team elsewhere). Vlad definitely has the stronger arm in the field, but Salmon was the more consistent defender. And, since it is a legendary team, Mr. Angel gets the nod in Right Field for me. Center Field: Mike Trout Ummmm . . . this was the easiest decision of all. It helps that he’s the best baseball player in his generation, and keeps getting better every year. This was by far the easiest position to decide. Left Field: Garret Anderson Okay, I know a lot of fans have mixed feeling on GA. But, as the last several years have shown, having a consistent presence in the lineup is a very valuable thing. How many left fielders have we gone through to get to a consistent level of play from that position since GA left? Fans underestimate consistency, but for fun, go through the historical offensive stats for the Angels. GA ranks in the top-5 players in almost every single category. Year after year, GA went out there and put up solid numbers. He wasn’t the most flashy, he did sing his own praises, he just did his job on the field, and he was good at it. I’d take that any day in my lineup. It might not be the most exciting legend, but, it sure did get the job done. DH: Vladimir Guerrero Okay, this one was tough. How can I not place the first-ever Angels Hall of Famer on the legendary team? His numbers were unreal. His style was unreal. When he first came to the Angels, the entire stadium would hush during his at bats. He brought an electricity that has only been matched by Shohei Ohtani. But, by choosing him, I had to exclude every other player whom I could have placed here. Names like Downing, Baylor, Reggie, Erstad. Those weren’t easy choices. One could make a strong case for any of those players. But, in the end, Vlad has to be on the team, and as I said in the Right Field discussion, King Fish starts in the field, so Vlad gets the DH spot. Rotation: 1. Nolan Ryan 2. Frank Tanana 3. Chuck Finley 4. Jered Weaver 5. Mike Witt. 6. Shohei Ohtani The first decision I had to make was whether to go with a 4-man, 5-man, or 6-man rotation. And, before I get ripped too much for including Ohtani on this list, think about this: this is the iconic list. For the next 30 years, any broadcast involving a team using the 6-man rotation will forever discuss the Angels and Ohtani. Any team that has a player who tries to be a 2-way player will forever include a discussion of Ohtani. I know it’s only been a month, but if he becomes the player and we become the team for the discussion of an issue, that, by its own definition, is legendary. So, Ohtani has to be on the list. He’s already become legendary with his pitch velocity, his exit velocity, and his running speed. Plus it really helps the team to have his left-handed bat off the bench! As for the others, they are mostly self-explanatory. I’ll take Mike Witt with his perfect game and combined no-hitter as my #5 starter. He has the 4th most wins in our team’s history and the 4th most strikeouts. There are others, and you can pick them from other eras, but, he is one of my favorite players, and he’s who I’d want to see on the mound. As for Nolan Ryan, it’s always bothered me that he isn’t more associated with the Angels. I remember when and how he left, and it wasn’t pleasant. But, his numbers for the Angels were unreal. In an era when batters did not like to strike out (unlike today), he set a record that will most likely never be broken–383. He had 5 seasons with more than 300 strikeouts with the Angels, and oh yeah, 4 no-hitters. How he isn’t considered our preeminent pitcher is astounding. I still blame Bavasi for that. Any Angels fan from that era will forever talk about him, so he is by far-and-away, our most legendary pitcher. Closer: Frankie Rodriguez In 2002, the Angels added K-Rod to the postseason roster, and forever altered the team’s dynamics. Frankie set the single-season record for Saves as an Angel. Sure, Percival had more saves, but, in the end, when K-Rod had his stuff, he was electric. Sure Percival had “the stare”, but for me, Frankie was the more legendary closer. Bullpen: 1. Troy Percival 2. Bryan Harvey 3. Scot Shields 4. Jim Abbott I’m going to go with a 5-man bullpen so that I can fit other position players on my iconic team. So, all the other dominant closers for the Angels have a spot here. And, we are including the rubber-armed Scot Shields. Having him to go 1 or more innings multiple times a week made our bullpen so much more effective. And, before I get too much grief for putting Jim Abbott in the bullpen, yes, I know he was a starter, not a reliever. But, he is by far one of my all-time favorite players. His story is so compelling. And, the Angels really don’t have any major standout lefties from the pen. So, humor me as a writer here for giving him a spot in my pen. It’s my legendary team, you can debate me with your choices in the discussion. But, his story will forever be tied with the Angels. He is part of our lore, and as such, has to make the team. Bench: 1. Brian Downing 2. Darin Erstad 3. Bengie Molina 4. Chone Figgins With the roster choices that I’ve made, I only have a 4-man bench. I couldn’t leave Brian Downing off of the team, but he lost out in left field to GA. And, as iconic as he was as the Angels DH for so many years, he lost that battle to Vlad. He’s too legendary of an Angel to leave off the team, so he has to be one of my batters on the bench. With Erstad, I can think of 26 words that will forever justify him on the team. They are: “Here’s the pitch to Lofton. Fly ball, center field. Erstad says he’s got it. Erstad makes the catch! The Anaheim Angels are the champions of baseball!” Who still doesn’t get chills whenever they hear that? And, if we ever need a team meeting to motivate the players, he’s the guy I want in the clubhouse. Bengie Molina was discussed in the Catchers section. Chone Figgins. Yes, we’re getting Figgy with it. Sure, he wasn’t the same once he left us, but, he could play 3B, SS, 2B, and the OF. He is the epitome of a utility player. He could work a walk and steal a base. If I’m making a true team, I need a true utility player. In a pinch, Erstad could cover 1B, which means that all the remaining positions have to be covered by one player. And for me, that’s Figgins. Okay, there’s my team. As I said, it’s an off day. Go ahead, criticize mine and make your own. Compare it to the Topps Becket Media roster. No matter what, you’ll have fun. And, the more you dig into it, the more you’ll see how difficult it is to do. Yet, at the same time, the more you dig into it, the more you’ll enjoy it. We have an off-day today, so let’s debate. Where do you agree with me? Where do you disagree? What do think of the Topps Beckett Media lineup?
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AngelsWin.com

AngelsWin.com

 

The Hitting King

By Greg Bird, AngelsWin.com Staff Reporter Welcome back to Inside Edge after a very long hiatus. First I’d like to thank Chuck for pulling me back in to writing for AngelsWin after a long stint on the DL. I’d also like to thank Billy Eppler for giving an Angel fan hope again. This is not to say I didn’t like the person that was our former GM, he was a ‘good dude’ but his moves just lacked the true inspiration of Eppler’s. With my first short article this Greg Bird returns from the DL for the Halos (not the evil empire) and he will be focusing on a recent hot topic, Andrelton Simmons the hitter. There has been a flurry of recent articles about Simmons’ and his countryman Gregorius’ turn arounds at the plate. In the Athletic Simba’s general improvements at the plate were covered in depth. I suggest a subscription there for some good content. Another good piece I saw was in The Ringer and it talked a lot about both Simmons’ and Gregorius’ increase in patience. In that second article there was a very intriguing quote from Simmons about a text he received from Eppler about, “how good I am when … I’m actually swinging at pitches I’m good at hitting.” This quote got me wondering about what that text was all about and if the numbers bear out that he actually made a change in his swing pattern as suggested by Eppler. If Simmons did make a real positive change then it could mean this new above average hitter is our new normal for him through 2020 and beyond. This would also mean that we can trust that whatever happens with personnel moves in the future that Eppler has an even better process as a GM than previously thought. Eppler traded for Simba in 2015. At that time it was common knowledge that Simmons was a light hitting but superb fielding shortstop. As others have mentioned and multiple sources reported at the time he was also a good contact hitter. Andrelton swung at a lot of pitches that lead to more outs earlier in his career. His swing percentage hovered around the 47% mark earlier in his career. It is down around 45% now. Being able to make consistent contact and with umpires calling borderline strikes it likely encouraged him to swing at more borderline pitches. These were pitches that he just couldn’t really do much with. His underlying excellent ball to bat skill also likely played a part in his continuing to swing at those pitches even though it was not producing the results he wanted. Simmons career contact percentage is 87.9%. This has remained relatively unchanged throughout his entire career with a fluctuation in 2015. That year it jumped to 89.3% which did result in a temporary increase in BABIP and Batting Average but it has been an unsustainable increase. That year he also showed very little power with a .660 OPS, the second lowest of his career. Simmons contact rate has fallen back in line with his career norms in the high 87% range and is not now the cause of his great renaissance. What has changed? Do the numbers show anything different? According to Simmons he has changed which pitches he swings at now. That would mean he has fundamentally changed his approach at the plate. Can we see that in the data? Let’s look at two heat maps that tell us what percentage of pitches in each zone that Simmons is swinging at or has swung at in the past. Let’s start with his approach in 2015, the last full year before he joined the Angels. We can see that on pitches just outside of the strike zone he would swing at about 33% of them. He would do this on both the high and low pitch. These pitches are sometimes called a strike and I’m sure he felt he had to protect the plate. He would swing at pitches down and away at right around the same percentage of the time, anywhere from 29%-37% of the time. He swung at pitches in the furthest outside part of the strike zone at a 49% clip. And he also swung at pitches just inside at a 48%-53% rate. I point those out because those are the areas both in and out of the zone that Simba has seemingly changed the most. If we now compare his 2015 swing percentage to his 2018 heat map we can see exactly how much he changed his approach. This season he has only swung at about 5% of pitches just outside the zone. He is currently only swinging at 9%-18% of down and away pitches both in and out of the zone. He is only offering at 33%-38% of pitches in the outside part of the zone. And he is only swinging at around 35% of pitches on the inside part of the plate. These are significant changes of between 15%-25% in his swinging percentage. It then seems that Eppler convinced Simmons in that text that pitches just inside or just outside the zone were not pitches that he could handle well. He probably told Simmons that he could reach them and make contact but not really be successful on that contact. It also looks like pitches in the zone but away or down and away were not his strong suite either. He likely did this by showing him what he should hit, and not just what he shouldn’t. Let’s look at what Simba does hit well. If we go back and look at his average on different parts of the zone we will start to see what Simmons does handle well. On pitches down and away he is batting a measly .214. On outside pitches he is batting between .159 and .190. And finally on down and in pitches he is hitting .200. These are the pitches he is not swinging at. In most other zones he is hitting .275 or better with up and in strikes being his hottest zone at a scorching .417. If we look even deeper at his exit velocities we see his weakest contact comes outside down and away at a paltry 77.5 MPH. His lowest exit velocity in the zone is down and away again at 81.1 MPH. While his hottest zones (middle-middle, middle-up, middle-away, and up-away) all hovering around 90 MPH. This likely the zones Eppler suggested he focus on trying to hit. What we can see from all of this is a concerted effort from Andrelton to change which pitch he offers at. He now seems to be hunting pitches he can do damage with and letting go pitches he really can’t do much with, even if it means letting the umpire call it a strike. This type of change in his approach seems eminently sustainable. It seems his newfound success is predicated on both pitch recognition and better decision making, two things that bode well for his future as a hitter.
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AngelsWin.com

AngelsWin.com

 

Shohei Ohtani crushes 97 mph fastball from Luis Severino for home run

Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani continues to amaze. He didn’t do that from the mound in Friday’s game against the Yankees, but he did do something that is unique to him, that no other pitcher in the league could pull off. Ohtani came to the plate in the second inning of the game, and he hit a 97.1 mph fastball from Luis Severino into the stands. Wow.
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AngelsWin.com

 

Predict Pujols' 3,000th Hit and Win an In & Out Gift Basket

By David Saltzer, AngelsWin.com Senior Writer According to Baseball-Reference.com, as of the time of this writing, there have been a total of 19,233 players who have played in at least one of 216,072 Major League games from 1871 until the present (including the National Association as a Major League for the totals). Unfortunately, this number does not include all those who played in the Negro Leagues or the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Those two leagues alone would add thousands of more players to the ranks of those who have played professionally, at a level beyond the Minor Leagues. In all those games, and with all those players, only 31 have ever collected 3,000 hits in a career. Collecting that many hits in a career takes incredible skill, good health, and a bit of luck. And, doing so puts one in extremely rare company. Anyone who joins the 3,000 hit club becomes part of the upper 0.0005% of the best of the best of the best players who ever played the game. As Angels fans, we were lucky enough to see Rod Carew collect his 3,000th hit at home on August 4, 1985. I remember that game. I was at the game, and was so excited and proud watching him loop a single off Frank Viola into left and then donning his hat to the crowd. It was an awkward swing on a tough pitch, but it fell in there, and got the job done. Bob Boone was the first of hit teammates to come mob him. The Doug DeCinces came, and along came the rest. Gene Mauch, his manager, took out the base and presented it to him. What kid who played baseball hasn’t had a dream of a moment like that? Well, Angels fans are once again about to get one of those incredibly rare moments in baseball. Sometime in the next week or so, Albert Pujols is about to collect his 3,000th hit, and in so doing, will become the 32nd inductee into the 3,000 hit club. That’s no small accomplishment! So, to make watching Albert Pujols’ 3,000 hit a little more fun, AngelsWin.com has put together an In & Out gift basket for the fan who correctly predicts the type of hit, the inning in which it happens, and the opposing pitcher at the time Albert collects his 3,000 hit. In order for tiebreakers (see below) the order for determining the winner of the In & Out basket will be based first on correctly predicting the type of hit, then based on correctly predicting the inning, and finally correctly predicting the opposing pitcher. Have at it Angels fans! Let’s make this historic event something special for all of us on and off the field. Some basic rules: All eligible predictions have to be posted on AngelsWin.com in the thread for this article in order to count. Fans may make multiple predictions, but only one prediction per day which must be posted prior to the start of the Angels game for that day.  If a fan decides to change his/her prediction, s/he may do so, but the prediction posted closest to the start of a game will be the official prediction for that game. Any edits or changes to a prediction after the start of the game for that day will make the entire prediction ineligible for that game. It may remain in effect for subsequent games, however. If a fan does not post a new prediction, the most recent prediction from that fan will remain valid and in effect for a subsequent game. Be specific in your predictions because there will be tiebreakers in case two or more fans predict the same pitcher. Tiebreakers are as follows: If two or more fans correctly predict the type of hit that Albert Pujols has for his 3,000th hit, then the fan who correctly predicts the inning in which Albert Pujols collects his 3,000th hit will be the winner.  If two or more fans correctly predict the type of hit and the inning in which Albert Pujols collects his 3,000th hit, then the fan who correctly predicts the opposing pitcher at the time of Albert Pujols’ 3,000th hit will be the winner. If two or more fans correctly predict the type of hit, the inning in which the 3,000th hit happens, and the opposing pitcher at the time of the 3,000th hit, then the fan who made the correct prediction first, as determined by the time stamp on the post, will be the final winner of the In & Out gift basket. If no fan correctly predicts the opposing pitcher to give up. Only one prize will be awarded. AngelsWin.com is the sole determiner of the winner and will only mail the In & Out gift basket to a valid address in the United States.  Failure to provide an address within 10 days of the 3,000th hit will result in a forfeit of the prize and AngelsWin.com may award the prize to another contestant. There is no cost or charge to make a prediction. Just have fun and watch an historic baseball event!
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AngelsWin.com

 

More Evidence That Mike Trout Keeps Finding Ways to Improve

We’ve already established — on multiple occasions — how insanely good Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout is on the baseball diamond. The crazy thing, though, is that he keeps finding ways to get better. On Opening Day, we marveled over a tremendous trend in his plate discipline. For the time being, that focus can shift to his home-run power. Trout entered Tuesday’s action with the league lead in dingers, and he lengthened that lead on this swing.

AngelsWin.com

AngelsWin.com

 

AngelsWin.com Prospect Hotlist (4/23/2018)

Our top Los Angeles Angels prospect through 4/22/2018 is….. 1. Jose Suarez, LHP (2.13 ERA, 12 2/3 IP, 27 K’s) The southpaw was promoted to Double-A after just two starts in High-A ball after fanning 18 batters over just 9 combined innings. Suarez is now the youngest starting pitcher in Double-A, but that didn’t stop him from generating more whiffs as he fanned 9 over just 3 2/3 innings in his debut for the Mobile Bay Bears. He’s currently tied for the minor league lead with 27 strikeouts. Equipped with a fastball sits at 91-93 MPH, that touches 95, Suarez best pitch is his plus plus change-up to go along with a good slider and curve that’s a work in progress. Coming off a big 2017 where he fanned 90 over 68 2/3 while posting a 3.28 ERA, we’re expecting big things from the lefty in ’18 and so far he’s off to a sizzling start. 2. Taylor Ward, 3B – AA (.392/.492/.559 with 2 HR, 2 SB) The Angels saw enough in Ward’s approach at the plate and athleticism to move him from catcher to third base prior to his ’18 minor league campaign and so far he’s rewarded them with a strong start. Ward has 20 hits and 10 walks through his first 15 games, while posting a 1.061 OPS. He has committed 4 errors at the hot corner, but the Angels are encouraged by his play there early on. 3. Jose Miguel Fernandez, 2B – AAA (.371/.443/.548 with 2 HR, 5 2B) Following up a solid 2017 campaign in the Dodgers organization which saw JMF slash .306/.367/.496 with 16 HR in just 93 games, the Cuban infielder is off to a hot start with the Salt Lake Bees and could be the first called up should an injury happen to either Kinsler or Cozart. 4. Justin Anderson, RHP – AAA (8 2/3 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 14 K’s) The 25-year old showed a good moving mid-90s fastball and knock out breaking pitch in spring training, notching seven scoreless innings while fanning seven. He has yet to be scored upon in 2018 since and was rewarded with a promotion from Double-A to Triple-A. Anderson has punched out 14 batters across two levels in 8 2/3 relief innings. One to watch as a potential big league call-up this season for the Angels. 5. David Fletcher, SS/2B – AAA (.366/.400/.549 4 BB, 1 K) Fletcher is second in the PCL in hits (26) and is following up yet another solid spring training camp with a great start to his first full season in Triple-A. If he keeps this up, there will be a pretty good battle between JMF and himself for the starting second base job after Kinsler’s contract is up this season.  Fletcher makes good contact and has a good idea at the plate. He has walked 4 times vs. just one strikeout. 6. Griffin Canning, RHP – AA (12 1/3 IP, 15 K, 2.19 ERA, .186 BAA) Canning was the talk of the town in Arizona this past spring when scouts saw his fastball sit between 94-97 MPH as part of a solid 4-pitch mix. Like Suarez, it only took two starts in High-A ball before getting promoted to Double-A. Canning’s first start in AA didn’t fare as well as Suarez, but he was untouchable in his two starts with the 66ers. Canning didn’t allow a run over 8 2/3 innings, striking out 12. Check out how Canning grips the baseball for each of his pitches and much more in our interview with him a few weeks back. http://thesportsdaily.com/2018/04/04/angels-pitcher-griffin-canning-talks-with-angelswin-com-a1w1/ 7. John Lamb, LHP – AAA (15 2/3, 16 K, 2.87 ERA, .190 BAA, 0.89 WHIP) Whenever a starting pitcher in the PCL can limit the opposition to a .190 batting average, while sporting a shiny 2.87 ERA & 0.89 WHIP you take notice. Lamb a former top prospect in the Kansas City Royals organization appears fully healthy and has carried over a solid spring training performance into his first four starts with the Bees. 8. Zach Houchins, 3B – AAA (.370/.400/.543 with 2 HR, 2 BB, 4 K) Houchins got a late season call-up to Triple-A after clubbing 14 HR in Double-A and hit .500, including 3 triples & a double in just 4 contests. He showed a good 2/2 BB/K rate at the plate with Salt Lake and has carried that over through his 13 games in ’18, boasting a .943 OPS thus far. The reports on Houchins defense at third base have been really positive. 9. Brandon Marsh & Jo Adell, OF Low-A (Combined: 18 BB, 26 RBI) Despite the cold weather that has postponed a handful of games early on in addition to the tough chilly conditions to play in, Marsh and Adell have shown really good plate discipline and have flashed 5-tool ability. Adell leads the Midwest League in RBI (15) and has shown great defense in CF and speed on the bases. The Angels top pick in 17 has an .850 OPS despite not being able to get into a rhythm due to game postponements & frigid weather. Adell has walked seven times and stolen 3 bags without being caught. Marsh boasts a .423 OBP, .923 OPS and has walked 11 times already. The reports have been great on Marsh defense in right field and his arm has been identified as one not to run on. Like Adell, Marsh has good speed and budding power. Both of these guys drove in 15 runs and each clubbed a grand slam in last Friday’s contest vs. Clinton. 10. Daniel Procopio, RHP – High-A (11 IP, 18 K, 0.82 ERA, .108 BAA) Procopio has a fastball that runs a lot, a cutter and a curveball. His best pitch is his fastball as it runs up there in the mid 90’s and over powers some guys. The pitch he has been working on is his cutter and has seen improvement on this season is his cutter, which has a sharp break in on the hitters. Check out our interview with Procopio last year. http://thesportsdaily.com/2017/06/15/q-a-with-angels-10th-round-pick-daniel-procopio/ Just missed the list….. Hutton Moyer: (6 HR, 7 SB, .729 Slg Pct.). Michael Hermosillo: (3 HR, 4 SB, .378 OBP). Luis Rengifo: (11 SB, 13 BB, .384 OBP). Joe Gatto: (3.46 ERA, 13 IP, 20 K). Jose Rodriguez: (2.40 ERA, 15 IP, 14 K). Keep an eye on edition: While these guys are either too old to be considered prospects or no longer qualify due to major league time, they’ve been killing it and could be considered for a future promotion this season. Jabari Blash: (Leads the minors in HR with 8 & is second with 19 RBI to teammate Chris Carter (23) who leads all minor leaguers. Blash is boasting an insane 1.427 OPS, playing both RF & CF). Kaleb Cowart: (While he’s played just 3 games in AAA Cowart has 6 hits and 4 RBI, played SS in two of three games). Sherman Johnson: (while he’s played in just 5 games thus far due to a loaded roster, the utility infielder has boasted a .386 BA, with a crazy .1646 OPS. Johnson has clubbed 4 HR in just 18 at bats)
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AngelsWin.com

AngelsWin.com

 

Our first episode of our 2018 AngelsWin.com podcast is HERE!

Check out our first AngelsWin.com Podcast of 2018. Today our special guest was the OC Register’s Jeff Fletcher. Hosts Adam Dodge, Geoff Stoddart & Chuck Richter talked Angels Baseball as it relates to Ohtani, the great start to the season, predictions, discussed some of the top performers down on the farm & covered many other interesting topics about the ball club to date. Give it a listen!
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AngelsWin.com

AngelsWin.com

 

Angels, already happy with Shohei Ohtani, are moving him up in batting order

Shohei Ohtani mania is sweeping the MLB world by storm, and even the Angels were happy with his development, apparently. Ohtani, who has already crushed three homers and driven in 11 runs, is currently batting .346. Those numbers are certainly not indicative of someone who hits out of the 8-hole. The Angels appear to be aware of that fact, so they’re moving him up in the batting order. Ohtani was moved up to seventh in the order for Friday’s game against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. We’re only midway through April, and Ohtani has already been moved up. How long until he’s hitting fifth, or even cleanup? I dream of a world where Ohtani is hitting in the 4-spot — behind Mike Trout and Justin Upton, with Albert Pujols moving down a notch — but hey, it’s not as crazy as it sounds. And I know I’m not the only one that would love to see it.
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AngelsWin.com

 

Shohei Ohtani gives bat to fan, then crushes triple with new one

If you’re not feeling Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — the second coming of Babe Ruth — then you’re not a baseball fan. Ohtani has burst onto the scene, crushing home runs and nearly even pulling off a perfect game in his first career MLB start. Not only that, he’s an awesome guy, which we recently learned. Ohtani was signing autographs for fans before a recent game, when he gave one particular kid his bat, which was pretty great. Not only that, the loss of the bat clearly didn’t affect him, as he crushed a triple with a new one. Yeah, we’re on the Ohtani bandwagon.
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AngelsWin.com

 

Predict Albert Pujols' 3,000th Hit

By David Saltzer, AngelsWin.com Senior Writer With 2 more hits last night against Texas, including a homerun, Albert Pujols sits just 19 hits shy of becoming the 32nd player in all of Major League Baseball to join the 3,000 hit club. That’s an amazing accomplishment! So, let’s make it a little more fun for Angels fans. It’s time to predict when, where, and how he will cross that barrier. With a present slash line of .277/.306/.477, Albert Pujols has 13 hits in 47 ABs spanning 11 games. He’s getting 4.27 ABs per game, and slightly over 1 hit per game. That means if he maintains his present rates, he should collect his 3,000th hit by April 28th. That’s a home game against the Yankees, which would be something special for the crowd to see (and honestly, who wouldn’t want to see the Yankees have to watch that celebration?). But, there are many variables that go into this. Albert could get a day off or two, he could go on a tear, or he could cool down. Pitchers could pitch him differently so as not to become the pitcher who dished up his 3,000th hit. Around that time, the Angels will be facing the Red Sox, Giants, Astros, and Yankees, all of whom have good pitching. With all that in mind Angels fans, make some friendly bets and place your votes on the following questions. See if you can be the most accurate in predicting this feat. Take Our Poll Take Our Poll Take Our Poll Take Our Poll     
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AngelsWin.com

 

Class Acts

Image by Larry Brown Sports By David Saltzer, AngelsWin.com Senior Writer As a fan, I like players who play with some humility. I don’t go for the big bat flips or showboating that some players display. In some instances, I can understand it, and appreciate when a player gets caught up in the moment and the drama, but on a general basis, I’m not a fan of players with major egos. It’s seems all too often players let their egos overshadow their accomplishments on the field. So, as a fan, I’d like to point out how classy all of the players have been on the Angels, and in particular how classy Mike Trout and Albert Pujols have been, while Shohei Ohtani has been creating a media storm with #Sho-Time. With a 7-3, the Angels are off to their best start to the season since 1987. They’ve done so as a team. While Shohei has pitched the Angels to two wins, lots of players have been contributing to the team to get all those wins. Baseball is a team sport, and it takes contributions from everyone to win a game. Players have done it on offense and defense. And they have done that all while adjusting to different roles and uses to allow Shohei to both pitch and hit. They’ve also done so with all the extra media presence, both national and international, to cover Shohei’s start to the season. But two players really stand out as setting an exemplary level of humility when it comes to Ohtani: Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. As a fan, I can’t be more impressed by them. To say that Trout and Pujols are in rare company as players is a bit of an understatement. Yesterday, when Mike Trout scored his 700th run, he became just the 8th player in all of Major League Baseball to ever accomplish both feats by age 27 (among the others who have done so . . . Albert Pujols). As for Pujols, with his hit yesterday, he is just 21 hits shy of hitting 3,000 in his career. Only 31 players in all of baseball have ever had 3,000 or more hits in their careers. But, only 3 of them have done so with 600 or more homeruns. When Pujols accomplishes that feat, he will truly be in rare company (Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Alex Rodriguez). Equally as impressive, with 1922 RBIs in his career, Pujols is likely this season to become just the 4th player in history to drive in more than 2,000 RBIs (Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, and Alex Rodriguez). With all the historic accomplishments that Trout and Pujols are accomplishing, it is truly refreshing to see how they are reacting to all that Shohei is accomplishing and the buzz that he is generating. Yesterday, after breaking out of his mini-slump, and after scoring his 700th run, and hitting his 500th hit in Angel Stadium, he was asked about Shohei by Alex Curry. And, he didn’t use it as an opportunity to talk about himself–he praised the young Angels phenom. And, as Pujols steadily climbs to his historic levels, he has not appeared fazed by all the press and focus being given to Ohtani. Rather than demand more attention, he appears happy to be playing his game and letting his accomplishments speak for themselves. None of this is meant to take away what Shohei is accomplishing, or how he is handling himself. The maturity, poise, and humility that he is showing as a 23-year old is inspirational. And, the historic nature of his accomplishments are amazing! With 12 strikeouts yesterday, Shohei became just the third player ever to record double digit strikeouts and hit homeruns in three consecutive games (joining Ken Brett and Babe Ruth). And, he’s doing so under the microscope of all the press and with the hopes of two nations resting on his shoulders. In many ways, the fact that Shohei chose the Angels for his Major League team is good for him (as well as for us the fans!). Playing with Trout and Pujols, the subject of so much press and scrutiny over the years, and at the same time achieving historic feats of their own, gives him some help dealing with all that is going on in his young career. To say that his start has been electric is an understatement. The atmosphere when he’s playing is more intense than when Vlad first came. The stadium is more charged than the height of Wallyworld. Which is why it would be easy to understand how some players could feel left out of the spotlight. And yet, they haven’t acted that way. When I talk with my sons about what it takes to be a good person, I like to have role models with whom they can identify. With humility in short supply with many of today’s athletes and celebrities, especially in the age of social media, it’s good to see Trout, Pujols, and all the Angels show such good examples during this incredible period with Shohei Ohtani. Just one of the many reasons why these two are such class acts.  
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AngelsWin.com

 

Shohei Ohtani sets records - Owns the internet in his first week in the big leagues

Let’s break down what Ohtani has accomplished in both yesterday’s start against the Oakland A’s, and his overall first week on both the mound and at the plate in the big leagues. Ohtani should later be named the unanimous selection for the American League Player of the Week award. But before we dig in, just to set the mood, let’s all gaze at this pitching line from yesterday’s contest: (7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 12 SO, 0 HR; 91 pitches — 59 strikes) Shohei Ohtani retired first 19 batters faced in yesterday’s magical start in Anaheim, which was the first time he’s toed the rubber for the Angels at home. Ohtani became the third player all-time to pitch 7+ innings with one-or-fewer hits and 12+ strikeouts in one of first two career pitching appearances since Steve Woodard, MIL in 1997 and Juan Marichal, SF in 1960. Ohtani’s 18 total strikeouts this year tie an Angels record in first two career pitching appearances with Tim Fortungo. His 12 strikeouts on Sunday vs. the Oakland A’s ties the American League record for a player in one of their first two games as a pitcher, Tim Fortungo (Angels) who did it in 1992 and Elmer Myers Philadelphia A’s in 1915. Additionally, Ohtani has become the third player all-time to homer in three consecutive games and have a double-digit strikeout game in the same season, set by both Ken Brett in 1973 and Babe Ruth in 1916. Shohei was the third Angels rookie with 12+ strikeouts in a game (Tim Fortugno in 1992 and Jorge Rubio (15 SO) in 1966). With Ohtani’s win on Sunday he became the first player with two wins and 3+ home runs in his team’s first 10 games of a season since Jim Shaw did it for the 1919 Washington Senators (Shaw’s three HR came in the games where he pitched). Here’s some more Ohtani stats, facts & comments from the internet:                                          
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AngelsWin.com

 

Angels OF Kevin Williams Talks with AngelsWin.com

Interview conducted by David Saltzer, AngelsWin.com Senior Writer There are lots of reasons to be a fan of a baseball player. Maybe you like the way in which he plays the game. Maybe he did something special while you were attending a game. Maybe he grew up where you did or attended your alma mater. When it comes to Kevin Williams, I became a fan as I interviewed him. Unfortunately, I missed seeing him in Orem, so I didn’t have a chance to see his play. But, while there, he posted a .322/.385/.576 line with 4 HRs and 1 SB in just 15 games. The Angels coaching staff didn’t miss that, and they challenged him this year by jumping him a level to High-A ball. That’s a big vote of confidence for Williams, who was drafted in the 13th round of the 2017 draft. What impressed me most was his positive attitude. His demeanor. His humility. All those intangible qualities that help differentiate a person. As I was preparing to leave the IE66ers, Kevin Williams and Jahmai Jones were having a heated discussion as to who was taller. That’s Williams on the right and Jones on the left. Both are listed at 6’0″, but Jones was convinced that his shoulders were higher than Williams and therefore, he was slightly taller. I told them both that I’d take a picture and let you, the fans decide. So, please feel free to weigh in on this debate, as they would love your input. Feel free to use any electronic measuring method you wish! Take Our PollPlease click below to watch the interview with Kevin Williams and then head out to the IE66ers to watch him play. I bet you’ll become a fan too. Kevin Williams Interviews with AngelsWin April 3, 2018 from AngelsWin.com on Vimeo.  
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AngelsWin.com

 

Angels reveal pitching plan for Shohei Ohtani

Angels pitcher/designated hitter Shohei Ohtani has burst onto the scene since crushing a home run in his first MLB plate appearance. The team is going to continue using Ohtani as both a hitter and a pitcher, but he’s going to get plenty of rest between starts, apparently. Angels manager Mike Scioscia told reporters that Ohtani will be pitching every seven days, which is similar to the schedule he was on in Japan. “We’re going to be very diligent in checking in with our medical department to see what Ohtani’s availability will be on a day-to-day basis, and to make sure that he has the best chance to contribute with the bat and on the mound,” he said. Ohtani will continue to serve as DH in between starts, so the extra rest should work out well for both him and the team. It sure looks like Ohtani is on his way to becoming one of MLB’s rising stars, we just hope the Angels don’t overuse him. They’ll need him to remain healthy to be competitive this year.
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AngelsWin.com

 

Zack Cozart on his first career walk off

Our good friends at the MLB Network Greg Amsinger, Eric Byrnes and Bill Ripken spoke with Angels infielder Zack Cozart about his approach to the at-bat that beat the Indians in extra innings, 3-2. On his first career walk-off, Cozart said, “It was awesome. Honestly, I was just trying not to strike out right there, put the ball in play, try to get on for Trouty and I guess that’s what made that swing that much better, was I wasn’t trying to do too much. Man, the feeling’s awesome. We grinded out a lot of at-bats, pitchers did great today and [it’s a] big win for us.”  
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AngelsWin.com