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Showing content with the highest reputation on 02/11/2019 in all areas

  1. 4 points
    By Robert Cunningham, Angelswin.com Senior Writer Results 2018 was a banner year for Andrelton Simmons, who posted his best WAR season to-date in the Majors, at a sterling 5.5 WAR. Clearly a lot of that production was on the defensive side of the spectrum but he also turned in a 2nd consecutive above average offensive season too, begging the question of whether or not the Angels should consider extending him. You may agree or disagree but finding defensive-wizards at critical defensive positions that can post 5-WAR seasons is not an easy task, so it should be on the table in the author’s opinion. Beyond the actual physical results, Simmons continues to show how brilliant he is tactically on the baseball battlefield. His in-game awareness, ability to back-pick overly aggressive runners, and his range and coverage of the infield is second to none in baseball right now. Wins Above Replacement (WAR) So we mentioned above that 2018 was Andrelton’s best season of his career at 5.5 WAR. It is now the 2nd consecutive season that Simmons has exceeded the 5-WAR mark, as he posted 5.1 WAR last year in 2017. A significant amount of this WAR improvement has actually come on the offensive side of the ball as Andrelton has worked hard to improve his at-bat’s over the last two seasons. It is hard to gauge how long Simmons can operate at the 5-WAR level as defense is usually the first player ability that declines with age. Andrelton will be entering his age 29 season in 2019, so age-related decline is something coming into view on the horizon that Eppler and the Angels will need to consider if they really are interested in extending him past his last year of contractual control in 2020. Offense (wRC+) The main improvement has come from Andrelton’s increased Hard% (hard hit rate) over the last two seasons. In 2017 he had a Hard% of 29.2% and in 2018 he jumped to 36%. Both of these numbers exceed his career average of 27.4%. Also over those same two years, he has become more of a pull hitter. In 2017 he had a 45.3% Pull% and in 2018 it jumped to 51%, both higher than his career 42.3% Pull%. When you combine the harder hit balls to the pull-side along with slight increases in his isolated power (ISO), it has allowed Simmons to place the ball more in the outfield grass. BABIP has been favorable to Andrelton so that could possibly normalize but the changes in ISO and Hard% are probably real advancements that have led to the higher BABIP number so it is not too much of a concern. In the end he has matured as a hitter and it looks like those changes are here to stay resulting in overall better plate performance that should continue for at least the next couple of seasons, if not longer. Defense (DEF) To get a real taste and flavor of how good Andrelton Simmons is on defense, you need to perform a historical comparison of shortstops. Below is a table listing all shortstops from 2002-2018 with a minimum of 1000 innings played sorted by FanGraphs ‘DEF’ metric divided by total innings played to convert it to a rate statistic: Other than perhaps Nick Punto, no one else really comes close to Simmons consistent defensive rates. Even Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 innings agrees: In comparison to the nearest active player on the list, Francisco Lindor, who is also considered a fine defensive shortstop, Andrelton exceeds him by 32.5% in Def/Inn and by almost 50% in UZR/150! The point being made here is that Simmons is a truly gifted defensive player at the most defense-critical position in baseball. Due to the ‘Def’ and ‘UZR’ statistics being imprecise and a lack of quality information for previous generations it is hard to slot Andrelton in on a list of all-time great shortstops (think Mark Belanger, Ozzie Smith, Cal Ripken, Art Fletcher, Ernie Banks, et al) but you have to think he would give any of them a real run for their money. Eppler has made team defense a very high priority, particularly up-the-middle defense (C, SS, 2B, and CF) and if the Angels want to continue that pursuit of excellence keeping a guy like Simmons on the team would make a lot of sense. If Andrelton gets injured, the Angels currently have a backup option in Zack Cozart, himself a quality defensive shortstop, and Luis Rengifo down in the high Minors if things get really rough. Projections The Steamer projection system sees Andrelton hovering just below his 3-year running average of 4.4 WAR at 4 WAR. When you consider Simmons age (29 years old for most of the 2019 season) and the fact that defense is the first attribute that a player usually sees decline in, expecting a 4-5 WAR season is probably a reasonable hope for Angels fans. In fact his running 3-year average of 4.4 WAR is probably a good target. If Andrelton exceeds that number fantastic! If he falls short he is still excelling in all likelihood. Either way the Angels are getting what they paid for and more. This is probably the best value trade to-date for Billy Eppler and may go down as the best overall when all is said and done. Contractual Details Simmons is entering his 2nd to last year of contractual control in 2019. Currently, after the 2020 season is complete he will become a free agent. The current deal was $58M over 7 years that he signed with the Atlanta Braves, originally, prior to the 2014 season at the tender age of 24 years old. The Halos will pay Andrelton $13M in 2019 and $15M in 2020, albeit at a very team-friendly $8.3M average annual value (AAV) across those two seasons. It is the author’s opinion that the Angels should seriously consider a contract extension for Simmons. This contract value will vary based on your opinion of how defense-first players decline but let me offer up a rudimentary guess at a potential extension contract. Below is a table using a standard, basic WAR model, a defensive-decline model that discounts more than the standard model, and a historic comparison model: The first two models use Simmons 3-year running WAR average as a starting base and then add in a 7% year-to-year inflation and also age-related decline (the standard model) and, in the case of the defensive-decline model, additional negative WAR decline year-to-year. Now let me be clear: the author does not believe in either the standard or defensive-decline models. They are simply there to show you how WAR is still inaccurate as a tool for contract modeling for defense-first players. No one in their right mind would fork out $284M much less $197M for Andrelton in free agency in the author’s personal opinion (and probably the opinion of many, many others). This brings us to the historical comparison model which is simply taking two recent comparable players, Elvis Andrus and Troy Tulowitzki, and projecting a Simmons extension offer based on those deals. Here is Elvis Andrus’ last six years of his current contract that aligns well age-wise with Simmons: That is approximately $90M over six years and it is an easy case that a 7th year would tack on another $10M-$13M, bringing it up, just above, $100M. There is also an easy case to be made that Simmons is a superior player to Elvis but we will leave that alone for now. Now here is Troy Tulowitzki’s seven years starting at age 29: That is $114M in total for those years. There is a reasonable case to be made that Tulowitzki, when healthy, was a better overall player than Andrelton but that too we will not touch here. Inflation plays a factor here (and that is reflected in Andrus’ contract above) but reasonably there is a case to be made that on a 7-year deal, if it was presented to Andrelton this off-season, an extension contract would probably be somewhere in the $100M-$130M range. Simmons is clearly a superior defender to Andrus and in fact is a better hitter too. Andrelton has also been a much healthier, consistent player than Tulowitzki so there is a case, overall, that Simmons should be on the higher end of not only the salary range but the WAR range as well. Previously the author had pegged an estimated 6-year, $102M deal, beginning at the end of 2019, as a target. If the Angels were to jump a year early, it would probably be a 7-year, $120M extension contract. In the end, the Angels need to manage risk and waiting one more year will give them more information about Simmons health and performance. In the era of analytics more data equals greater knowledge and reduces financial exposure and risk. Waiting one more year is worth it from a front office perspective. Finally one more thing to consider is the available pool of replacement shortstops in the 2020-2021 off-season. In that off-season, it is a truly uninspiring group of names that includes Freddy Galvis and Jurickson Profar. However, in the following 2021-2022 off-season you see a more interesting group that includes Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, and Trevor Story among others. If the Angels were willing to bridge the 2021 season with a player like Luis Rengifo (himself a potential replacement, perhaps), they could choose to strike at a younger shortstop the year after. Replacement Options Part of the reason the Angels acquired Zack Cozart in free agency was to add insurance behind Simmons if he were to get injured and was out for an extended period of time. To be frank Cozart, despite his strong history of good defense at shortstop, is no Andrelton, in terms of defense. To be even more frank you would be hard pressed to find a better overall player at the position, except for perhaps Francisco Lindor or Manny Machado. Behind Cozart the Angels have depth in the high Minors with Luis Rengifo and, maybe, someone like David Fletcher. Long-term the Angels will need to consider the value of retaining Andrelton versus letting him enter free agency. That decision, based on the above, is more likely to come next off-season, prior to Simmons last year of control, when Eppler has more information to base his final decision on. Personally, the author believes Andrelton walks on water and would like to see him locked up sooner rather than later but the Angels could feel differently and may have other areas they want to focus their resources on in the future. It should be noted that Eppler almost certainly wants a strong defensive player at shortstop so that will definitely factor in to the strategic five-year outlook. Summary Andrelton Simmons is a terrific player to have on your team. He plays exceptional defense at the most defensive-critical position in baseball. His offense is above League-average and his wRC+ of 109, in 2018, was significantly above the League-average at shortstop of 95 wRC+. His in-game instincts and leadership on the field are second-to-none in the game right now. No one on this team takes his own personal mistakes more to heart than Simmons does, which drives him to constantly improve his game. In the end Andrelton is the type of player you want on your team. He is dedicated and committed to his craft and drives himself to perform at the highest level that he can at all times. That makes him a keeper in my book. View the full article
  2. 3 points
  3. 3 points

    AOC Thread

    83 days until the Kentucky Derby
  4. 3 points
    Simmons may be one of the more underrated stars in baseball. His 10.6 fWAR over the last two years is 12th among position players. That said, he's not a generational talent like Trout, so I'm OK if the Angels let him play out his current contract before extending him. I suspect that Simmons will age well and still be very good for at least another 4-5 years after 2020, so his age 31-34/35 seasons. He might swap out some of his defensive value for slightly better hitting and still be a 3-5 WAR player. But the Angels have some solid--and much cheaper--options in Fletcher and Rengifo, and eventually Jackson. None of these guys are likely to be as good as Simmons, but do you want to a 4-5 WAR guy for $20 million or a 2-3 WAR guy for a few million? Regardless of the answer, it doesn't hurt to see how the next couple years pan out. It is worth nothing that Simmons has improved offensively in each of the last four years. Check out his wRC+ over the last five years: 71, 81, 90, 103, 109. If the trend continues, he could have his best two years in 2019-20.
  5. 3 points
    Take a look at PlutoTV. Its legitimately free with tons of content. With the locals, companies are looking at offering a streaming platform for free. Locast has started their free streaming service in NY, Boston, Houston, and Denver. Hopefully it continues to grow. As people continue to cut cable, networks like History channel will start offering their own service. I can guarantee that the transition from cutting cable is easier than expected and will notice the cost savings.
  6. 3 points
    Nice to hear Trout is following the Lakers.
  7. 3 points
    Trout and wife sighting behind the scorers table at the nationally televised Sixers-Lakers game in Philly. No sign of Harper or Machado.
  8. 3 points
  9. 2 points
  10. 2 points
    Vegas Halo Fan

    Clean jokes thread

  11. 2 points
    A few comments that were added: Jack and Jill went up the hill to have a little fun, Jill forgot to take her pill and now they have a son. A variation on the above: Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water Jill forgot to take the pill and now they have a daughter Hickory Dickory Dock, 3 mice ran up a clock. The clock struck 1, and the other 2 escaped with minor injuries.
  12. 2 points

    We’re done....

    Didn't he say the same thing a couple weeks ago? I'm fine with that. Eppler has made some interesting signings--Harvey, Cahill, Lucroy, Bour, Allen, La Stella--that, as a group, have significant upside for 2019, while not hamstringing payroll in the long-run as more young players graduate to the majors. It should be an interesting season, but probably should be understand as a staging ground for success in the 2020s.
  13. 2 points
    Nice job Robert. I don't think it's gonna take 100m to keep Simmons considering what has been going on with the market. I thought it was going to at first as well.
  14. 2 points
    I'll give you an idea of what I am hoping for: 2019: maybe grab a 2nd wild card. If not, move guys on 1yr deals. Get a look at Adell, Canning, Suarez, Rengifo. Normal farm progression with one or two breakouts. Another solid draft. A Trout extension. In terms of specific players, I am hopeful yet not overly optimistic that Ward can become an everyday player. I think Herm can become a nice 4th OFer. I think one of Fletcher or Rengifo will grab a starting spot at 2b. I think Skaggs will develop into a solid #2 and maybe a borderline #1. 2020: We get Ohtani back on the mound and give him 25 or so starts. Rengifo is the everyday 2bman. We play the service time game with Adell and he comes up in mid to late April and take the job from Herm who is filling in. We add Gerritt Cole in the off season. Heaney continues to pitch like a #3. We go back to a 6 man rotation with Skaggs, Heaney and Cole making normal starts almost every 5th day and Ohtani, Barria, Suarez, Canning, Sandoval filling in the rest. Pujols announces 2020 will be his final year. We continue to piecemeal at C. The bullpen becomes a strength. We extend Simmons. One of Thaiss or Ward become an everyday player (hopefully Ward). Another good draft and appropriate farm development. Marsh and Jones get major league time. We win 92 games and the 2nd WC. 2021: We re-sign Skaggs. We now have a bunch of high ceiling prospects in the upper minors ready to fill gaps at the major league level or to function as trade bait. Rotation: Ohtani, Cole, Skaggs, Heaney, Barria, Canning, Suarez, Sandoval, Rodriguez, Soriano, Tropeano, Bradish, Hernandez etc Bullpen: Buttrey, Middleton, Anderson, JCR, Pena, Jewell, Walsh (LHer), Jerez, Cam, Robles, Meyer plus other farm hands that will emerge C - FA/Trade, Kruger, Smith 1b - Upton, Thaiss Ward, FA/Trade, Walsh 2b - Rengifo, Fletcher, Jones 3b - Ward, Fletcher, FA/Trade SS - Simmons, Rengifo, LF - Marsh, Upton, (Trout moves to LF maybe by then) CF - Trout, Adell, Knowles RF - Adell, Knowles, Marsh DH - Ohtani 4th OFer - Herm, Walsh, FA/Trade Util - Fletcher, Rengifo other prospects waiting in the wings - Adams, Jackson, Maitan and others. major salaries going to Trout, Skaggs, Upton, Simmons and arb guys.
  15. 2 points
    I think we all know that the Astros aren't completely going away any time soon and I think the Angels know this as well. Yet I doubt it's their motivation for doing what they are. The Angels are building from within because it's the most sustainable model for long term success. I do think the Angels ultimately have more spending power so when the time is right, they have make some move the Astros can't afford. But the Astros have shown to be a really smart/savvy org. They could be going balls out with FA signings or trades right now but they've got a recent WS and likely want to maintain a consistent open window for success. That should tell you a lot about Keuchel actually. He could help them right now but they don't want to see what that contract looks like in 3 or 4 years. As mentioned, Cole is a FA after this year. He'll be a highly sought after target who I am sure the Halos would be in on if he doesn't get extended. Verlander is 36. He's gonna regress at some point. They've already got Altuve long term at 30m per. It will be interesting to see how well he ages. Maybe I'm biased, but his decline might be pretty sharp. After 2020, they've got Altuve, one year of Correa, two years of Bregman, one year of McCullers. I am sure they'll keep a couple of their current players and they've got a good farm. If we extend Trout and Simmons and along with Ohtani we've got a similar core. We've also got a good farm. So starting as early as next year, the division could start being a dogfight between the Astros, Angels and A's for the next 3 or 4 years.
  16. 2 points
    Vegas Halo Fan

    Random pics or Gifs for no reason

    This was in Florida. Big shock there. I would settle for Canada Dry Cream Soda. Looks like a pretty laid back guy. Probably not a lot of competition for most of the jobs that he gets. Not just killed, but killed to death.
  17. 2 points
  18. 2 points

    AOC Thread

    Yes im sure business will be fine with that 45 minute flight turning into like 3 or 4 hours at best. Have we learned nothing from the high speed clusterfuck in CA thats ballooned its budget and still might never happen? Its easy to think of these things in theory, reality is another matter.
  19. 2 points

    WTF is with this bleeping weather?

    You do not have any right to complain. This should be a bannable offense.
  20. 1 point

    AOC Thread

    A 3-4 train ride may actually be quicker (or no time difference) when you consider the hassle and waiting for an airplane. It’s certainly more relaxing. I’m on a train in Austria right now.
  21. 1 point
    Fletcher isn't a SS. His defense isn't adequate there. Rengifo could be a replacement, but I think he profiles better at a 2bman. I think it's worth 15-18m per to keep Simmons. Partly because even if either of those guys could produce 2-3 WAR for league min, we still need to fill 2b and 3b,
  22. 1 point
    I think you're gonna see a big difference next year when we get Ohtani back on the mound and sign one of the top FA pitchers. My guess is we'll have a legit shot at the division. This year we've got a shot to make the playoffs. You're gonna see a top 5 offense, good to very good pen. The rotation is a huge mystery and will determine the fate of 2019. people forget that the biggest reason we've been a .500 team (or so) the last two years is injuries. Otherwise we'd have probably won at least one WC spot and had a couple of 88-90 win seasons.
  23. 1 point

    Question re: cord cutting

    Because Blarg can write it off.
  24. 1 point
    arch stanton

    No more "Disabled List"

    Change noted. On with my life
  25. 1 point

    lol A's (Kyler Murray)

    They were going to trade him anyway.

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