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Monday, November 17, 2014

Lisa Saxon, the Woman Who Helped Change Sports Writing Forever

The meeting was brief, and the message was simple: “Lisa, from here on in, you’re not fighting alone. To get to you, Reggie’s gonna have to come through us. We’re tired of watching it.”

“And at the ballpark that night, Reggie tried to come after me, screaming [about the story]. And sure enough, here comes Hendrick and Candelaria, tall and imposing. ‘To get to her, you’re gonna have to go through us.’ Reggie got so mad. He took his fist and banged it into the wall. And that’s why he had a hurt hand for the playoffs that year.”

Some six years later, when she returned to Anaheim to do a story on Mark McGwire and visit her friend, A’s pitcher Bobby Welch, Jackson was there—and immediately yelled for Lisa’s attention, apparently ready to make amends. Something was awry, Saxon told Welch, because it was the first time Jackson hadn’t referred to her as “#####.” Jackson immediately queried Saxon, wondering if there was a problem between them.

“Well you have to be more specific, Reggie,” she said. “Was there a problem when you cursed at me, yelled at me, told me I looked like a man, told me to have the team bus run over me, when you mocked my clothes, asked me to sleep with you when I repeatedly told you to leave me alone, when you undressed in front of me?”

Jackson pleaded ignorance: “Reggie doesn’t do those things,” he said in his usual third-person dialect. “Reggie never did those things. But if he did, Reggie apologizes.”

Reggie Jackson channeling Rickey Henderson.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 17, 2014 at 05:02 PM | 57 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, females in baseball, reggie jackson, sportswriting

Friday, November 14, 2014

Grantland: Mike Trout Finally Won the MVP, But Could He Already Be in Decline?

Since the stats weren’t conclusive, I solicited opinions from scouts and scouting executives via email, asking whether “throw him high fastballs” would always be the book on Trout, or whether he’d make an adjustment that would render the strategy obsolete. The responses revealed considerable uncertainty.

“I think there are two incredibly unlikely outcomes,” a scouting director said. “One is that he suddenly starts mashing those pitches. Assuming any player, even a phenomenal talent like Trout just automatically makes every adjustment is dangerous. The other very unlikely outcome is that he makes no adjustment and remains quite mortal against high fastballs. The most likely end result is therefore that he gets better against them, but they do remain a relative weakness. And at some point, pitchers/advance scouts will find another weakness in his game, and we’ll get to ask this question all over again.”


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cool stuff from Mike Trout … « Gonzo and ‘The Show’

Mike Trout finally wins the MVP. Here are some highlights.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 13, 2014 at 07:31 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, mike trout

Trout (unanimous), Kershaw win MVP

AL voting:

Player, Team
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th
10th
Points
Mike Trout, Angels30420
Victor Martinez,  Tigers1643321229
Michael Brantley,  Indians86531111185
Jose Abreu,  White Sox163165221145
Jose Bautista,  Blue Jays1394153128
Robinson Cano,  Mariners116524211124
Nelson Cruz,  Orioles6322211102
Josh Donaldson,  Athletics1223365296
Miguel Cabrera,  Tigers1222216582
Felix Hernandez,  Mariners2111111148
Corey Kluber,  Indians11232245
Alex Gordon, Royals112231244
Jose Altuve,  Astros1333941
Adam Jones,  Orioles13112234
Adrian Beltre,  Rangers151122
Greg Holland, Royals11113
Albert Pujols, Angels115
Howie Kendrick, Angels13
James Shields, Royals13
Kyle Seager,  Mariners11

NL voting:

Player, Team
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th
10th
Points
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers18912355
Giancarlo Stanton,  Marlins81012298
Andrew McCutchen,  Pirates410151271
Jonathan Lucroy,  Brewers113671167
Anthony Rendon,  Nationals158102111155
Buster Posey, Giants16963111152
Adrian Gonzalez,  Dodgers14233157
Adam Wainwright, Cardinals1443253
Josh Harrison,  Pirates12514452
Anthony Rizzo,  Cubs1423437
Hunter Pence, Giants1323134
Johnny Cueto,  Reds132222
Russell Martin,  Pirates231221
Matt Holliday, Cardinals11217
Jhonny Peralta, Cardinals123117
Carlos Gomez,  Brewers23113
Justin Upton,  Braves11410
Jayson Werth,  Nationals1139
Denard Span,  Nationals118
Yasiel Puig, Dodgers218
Devin Mesoraco,  Reds115
Lucas Duda, Mets13
Freddie Freeman,  Braves12
Justin Morneau,  Rockies12
Dee Gordon, Dodgers11
Troy Tulowitzki,  Rockies11

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Hank Conger’s suspect framing numbers - Beyond the Box Score

Tangotiger’s Fan Scouting Report gives him below average numbers for his defense. Are the Astros overestimating Conger’s defense? I haven’t watched Conger closely enough to form an opinion. What do our Angels fans think?

The moderately-misleading quote rings true, as does most everything on FanGraphs. So how does it apply to Conger? Well, in his two most recent seasons — the ones in which, you’ll recall, he framed phenomenally — he racked up a combined…1172.1 innings. That’s barely a full season’s worth, and is far short of three. Prior to 2013, his framing was slightly below average, at -1.1 runs in 585.0 innings. Together with his weak status as a minor leaguer, this provides a convincing counterattack to the dominant narrative.

So what should we think about Conger? Maybe, as Jeff Sullivan wondered last year, he’s actually improved his defense; rebuttals in the comment section of that post suggest otherwise. In my opinion, this smells of a fluke, or at the very least an unreliable sample. With the rush to scrutinize every little transaction of the offseason, my fellow sabermetricians shouldn’t blow this out of proportion. We know better — or at least, we should.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 06, 2014 at 07:40 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, hank conger

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Los Angeles Angels pick up Nick Tropeano, Carlos Perez for Hank Conger | MiLB.com

What does this mean for Jason Castro?

The Angels sent catcher Hank Conger to Houston for a pair of 24-year-old prospects in right-hander Nick Tropeano and catcher Carlos Perez, the teams announced Wednesday.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 05, 2014 at 08:45 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, astros

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Angels To Sign Cuban Infielder Roberto Baldoquin For $8MM Bonus

The Angels have reached an agreement with 20-year-old Cuban infielder Roberto Baldoquin on a record-setting $8MM bonus, reports MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez. The agreement is pending a physical and the $8MM bonus is the most ever for an amateur player under the current international signing rules.

Baldoquin has three seasons of professional experience playing with Las Tunas in Serie Nacional, Sanchez writes, and he also appeared on the Cuban National 16-and-under team when he was eligible. Baldoquin left Cuba in February and has been training in the Dominican Republic. He can play both third base and the outfield, Sanchez adds.

Baldoquin instantly becomes the Angels’ best position player prospect.

Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: November 04, 2014 at 03:09 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, cuban free agents, roberto baldoquin

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mike Scioscia, Matt Williams voted top managers

Mike Scioscia of the Angels and Matt Williams of the Nationals are Sporting News’ 2014 American League and National League Managers of the Year, respectively, as selected by a panel of 22 major league managers. SN has given Manager of the Year awards since 1936.

Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: October 21, 2014 at 02:36 PM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, awards and honors, nationals

Monday, October 06, 2014

Trout troubled by Royals’ high heat - The Orange County Register

Mike Trout is the definitive best player in baseball and has been for at least two full seasons now, probably three. There is no reasonable rebut to that.
But, for the first time since he announced himself as such, Trout enters an offseason with an obvious flaw: He can’t hit the high fastball.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 06, 2014 at 06:49 AM | 90 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, mike trout

Appreciative Royals revel in celebration with fans | MLB.com

Royals win, despite the burning hate of all sabermetricians.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 06, 2014 at 06:38 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, playoffs, royals

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Royalty learns to catch Trout

I wasn’t able to see Game 2 of the Royals/Angels series nor have I had a chance to see a lot of Angels games.  When I have watched the Angels, I haven’t noticed this and Trout seems to rake.  But that is a small sample.  So, Angels watchers, is there anything to this idea?

bunyon Posted: October 04, 2014 at 08:20 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, fastballs, fishing, royals

Friday, October 03, 2014

Moustakas’ HR in 11th Lifts Royals Over Angels 3-2 - NYTimes.com

MLB is making me lose sleep.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 03, 2014 at 07:22 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, playoffs, royals

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Giants Win Should Aid Favored Nationals

Hey, all. I’m back with my (crude, i.e., doesn’t take into account lineups) postseason projections for you all to tear apart. Below is a summary of my data as the LDS round begins.

Overall WS Win Likelihoods:
* WSN 19%
* LAA 19%
* LAD 18%
* BAL 14%
* DET 9%
* SFG 8%
* KCR 7%
* STL 6%

Most likely WS outcome: LAA over WSN in 7 (2.04%)

Interesting WS match-ups:
* All-Cali Series 18%
* Beltway Battle 10%
* Show Me State Showdown 2%

Check out the full link for more analysis and pretty charts.

J-Doug Posted: October 02, 2014 at 11:59 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, cardinals, dodgers, giants, nationals, orioles, projections, royals, tigers, world series

Friday, September 26, 2014

Mets outfielder Bobby Abreu, former All-Star and Gold Glove winner, retires

I wonder what Kevin Stocker is doing now?

Bobby Abreu’s illustrious 18 year career is coming to an end. The Mets outfielder announced today that he will retire.

Over the course of his career, Abreu was one of the best hitters in baseball. He’s hit .291 in his career with a .395 on-base percentage. This season, only Victor Martinez, Andrew McCutchen and Jose Bautista have posted an OBP higher than that.

Abreu signed with the Mets in April and has had two stints with them this season—his last stop in a career that began in Houston, then seven years in Philadelphia, then the Yankees, then the Dodgers and Angels.

Abreu was an All-Star in 2004 and 2005, and won a Gold Glove in 2005 as well.

He told reporters he would eventually like to become a hitting coach.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 26, 2014 at 04:54 PM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, astros, bobby abreu, dodgers, mets, phillies, rays, yankees

Angels end stadium negotiations with Anaheim; Tustin on deck?

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim by way of Tustin?

The Angels on Friday ended negotiations with the city of Anaheim over a new Angel Stadium lease, frustrated by the inability to finalize a deal more than a year after the parties had ratified the framework of an agreement.

The Angels have held extensive discussions with the city of Tustin about a possible new ballpark there. The Tustin City Council scheduled a special closed session Tuesday to discuss a deal with the Angels.

Angels spokeswoman Marie Garvey said the team has not reached an agreement with Tustin and would continue to look at “all of our options.” Tustin City Manager Jeffrey Parker did not immediately return a call for comment.

The Tustin City Council has held at least nine previous closed sessions to discuss an Angels deal – but all of them, unlike the one scheduled Tuesday, preceded a regular council meeting. It is unlikely that Tustin – or any other city in Southern California – would use taxpayer money to build a stadium for the Angels.

“We can afford to build a new stadium,” Angels owner Arte Moreno said.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 26, 2014 at 03:27 PM | 48 comment(s)
  Beats: anaheim, angels, stadium deals, tustin

Thursday, September 18, 2014

It’s quite the turnaround for Angels and General Manager Jerry Dipoto

“Last year was not a great year. From a roster-building standpoint, I made a lot of mistakes. From a quality-of-product-on-the-field standpoint, the first five months of the season were awful.”

That the Angels emerged as the team with the best record in the major leagues this season — and that Moreno picked up Dipoto’s 2015 option two months ago — is yet another reminder to ignore the headlines at the winter meetings. Winning the winter wins you nothing.

The inspiring story of how one man spent millions of another man’s money, then spent even more to correct the mistakes he spent money on before.

Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: September 18, 2014 at 12:26 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, mariners

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Passan: 10 Degrees: Cole Hamels’ trade value might be Phillies’ lone bright spot

I assume a ‘shop of Amaro looking like Derpy Hooves already exists, what with this being the Internet.

BTW, Harrison also leads the NL in Chadwick Ratio.

The latest reminder that the Philadelphia Phillies are an actual major league ballclub, as opposed to a Ruben Amaro Jr. fever dream in which he endeavors to lavish old, older and oldest ballplayers with contracts bad, worse and what were you thinking, came Monday afternoon. Four Phillies pitchers combined to no-hit the Atlanta Braves. It was a cool moment.

Particularly because it reminded the world that not only does Cole Hamels still exist amid the mountain of derp that is these Phillies, he is turning in one of his finest seasons at the perfect time for Philadelphia to cash in… Amaro told Philadelphia reporters Monday that he planned on overhauling his roster this offseason, which is all well and good in a fantasy land where opposing teams agree to pay full freight for the overpaid boondoggles with which he has saddled the Phillies….  if the Phillies want to start over – and they need to start over – they’ve got to trade Cole Hamels.

Anybody who performs so improbably well that he finds himself on an MVP ballot a year after logging fewer than 100 plate appearances deserves every bit of praise imaginable.

[Josh] Harrison’s selection into the All-Star Game this year got waylaid in this space as an overreaction to a small sample of productivity. All Harrison has done since the break is lead baseball with a .599 slugging percentage. Yes, 5-foot-8 Josh Harrison is outslugging Abreu, Big Papi, Giancarlo Stanton and every other leviathan who can punish a ball 500 feet.

In the six weeks since the break, Harrison has hit eight home runs in 167 at-bats. Over his first three seasons in the major leagues, he hit seven in 532 at-bats.

Matt Shoemaker… turns 28 at the end of September, and his major league career before this season consisted of one start at the end of last season.

He had journeyman written all over him, what with back-to-back seasons of palindromic 5.65 and 4.64 ERAs at Triple-A… Since joining the rotation June 17, Shoemaker is 11-3 with a 2.70 ERA, 80 strikeouts and 13 walks. Opponents are hitting .229 against him and getting on base 26.5 percent of the time. His current scoreless-inning streak is at 23, and he should be a lock for AL pitcher of the month in August, during which he went 6-1 with a 1.31 ERA and allowed just two home runs in 41 1/3 innings.

The District Attorney Posted: September 02, 2014 at 03:01 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, cole hamels, josh harrison, matt shoemaker, phillies, pirates

Monday, September 01, 2014

Bob Melvin calls Athletics ‘pathetic’ after Angels sweep four-game set

Plus some #umpshow action!

Manager Bob Melvin verbally unloaded on his team Sunday — at least for Bob Melvin, it was unloading — after the Oakland Athletics were swept in a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels. The Athletics fell 8-1 in the series finale, putting them five games back of the Angels in the American League West. Oakland didn’t score in 29 straight innings over the course of four games, from the sixth inning Thursday until the eighth inning Sunday, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle...

What can you say? It was embarrassing. Pathetic. We don’t play like that. The last three games here are the worst I’ve seen this team play in… I can’t remember how long. I feel bad for our fans to have to watch that.

Melvin conducted a closed-door team meeting after the game, giving the players a more emotional version of what he told the media. Usually mild mannered, Melvin also was ejected in the second inning by umpire Gerry Davis. The A’s already had been at odds with Davis, who earlier in the series reportedly made a “crying baby gesture” to the A’s when they complained about another call or calls…

It was just frustrating. We can’t play like that. We’re not going to be able to play like that. The reason I’m upset is because that’s not who we are. That’s not who we’ve been for three years. And for the last… I don’t know how long, it’s mounted. It’s been frustrating. But that last three games for us is just not who we are. At all. And it’s embarrassing. They all should be embarrassed.

I’m done. Thank you.

The District Attorney Posted: September 01, 2014 at 01:23 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, athletics, bob melvin

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sullivan: Why Mike Trout—and the rest of the league—is having trouble with the high stuff

Pitchers, by and large, are working lower. The called strike zone has followed them... Hitters are… swinging at more pitches in the lower third… Contact rates on pitches up have declined. Contact rates on pitches down have very slightly improved… here’s what this has led to: in 2008, hitters slugged 30 points better against high strikes than they did against low strikes. The next season, they slugged 51 points better. Fast-forward now to 2014, and you’ll observe that now hitters are slugging 10 points worse against those same high strikes…

Yet, pitchers continue to work down. It’s how they’ve long been instructed, and it’s where offspeed pitches are usually supposed to go… From a recent Business Week Astros profile:

advanced data yielded a useful insight: Major league hitters had become so adept at hitting low pitches that they were vulnerable to high ones. [Billy] Beane had discovered a particularly clever countermove. “€œBeane stayed ahead of the curve,”€ says [Astros pitching coach Brent] Strom, “€œby finding hitters with a steep upward swing path to counter the sinking action of pitchers trying to induce ground balls.”

Billy Beane put together a baseball team constructed to fight those low pitches… The Astros had Collin McHugh start to throw more elevated four-seam fastballs… McHugh is having an outstanding season out of nowhere…

So this is how we proceed in the league’s hunt for equilibrium. For years, pitchers worked to throw down more and more often… The league has started to respond… [and] now the league will eventually respond to the response, re-establishing the upper parts of the zone. McHugh is one example… And then, in time, there [will] just be a response to the response to the response. Look closely enough and there’s no such thing as equilibrium at all.


Friday, August 29, 2014

Angels beat Athletics, Oakland protests game after obstruction call

The really weird play was the one where Gordon Beckham got a hit.

The Angels beat the Athletics 4-3 in 10 innings Thursday night on a walk-off sacrifice fly by Howie Kendrick, giving the Halos a two-game lead over Oakland in the American League West. But the A’s played the game under protest thanks to a controversial obstruction call in the ninth inning… Angels shortstop Erick Aybar led off the ninth inning of a 3-3 tie with a bouncer up the first base line, then collided with A’s pitcher Dan Otero.

The District Attorney Posted: August 29, 2014 at 11:39 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, athletics, rules

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

FG (Sullivan): The Tigers and the Angels Needn’t Scramble for Help

September roster expansion is weird, if you think about it.

recently, of course, the Angels lost Garrett Richards for the year. Meanwhile, Anibal Sanchez experienced a setback in his injury rehab, and now it’s unclear whether he’ll be able to return in the regular season…

This year, replacement-level starting pitchers have averaged an ERA close to 5, and an FIP close to 5. Meanwhile, replacement-level relief pitchers have averaged an ERA a little under 4, and an FIP a little under 4. This is very basic stuff. This is why, for one-game playoffs, you’ll often see it suggested that teams try bullpen games. Or at least, that teams be more aggressive with their bullpens. This isn’t something you can do feasibly during much of the regular season, because you’d wear your relievers down, and you’d have to be constantly shuttling guys back and forth between the majors and Triple-A. But in September, teams are free to roster much bigger pitching staffs, which allows for greater flexibility. Precisely the sort of flexibility that could work to Anaheim and Detroit’s benefit…

Maybe, in a sense, it’s unfair that the Angels could patch up a rotation hole in this way. But maybe, in another sense, it’s unfair that the Angels weren’t left with many options to patch up the hole when it opened. As long as the September rules are what they are, teams might as well try to take advantage of them. A few teams in contention are positioned to do just that.

The District Attorney Posted: August 27, 2014 at 07:09 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, strategy, tigers

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Angels Acquire Gordon Beckham

Can he pitch?

The Angels announced that they have acquired second baseman Gordon Beckham from the White Sox in exchange for a player to be named later and cash considerations.

Beckham, 27, has struggled this season with the White Sox, hitting just .221/.263/.336 in 390 plate appearances.. he is a lifetime .244/.306/.374 batter…

Beckham will bring some degree defensive versatility to the Angels, and Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register tweets that he will come off the bench… Defensive metrics such as Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved have pegged Beckham’s glove as roughly average over the past four seasons.

The District Attorney Posted: August 21, 2014 at 05:50 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, trades, transactions, white sox

LA Times: Angels’ Garrett Richards Suffers Knee Injury in Win Over Red Sox

He was exciting to watch this season, hope he recovers quickly.

Richards sprinted from the mound toward first to receive a relay from shortstop Erick Aybar, but as he approached the bag, he caught his right cleat in the dirt, and his knee buckled.

Richards crumpled to the ground, where he remained for about eight minutes while athletic trainers worked to mobilize his leg. The entire Angels team circled around the right hander as he was placed on a stretcher and carted off the field.

Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: August 21, 2014 at 12:25 AM | 51 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, injuries, pennant race

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Angels beat Red Sox and extend their AL West lead

The Halos have sole possession of first place for the first time since May 11, 2011.

“Mike Trout and Albert Pujols hit consecutive RBI doubles, and the Los Angeles Angels extended their AL West lead with a 4-2 victory over the Red Sox on Monday night.

With two runners on and none out in the ninth, Jepsen threw a well-executed changeup to Ortiz that moved off the plate and got Big Papi to swing and miss wildly.

‘I wanted to give him a pitch he thinks he can drive, but it fades out of the zone. In that situation, I’m going for the strikeout,’ Jepsen said. ‘Watching him, I’ve seen him come up a ton of times in that situation and tie it up.’

As Bogaerts and Bradley battle big league challenges, the Red Sox work on patience, Joe McDonald writes. Story

Jepsen then got Yoenis Cespedes to bounce into a run-scoring fielder’s choice before Mike Napoli lined to center, which closed out Jepsen’s first save since Sept. 16, 2012. It was the fifth win in six games for the Angels, who moved a half-game ahead of idle Oakland.”

still hunting for a halo-red october (in Delphi) Posted: August 19, 2014 at 03:24 AM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: angels

Monday, August 18, 2014

Neyer: Grains of salt

Get that dunce cap off your head and put it on Pedro Guerrero’s!

If I gave you a choice of any non-Kershaw major leaguer for the rest of the season, who would you choose?

Right: Mike Trout. Get that dunce cap off your head and move a little closer to my desk, right this minute.

And your second choice?

I’m not going to make you put the dunce cap back on if you don’t immediately think of Alex Gordon. But by this measure, he’s actually been the best player in the major leagues this season... [but] There’s no functional difference between 5.7 fWAR and 5.6 fWAR. Better to say those two have been the two best in the majors this season…

this is where I caution everyone, quite carefully: None of this means that the people at FanGraphs believe Alex Gordon is one of the two best players in the majors, or is as valuable as Mike Trout.

Every method has limitations, and we’re simply looking for the method with the fewest limitations. Wins Above Replacement is really good. But this version, anyway, seems to overrate really good corner outfielders like Alex Gordon and Jason Heyward. I think Gordon’s a great player. I’m just not sure he’s this great.

 

The District Attorney Posted: August 18, 2014 at 02:26 PM | 52 comment(s)
  Beats: alex gordon, angels, mike trout, rob neyer, royals, sabermetrics

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