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Great article, but I don't necessarily agree with the conclusion. I also enjoyed listening to Kevin Millar and Harold Reynolds break this down. Other points to consider:
1. Millar: Middlebrook's job is to catch that ball. He froze. If he moves with and towards the throw, the ball stays in the infield.
2. Reynolds: This play happens more than we think, but not at third base. It's a more common play with the middle infield and a baserunner. We don't remember/notice as much because the runner is awarded third, not home.
My observation - Joyce didn't hesitate, he made the call as soon as he saw Craig stumble over Middlebrooks. No matter which side you believe, Joyce got it right - he was decisive and called it instantly, not moments later. You won't see Joyce in tears over this one.
Wow. I agree that laying blame is easiest with 20-20 hindsight, but I also watched in disbelief as Leyland over-managed the 8th inning. The first words out of my mouth when he came out to replace Veras were, "What are you doing?" Veras got an out and then gave up a soft double into the left field corner . . . with a four run lead. Shame on him! Now comes the over-managing and the parade of matchup pitching changes . . . with a four run lead! If it was the regular season, Veras stays in and probably gets out of it and maybe gives up that run on second base. One out and a runner on second - probability of scoring is around 65%. Who cares if that run scores as long as you get outs along the way. You have a four run lead. Instead, Leyland chose to manage as if it's a one run lead and it spiraled out of control from there. Veras threw 3 pitches - two for strikes. We never got to find out if he was having control issues and we never got to find out if his .199 batting average against would play out after that double.
Worth pursuing? The manager also is attached intimately to his assistant coaches. With that in mind, how many Angel pitching castoffs over the past four years (same time out of playoffs) have gone on to produce somewhere else? How many castoffs from other teams or free agents have excelled as Angels? Something is wrong here and it sure seems to point to something that the Angels are doing wrong with its pitchers.
I'm not a Cardinals fan and I was amazed at the exclusion of that game. Wow!
I don't think confidence is the issue with Valverde, I think it's mechanics. I didn't see the Oakland game, but watched carefully as he coughed up the lead last night. His pitches have absolutely no life/movement on them. This is troubling, considering he throws a split-finger fastball - no tumble at all, it is coming in flat and up in the zone. Obviously, this is not a good time to have issues, and it suggests a need for using Dotel or someone else in the situation until he gets this ironed out.
I want to hear the story behind Mr. Jaffe labeling the AL MVP and ROY as "MFT"! :-)
Fantastic opportunity! Make the most of it and don't be a stranger to the site with an occassional guest blog. I'm going to miss your insightful analysis of the "boys of summer."
I agree that Harper looks great, but how about a little love for Mike Trout as well? Look at the numbers; they're almost exactly the same. Trout has more Ks, but otherwise they are almost identical. Harper stepped into a lineup that was on a roll and that alone had to make things a little more comfortable. Trout arrived on scene to a team that was floundering on offence without a leadoff hitter. Look at the Angels record since Trout arrived . . . and don't forget he's only 20 years old.
I agree that it is very hard to assess the value and/or impact of a hitting coach. However, that doesn't mean what they bring to the table isn't important. Hitting coaches are teachers and the best teachers use multiple approaches to teach the same thing. Why? Because everyone takes in information differently. The Angels under performing ways at the plate go clear back to the 2010 season. Some of this has to fall on Hatcher. I'm not sure how much time Hatcher spent in the minor league system teaching hitting, but my guess is not very long. Maybe it's time for a "teacher type" that is adept at pinpointing/suggesting small changes to an art that is extremely difficult to master.
Did anyone "see" Nolan Ryan pitch for the Angels in the 1970s? I take Nolan and this Dream Team and Nolan wins over 200 games in a single decade - he was that good. Go back and look at how many games he lost 1-0, 2-0, and 2-1. The likes of Clemens, Johnson, and Maddux played on good teams and sometimes great teams, while Ryan was sentenced to the 1970s Angels.
Pitchers are already out - check the "Fantasy" section. Knowing Derek's pattern, I'll bet the AL outfielders are out tomorrow. I have to disagree to some extent regarding this lists because the PFM already is working for us. Plus, if you take the tier ratings $$ suggestions, you can build your own tiers in no time flat.
The calf soreness for Morales is in the other leg (not the one with the broken ankle) and appears to be routine soreness.
Autograph seekers: "Most of the time, it’s not about connection, it’s about commerce. It’s a turn-off." Only kids should be allowed to hug the rails along the first and third base lines. Wouldn't it be cool to have an age limit on autograph seekers . . . no one over 16 allowed. If you were born before March 6, 1996, you may only watch! :-)
I'm with Marc. We all need to laugh more and take ourselves less serious. The serious stuff at BP is awesome, and I find the more laid back pieces very enjoyable.
Funny. Don't be too harsh on yourself. Saw Sarah at the Edmonton Folk Festival about 20 years ago - incredible. She was all of about 19 or 20 years old!
Sarah McLachlan is a great Canadian songstress. . .
Funny. Ugh, Brandon Wood is now a Rockie, so he will require FedEx packaging as well.
Could a trade with the Angels be right around the corner? A reliever for Macier Izturis? The front office connections certainly exist.
The stress put on an arm is unnatural. If you read the most current literature on training, arms need time off, while training the rest of the body continues. Pitching is timing, hitting is timing, and fielding is timing. Base ball is hard on arms and backs.
Points are well taken about the way-back-era, but today's baseball player is a different beast. Not a fair comp to football - apples and oranges.
Can you say Bronx Zoo Part Deux??? This is going to be some serious fun, only because I'm not a Marlins fan. I feel for the Marlins fans.
The 93 games Eckersley missed? What about the 130 games that Verlander missed? I agree that the pitcher is important, but waxing about his importance over other "position" players to justify this selection is a bit skewed considering he only plays in 32 games. Let's break it down another way: average 8 innings per start (approximately) for a total of 256 innings. That's 256 innings out of 1458 innings in a regular season or approximately 18% of the innings in a regular season. Verlander had a fantastic season and rightly won the Cy Young - the MVP for pitchers. Ellsbury's season was deserving of MVP consideration,as was Jose Bautista. What percentage of the season's innings did these gentlemen play?
Home is where the heart is . . . well stated Kevin.
Johnny Damon and Keith Foulke were the kind of players that a system honoring Bill James's approach would want. The Red Sox did win because they had Damon and Foulke. However, one of the points of Moneyball is that the correct statistical analysis can help you find the "poorman's" Damons and Foulkes. A slight nuance that is missed in an otherwise excellent article.
I'm not sure a winning team could fix Oakland's problem. While on summer vacation 6 years ago, I took my family to a game in Oakland. We're from Montana and love baseball - we've been to every ballpark west of Denver. Long story-short, the experience was like no other for us. It was a day game in the middle of the week and we experienced general rudeness (my son was wearing his Vladdy jersey - he was 7 at the time) drunks, F-bombs, and total indifference by the ushers to do anything about it. We weren't sitting with the bleacher bums; we had seats even with 3rd base and about 10 rows up. If this is an everyday occurance at this ballpark, I can see why attendance is down. We did not have a positive, fun, family baseball experience in Oakland. While this would be difficult to verify, check out the stands on a televised game and see how many kids are there - my bet is that families are few and far between at these games. Maybe this team really does need a change of scenery.
I agree with the Mathis assessment, but enough with Napoli. The guy is a complete choke with RISP - again (last night) a DP when a base hit could've broken the game wide open. How many HRs does he have? How many RBI does he have? The guy is a "mop-up" artist and not the answer to the Mathis woes. Please, lets try to be more objective - the Napoli comparison is old and relatively weak.
How does this article turn into a Yankee/Red Sox discussion. Geeze!!!
Are you overlooking a potential learning curve for Bourjos and Trumbo. Compare their April/May stats to June/July/August. I think you'll be surprised. I know this isn't much time from a statistical perspective, but we might be seeing two young players coming into their own. Bourjos especially, has reduced his K totals significantly because he's reduced the number of pitches he's chasing out of the zone.
$5.6 million additional salary per year for the brittle Beltre to play defense? That comes out to an additional $350,000 per game for his defense and that's assuming he plays 162 games. Totally disagree - this will be worse than the Gary Mathews Jr signing (don't get me wrong, Beltre is other world compared to Mathews) when it's all said and done. The Rangers will be singing the blues in less than three years because this contract will cripple other moves they wish to make in coming years. Just ask the Angels front office what it's like. Beltre's salary will almost be like packing Mathews' and Kazmir's combined payroll - about 18% of the total payroll. Ouch!
smallflowers - $5.6 million additional salary per year for the brittle Beltre to play defense? That comes out to an additional $350,000 per game for his defense and that's assuming he plays 162 games. Totally disagree - this will be worse than the Gary Mathews Jr signing (don't get me wrong, Beltre is other world compared to Mathews) when it's all said and done. The Rangers will be singing the blues in less than three years because this contract will cripple other moves they wish to make in coming years. Just ask the Angels front office what it's like. Beltre's salary will almost be like packing Mathews' and Kazmir's combined payroll - about 18% of the total payroll. Ouch!
MtnJam - My point is the salary difference: Uggla for $12.4 million per year, while Beltre pulls in $18 million per year. Is Beltre's defense (and age) worth the differnce. I just think this was a gross overpay that the Rangers will regret soon, but the whole winter has been that way with free agents. A crazy, crazy winter.
Lose Lee and Guerrero and gain Beltre and Webb . . . seems to me that the Rangers have slipped. Plus, I agree with Richie; what about this 9 other fairly "off" years in LA and Seattle. This guy just doesn't impress me; I would rather have Uggla for his price. Also, what about Nolan Ryan's quote (see Monday's week in quotes) about "retirement contracts"? Seems like that's what the Rangers just signed with Mr. Beltre. This has been a very odd year for free agents.
I was a Santo admirer as well. As little kid growing up in the 60's in California (Sandlot was my life!), I idolized Roberto Clemente from afar and rooted for my home town Angels - Fregosi, Knoop, Alomar, Mincher, etc. But as a boy totally engrossed in baseball, I was also intrigued by Mr. Cub, Fergie, and Ron Santo. I thought they were great and couldn't understand their unfortunate plight playing for the Cubs. And, I remember Ron being one of the first athletes to endorse a product - Snickers candy bars! Remember?
You nailed it ScottyB, thank you! I'm not a stat head but enjoy BP immensely. I was just trying to point out that I think PECOTA has room for improvement, as with any model - it is only as good as its inputs.
You nailed it ScottyB, thank you! I'm not a stat head but enjoy BP immensely. I was just trying to point out that I think PECOTA has room for improvement, as with any model - it is only as good as its inputs.
And, Shields is returning with Jepson and Bulger on the rise. Oliver left because the Angels have replacements they feel are ready at a lower price point. This is where this organization excels and no one gives them credit. Look at how many players remain from 2002 World Series. I think they're now down to Shields and that is it. Yet they have won consistently since then. HMMM. Plus, a stats guy hanging his hat on ERA for Oliver and Kazmir, while going to SIERA for Holland. Apples to apples?
The issue is that PECOTA, when it comes to the Angels, isn't PROJECTING well - not for the last 3 or so years. That is my point - formula/model doesn't seem to function as accurately as one would like.
If Matsui's knees go, then he would be on par with Vlady and his decline over the past two years. My money is on Matsui and his better plate discipline. You're right, Lackey is very good, and now will be much better just because he's pitching in the East coast media lime light. Heck, I'm preparing for the second coming now that he's pitching for the Red Sox. All of sudden he's lost all his warts. That's my point about this article - it's not objective in what the Angels truly lost and what they gained. As for Scioscia, like it or not, he is now in a class with LaRussa, Torre, and Cox - longevity and success. Not a lot of those kinds of managers around. btw - the Angels have missed the playoffs before under Scioscia, so it would take more than one year to remove him from the top tier of coaches.
The Angels and PECOTA go together like Courtney Love and sobriety! I've been a subscriber for about four years and every year the Angels beat PECOTA's forecast. Seems to me that PECOTA can't see the forest for the trees. Why? Because there is such a thing as intangibles that create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. The big intangible here is Scioscia. Also to consider: Matsui was BETTER than Vlady last year - period. Lackey missed at least one month at the start of the last two seasons and his K/9 is on the decline, while the rotation he leaves will do just fine without him. Figgins ground ball rate is increasing and his speed is in gradual decline . . . a bad time to get rid of him to allow a potential franchise player to prove himself. Really? Focus on Rodney, while ignoring the return of a healthy Shields, a rising Jepson, and capable Bulger. Really? Sorry folks, but the Angels will be looking down from the top once again because they will be the most balanced. Seattle has no offense and Texas, well they have to play in Arlington in July and August - the heat takes its toll. Once again guys, how about a BP West location. Your writing on the west coast teams is ill-informed. We need a "left coast" sports perspective.
This is yet another year of PECOTA not knowing what goes on in the West. This happened last year with players in the wrong positions, poor forecasts (PECOTA would like to forget how it forecast Morales last year and there were plenty of indicators that suggested he would be huge), etc. I love the articles, but PECOTA has been a bunch of Hooey when it comes to Fantasy assistance. When will the guys form a "BP West," it's long over due.
I believe Hunter's injury is to his abductor or adductor - one of the two and I'm not sure which is which.
Sad. A kid on the threshold of his dreams . . . very sad. My heart goes out to all those hit by this senseless tragedy.
Angels pitching "hit by a mack truck?" Interesting observation way out there on the east coast.
As a person who works with scientific modeling on a regular basis (PECOTA is a model after all), I wanted to point out that one of the axioms in the world of modeling is that your model is only as good as your inputs. That was my point with the inaccurate info regarding who is DHing for the Angels - this has an effect on the model outputs. Plus, "bias" is not necessarily created intentionally. My observation is that BP seems to be a little behind the news curve for the west coast vs. the east coast and this creates the "bias" - intentional or not. I also made it a point to say that I wasn't "bashing;" I believe that BP is solid, and I enjoy the site very much. My intent was constructive criticism - not to bash Jay or BP.
Your Pecota projections are biased against the Angels. Consider the following:
DH Role: Vladdy will be DHing about 15% of the time. Either Juan Rivera or Bobby Abreu will fill the majority of the DH time -50%. Either Rivera or Abreu will fill another 15% - whoever is the regular LF. That leaves another 20%, which another 15% is going to Mike Napoli. Last I checked, BP has GMJ in a significant role as DH - not going to happen unless there is an injury. This comes from the Angels website and local newspapers. GMJ is "along for the ride;" he permanently buried himself in the doghouse through his excessive pouting last year. Management will trade or dump him by the end of spring training.
Angel prospects: BP doesn't give a single - not a single - prospect the time of day. Aside from Aybar, Mathis, and Kendrick, the other prospects haven't been given the consistent playing time needed to "punch" through. They are about to get that chance. Odds are at least one will step up and shine. In addition, not one word has been spoken about the numerous adjustments made by players, management, or players and management. I attribute this to the east coast location of BP.
Don't misinterpret this as bashing, I love BP for its clarity and freshness in its reporting. With that said, I still maintain that there is a certain disconnect between BP and the west coast. Especially with what is currently going on with certain teams. The Angels will again win the division - barring injury - and they will do it with plus 90 wins.
Will: Your love of the game is evident in all that you write. Joe wrote a \"killer\" article yesterday with your support in the margin. FYI - Sporting News\'s (on-line version) Will Leitch wrote a great article today on why we love the game. Check it out.
I applaud you. I wish we could find such integrity in the realm of national and international journalism. Thank You Joe.
Just checked on Josh Hamilton. His projections seem to be from 2008: 24 HR and .350 OBP. Or, is PECOTA really projecting that much of a decline? Seems odd that Hamilton is ranked well down (18th or 19th) when using PFM. Inputs were for R, SB, HR, RBI, TB, OBP. I trust you guys, but this one seems kind of low. Thanks.
Dunn at firstbase for the Angels doesn\'t make any kind of sense. Morales is ready to breakout - I think that is what Perrotto is alluding to. It has taken some time for this Cuban exile to get comfortable in the US and I believe his time has arrived. He deserves a full-time shot. In fact, there are a number of young Angel prospects that need to \"show\" what they have. It may not be as good a year as last year, but then again one, two or three solid position players could emerge out of the bunch (Wood, Kendrick, Sean Rodriguez, Morales, Aybar). Bringing in a strikeout/OBP machine like Dunn won\'t get the job \"DUNN.\" He has a history of not hitting with runners in scoring position, otherwise he would have been gobbled up early on in this free agent market. Strikeouts can be very frustrating with runners on base and the game on the line. I\'d rather see what the kids can do - it\'s time.
Blackfoot River Brewing Company in Helena, Montana. Its IPA is stellar and potent @ approximately 9% alcohol by volume! Wonderful citrus notes and super hoppy.
The Windbag Saloon (formally a house of prostitution call Big Dorothy\'s that serviced the politicians - Helena is the state capital - during legislature) serves the best Montana beef filet mignon you will ever have anywhere. It is either served with a merlot sauce or a chardonnay sauce. And we have the Helena Brewers - Rookie League Milwaukee affiliate - baseball and a whole mountain that is a city park.
ESPN is the Evil Empire of sports broadcasting. I hate the ESPN website even more than the cable network.
bflaff, your argument doesn\'t hold water. If it were just a matter of the teams and the fans that those teams bring to the stadium, it would be a much more level playing field. The Yankee advantage comes from the world-wide Yankee market and the revenue that supplies. If there was such a thing for the Angels, you would have seen Moreno in the mix as well. This guy is every bit the business man that George was. His sons are buffoons . . . trust fund boys. Next year the Evil Empire will \"blow,\" and I will enjoy watching it. CC will have arm issues, while Burnett will just have issues. Tex will smoke, but to no avail because that Yankee pitching will be in worse shape than last year. Can\'t wait for Steinbrenner boys to start crying all over again - it was soooo enjoyable last year, will be better this year.
Okay, I\'ll accept your love fest for the Yankees under one condition - and this comes with the added caveat that I love this website: Please tell me why you and the rest of the staff \"hate\" the Angels so much. I\'m a long-time suffering fan who is enjoying the winning culture of the last 6 seasons. However, rarely is there an article that is exclusively about them. And more often than not, the sidebars are less than flattering put-downs. Who is it that you don\'t like? Moreno? Scioscia? A lack of a writer from/with West Coast perspective? What gives?
Yankees 6/195 12/15
CC blows out in first year of contract (second half of \'09) - anyone keep track of Innings Pitched and frequency of starts down the \'08 stretch with the Brewers?
Baseball and Hockey, Baby!!!! Dump football and basketball.
I totally agree with axing the additional time between innings. But let\'s not stop there! Get rid of FOX in the post season, they have underperformed time and time again. I think that the broadcast teams should be made up of one neutral play-by-play person and one color person from each of the regular season broadcast teams that represent the World Series teams. As a viewer of MLB Xtra-Innings, I would much rather listen to anecdotal stories from mostly ex-major league players who know the team they cover inside and out, than listen to the likes of Joe Morgan or Tim McCarver. McCarver last night, \"I think it is safe to say that these two teams are after entirely different rings than those,\" (after discussing the catwalk rings and ground rules). This guy kills me. No, he really kills me.
Also, how about getting rid of the non-travel days off during playoffs as well. This is not fair to the teams that weathered the season with the deepest pitching staffs. Why should the playoffs be any different than the regular season format. Again, a network/MLB thing to milk more money. Greed is greed, it stinks no matter where it rears its ugly head.
Uninspired and foggy-minded (fastball in Papi\'s wheel house? Common!!!!) Balfour combined with \"asleep-at-the-wheel\" right field play gave the Sox another chance. Not so much great Sox play as really poor baseball by two individuals. It is going to be a long winter listening to the \"Nation\" talk about this incredible comeback. Yuk.
The Angels will be different next year . . . I hope. Did anyone notice that Kendrick didn\'t seem to have his full range of motion. This is a UTK question, but doesn\'t a hamstring injury affect lateral movement? Jed Lowrie\'s ball doesn\'t get by a healthy second baseman. Personally, I think Kendrick single handedly lost the series for the Angels. He had multiple defensive miscues and left over a dozen men on base without scoring one. My prediction is Sean Rodriguez will be the full time second baseman next year. His glove work was amazing this year and if Kendrick can\'t hit or stay healthy, there is no place in the lineup for his very average/possibly below average defensive skills. Also, for you east coast bums - next year Brandon Wood will emerge as a very good every day player. I close with the classic: Wait until next year!