So, You Want to Make a Trade? Part 1—It’s a Lot More Complicated Than You Think

By David Saltzer, 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, and posting thousands of trade ideas on sites like 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.
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2018 Trade Deadline Series: Potential Trade Assets

By Robert Cunningham, 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.  Blake Parker 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. Martin Maldonado  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. Jose Alvarez  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. Ian Kinsler  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. Conclusion  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.
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2018 Trade Deadline Series: Methodology

By Robert Cunningham, 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.
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How Tyler Skaggs has emerged to be the Angels ace

By Steve Zavala, 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.
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Four More Moves The Los Angeles Angels Need to Make: 2018 Midseason Edition

By Tres Hefter, 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.
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Why Mike Trout Might Be the Most Dominant Player Ever

By Jonathan Northrop, 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…. NONE. 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.
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Mid Season Angels All-Star Minor League Team

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. -Starters- 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 -Reserves- 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 -Starting Pitchers- 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 -Relief Pitchers- 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
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Los Angeles Angels Midseason Minor League Update

Here’s a midseason snapshot of what the Angels prospects and minor league depth have done to this point of the season. STARTING PITCHERS Jose Suarez (20, LHP, A+/AA/AAA): 11 GS, 47.1 IP, 46 H, only 1 HR allowed, 15 walks, 75 strikeouts (14.3 K/9!), 1.29 WHIP, 2.85 ERA Griffin Canning (21, RHP, A+/AA): 10 GS, 44.2 IP, only 20 hits allowed, 2 HR allowed, 21 walks, 51 strikeouts, 0.92 WHIP, 1.21 ERA – 2018 AA All-Star John Lamb (27, LHP, AAA): 12 GS, 46 IP, 46 hits allowed, 12 walks, 51 strikeouts, 1.26 WHIP, 3.72 ERA Luis Pena (22, RHP, AA): 11 GS, 54 IP, 41 hits allowed, 25 walks, 59 strikeouts, 1.22 WHIP, 4.50 ERA Jose Rodriguez (22, RHP, AA): 11 GS, 53 IP, 58 hits allowed, only 3 HR allowed, 16 walks, 50 strikeouts, 1.40 WHIP, 4.58 ERA Worth watching… Joe Gatto (23, RHP, A+): 11 GS, 50.1 IP, 54 hits allowed, 24 walks, 56 strikeouts, 1.55 WHIP, 5.54 ERA Luis Madero (21, RHP, A): 10 GS, 44.1 IP, 41 hits allowed, 3 HR allowed, 8 walks, 35 strikeouts, 1.11 WHIP, 3.05 ERA Felix Pena (28, RHP, AAA): 8 GS, 26 IP, 24 hits allowed, 12 walks, 34 strikeouts, 1.38 WHIP, 4.15 ERA (as a starter) RELIEVERS Jeremy Rhoades (25, RHP, AA/AAA): 19 G, 35 IP, 25 H, 2 HR allowed, 5 walks, 26 strikeouts (14.3 K/9!), 0.86 WHIP, 1.80 ERA Jake Jewell (25, RHP, AA/AAA): 20 G, 32 IP, 34 hits allowed, only 1 HR allowed, 15 walks, 30 strikeouts, 1.53 WHIP, 2.53 ERA Ryan Clark (24, RHP, A+/AA/AAA): 20 G, 28 IP, 23 hits allowed, 0 home runs allowed, 10 walks, 38 strikeouts, 1.18 WHIP, 1.61 ERA (converted to bullpen this year) Tyler Stevens (22, RHP, A+/AA): 20 G, 30.2 IP, 24 hits allowed, 3 HR allowed, 8 walks, 39 strikeouts, 1.04 WHIP, 2.05 ERA Daniel Procopio (22, RHP, A+/AA): 15 G, 24 IP, 16 hits allowed, zero HR allowed, 18 walks, 38 strikeouts, 1.42 WHIP, 3.75 ERA Connor Lillis-White (25, LHP, AA): 15 G, 27.1 IP, 24 hits allowed, only 1 HR allowed, 15 walks, 38 strikeouts, 1.42 WHIP, 3.95 ERA Worth watching… Matt Custred (24, RHP, A+/AA): 18 G, 29.2 IP, 15 hits allowed, zero home runs, 19 walks, 33 strikeouts, 1.15 WHIP, 3.03 ERA Greg Mahle (25, LHP, AA): 18 G, 24 IP, 14 hits allowed, zero home runs, 9 walks, 24 strikeouts, 0.96 WHIP, 1.88 ERA – allowing lefties to a .083 BAA through 10 innings (one hit) with 2 BB and 12 K Adrian Almeida (23, LHP, A+/AA): 19 GS, 30.2 IP, 19 hits allowed, only 1 HR allowed, 27 walks, 41 strikeouts, 1.50 WHIP, 2.64 ERA CATCHERS Juan Graterol (29, b:R/t: R, C, AAA): 24 G, 96 PA – .322/.3437/.378/.725 with 5 doubles, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts, 32% CS% Francisco Arcia (28, L/R, C, AA/AAA) 15 G, 59 PA – .364/.386/.473/.859 with 2 HR, 2 walks, and 9 strikeouts, 17% CS% Michael Barash (23, R/R, AA): 39 G, 161 PA – .208/.346/.300/.646 with 6 doubles, 2 HR, 27 walks, 32 strikeouts, 17% CS%, 2018 AA All-Star Jack Kruger (23, R/R, A+): 47 G, 211 PA – .291/.389/.385/.773 with 8 doubles, 3 HR, 26 walks, 27 strikeouts, 24% CS% Worth watching… Keinner Pina (21, R/R, A): 36 G, 155 PA – ..248/.303/.298/.601 with 5 doubles, 1 triple, 11 walks, 38 strikeouts, 41% CS% CORNER INFIELDERS Matt Thaiss (23, b:L/t:R, 1B AA/AAA): 52 G, 233 PA – .294/.357/.519/.876 with 15 doubles, 3 triples, 9 home runs, 20 walks, 42 strikeouts, .993 FP% Taylor Ward (24, R/R, 3B, AA/AAA) 45 G, 192 PA – .335/.437/.512/.949 with 8 doubles, 7 home runs, 30 walks, 35 strikeouts, 8 for 9 in SB attempts, .919 FP% – 2018 AA All-Star Jared Walsh (24, L/L, 1B, RF, RP, A+/AA): 53 G, 232 PA – .290/.388/.632/1.020 with 13 doubles, 1 triple, 17 home runs, 34 walks, 64 strikeouts, .993 FP% – also pitched 3 G, 3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K Jose Miguel Fernandez (30, L/R, 1B, 3B, 2B, AAA): 53 G, 226 PA – .345/.412/.562/.973 with 12 doubles, 1 triple, 10 home runs, 20 walks, 19 strikeouts, .995% (1 error) Worth watching… Zach Houchins (25, R/R, 3B, RF, 1B, AA/AAA) 40 G, 155 PA – .301/.342/.462/.803 with 6 doubles, 1 triple, 5 home runs, 8 walks, 34 strikeouts – .990 FP% Jose Rojas (25, L/R 1B, 3B, 2B, DH, AA): 36 G, 148 PA – .288/.365/.492/.857 with 5 doubles, 2 triples, 6 home runs, 16 walks, 34 strikeouts – .949 FP% Dustin Ackley (30, L/R 1B, LF, 2B, DH, AAA): 25 G, 102 PA – .337/.431/.488/.920 with 4 doubles, 3 home runs, 14 walks, 9 strikeouts – .995 FP% MID-INFIELDERS David Fletcher (24, R/R, SS, 2B, 3B, AAA): 52 G, 246 PA – .350/.396/.580/.976 with 24 doubles, 5 triples, 6 home runs, 15 walks, 17 strikeouts, 6 for 8 in SB attempts, .981 FP% Luis Rengifo (21, S/R, SS, A+/AA): 53 G, 245 PA – .329/.424/.467/.891 with 13 doubles, 5 triples, 2 home runs, 31 walks, 25 strikeouts, 26 for 27 in SB attempts, .963 FP% Jahmai Jones (20, R/R, 2B, A+): 49 G, 227 PA – .249/.348/.426/.774 with 7 doubles, 5 triples, 6 home runs, 27 walks, 46 strikeouts, 7 for 10 in SB attempts, .953 FP% Kaleb Cowart (26, S/R, SS, RF, 3B, 2B, AAA): 35 G, 162 PA – .302/.352/.456/.808 with 12 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs, 11 walks, 34 strikeouts, .951 FP% Leonardo Rivas (20, S/R,SS, 2B, A): 51 G, 238 PA – .241/.380/.340/.720 with 7 doubles, 3 triples, 2 home runs, 42 walks, 53 strikeouts, 5 for 9 in SB attempts, .964 FP% Worth watching… Nolan Fontana (27, L/R, 2B, DSL) 19 G, 87 PA – .266/.430/.453/.883 with 7 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run, 19 walks, 18 strikeouts .977 FP% Roberto Baldoquin (24, R/R, SS, 3B, 2B, A+) 21 G, 87 PA – .316/.395/.487/.882 with 2 doubles, 4 triples, 1 home run, 8 walks, 22 strikeouts, 3 for 3 in SB attempts, .970 FP% Julio de la Cruz (17, R/R, A+/AA): 3 G, 13 PA – .273/.385/.636/1.021 with 1 double, 1 home run, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts – very good debut last year as a 16-yr old Hutton Moyer (25, S/R, DH, 3B, 2B, SS, AA): 31 G, 133 PA – .205/.256/.393/.649 with 3 doubles, triple, 6 home runs, 8 walks, 44 strikeouts, 7 for 11 in SB attempts, .989 FP% – started red hot and crashed OUTFIELDERS Jo Adell (19, b:R/t: R, CF, RF, LF, A/A+): 38 G, 166 PA – .267/.331/.533/.865 with 9 doubles, 2 triples, 9 home runs, 14 walks, 45 strikeouts, 7 for 8 in SB attempts, .938 FP% Brandon Marsh (20, L/R, RF, CF, LF, A/A+): 50 G, 227 PA – .266/.352/.392/.744 with 14 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs, 27 walks, 59 strikeouts, 8 for 8 in SB attempts, 3 assists, .966 FP% Torii Hunter, Jr. (23, R/R, LF, CF, RF, A) 46 G, 207 PA – .274/.362/.391/.753 with 8 doubles, 5 triples, 1 home run, 26 walks, 55 strikeouts, 14 for 16 in SB attempts, 2 assists, 1.000 FP% Michael Hermosillo (23, R/R, CF, RF, LF AAA) 40 G, 187 PA – .265/.387/.477/.865 with 4 doubles, 4 triples, 7 home runs, 21 walks, 56 strikeouts, 7 for 10 in SB attempts, 6 assists, .971 FP% Jabari Blash (28, R/R, RF, LF, CF, AAA): 42 G, 180 PA – .327/.417/.737/1.154 with 17 doubles, 1 triple, 15 home runs, 19 walks, 55 strikeouts, 5 assists, .972 FP% Worth watching… Rymer Liriano (27, R/R, CF, RF, LF, AAA): 40 G, 163 PA – .264/.340/.569/.909 with 4 doubles, 2 triples, 12 home runs, 5 for 5 in SB attempts, 16 walks, 52 strikeouts, 6 assists, .976 FP% Sherman Johnson (27, L/R, LF, 2B, 3B, SS, RF, AAA): 12 G, 48 PA – .286/.354/.738/1.092 with 3 doubles, 2 triples, 4 home runs, 5 walks, 9 strikeouts, .950 FP% Zach Gibbons (24, R/R, LF, RF AA): 42 G, 162 PA – .283/.352/.338/.690 with 6 doubles,1 triple, 16 walks, 17 strikeouts, 3 assists, .985 FP% – 2018 AA All-Star
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Angels OF Prospect Brandon Marsh Talks with

Interview Conducted by David Saltzer, 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 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.
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Check out this AMAZING Mike Trout 2014 MVP Word Art

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: Print Options: $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
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Angels OF Prospect Jo Adell Talks with

Interview by David Saltzer, 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, 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.
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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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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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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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It's Time for MLB to Expand to Las Vegas

By David Saltzer, 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, 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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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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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, 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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The Hitting King

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

By David Saltzer, Senior Writer According to, 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, 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 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. 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 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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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.