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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) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels

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   1. Joey B. Posted: August 19, 2014 at 08:40 AM (#4774314)
Another game recap?? Way to jab your thumb in the eye of all the A's fans here!
   2. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: August 19, 2014 at 08:49 AM (#4774319)
edit: Not worth it.
   3. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 19, 2014 at 09:35 AM (#4774335)
One of the fun things about seeing a team in person is you get a better sense of the players on that team. I knew before last night that Kole Calhoun was a pretty solid little player but I really liked what I saw last night. It's not just that he was on base all night but he has a cannon arm. He made about 3 ridiculously good throws. No assists in the end but he was making some great throws.
   4. Spahn Insane Posted: August 19, 2014 at 09:37 AM (#4774336)
edit: Not worth it.

Hey, at least he's added something to his repertoire. Let's face it; the constant referring to the Braves as "rednecks" alternated with references to "red diaper doper babies" had gotten a bit stale.
   5. AROM Posted: August 19, 2014 at 09:45 AM (#4774338)
Kole Calhoun is a 5 tool player who just doesn't look like one. He bypassed the prospect lists entirely. Never made anyone's top 100, at least of the lists BBref keeps. Went from 8th round pick, to putting up good numbers while being older that most of his competition, to MLB producer.

Contrast that with the BBref minor league pages of guys who make the top 100 5 or 6 times, and never amount to anything.
   6. shoelesjoe Posted: August 19, 2014 at 10:06 AM (#4774346)
Kole Calhoun wasn't on my radar until I got to watch the Orioles recent West Coast road trip, but he did nothing but impress me even though his team lost four out of six. If I had to choose the handful of young players with the brightest futures he'd be near the top of the list.
   7. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: August 19, 2014 at 10:08 AM (#4774349)
Sometimes I wonder if the entire system for evaluating prospects needs to be scrapped. I know baseball is an unpredictable sport, but prospect evaluation still seems completely random. e.g., the discussion yesterday re Bogaerts. He may well turn out to be an elite player, but it's still pretty incredible that Caleb Joseph has been two wins better than Bogaerts this year.
   8. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 19, 2014 at 10:16 AM (#4774359)
Sometimes I wonder if the entire system for evaluating prospects needs to be scrapped. I know baseball is an unpredictable sport, but prospect evaluation still seems completely random. e.g., the discussion yesterday re Bogaerts. He may well turn out to be an elite player, but it's still pretty incredible that Caleb Joseph has been two wins better than Bogaerts this year.


I think the problem is one of interpretation rather than evaluation. There seems to be this perception that a top ten prospect is a "can't miss" when in reality they miss with a pretty high degree of regularity. I suspect that if you charted the hit/miss ratio you'd get more hits in the top 10, 20, 30, whatever than you would in the 200-300 range BUT you'd have a lot more misses than a lot of fans/media would expect.
   9. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: August 19, 2014 at 10:21 AM (#4774365)
A theory I've had is that physicially attractive prospects tend to be overrated (meaning facial symmetry et al, rather than build), and vice versa.
   10. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 19, 2014 at 10:30 AM (#4774375)
Jose is onto something probably. A lot of the issues with prospects is that lists of them are stupid, but the internet demands lists.
   11. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: August 19, 2014 at 10:32 AM (#4774378)
I think the problem is one of interpretation rather than evaluation. There seems to be this perception that a top ten prospect is a "can't miss" when in reality they miss with a pretty high degree of regularity. I suspect that if you charted the hit/miss ratio you'd get more hits in the top 10, 20, 30, whatever than you would in the 200-300 range BUT you'd have a lot more misses than a lot of fans/media would expect.

But isn't that begging the question? The issue is that the top ten prospects miss so frequently. (Well, that and the fact that there are so many productive MLB players who were never considered prospects.)
   12. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 19, 2014 at 10:41 AM (#4774387)
But isn't that begging the question? The issue is that the top ten prospects miss so frequently.


The question for me is what SHOULD be the expected miss rate? To use an old example a great hitter still fails 6 times out of 10, that doesn't mean he's a bad hitter. Given the various reasons for uncertainty; quality of development, changes in skill, etc...some error rate should be expected but the question is what that rate should be. Are the lists bad or is it just a fundamental truth that getting it wrong 4 out of 10 times (or whatever the number is) is to be expected.

Look at the work done by teams on this issue. While not technically a "prospect list" the draft itself is sort of a "prospect list" all its own. As we know even the top 10 picks in a given draft are going to miss a LOT. How does Baseball America's top ten list compare to the top ten draft picks in terms of error rate? (not apples to apples I know).
   13. Spahn Insane Posted: August 19, 2014 at 10:50 AM (#4774397)
Contrast that with the BBref minor league pages of guys who make the top 100 5 or 6 times, and never amount to anything.

Think Bill James once wrote of somebody (Terry Mulholland?) that "He's a perennial prospect, which is a subtle distinction between being no prospect at all." There's some truth to that notion.

Of course, Mulholland (assuming I'm correctly remembering that's who he was talking about) turned out to be pretty useful, so youneverknow.
   14. PreservedFish Posted: August 19, 2014 at 10:54 AM (#4774403)
A theory I've had is that physicially attractive prospects tend to be overrated (meaning facial symmetry et al, rather than build), and vice versa.

This seems totally believable. Are Kole Calhoun and Caleb Joseph ugly?
   15. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: August 19, 2014 at 10:57 AM (#4774412)
I also find that believable, although I think the build is a big part of that. Calhoun and Joseph are both kinda goofy looking. It's amazing that 10 years after Moneyball came out we're still selling jeans.

The question for me is what SHOULD be the expected miss rate? To use an old example a great hitter still fails 6 times out of 10, that doesn't mean he's a bad hitter. Given the various reasons for uncertainty; quality of development, changes in skill, etc...some error rate should be expected but the question is what that rate should be. Are the lists bad or is it just a fundamental truth that getting it wrong 4 out of 10 times (or whatever the number is) is to be expected.

That's a fair question. Maybe the issue isn't so much the failure rate of the top prospects as it is the fact that we're all too focused on them.
   16. nick swisher hygiene Posted: August 19, 2014 at 10:58 AM (#4774414)
isn't a lot of it just that really elite athletic ability of the kind that gets relatively easily quantified by reps, 40 time, etc, matters less in baseball?

speaking of which, I wonder if this weird two-digit "tools" thing seems kinda laughable from the perspective of other sports.

"let's see, he's a 70 for the 40-yard draft and a 60 for bench press.
wow--how fast did he run it?

"I dunno, it looked really fast! I scored him a 70....great 40 tool!"
   17. shoelesjoe Posted: August 19, 2014 at 11:37 AM (#4774474)
I'd like to know what skill set the stat heads missed about Kole Calhoun that now make him a valuable player, and whether there are any other non-prospects with similar skill sets that are also being missed. A good GM could make a killing by cherry picking these kinds of guys late in the draft, or from other organizations that haven't recognized their own players' potential yet.
   18. Random Transaction Generator Posted: August 19, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4774504)
I'd like to know what skill set the stat heads missed about Kole Calhoun that now make him a valuable player


Work ethic?
Teachability?
No/less pressure in the minors to perform heroic feats?
   19. Steve Sparks Flying Everywhere Posted: August 19, 2014 at 12:04 PM (#4774517)
I'd like to know what skill set the stat heads missed about Kole Calhoun that now make him a valuable player, and whether there are any other non-prospects with similar skill sets that are also being missed. A good GM could make a killing by cherry picking these kinds of guys late in the draft, or from other organizations that haven't recognized their own players' potential yet.


I think it's a combination of a player maturing at different ages, coaching, and the player's makeup. You can measure those things individually, but it's hard to predict the result when everything is combined.
   20. Nasty Nate Posted: August 19, 2014 at 12:10 PM (#4774527)
Was it the stat heads or the scouts who missed on Calhoun? or both? His minor league stats are good.
   21. PreservedFish Posted: August 19, 2014 at 12:12 PM (#4774533)
But let's be fair. Kole Calhoun probably wasn't good enough to play in the majors until he was 25. That's usually a bad sign.

Caleb Joseph? Not until this year (age 28). Dude spent 4 consecutive years at AA.

Sabermetric analysis puts a lot of importance on prospect age, and I've never seen anything to suggest that this was incorrect. But late bloomers will happen. The question is how you distinguish the Kole Calhouns and Matt Carpenters from the guys without a future. I suspect that it's pretty tough to do, statistically.
   22. villageidiom Posted: August 19, 2014 at 12:18 PM (#4774539)
Was it the stat heads or the scouts who missed on Calhoun? or both? His minor league stats are good.
Statheads would look not just at his stats but his age. As AROM implied upthread, being able to outhit younger competition in the minors isn't necessarily a sign that one will hit well in the majors.
   23. Hank G. Posted: August 19, 2014 at 01:27 PM (#4774605)
A theory I've had is that physicially attractive prospects tend to be overrated (meaning facial symmetry et al, rather than build), and vice versa.


How does that theory explain Bryce Harper being rated higher than Mike Trout?
   24. AROM Posted: August 19, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4774616)
Was it the stat heads or the scouts who missed on Calhoun? or both? His minor league stats are good.


Both. If statheads mentioned Calhoun coming up, it was probably as a "this guy could be a useful 4th outfielder" than "this guy will give them the production they are expecting from Josh Hamilton and his 25 million dollar salary".

The stats in the minors look nice, but when you consider age and the parks/leagues he was playing in, they weren't really interesting until his 59 games in 2013 (354/431/617). Before you could decide if that was for real or just a hot start fluke, he was kicking A in the big leagues.
   25. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 19, 2014 at 01:46 PM (#4774625)
A theory I've had is that physicially attractive prospects tend to be overrated (meaning facial symmetry et al, rather than build), and vice versa.


Matt Wieters is NOT physically attractive.
   26. DKDC Posted: August 19, 2014 at 01:59 PM (#4774641)
Looking at just the hit tool, which should be the most obvious - the top 30 players by RC+ since 2012 (min 1000 PA).

Some of the guys who were not ranked were still considered prospects, but didn’t crack the top 100 due to timing or other reasons.

I’m not really sure what to make of this, just found it interesting.

wRC+ Max BA Rank Name
170 2 Mike Trout
167 12 Miguel Cabrera
159 13 Andrew McCutchen
158 43 Joey Votto
151 18 Giancarlo Stanton
150 56 Edwin Encarnacion
147 84 David Ortiz
147 15 Troy Tulowitzki
146 NR Paul Goldschmidt
145 NR Robinson Cano
143 26 Ryan Braun
141 7 Buster Posey
141 NR Jose Bautista
140 72 Brandon Moss
140 48 Jayson Werth
138 3 Adrian Beltre
138 NR Matt Holliday
137 17 Freddie Freeman
135 10 Hanley Ramirez
134 NR Matt Carpenter
133 21 David Wright
132 10 Prince Fielder
132 65 Chris Davis
132 1 Joe Mauer
132 5 Aramis Ramirez
130 NR Yadier Molina
130 NR Josh Donaldson
129 51 Shin-Soo Choo
129 NR Jonathan Lucroy
129 10 Carlos Santana
   27. Al Kaline Trio Posted: August 19, 2014 at 02:03 PM (#4774646)
I'd like to know what skill set the stat heads missed about Kole Calhoun that now make him a valuable player, and whether there are any other non-prospects with similar skill sets that are also being missed. A good GM could make a killing by cherry picking these kinds of guys late in the draft, or from other organizations that haven't recognized their own players' potential yet.


Or that GM could end up in 2nd place (Brandon Moss, Jesse Chavez, Stephen Vogt, Nate Freiman etc.)
   28. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: August 19, 2014 at 02:04 PM (#4774648)
I think scouts missed on him because of his height. Statheads liked him (at least I did), but cooled when he didn't dominate his first year in the PCL at age 24. He's one of my favorite hitters to watch. Great approach, simple, quiet and quick swing - he makes it look easy.

   29. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: August 19, 2014 at 02:06 PM (#4774649)
Matt Wieters is NOT physically attractive.


Uh . . .
   30. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: August 19, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4774731)
Sabermetric analysis puts a lot of importance on prospect age, and I've never seen anything to suggest that this was incorrect. But late bloomers will happen. The question is how you distinguish the Kole Calhouns and Matt Carpenters from the guys without a future. I suspect that it's pretty tough to do, statistically.
From the way Calhoun hit in his first three years in the minors, it's clear he was ahead of the curve, probably in too low a league for his talent and could have been moved along faster. This is what happens when teams sign Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter up, they keep their talent in the minors longer. They also had Trout and expected Bourjos to be around a long time. The backlog of bodies probably explains Calhoun's minor league timeline as much as anything else.
   31. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: August 19, 2014 at 03:54 PM (#4774749)
I think the prospect mavens like BA and the teams themselves can be too caught up in star power and long-term strategy. They focus a lot on a prospects age in part because they're thinking about whether this guy could be a star several years down the road, but don't pay enough attention to older guys in the minors who might be able to contribute immediately (even if just as an averagish player). Things can change quickly in baseball, so finding solid players for your team next year is just as important as finding a star for 3-4 years down the line, particularly given the fact that (a) the vast, vast majority of prospects will never turn into stars, and (b) the ones who become stars will often leave as FAs or get injured anyway. For the same reason, I think concept of the "success cycle" and the argument that teams shouldn't try to go from 70 to 75 wins are misguided.
   32. AROM Posted: August 19, 2014 at 04:04 PM (#4774756)
I don't think the OF glut explains it. Calhoun was drafted in 2010. I guess he was a college senior being 22 his first year, looks like he wasn't drafted as a junior. He played a half year in Orem after signing, skipped a level to go to the California league in 2011, skipped AA and went to SLC in 2012.

They had a crowded OF at the MLB level, but nobody was going to put Calhoun there until he proved he could play anyway. At the minor league level the 2010-2013 Angels didn't have much depth anywhere. Calhoun moved about as quickly as was reasonable.

   33. A New Leaf Awakens (Black Hawk Reign of Terror) Posted: August 19, 2014 at 04:12 PM (#4774768)
Calhoun moved quickly, and the only time when his offensive performance wasn't striking was his first exposure to AAA, after having skipped AA.

I've thought about him as one of the Angels' best prospects for the last couple of years, so I don't know who was missing on him. Of course, the system has been so barren that that doesn't mean much.

One factor that contributes to his success is that he can hold his own against lefties. Sciosc still loves giving Cowgill PA against lefties, but Calhoun has been handling them fine.
   34. A New Leaf Awakens (Black Hawk Reign of Terror) Posted: August 19, 2014 at 04:17 PM (#4774775)
Of course, I just found a record in May of 2013 saying Calhoun's ceiling was 4th OF. In fairness, he had a poor spring in 2013 and got off to a slow start in AAA before turning it on. By July I was saying "finally" when he was recalled.
   35. Walt Davis Posted: August 19, 2014 at 05:18 PM (#4774841)
So we're wondering why top prospects "flop" so often while treating Kole Calhoun's first 620 PA as if they are gospel.

Yep, it's a mystery.

As to Bogaerts, chill, he's 21. Yount wasn't a star at 21 (though he was a good player), Nomar wasn't in the majors until 22 (good at 23), John Valentin didn't make the majors until 25.

But also a key question with Bogaerts was always whether he could stick at SS. This season rather strongly suggests the answer is no. A move off of SS is a big hit to a prospect's rating. That's possibly one area where the lists aren't pessimistic enough. It's usually "the key question is can he stick at ...." but they've got that guy ranked in the top 3 prospects anyway.

It's a big question whether Bogaerts can stick at SS, whether Bryant can stick at 3B, whether Montero could stick at C, etc. You probably do better at prospecting if you just assume that if a number of people are asking the question then the answer is no and downgrade appropriately.

That and yes, the prospect lists often seem to put potential stars ahead of solid producers even if somebody in the first group has the higher bust potential. The willingness to put some kid drafted last June in the top of the next year's list seems too high.

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