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  1. This post is brought to you in partnership with NadaMoo! A big slice of fruit-filled summer pie demands a scoop of something creamy and cool alongside — it’s just not the same without! But if you or your guests are avoiding dairy for any reason, we don’t want you to miss out on the fun. Start with a vegan pie crust and then pair your pie with a pint of NadaMoo! Continue reading "Skip the Dairy: Serve Your Summer Pies with NadaMoo!" » View the full article
  2. ANAHEIM — If the Angels are to keep up with Mike Trout’s historic season, they are going to need more nights like this one from their non-Trouts. Luis Valbuena and Kole Calhoun, two of the players who have struggled the most for the Angels this season, combined for three homers in the Angels’ 8-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night. Valbuena had hit second multi-homer game of the season, with a two-run homer and a solo blast. Calhoun hit a two-run shot in the fourth to put the Angels ahead for good. Meanwhile, Trout was Trout. In his 1,000th career game, Trout walked three times and scored twice. He has now reached base in 32 of his last 42 plate appearances, continuing what is on pace to be a historic season in a historic career. The Angels distributed a page full of facts and statistics about Trout’s performance after 1,000 games in relation to various Hall of Famers at the same juncture in his career. Trout is hitting .308 with 224 homers, 483 extra-base hits, 617 RBIs, 175 stolen bases, 638 walks and 754 runs. The only other players with a .300 average, 450 extra-base hits and 150 stolen bases in their first 1,000 games are Willie Mays and Alex Rodriguez. The only players with 480 extra-base hits and 600 walks are Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Ted Williams. Sign up for Home Turf and get 3 exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here. For as amazing as Trout has been, the Angels have mostly muddled along – throughout his career and this season – because there haven’t been enough exceptional performances around Trout. Calhoun and Valbuena had been particular issues for the Angels this season. Right field is normally an offensive position, and because of Calhoun’s issues the Angels had the worst production in the majors out of the spot. Valbuena plays first and third, also positions typically manned by productive offensive players. Calhoun and Valbuena were also two of the Angels’ only left-handed hitters, so the lineup was out of balance without them producing. Calhoun was hitting .145 before going on the disabled list with a strained oblique, and he returned with a new stance. In his first three games back, he’s 4 for 10 with two homers. He hadn’t hit a homer since opening day. Related Articles Mike Trout, Tyler Skaggs limited by injuries, but neither added to Angels’ DL An opposing scout’s view of the Angels’ improving farm system Mike Trout sparks Angels to second win in their last nine games, 5-4 over Diamondbacks In Jordyn Adams and Jeremiah Jackson, Angels drafted a pair of friends Diamondbacks hand Angels their 7th loss in 8 games Valbuena hadn’t hit a homer since May 29, when he hit two. He was in a 5-for-42 slump, including strikeouts in his first two at-bats on Thursday. He then belted homers in his next two at-bats, helping the Angels to their first two-game winning streak in two weeks. Starter John Lamb, however, wasn’t around to pick up the victory in his hometown debut. A product of Laguna Hills High, Lamb had not pitched at Angel Stadium because he was in the National League for parts of two years in the big leagues. He got a start a day earlier than expected because Tyler Skaggs was scratched with hamstring tightness. It didn’t quite go as Lamb would have hoped. After a perfect first inning, the left-hander gave up single runs in the second, third and fourth innings, to fall behind 3-2. Noé Ramírez, though, entered and retired all eight hitters he faced, allowing the Angels time to come back and push their lead to as much as four runs. More to come on this story. View the full article
  3. ANAHEIM — Two more Angels are dealing with injuries, and they only happen to be the best player and the starting pitcher who has performed the best. On the bright side, neither was significant enough to merit a trip to the disabled list. Mike Trout, who was to play the 1,000th game of his career on Thursday, has a sprained right index finger, which will not keep him out of the lineup but will keep him out of center field. Trout said it only hurts when he tries to throw, so he was the lineup at DH on Thursday night, his second straight game at that spot. Tyler Skaggs was scratched from Thursday’s scheduled start with right hamstring tightness. The Angels had an extra day from Wednesday’s off day, so they simply moved the other pitchers up a day. John Lamb took Thursday’s start. Andrew Heaney and Jaime Barría will start on Friday and Saturday, with Sunday’s starter undetermined. Manager Mike Scioscia said Skaggs felt some tightness a few days ago while working out. “We want to err on the side of caution to get him where he wouldn’t be at risk,” Scioscia said. “Hopefully in a couple more days we’ll look to see when he can get back out there.” Because Skaggs hasn’t appeared since last Friday, the Angels could easily have put him on the 10-day disabled list if he was going to miss as few as the next seven days. The fact that they didn’t do that indicates they believe there’s a chance he’ll be able to pitch in the next week. As for Trout, he said he started to feel some discomfort throwing over the weekend in Oakland. He played center field on Monday, but then he told trainers it was bothering him. “When I throw, it’s pretty painful,” he said. Trout said it doesn’t bother him at all when he’s hitting, so he will continue to do that. He will be re-evaluated each day. “I’m just grinding right now,” Trout said. “I’m trying to play through it and get it right.” MORE INJURY UPDATES Chris Young, who came out of Tuesday’s game with a hamstring injury, was apparently well enough on Thursday that he did not need to go on the disabled list. Young was not starting, though. The Angels recalled Michael Hermosillo and he started and played center field. Hermosillo took the roster spot of Jake Jewell, who had been optioned after Tuesday’s game. Garrett Richards (strained hamstring) has begun playing catch and he’s still undergoing treatment, but he “still has work to do,” Scioscia said. Nick Tropeano (shoulder) is “scheduled to pick up a ball this weekend sometime,” Scioscia said. Zack Cozart (shoulder) has been hitting off a tee. Jefry Marte (wrist) has also been given clearance to swing. René Rivera (knee surgery) took batting practice on the field on Friday, but he hasn’t squatted yet. MOVING UP Griffin Canning, a product of UCLA and Santa Margarita High, was promoted from Double-A to Triple-A, his second promotion in the first three months of his first professional season. Canning, the Angels’ second-round pick last year, has a 1.66 ERA between Class-A Inland Empire and Double-A Mobile. He has started two combined no-hitters. Canning did not pitch in the minors last season because the Angels wanted to limit his workload after his college season. UP NEXT Angels (Andrew Heaney, 3-5, 3.64) vs. Blue Jays (Marco Estrada, 4-6, 4.66), Friday, 7 p.m., Fox Sports West, KLAA (830 AM) Related Articles An opposing scout’s view of the Angels’ improving farm system Mike Trout sparks Angels to second win in their last nine games, 5-4 over Diamondbacks In Jordyn Adams and Jeremiah Jackson, Angels drafted a pair of friends Diamondbacks hand Angels their 7th loss in 8 games Angels’ Kole Calhoun saw DL stint as a welcome mental, physical breather View the full article
  4. As the Morton’s Steakhouse in South Coast Plaza wound down for the night, William Lewis was still pouring wine. A restaurateur’s hours are long, the perks often subtle. One subtle perk: it isn’t easy for a ballplayer to get clean, change his clothes, leave Angel Stadium after the final out, and still have time to eat a steak and drink a glass of wine. All of Orange County closes shop too soon, or at least it did back then, Lewis said. He began as a sommelier at Morton’s when Manager Terry Collins wore a pinstriped periwinkle jersey and Gary Disarcina, Dave Hollins, Troy Glaus and Darin Erstad were the big names in town. He saw them often. “They would call me,” Lewis recalled. “That’s how they got to know me because I would be open a little bit later. They would just give me a quick call. … We could take care of the guys, they would be in there for the most part by themselves. There wouldn’t be fans bugging them. They could have a nice dinner. They could just be guys eating their dinner, and they would get out of there.” As Lewis poured the wine – he was Morton’s sommelier and assistant general manager – he did not discuss baseball. Win or lose, the conversation was the same. How’s your wife? How are the kids? How’s the wine? The faces changed over the years – Howie Kendrick, Jered Weaver, Torii Hunter – but a baseball player’s quest for a good, late meal did not. It helped that visiting teams often stayed at the Westin Hotel down the street from Morton’s. Lewis said he gathered a decent collection of autographs over the years, something he could give his son one day. Years later, Lewis decided to strike out on his own. He opened his first Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar in Tustin in 2007. A third location opened its doors in La Jolla five months ago. Business is good. That ought to please Weaver and Erstad, whom Lewis said helped with his initial investment. Lewis, a former football wide receiver at Fullerton Junior College and Chico State, said he told his family that famous athletes sometimes stopped in for a meal. Hunter, a frequent diner during his years with the Angels (2008-12), just happened to be one of his oldest son’s favorite players. But if William Lewis specifically mentioned getting to know Hunter, Royce Lewis doesn’t remember. “(Hunter) gave my dad his phone number but he kept it real low-key,” Royce said. “He never told me (Hunter) was in his phone contacts. I’d ask him, ‘did you see him hit a home run?’ He’d say, ‘yeah it was cool.’” Royce Lewis turned into a pretty good baseball player himself. In four years at JSerra Catholic High, his team won three Trinity League championships. In 2016, Lewis won a gold medal with the USA Baseball 18U National Team. Pick an individual award given to the best baseball players in Southern California; Lewis probably won it. In June 2017, the Minnesota Twins held the first overall pick in the amateur draft. Hunter was nearly two years into his retirement and a special advisor to the Twins’ front office. He was the perfect bridge from chief baseball officer Thad Levine and General Manager Derek Falvey to whichever young man heard his name called atop the draft. Lewis, a shortstop, was the Twins’ choice at number 1. That was the day he remembers his father breaking the news: oh yeah, by the way, I’ve known Torii Hunter for years. That was the day William Lewis broke the news to Hunter: oh yeah, by the way, you just drafted my son. Hunter “was just surprised that I didn’t tell him,” William Lewis said. “Then he was happy for me. He said, ‘you didn’t tell me?’ I said I’m not going to talk about my kid who’s 10 years old when I met him. That’s how long ago it was.” Flash forward a year. Royce Lewis said he and Hunter have their own relationship now. After last season ended, Lewis spent about a week with Hunter at his home in Dallas. Just like his father, Royce Lewis didn’t always talk about baseball with Hunter: “Tutoring. Life skills. He taught me how to live my life, do it the right way.” The early reviews on Lewis the baseball player are good. He has a .302 batting average for the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Kernels, the Twins’ Class-A affiliate. Tuesday, he played in the Midwest League All-Star Game. William Lewis flew out for the occasion. Hunter was there, too. Royce Lewis went 1 for 2 with a single and a stolen base. The off-the-field reviews on Lewis are very similar to the off-the-field reviews of Hunter. “He’s such a good kid, he doesn’t want to disappoint anyone,” said Jeremy Zoll, the Twins’ director of minor league operations. “That comes in the form of answering all the fan mail, reading every letter, signing for the fans, saying yes to the interview requests. That’s different than being a high school player in Orange County, even with all the attention that comes with that. Toby Gardenhire (the Kernels’ manager) is trying to help him with it.” If there is a moral to this story, it’s that in baseball, it isn’t always about who you know. William Lewis had plenty of opportunities to share glowing reviews of his teenage son’s baseball career with the professional athletes who ate at his restaurant. He didn’t. He didn’t want to. His son got a $6.725 million signing bonus anyway. With Hunter, “we just talked about family, the kids, things like this – normal conversation, you know – and just feeding him a good meal,” William Lewis said. “If he wants a nice glass of wine, he knows where to go.” View the full article
  5. AngelsWin.com

    Four More Moves: 2018 Midseason Edition

    By Tres Hefter, AngelsWin.com Contributor Piggybacking off this thread from the winter…with so many threads jumping up each day on different bullpen trade ideas, I thought it might be a good time to create one centralized “What would you do?” thread for all to post their ideas in. We’re still 6 weeks out from the trade deadline, but signs point to an earlier than usual trade market developing this year, and the Angels certainly are in a position where they may need to move sooner rather than later to stay in the race. Needs and costs will obviously change over the next month and a half, but we’re probably at a point where we can generalize these ideas enough to come close to the mark. Here’s my ideas… 1) Acquire a controllable SP // Angels trade LHP Jose Suarez, OF Michael Hermosillo, and IF Leonardo Rivas to Miami for RHP Jose Urena The Angels receive Urena (2-8, 4.18 ERA, 3.75 FIP, 1.16 WHIP) immediately steps into the back of the Angels rotation and offers stability with significant upside at a great value, as he’s making league-minimum and is under control through 2021. His presence allows the Angels to utilize Tropeano and Pena as additional bullpen depth, and he helps fill a 2019 rotation void if Richards leaves via FA. The Marlins receive an MLB-ready SP prospect in Suarez who would have been titled an Angels’ rotation too far left, an OF prospect they can play everyday instead of Shuck and Maybin, and a promising potential lead-off hitter and IF prospect in Rivas. Expansion Idea: The Angels add OF Brandon Marsh (and perhaps RHP Cam Bedrosian) to the deal, and receive either RHP Kyle Barraclough (1.11 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 0.77 WHIP, 9.5 K/9) or RHP Drew Streckenrider (3.55 ERA, 3.01 FIP, 1.24 WHIP, 10.9 K/9) as well, replacing the #2 trade on my list. Comparable Targets: Dylan Bundy (BAL), Jake Junis (KCR), Aaron Sanchez (TOR), Zack Wheeler (NYM), or Jameson Taillon (PIT) with Marsh added into the deal. 2) Acquire a controllable RP // Angels trade RHP Joe Gatto, RHP Jesus Castillo, and RHP Cam Bedrosian to Toronto for RHP Ryan Tepera The Angels acquire a steady reliever in Tepera (2.75 ERA, 3.51 FIP, 1.17 WHIP, 9.5 K/9) who comes under control through 2021 and cheaply, on the verge of entering arbitration. The Blues Jays receive a change of scenery project in the option-less Bedrosian who is squeezed out of the ‘win-now’ Angels pen, as well as 12 years of control of projectable arms who should see MLB innings in Gatto and Castillo who are a little less crucial after the acquisition of Urena and growth of Canning, Barria, Pena, and Jose Rodriguez, as well as the ’18 draft class. Comparable Targets: Adam Cimber, Kirby Yates (SDP), Mychal Givens (BAL), Ryan Stanek, Jose Alvarado, Chaz Roe, Matt Andriese (TBR), Jared Hughes (CIN), Tony Barnette (TEX), Bruce Rondon, Luis Avilan, Xavier Cedeno (CWS), Sam Freeman, Jesse Biddle, Dan Winkler (ATL), Alex Wilson, Shane Greene, Louis Coleman (DET), Kevin McCarthy (KCR) 3) Acquire another RP, either a pending FA or expensive vet // Angels trade RHP Cole Duensing and OF Nonie Williams to Chicago for RHP Joakim Soria The Angels add another layer of depth to the pen, absorbing a few million in salary for veteran presence and potentially declining talent. Soria (3.00 ERA, 2.50 FIP, 1.15 WHIP, 10 K/9) provides an option with closer experience. The White Sox receive salary relief, but also two once-heralded prospects who have failed to achieve any real results, but still have time on their side. Comparable Targets: Darren O’Day (BAL), Tyler Clippard (TOR), Bud Norris (STL), David Hernandez (CIN), Yusmeiro Petit (OAK), Anthony Swarzak (NYM), Trevor Cahill (OAK), any of the names mentioned in #2 4) DFA Luis Valbuena…and maybe Jefry Marte. Luis, I’ve been one of your strongest supporters, but you haven’t been able to find a rhythm this year and the future is nigh. Cut bait and send him packing, maybe he gets warm enough Eppler is able to replicate a Cron for Rengifo or David Hernandez for Luis Madero heist. Jose Fernandez replace Luis, and while he won’t match the power numbers, he’ll be a far steadier and balanced offensive player, costing pennies and able to play additional positions. If Marte returns and also fails to produce, he too finds an end to his Angel days, replaced by Fletcher, Cowart, or even Thaiss or Ward. …and, cheating a bit by throwing a hypothetical fifth move (or first post-midseason move?) one post-deadline August trade possibility: 5) Acquire Adam Jones or Andrew McCutchen Either would handle 4th OF/RF during a stretch run or playoff series, should Calhoun, Young, and Blash fail to ever amount to anything. Their salaries and age are high enough that it likely wouldn’t cost much more than one or two of names like, at most, Jewell, Pena, Rodriguez, Barash, Lund, Walsh, Houchins. Resulting roster: SP: Likely Richards, Skaggs, Heaney, Barria, Urena, with Lamb, Felix Pena, Luis Pena, Miguel Almonte, and Canning as depth, and Ohtani, Trop, Shoemaker on DL and possible to return. RP: Soria, Parker, Tepera, Anderson, Alvarez, Noe Ramirez with above SPs, Jewell, Paredes, Morris as depth and Johnson on DL. Line-up: Remains the same. Bench: Fernandez IF, Briceno/Rivera C, Marte/Fletcher/Ward/Thaiss/Cowart IF, and Chris and Eric Young/Liriano/Blash/Revere as 4th OF options New Top 30 Prospects: Adell, Canning, Marsh, Jones, Thaiss, Ward, Maitan, Jordyn Adams, Rengifo, Jeremiah Jackson, C. Rodriguez, Soriano, Lund, Rivera, Deveaux, Hunter Jr., Pena, Knowles, J. Rodriguez, Soto, Walsh, Gibbons, Bradish, Hernandez, Yan, English, Uceta, O. Martinez, A. Ramirez*, Bonilla* Graduates: Barria, Fletcher, Jewell, Paredes Departures: Suarez, Hermosillo, Rivas, Gatto, Castillo, Duensing, Nonie Williams I tried to make moves that took advantage of our farm, without eating into our best prospects, and still securing MLB-ready players who would help for the long-term without breaking payroll. It also sets up the team well enough to still conceivably push for the playoffs now, but definitely doesn’t boost our chances significantly. Do you have a take or want to leave a comment on this article? Click on our logo below to enter the discussion on this topic. View the full article
  6. By Tres Hefter, AngelsWin.com Contributor Piggybacking off this thread from the winter…with so many threads jumping up each day on different bullpen trade ideas, I thought it might be a good time to create one centralized “What would you do?” thread for all to post their ideas in. We’re still 6 weeks out from the trade deadline, but signs point to an earlier than usual trade market developing this year, and the Angels certainly are in a position where they may need to move sooner rather than later to stay in the race. Needs and costs will obviously change over the next month and a half, but we’re probably at a point where we can generalize these ideas enough to come close to the mark. Here’s my ideas… 1) Acquire a controllable SP // Angels trade LHP Jose Suarez, OF Michael Hermosillo, and IF Leonardo Rivas to Miami for RHP Jose Urena The Angels receive Urena (2-8, 4.18 ERA, 3.75 FIP, 1.16 WHIP) immediately steps into the back of the Angels rotation and offers stability with significant upside at a great value, as he’s making league-minimum and is under control through 2021. His presence allows the Angels to utilize Tropeano and Pena as additional bullpen depth, and he helps fill a 2019 rotation void if Richards leaves via FA. The Marlins receive an MLB-ready SP prospect in Suarez who would have been titled an Angels’ rotation too far left, an OF prospect they can play everyday instead of Shuck and Maybin, and a promising potential lead-off hitter and IF prospect in Rivas. Expansion Idea: The Angels add OF Brandon Marsh (and perhaps RHP Cam Bedrosian) to the deal, and receive either RHP Kyle Barraclough (1.11 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 0.77 WHIP, 9.5 K/9) or RHP Drew Streckenrider (3.55 ERA, 3.01 FIP, 1.24 WHIP, 10.9 K/9) as well, replacing the #2 trade on my list. Comparable Targets: Dylan Bundy (BAL), Jake Junis (KCR), Aaron Sanchez (TOR), Zack Wheeler (NYM), or Jameson Taillon (PIT) with Marsh added into the deal. 2) Acquire a controllable RP // Angels trade RHP Joe Gatto, RHP Jesus Castillo, and RHP Cam Bedrosian to Toronto for RHP Ryan Tepera The Angels acquire a steady reliever in Tepera (2.75 ERA, 3.51 FIP, 1.17 WHIP, 9.5 K/9) who comes under control through 2021 and cheaply, on the verge of entering arbitration. The Blues Jays receive a change of scenery project in the option-less Bedrosian who is squeezed out of the ‘win-now’ Angels pen, as well as 12 years of control of projectable arms who should see MLB innings in Gatto and Castillo who are a little less crucial after the acquisition of Urena and growth of Canning, Barria, Pena, and Jose Rodriguez, as well as the ’18 draft class. Comparable Targets: Adam Cimber, Kirby Yates (SDP), Mychal Givens (BAL), Ryan Stanek, Jose Alvarado, Chaz Roe, Matt Andriese (TBR), Jared Hughes (CIN), Tony Barnette (TEX), Bruce Rondon, Luis Avilan, Xavier Cedeno (CWS), Sam Freeman, Jesse Biddle, Dan Winkler (ATL), Alex Wilson, Shane Greene, Louis Coleman (DET), Kevin McCarthy (KCR) 3) Acquire another RP, either a pending FA or expensive vet // Angels trade RHP Cole Duensing and OF Nonie Williams to Chicago for RHP Joakim Soria The Angels add another layer of depth to the pen, absorbing a few million in salary for veteran presence and potentially declining talent. Soria (3.00 ERA, 2.50 FIP, 1.15 WHIP, 10 K/9) provides an option with closer experience. The White Sox receive salary relief, but also two once-heralded prospects who have failed to achieve any real results, but still have time on their side. Comparable Targets: Darren O’Day (BAL), Tyler Clippard (TOR), Bud Norris (STL), David Hernandez (CIN), Yusmeiro Petit (OAK), Anthony Swarzak (NYM), Trevor Cahill (OAK), any of the names mentioned in #2 4) DFA Luis Valbuena…and maybe Jefry Marte. Luis, I’ve been one of your strongest supporters, but you haven’t been able to find a rhythm this year and the future is nigh. Cut bait and send him packing, maybe he gets warm enough Eppler is able to replicate a Cron for Rengifo or David Hernandez for Luis Madero heist. Jose Fernandez replace Luis, and while he won’t match the power numbers, he’ll be a far steadier and balanced offensive player, costing pennies and able to play additional positions. If Marte returns and also fails to produce, he too finds an end to his Angel days, replaced by Fletcher, Cowart, or even Thaiss or Ward. …and, cheating a bit by throwing a hypothetical fifth move (or first post-midseason move?) one post-deadline August trade possibility: 5) Acquire Adam Jones or Andrew McCutchen Either would handle 4th OF/RF during a stretch run or playoff series, should Calhoun, Young, and Blash fail to ever amount to anything. Their salaries and age are high enough that it likely wouldn’t cost much more than one or two of names like, at most, Jewell, Pena, Rodriguez, Barash, Lund, Walsh, Houchins. Resulting roster: SP: Likely Richards, Skaggs, Heaney, Barria, Urena, with Lamb, Felix Pena, Luis Pena, Miguel Almonte, and Canning as depth, and Ohtani, Trop, Shoemaker on DL and possible to return. RP: Soria, Parker, Tepera, Anderson, Alvarez, Noe Ramirez with above SPs, Jewell, Paredes, Morris as depth and Johnson on DL. Line-up: Remains the same. Bench: Fernandez IF, Briceno/Rivera C, Marte/Fletcher/Ward/Thaiss/Cowart IF, and Chris and Eric Young/Liriano/Blash/Revere as 4th OF options New Top 30 Prospects: Adell, Canning, Marsh, Jones, Thaiss, Ward, Maitan, Jordyn Adams, Rengifo, Jeremiah Jackson, C. Rodriguez, Soriano, Lund, Rivera, Deveaux, Hunter Jr., Pena, Knowles, J. Rodriguez, Soto, Walsh, Gibbons, Bradish, Hernandez, Yan, English, Uceta, O. Martinez, A. Ramirez*, Bonilla* Graduates: Barria, Fletcher, Jewell, Paredes Departures: Suarez, Hermosillo, Rivas, Gatto, Castillo, Duensing, Nonie Williams I tried to make moves that took advantage of our farm, without eating into our best prospects, and still securing MLB-ready players who would help for the long-term without breaking payroll. It also sets up the team well enough to still conceivably push for the playoffs now, but definitely doesn’t boost our chances significantly. View the full article
  7. Pound cake is the best friend of the dessert world. It’s not fussy. It can be dressed up with whipped cream and berries, slathered with butter and placed on a grill, or simply sliced and enjoyed alongside a steaming cup of coffee. It’s happy to be loved exactly as it is. Continue reading "Vanilla Pound Cake" » View the full article
  8. ANAHEIM — In recent summers, when the Angels needed to make upgrades via trade, they were handicapped by a thin farm system. This time, thanks to General Manager Billy Eppler’s focus on upgrading the system, the Angels have what is considered to be one of the most improved organizations in baseball. In order to get an objective analysis of the state of the Angels’ farm system, to understand which prospects should be untouchable, which ones are valuable trade chips and which ones might be overrated, we consulted a scout. It is just one scout’s opinion, but he is an unbiased professional who has covered the Angels’ system for years, giving him history with all their key prospects. So far this year, he has seen all four of the Angels’ full-season clubs: low-A Burlington (Iowa), high-A Inland Empire, Double-A Mobile (Ala.) and Triple-A Salt Lake City. The scout, who requested anonymity because his club does not allow him to publicly share his reports, agrees the system is improved, overall. “You can see they’re making a conscious effort to get better, athletic players,” he said. Going for more athletic, “toolsy” players has been an emphasis of Eppler since his first draft in 2016. Under Jerry Dipoto, the Angels leaned more toward college players who might have been closer to the big leagues, even without ceilings as high. Sign up for Home Turf and get 3 exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here. While the scout said the young position player group is impressive, he said there are still only three pitchers he likes. A rundown of some of the most notable players: Jo Adell: The 19-year-old was the Angels’ first-round pick in 2017. A center fielder, Adell has already risen through three levels, from short-season rookie ball to low-A to high-A. He is widely considered the top prospect in the farm system. “He’s still a ways away,” the scout said. “He looks beautiful in a uniform, but they were dominating him with the fastball. He’s got some timing issues he needs to straighten out. The swing is going to have to tighten up. The power is mistake power right now. … He’s going to end up being a corner outfielder.” Brandon Marsh: The Angels’ second-round pick in 2016, Marsh missed his first season with a back injury. Marsh, 20, started at Orem (Utah) last year, so he has just barely played one full season so far. Marsh has also risen to high-A. “Oh, I love that guy. He’s better than all of them. He can mash. He hits with power. He plays with a chip on his shoulder. He’s got some swag. He’s the best guy, for me, out of all those guys. Adell might have the highest ceiling because of the all the gifts he has, but this guy is already a better hitter than (Kole) Calhoun. He may get (to the majors) next year, at the end of the year.” Griffin Canning: The former UCLA and Santa Margarita High right-hander didn’t pitch in the minors in 2017 after the Angels took him in the second round, because the organization felt he needed a break from his heavy workload in college. So far in his first three months of professional baseball, the 22-year-old was quickly promoted out of high-A to Double-A. He’s started two combined no-hitters already. The Angels are moving him quickly, but being cautious with his pitch-counts. “Their best pitcher. He’s got it all. It’s just a matter of him being humbled a little bit and learning to pitch with more moxie. He’s got all the stuff. He’s going to be a fast mover. He’s going to get (to the majors) quickly.” José Suarez: The 20-year-old lefty from Venezuela has posted big strikeout numbers this season, rocketing from high-A to Double-A to Triple-A already. “I have him as a 3-4 type starter. He can really pitch. With him, (Jaime) Barría, (Tyler) Skaggs and if (Andrew) Heaney stays healthy, the Angels have some guys who can pitch. I’m more excited about those guys because those flamethrowers don’t last anymore. He touched 95 mph, but he pitched more at 91.” Joe Gatto: The last of the three pitchers in the organization this scout expected to be a productive major leaguer, Gatto has moved slowly through the system since he was the Angels’ second-round pick in 2014. Gatto, 23, didn’t reach Double-A until a month ago. “He can pitch a little bit. His velo was down a little bit, but he was at 96. I always liked him. I think he’s a serviceable bottom-of-the-rotation guy. He’ll be (in the majors).” Matt Thaiss: The Angels took Thaiss with their first-round pick in 2016 and immediately took him from behind the plate and put him at first base. Thaiss, 23, began this season at Double-A and was recently promoted to Triple-A, where he got off to a hot start. “He can swing it. He looks comfortable at first base. He’s going to be a big leaguer. I think he’ll hit for more power (than he’s shown) because he’ll get comfortable. He can make adjustments. It’s quite obvious the adjustments he’s made in his swing.” Jahmai Jones: The Angels took Jones with their second pick in 2015. An outfielder in his first three pro seasons, Jones moved this year at high-A to second base, a position he played in high school. Jones, 20, is thought to profile better there than the outfield because he wasn’t good enough defensively to play center and didn’t hit for enough power to play the corners. “His swing is somewhat robotic. I put a 40 (grade) on him, which is the next step up from an up-and-down guy. You can’t say he’d be a utility player, because he can only play one position. He can’t go to his left. He can’t throw from angles. He’s going to struggle (defensively at second).” Jesus Castillo: Lightly regarded when the Angels got him in the Joe Smith trade in July 2016, Castillo rose fairly quickly through the Angels’ system. Castillo, 22, made enough of an impression to be added to the 40-man roster last winter. He’s been at Double-A this season. “Non-prospect. He was throwing 84-89, with a little curveball and a changeup. Not much life in his presentation. Limited arm speed. I didn’t like him at all. Not very deceptive.” Luis Rengifo: The Angels got Rengifo from the Tampa Bay Rays for C.J. Cron just before spring training. A shortstop, Rengifo, 21, started at high-A and was already moved to Double-A. “He can mash, from both sides. He’s like Ketel Marte, with more pop.” Taylor Ward: The Angels’ top pick in 2015, Ward was believed to be an advanced defensive catcher with a bat that could come. This season the Angels moved Ward, 24, to third. Although the scout missed seeing Ward this year, because he was injured at the time, he said he’s not surprised the Angels abandoned catching: “I hated his disposition.” David Fletcher: A sixth-round pick out of Loyola Marymount in 2015, Fletcher earned his first big-league promotion last week. A Cypress High product, Fletcher, 24, has often been compared to David Eckstein, who was one of his favorite players while growing up in Orange County. “I like little guys that play big. He’s gritty. Scioscia has got to love him. He’s good at both short and second. His swing can get a little big, but I’m OK with that. He’s a baseball player. You win with guys like that. I’m not saying he’s going to hit first or bat .300, but he’s going to be a great piece.” UP NEXT Angels (Tyler Skaggs, 6-4, 2.81) vs. Blue Jays (TBA), Thursday, 7 p.m., Fox Sports West, KLAA (830 AM) Related Articles Mike Trout sparks Angels to second win in their last nine games, 5-4 over Diamondbacks In Jordyn Adams and Jeremiah Jackson, Angels drafted a pair of friends Diamondbacks hand Angels their 7th loss in 8 games Angels’ Kole Calhoun saw DL stint as a welcome mental, physical breather Angels’ Chris Young homers again, taking advantage of his increased opportunities View the full article
  9. The Angels’ Mike Trout congratulates Kole Calhoun in the dugout after Calhoun’s solo home run in the sixth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) Angels’ starting pitcher Felix Pena throws to the plate against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) Sound The gallery will resume inseconds Angels’ walks to the mound against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) Angels’ starting pitcher Felix Pena throws to the plate against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) Angels’ starting pitcher Felix Pena reacts after his infield couldn’t turn a double play during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) Angels’ starting pitcher Felix Pena throws to the plate against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) The Angels’ Ian Kinsler rounds the bases after his lead-off home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) The Angels’ Ian Kinsler heads to the dugout after scoring past Arizona Diamondbacks catcher John Ryan Murphy after his lead-off home run in the first inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) The Angels’ Ian Kinsler celebrates with teammates after his lead-off home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) The Angels’ Andrelton Simmons jogs to the dugout after lining out during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) The Angels’ Martin Maldonado breaks his bat as he grounds out to end the second inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) Angels’ starting pitcher Felix Pena smiles in the dugout against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) Angels’ starting pitcher Felix Pena heads for the clubhouse after pitching four innings, giving up one run on two hits, against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) The Angels’ Mike Trout hits a single in the fifth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. Two runs scored with Ian Kinsler scoring on an error. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) The Angels’ Mike Trout hits a single in the fifth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. Two runs scored with Ian Kinsler scoring on an error. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) The Angels’ Ian Kinsler scores on an error after a Mike Trout single against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) The Angels’ Ian Kinsler celebrates with Martin Maldonado after scoring on an error after Mike Trout;s two-RBI single in the fifth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) The Angels’ Albert Pujols jokes around with Dino Ebel after the fifth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) The Angels’ Kole Calhoun rounds the bases after his solo home run in the sixth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) Show Caption of Expand ANAHEIM — In the first plate appearance of his 999th career game, Mike Trout drew a walk. In his next plate appearance, Trout walked again. The Arizona Diamondbacks had no interest in pitching to the Angels’ best hitter and no reason to do so until the fifth inning. In his third plate appearance Tuesday, Trout stepped to the plate with the bases loaded. Matt Koch had few options. He chatted with his pitching coach, opted for a cutter low and away, and could only turn and watch Trout find the gap in left-center field with a line drive, eventually clearing the bases. It was Trout’s only hit in the Angels’ 5-4 win over the Diamondbacks in front of an announced crowd of 33,088 at Angel Stadium. The Angels and Diamondbacks split the rare two-game interleague series. Ian Kinsler and Kole Calhoun hit home runs, and the Angels survived a two-run home run by Paul Goldschmidt in the ninth inning to eke out the victory – only their second in their past nine games. The two teams ahead of the Angels in the American League West both lost Tuesday. The Angels (39-35) are 9-1/2 games behind the Astros (49-26) for first place in the division and 7-1/2 games behind the Mariners (46-27) for the second wild-card position. The Angels’ offensive outburst came at a good time for Felix Peña. The 28-year-old right-hander appeared in 38 major league games before Tuesday, but this was his first career start. The Diamondbacks struck first. Jon Jay led off the game with a single and scored on a David Peralta groundout. The Angels answered in the bottom of the first on Kinsler’s 48th career leadoff homer. The 403-foot blast nearly cleared both bullpens in left field, tying the score at 1. Arizona nearly got another run in the third inning. With runners on second and third base and one out, Peralta hit a lazy ground ball to first base. Rather than concede the run, Albert Pujols threw home, where Paul Goldschmidt was bearing down on Martin Maldonado. Pujols’ throw reached Maldonado’s glove on a short hop, but the catcher deftly reached back and applied the tag just before Goldschmidt’s foot reached the plate. Sign up for Home Turf and get 3 exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here. Peña didn’t allow another run. He made it through four innings on 74 pitches – shy of his high mark of 85 at Triple-A Salt Lake, but plenty considering he hadn’t pitched anywhere in 11 days. He allowed two hits, walked three batters and struck out six. It was all the Angels could have asked. Left-hander Jose Alvarez took over and allowed one run in a strange fifth inning. He retired Jay and Goldschmidt quickly, then walked Jake Lamb, who has never hit left-handers well in his career. The next batter, Peralta, is hardly a lefty killer himself. But he smoked a fly ball over the head of center fielder Chris Young, and Lamb scored from first base on the double. Arizona led 2-1. Related Articles In Jordyn Adams and Jeremiah Jackson, Angels drafted a pair of friends Diamondbacks hand Angels their 7th loss in 8 games Angels’ Kole Calhoun saw DL stint as a welcome mental, physical breather Angels’ Chris Young homers again, taking advantage of his increased opportunities Angels bullpen falters again in loss to Oakland A’s Trout’s bases-clearing single in the bottom of the fifth inning gave the Angels the lead for good. Cam Bedrosian (4-1) was credited with the victory after pitching 1-2/3 scoreless innings. Justin Anderson (1-2/3 innings) and Blake Parker (two innings) closed out the game. For Parker – who was celebrating his 33rd birthday – it was his eighth save of the season, and his first six-out save since last September. The Angels will have an off-day Wednesday before hosting the Toronto Blue Jays for four games beginning Thursday. Young left the game in the eighth inning. The Angels said he injured one of his hamstrings. Trout was serving as the Angels’ designated hitter, so Calhoun played center field for the first time in his 729th career game. David Fletcher, who started at third base, played right field for the first time since at least high school. Luis Valbuena replaced Fletcher at third. More to come on this story. View the full article
  10. Angels’ second-round draft pick Jeremiah Jackson, left, and first-round draft pick Jordyn Adams answer questions in the dugout before the Angels’ game against the Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) Angels’ first-round draft pick Jordyn Adams answers questions in the dugout before the Angels’ game against the Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) Sound The gallery will resume inseconds Angels’ first-round draft pick Jordyn Adams, right, chats with veteran Chris Young during batting practice at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) Angels’ second-round draft pick Jeremiah Jackson, left, and first-round draft pick Jordyn Adams in the dugout before the Angels’ game against the Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) Angels’ second-round draft pick Jeremiah Jackson, left, and first-round pick Jordyn Adams chat with General Manager Billy Eppler in the dugout before the Angels’ game against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday at Angel Stadium. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) Show Caption of Expand ANAHEIM — It’s early, but it seems like Jordyn Adams and Jeremiah Jackson are going to get along just swell. Adams, the Angels’ first-round draft pick, signed his first professional contract Tuesday. He and Jackson, the Angels’ second-round draft pick, then went on a tour of Angel Stadium led by General Manager Billy Eppler. Adams, an outfielder, and Jackson, a shortstop, had plenty of time to get to know each other. They didn’t need it. Adams and Jackson were teammates at last year’s Under Armour All-America Game at Chicago’s Wrigley Field. Three days later, both played in the East Coast Pro Showcase in Tampa, Fla. The 18-year-olds grew up more than 700 miles apart – Adams in Cary, N.C., Jackson in Mobile, Ala. – but the summer of 2017 brought them together. “We talked about rooming together and everything too in Arizona,” Jackson said. Adams said he was surrounded by teammates, friends, coaches and family when the Angels drafted him 17th overall, on June 4. Forty picks later, the Angels used their second-round pick on Jackson. Each one quickly reached out to the other. “It was crazy,” they both said, almost in unison. Now, Adams and Jackson are off to Arizona to be teammates again. They can finish each other’s lines off the field too; Jackson got a head start and already picked out an apartment for them to share. “We got the bed waiting for you,” Jackson said to Adams. The Angels have signed 26 of their 40 picks. Other than college seniors, who have until one week before the 2019 draft, the deadline for teams to sign their draft picks is July 6. MINOR TRADE The Angels acquired right-handed reliever Deck McGuire from the Texas Rangers for cash considerations or a player to be named later. To make room for McGuire on the 40-man roster, catcher Juan Graterol was designated for assignment. McGuire, 28, began the season with the Toronto Blue Jays and split the season between Toronto and Triple-A. He allowed six runs over 8-1/3 innings in four major league appearances. McGuire was designated for assignment June 9, claimed by Texas, and made only one appearance for the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate before he was designated again. In 10 games over the last two seasons with the Jays and Reds, McGuire is 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA in 22 innings. The Angels optioned him to Triple-A Salt Lake. Graterol, 29, was batting .322 at Triple-A Salt Lake. He singled in his only major league at-bat this season, on May 5. INJURY UPDATES Catcher Rene Rivera has been hitting in the batting cage and is “almost into a full squat, as far as where he can catch,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. Rivera hasn’t played since he suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee, an injury that required surgery on May 25. His return is still “weeks away,” Scioscia said. Kaleb Cowart (sprained left ankle) was in the starting lineup for Salt Lake as a third baseman, one day after playing eight innings in right field in his first rehab game. Cowart, who had never played right field as a professional before this year, will continue to see time in the infield and outfield going forward, Scioscia said. “It just adds to his versatility,” Scioscia said. “Trying to make footprints in the major leagues … versatility is one way to crack that door open.” ALL-STAR UPDATE Mike Trout is second among American League outfielders in the latest All-Star balloting results released by MLB. Trout (1,323,292) trails only Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts (1,568,417). Trout, 26, has been voted to start every All-Star Game since 2013. He also made the team as a reserve as a rookie in 2012. Trout is the only Angel with enough votes to make the team as a starter so far. Shohei Ohtani is fourth among AL designated hitters. The All-Star Game is July 14 in Washington, D.C ALSO Relief pitcher Oliver Drake cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Salt Lake. … The owner of the Angels’ Rookie ball team in the Pioneer League is planning to move the franchise from Orem, Utah to Pueblo, Colo., according to multiple reports. KOAA.com reported the move is a “done deal,” but did not specify when it would take place. … Four of the Angels’ minor league affiliation agreements are expiring this year: Orem (Rookie), Burlington (low Class-A), Inland Empire (advanced Class-A) and Mobile (Double-A). The Angels’ affiliation with Triple-A Salt Lake runs through 2020. Related Articles Diamondbacks hand Angels their 7th loss in 8 games Angels’ Kole Calhoun saw DL stint as a welcome mental, physical breather Angels’ Chris Young homers again, taking advantage of his increased opportunities Angels bullpen falters again in loss to Oakland A’s John Lamb’s return to majors spoiled by bullpen in Angels’ loss View the full article
  11. Pasta has so much going for it: it’s inexpensive, it’s easy to cook, and it’s a blank canvas for the continuous parade of fresh veggies that appear from May through September. I’m pretty certain I make pasta more in the summer than in the winter — and if that’s not the case, I’m definitely more creative and less inclined toward red sauces in the summertime! Continue reading "12 Fresh & Easy Weeknight Pasta Recipes for Summer" » View the full article
  12. ANAHEIM — When the best player in baseball is putting together one of the game’s greatest individual seasons, and his team is staring at a double-digit deficit in the standings in mid-June, it resembles nothing so much as another wasted opportunity. But, then, the Angels have specialized in wasted opportunities throughout Mike Trout’s brilliant career. It has been a perfectly rotten storm in Anaheim lately. The disabled list is still SRO, even as it was reduced to 13 players when Kole Calhoun was activated Monday. The pitching staff’s medical charts are a mess: Matt Shoemaker, Garrett Richards, Nick Tropeano, JC Ramirez, Shohei Ohtani, Blake Wood, Keynan Middleton (for the year) and Jim Johnson are all sidelined. But things are looking up. The DL count was 15 before Andrelton Simmons was activated Sunday. Speaking of 15, that’s also the number of saves Angel relievers have blown this season, tying Detroit for the league lead. The good news: They didn’t add to that total Monday. The bad news: They didn’t get a chance, in a 7-4 loss to the Diamondbacks that was the Angels’ seventh in eight games and pushed them 10½ back in the division and 8½ behind in the wild-card race. It has been a dramatic fall. These are the same Angels that started out 13-3, that were tied for first as recently as May 14 and were just 3½ games out of the division lead as recently as June 9. Amid all of this, Trout is having a magnificent and potentially historic season even by his own lofty standards. He reached base four times Monday night, for the 12th time this season, with a walk and a single in three plate appearances against Zack Greinke, a walk from Yoshihisa Hirano and a single to lead off the ninth against D-Backs’ flamethrower Archie Bradley. Over the last seven games, he is 15 for his last 22 with a double, four homers and seven RBI in seven games. That’s a slash line of .681/.727/.848. Ponder that for a minute. And yet the Angels lost six of those games. Trout is in the American League top 10 in nine different offensive categories: First in runs (60), homers (23), walks (62), intentional walks (9) and on-base percentage (.464), second in slugging percentage (.688), tied for second in extra-base hits (42), fourth in batting average (.332) and 10th in RBI (46). And this is even with a 2-for-39 slump in mid-May that had people wondering what was wrong with him. In other words, Trout can give the league a head start and it doesn’t matter. (Or, to put it another way, these days Chuck Norris tells Mike Trout jokes. If you didn’t immediately catch that reference, I’m sure there’s a middle school-aged boy in your neighborhood who can enlighten you.) As usual, Trout is also dominant in Wins Above Replacement: 6.4 as of Monday night, best in the majors by almost two full victories. The two-time MVP has led the American League in that category in six of the last seven years, and the majors in five of seven, and his career WAR of 60.5 — over seven-plus years, and still a month and a half from his 27th birthday, puts him 10th among active players. The nine guys ahead of him are all on the other side of 30, led by 38-year-old Angels teammate Albert Pujols (99.8 in 17-plus seasons). Trout said Monday night he doesn’t look at the standings, “because if you look at the standings you’re going to fall behind.” That says he’s learned well from his manager, Mike Scioscia, who has preached that willingness to ignore everything but that night’s game since becoming a manager. And it makes particular sense at this point, given the deficit the Angels face and the temptation to try and wipe it all out immediately. But doesn’t Trout look at the offensive stat categories? You know, just for fun? “Do I look at ‘em?” he asked, repeating the question. “You know, I don’t really focus on that. I go out there and do as much as I can to help the ballteam win.” Yeah, he’s too good to be true. But he’s real, he’s in our midst, and it’s easy to take him for granted — and maybe to miss the special nature of what we’re witnessing. Others haven’t. Consider this Yahoo Sports headline: “Mike Trout Is Challenging Babe Ruth For Greatest Season in MLB History.” Or this one, from the Washington Post: “Mike Trout should be mentioned alongside baseball’s greats: Ruth, Mays, Williams and Mantle.” All of the above should have Angels management terrified, for these reasons: • Trout can be a free agent after the 2020 season. • In seven seasons with the Angels he has participated in three postseason games (in a three-game LCS sweep by the Royals in 2014). • He may play in Southern California, but there has been this nagging sense that he remains a Northeast guy at heart and, absent evidence that a championship-caliber (or even playoff-caliber) club can be assembled around him in Orange County, he would bolt to the Yankees, or the Phillies, or (fill in the blank). It is all speculation at this point, but it’s out there and it’s persistent. And there’s one sure way to change that narrative. But to do so … yeah, it’s probably best not to look at the standings for a while. jalexander@scng.com @Jim_Alexander on Twitter View the full article
  13. Los Angeles Angels’ Kole Calhoun makes a fielding error on a single hit by Arizona Diamondbacks’ Jarrod Dyson during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Los Angeles Angels’ Kole Calhoun makes a fielding error on a single hit by Arizona Diamondbacks’ Jarrod Dyson during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Sound The gallery will resume inseconds Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Jaime Barria throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of a baseball game, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Greinke throws against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning of a baseball game, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 18: Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is tagged out stealing second base by Ketel Marte #4 of the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of a game at Angel Stadium on June 18, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Arizona Diamondbacks’ Ketel Marte, right, crosses home plate past Los Angeles Angels catcher Martin Maldonado after hitting a home run during the second inning of a baseball game, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout hits a single during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Jaime Barria throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of a baseball game, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani, of Japan, listens to his translator, Ippei Mizuhara, during the first inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Arizona Diamondbacks’ David Peralta, right, misses a double hit by Los Angeles Angels’ Ian Kinsler as Nick Ahmed runs to cover for Peralta during the third inning of a baseball game, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Arizona Diamondbacks’ Jeff Mathis connects with a two-run double during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Arizona Diamondbacks’ Jeff Mathis connects with a two-run double during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Arizona Diamondbacks’ Nick Ahmed, right, and Daniel Descalso celebrate after they scored on a double hit by Jeff Mathis during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Justin Anderson, center, tosses the ball to catcher Martin Maldonado for the out on Arizona Diamondbacks’ Ketel Marte, background left, after Anderson picked up a bunt hit by Diamondbacks’ Jeff Mathis, foreground, during the sixth inning of a baseball game, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 18: Martin Maldonado #12 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim tags out Ketel Marte #4 on a fielders choice by Jeff Mathis #2 of the Arizona Diamondbacks during the sixth inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on June 18, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Arizona Diamondbacks’ Ketel Marte, center, is tagged out by Los Angeles Angels catcher Martin Maldonado as he tries to score on a bunt hit by Jeff Mathis during the sixth inning of a baseball game, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Greinke sits in the dugout during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 18: Manager Mike Scioscia pulls Noe Ramirez #25 as Martin Maldonado #12 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim looks on during the sixth inning of a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium on June 18, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 18: Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim hits a solo homerun during the fourth inning of a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium on June 18, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 18: Jarrod Dyson #1 of the Arizona Diamondbacks is unable to catch a soo homerun hit by Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the fourth inning of a game at Angel Stadium on June 18, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 18: Justin Upton #8 is congratulated by Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim after hitting a solo homerun during the fourth inning of a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium on June 18, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 18: Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim reacts to a called strike during the seventh inning of a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium on June 18, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 18: Yoshihisa Hirano #66 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on June 18, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Los Angeles Angels’ Justin Upton reacts after Arizona Diamondbacks’ Jarrod Dyson caught his fly ball during the seventh inning of a baseball game, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 18: Justin Upton #8 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim reacts to flying out with bases loaded during the seventh inning of a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium on June 18, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 18: Nick Ahmed #13 is congratulated by Paul Goldschmidt #44 and Ketel Marte #4 of the Arizona Diamondbacks after hitting a solo homerun during the eighth inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on June 18, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Archie Bradley walks off the field after the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 18: Ketel Marte #4 of the Arizona Diamondbacks congratulates David Peralta #6 of the Arizona Diamondbacks after defeating the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 7-4 in a game at Angel Stadium on June 18, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Show Caption of Expand ANAHEIM — Justin Upton was swinging like a man who wanted more than a sacrifice fly. At that point in Monday’s game, at this point in their season, the Angels needed more. The bases were loaded in the seventh inning when Upton swung for his life at a Yoshihisa Hirano fastball and tipped it foul. The count was now full. Hirano threw another fastball, not more than a couple inches away from the last, and this time Upton did not miss. The ball sailed toward the deepest part of Angel Stadium, that unexpected obtuse angle in center field. To 33,809 fluttering hearts at Angel Stadium, it looked like Upton might have hit a tying grand slam. Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder Jarrod Dyson kept his eye on the ball too. He glided back, leaped and caught the ball at the top of the wall. Sign up for Home Turf and get 3 exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here. Upton settled for his sacrifice fly. The Angels settled for a 7-4 loss, their seventh loss in their last eight games. The Angels’ late rally could not overcome a poor start by starting pitcher Jamie Barría (5-3). The rookie right-hander paid for several early mistakes and left with a 6-0 deficit after four innings. Barría allowed a single to Jon Jay to lead off the game. Then he piped an 0-and-1 fastball to Paul Goldschmidt, who hit a home run over the right-center field fence. After four pitches to two batters, the Angels trailed 2-0. Ketel Marte’s solo home run tacked on another run in the second inning. In the third, Barría imploded with two outs and a runner on first base. Nick Ahmed walked. Former Angels catcher Jeff Mathis lined a double into left-center field, scoring both runners. Dyson hit a single to right field to drive in Mathis, and advanced to third base when the ball scooted under Kole Calhoun’s glove. All six runs against Barría (5-3) were earned. His ERA rose from 2.61 to 3.57. He walked one batter and struck out five. Once he left, the Angels’ offense showed some signs of life. Upton hit a solo home run against Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke (6-5) in the fourth inning. The next batter, Albert Pujols, gave the Angels their first back-to-back home runs of the season. For Pujols, it was the 626th home run of his career, and his 1,751st career run matched Jimmie Foxx for 21st all-time. Related Articles Angels’ Kole Calhoun saw DL stint as a welcome mental, physical breather Angels’ Chris Young homers again, taking advantage of his increased opportunities Angels bullpen falters again in loss to Oakland A’s John Lamb’s return to majors spoiled by bullpen in Angels’ loss Quick-healing Andrelton Simmons returns to Angels lineup earlier than expected The Angels loaded the bases against Hirano in the seventh inning. Calhoun and Kinsler singled, then advanced to second and third base on a balk. Mike Trout drew a walk with first base open; he reached base four times in five plate appearances. After Dyson turned Upton’s long sacrifice fly into the second out, the Angels had one more chance with two runners on base. But Pujols flied out to end the inning, preserving the Diamondbacks’ lead at 6-3. The Angels’ margin for error in the American League West disappeared somewhere between Minneapolis and Oakland last week. Back at home Monday after a languorous 10-day trip, the Angels needed to hit refresh. Calhoun was greeted with a hearty round of applause when his name was announced prior to his first at-bat since May. Calhoun was riding an 0-for-17 streak when he was felled by an oblique injury, but he hit a line drive into right field on the first pitch he saw from Greinke. He finished 2 for 3. The Houston Astros won their 12th consecutive game earlier Monday. The Angels (38-35) fell 10-1/2 games out of first place in the American League West. More to come on this story. View the full article
  14. By Jonathan Northrop, AngelsWin.com Contributor What I’m about to share with you is so mind-blowing that it is worth its own thread outside of the Troutstanding one. Let me take you for a journey… I went through every seven-year span in baseball history, from 1871-77 to the current one, 2012-18, and looked at WAR leaders over those seven year stretches. Why seven years? Because that is how long Trout has been a major league regular, so it encapsulates the fullness of his career thus far. I then compared the WAR leader to the runner-up, and noted the gap the two. Why? Well, when we are talking about dominance it is always relative to his peers. I would argue that the best definition of dominance is just that: how good a player is relative to his peers. There have been many players who have had truly amazing years, but seven years gives us a sense of sustained dominance, and the true greats combine peak greatness and sustained dominance. For instance, Norm Cash (10.2 fWAR in 1961), Darin Erstad (8.7 fWAR in 2000), and Jacoby Ellsbury (9.4 fWAR in 2011) have all had seasons that could safely fit into a Hall of Famer’s peak, but the difference is that players like Mantle, Bonds, and Trout have those kinds of performances season after season. Anyhow, so we’re looking at 142 seven-year spans of time, from 1871-77 to 2012-18. There are 33 players who have had the most dominant seven-year spans, from Ross Barnes to Mike Trout. Trout has done it for three years in a row, starting in 2010-16 even though he didn’t play in 2010 and barely in 2011. The current span, 2012-18, is his first full seven-year stretch and, of course, we’ve still got 90 games to play. Here’s the current WAR leaders (Fangraphs) for 2012-18: 1. MIke Trout 60.4 2. Josh Donaldson 35.9 3. Andrew McCutchen 34.9 Anything look funny there? Well, the gap between Trout and Donaldson is huge: 24.5 WAR, or 3.5 WAR a year! Trout has averaged 8.6 WAR during that span vs. Donaldson’s 5.1. Think about that for a moment. OK, so how does that 24.5 seven-year gap compare to the rest of baseball history? How many seven year gaps are as big or bigger? The answer is…. 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. View the full article
  15. ANAHEIM — Kole Calhoun might have become the first baseball player to describe a trip to the disabled list as “nice” on Monday. He quickly caught himself mid-thought. “Not nice – you never want to go on the DL,” Calhoun said, “but it gave me a chance to put things in perspective.” When Calhoun was placed on the 10-day disabled list June 1 with a strained oblique, he was batting .145 with a .195 on-base percentage and .179 slugging percentage. He had one home run and 11 RBIs in his first 50 games. The Angels activated Calhoun prior to Monday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He batted ninth and started in right field, his first appearance in a lineup since May 31. After that game in Detroit, the Angels flew home to California. Calhoun said the pain he felt in the batting cage hadn’t let up. Once he was placed on the disabled list, Calhoun left the team and went home. He said he took four or five days to rest before resuming baseball activities. He watched video of his swing. With help from coaches in Arizona, where Calhoun lives in the offseason and the Angels’ spring training facility resides, he broke down his swing mechanics on video. “It really helped,” Calhoun said. In the first at-bat of his first rehabilitation game with Triple-A Salt Lake, Calhoun hit a home run. He collected another five hits in 19 at-bats and finished the five-game assignment with a .316 batting average. His first trip to the DL since 2014 ended on a high note. “I was swinging out of my mind before it happened,” Calhoun said. “(Injury) was probably bound to happen with the amount of swings I was doing trying to figure stuff out … with all that stuff that builds over time and banging your head against the wall figuring out how to get things going.” PEÑA’S 11 Felix Peña will become the 11th different Angels starter this season on Tuesday, unless the right-hander ends up needed out of the bullpen on Monday. Peña has made 38 major-league appearances over three seasons for the Cubs and Angels, but this will be his first major-league start at age 28. In 10 games (nine starts) with Triple-A Salt Lake, Peña was 1-2 with a 3.51 ERA. He struck out 38 batters in 33-1/3 innings. Peña’s last appearance at any level came June 8, when he threw six shutout innings in Salt Lake. Every pitcher who has started a game for the Angels this season is either on their active roster or recovering from an injury. INJURY UPDATES Shohei Ohtani has resumed swinging a bat with his left hand only, Scioscia said, “to keep his trunk going and keeping as active as he can, as close to replicating a swing without using two hands.” Ohtani received a PRP and stem cell injection on June 8 after being diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain in his right ulnar collateral ligament. He still hasn’t been cleared to throw. Scioscia said Ohtani is doing strength training and running, and began swinging the bat “three or four” days ago. Sunday in Oakland, Scioscia said the initial timetable for Ohtani’s next evaluation might be delayed beyond the initial three-week mark of June 28. After reconnecting with the two-way star Monday, Scioscia said that Ohtani “has come to grips with (the injury) and understands exactly what the process will be. Our medical staff and Dr. (Steve) Yoon are very optimistic” about the prognosis. Scioscia said infielder Zack Cozart (left shoulder subluxation) has not resumed baseball activities. Right-hander Garrett Richards (strained left hamstring) is playing catch from flat ground, while Nick Tropeano (right shoulder inflammation) is not. Right-handed reliever Jim Johnson played catch from flat ground but is still experiencing symptoms of his lumbar strain. All four players are on the 10-day disabled list. ALSO Kaleb Cowart began a minor-league rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Salt Lake. In his first game, Cowart batted third and played right field against the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. … Jabari Blash was optioned to Salt Lake to make room for Calhoun on the active roster. Blash appeared in four games last week, and went 0 for 9 with five strikeouts and two walks. … Angels prospect Jo Adell was named the California League Player of the Week for the week of June 11-17. The 19-year-old outfielder went 15 for 28 with four home runs and eight RBIs for Class-A Inland Empire. Adell raised his batting average for the season from .231 to .311. UP NEXT Angels (RHP Felix Peña 0-0) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (RHP Matt Koch 5-3, 4.09 ERA), Tuesday, 7 p.m., Fox Sports West, ESPN Related Articles Angels’ Chris Young homers again, taking advantage of his increased opportunities Angels bullpen falters again in loss to Oakland A’s John Lamb’s return to majors spoiled by bullpen in Angels’ loss Quick-healing Andrelton Simmons returns to Angels lineup earlier than expected Mike Trout, Tyler Skaggs lead Angels to victory over A’s View the full article