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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Still no Angels in the Baseball Hall of Fame

“We don’t lose sleep over it,” said Mead, vice president for communications and a former assistant general manager. “But it would be nice to go to Cooperstown and see the A. That day will come.”

The day came for another early 1960s expansion team, the Houston Astros, when Craig Biggio was elected to the Hall of Fame on Tuesday. Biggio will be the first player to wear an Astros cap on his plaque, a long wait for a team that joined the majors in 1962, as the Colt .45s.

The Angels are a year older than the Astros, having joined the American League as an expansion team in 1961. Other current teams not represented on a plaque are much newer, including Arizona (1998), Colorado (1993), Miami (1993), Seattle (1977), Tampa Bay (1998) and Washington (2005).

Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: January 13, 2015 at 11:45 PM | 90 comment(s)
  Beats: bobby grich, hall of fame, mike trout, vladimir guerrero

Friday, January 02, 2015

MLB’s most interesting people in ‘15

Which executives, managers and players will drive the MLB narrative in the coming season? Here’s a look at the 15 most interesting people in baseball heading into 2015:

1. Rob Manfred
After an extended run as Bud Selig’s most trusted aide, Manfred takes center stage in late January as baseball’s 10th commissioner. He’ll try to maintain the momentum that has made baseball a $9 billion industry while setting an agenda on pace of play, changes in the draft and free-agent compensation system, and MLB’s efforts to reach out to a younger fan base. Manfred also needs to connect with Tony Clark and the players’ association while navigating the usual array of ownership labor hawks and doves in negotiations toward a new collective bargaining agreement in 2016.

2. Alex Rodriguez
Where do we start? A-Rod, who missed the entire 2014 season with a drug suspension, turns 40 in July. He’s six homers shy of tying Willie Mays’ total of 660 and collecting a $6 million bonus on top of the $61 million the Yankees already owe him. But the Yankees just signed third baseman Chase Headley to a four-year deal—yet another sign that they want Rodriguez to go away. Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter were universally revered at the end of their runs in the Bronx. The reception won’t be quite as fawning when the most polarizing figure in baseball reports to Steinbrenner Field for duty in February.

They don’t always drink beer. But when they do, its Dos Equis. Wait, is that a centaur joke?


Monday, December 29, 2014

Top 10 Game-Changing MLB Moments

WHAT ABOUT JETER’S WALK OFF?

Among all the moments on this list, none has a higher WPA than Davis’ June 30 grand slam against Oakland. The Tigers had a win expectancy of 20 percent entering the at-bat. (And that presumes each moment occurs in a vacuum. It didn’t take into account that the light-hitting Davis has never hit more than eight home runs in a season and that Davis had never hit a walk-off shot.)

With one smooth swing, Davis crushed a hanging curveball over the left-field wall, one of the most dramatic moments of the ‘14 season. The swing had its aftereffects, too. The A’s, up 5 ½ games in the AL West at the time, lost three straight, and shortly thereafter would lose the division lead with a mediocre month of July and a flat-out dreadful August. The Tigers, meanwhile, established themselves as the team to catch in the AL Central.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 29, 2014 at 02:15 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: alex gordon, angels, athletics, mike trout, rajai davis, royals, tigers, wpa

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Oz: Mike Trout Q&A: His workouts, goals & what he’s thankful for

How to be like Mike (Trout) this offseason:

MO: You’re home in New Jersey, right? What are you doing for Thanksgiving?

MT: I usually go to two dinners. At my parents’ house, then my girlfriend’s house. They have a dinner too. Nothing too crazy.

MO: Since you’re the youngest of three kids, do you think having an MVP will give you extra clout at Thanksgiving this year? Biggest piece of pie? You get to eat the last roll?

MT: It’s first come and first serve in my house and in my family. That’s why I love ‘em. They stay the same. They’re always joking with me. ...

MO: Since I know you’re training for next season already and you said you have two Thanksgiving dinners, how do you balance that out in the gym?

MT: Thanksgiving, it’s a day you can cheat a little bit. You don’t want to be sitting at dinner and not eating anything. To me, it’s not that bad the next day, working out. I think the biggest thing is in the morning, waking up, you can tell when you ate too much the day before. But it’s only one day. ...

MO: In general, what’s your training schedule like during the offseason? Do you give yourself a break at all?

MT: I played something like 158 games, so I like to take two or three weeks off to let my muscles relax.

MO: From a training standpoint, are you focusing on anything particular this offseason?

MT: There are always things you can improve on. Obviously speed is part of my game. You want to get quicker feet. I’m just working on my agility and trying to get stronger.

MO: When you’re trying to improve, are your goals numbers, like “I want to hit five more homers,” or is it all feeling, like “I want to feel stronger or faster?”

MT: There are a lot of things you can put into it, but for me it’s just wanting to feel faster and stronger. It’s just preparing my body for next season.

JE (Jason) Posted: November 25, 2014 at 01:32 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, mike trout, training

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

Kershaw claims NL MVP; Trout unanimous in AL | MLB.com

No surprises this year.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 13, 2014 at 07:06 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: awards, clayton kershaw, mike trout, mvp

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 06:31 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

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

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.


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

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Drafts That Exceeded Expectations

The Angels hooked a good one.

he leading 2006 Rays draft managed to produce three productive major leaguers: Evan Longoria (1st Round, 3rd pick, 38.5 career rWAR, 5.81 WAR/Season), Alex Cobb (4th Round, 3rd Pick, 7.1 career rWAR, 1.94 WAR/Season), and Desmond Jennings (10th Round, 3rd Pick, 11.7 rWAR, 3.02 WAR/Season). However, the 2009 Angels drafted Mike Trout, Tyler Skaggs, and Garrett Richards, so they may be on the way to passing the 2006 Rays. In addition, the Angels’s total includes Patrick Corban and Randal Grichuk, whom they traded away. However, since the point of this exercise is identifying the teams who are getting the best value, even if it gets traded away, this is a reasonable inclusion.

On the opposite end, the 1994 Phillies drafted four players who reached the majors, all of whom had negative WAR. The 1997 White Sox failed to sign 2nd Round pick Jeff Weaver (who would go on to have 15.5 career rWAR), had six total 1st Round and Supplement 1st Round Picks, and still wound out on -1.77 WAR/Season….

Accounting for this, we can calculate the WAR/Season above the expectation that a team got in their draft, which can be looked at as a measure of value. Not surprisingly this list has several teams picking near the bottom of the round who find a star (a la Mike Trout), or teams who find a star in the later rounds (Such as Paul Goldschmidt)...

Not surprisingly, the 2009 Angels draft class comes out on top. In fact, in future years this class may look even more impressive if Skaggs, Richards, Grichuk, and Corbin continue to develop.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 15, 2014 at 02:26 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, draft, mike trout, phillies, rays

 

 

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