New faces and signings pose challenges in Anaheim, Chicago, and Milwaukee. Plus, can Dusty keep his pitchers healthy?
Player Age IP EqERA EqH9 EqBB9 EqSO9 EqHR9 VORP
Donnelly 33 49.1 3.25 7.5 3.0 8.1 1.0 15.8
Gregg 27 91.2 4.29 8.8 2.9 6.7 1.1 16.2
Shields 29 95.2 3.61 8.9 2.9 7.0 0.8 25.0
Yan 30 64.2 4.30 9.8 2.9 6.2 1.1 12.4
All of these guys are between 27 and 33, generally considered peak years. Both Shields and Gregg project to throw more than 90 innings, toward the high end of modern usage patterns. Shields has shown he can handle it, throwing more than 100 innings last year and nearly 150 in 2003. Gregg hasn't been around very long, but did post almost 90 innings last year. Donnelly, Gregg and Shields all show moderate power numbers (EqSO9 near 7.0 or 8.0), and all four guys show reasonable control (EqBB9 around 3.0).
What's the thinking behind the Angels' name change? And will anyone actually use the new name?
Swirl that around in your mouth a few times. Now spit.
As p.r. moves go...well, let's just say that Arte Moreno should be
hoping that there's truth in the old canard about "there's no such thing
as bad publicity," because that's the only kind he's getting right now.
Though you'd think Angels fans would be inured to name changes by now (as
one friend of mine remarked, "Don't they just buy blank caps and a
dry-erase pen, anyway?"), the response from much of Angel fandom is as if
Moreno had disemboweled the Rally Monkey and posted its head on a pike
atop the Big A. The most popular sentiment on ESPN.com's Angels message
board is, and I quote, "this is retarded"--though a few Halo rooters are
apparently holding out hope that a doofy name will be worth it if it
provides the cash to land, say, Carlos Beltran.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
The Red Sox and Angels might be the two best teams in baseball right now. Unfortunately, one of them is six days away from golf season.
The Sox come into the series with the advantage of having set up their rotation over the season's final week. There's no research that shows this to be an edge, although it's easy to remember cases of recent teams--the '00 A's, the '98 Cubs--who were certainly hurt by the need to play meaningful games all the way through the end of the regular season. Given a choice between being on-rotation or off, you would choose to be on, and preferably the way that the Sox were able to manage their final week of the regular season.
Troy Glaus could play a big role in the Angels' playoff drive. The Cubs did well to add Ben Grieve. The Brewers have been top-heavy this season. These and other news and notes out of Anaheim, Chicago and Milwaukee in today's Prospectus Triple Play.
He's Baaack...: The Angels just made one of the better pickups for the postseason, and they didn't have to give up anyone. One of their best hitters is back from an injury, and it couldn't happen at a better time.
The Angels' hot streak is brought to you by the letter "Q." The Cubs' hot streak is brought to you by Jim Hendry. The Brewers hot streak is brought to you by...some serious hallucinogens.
Along with Chone Figgins, Quinlan has helped the Angels patch third base in the absence of Troy Glaus. Neither player is a star in waiting; in fact, both are likely well over their heads this season. However, the ability to produce players who can make a positive contribution to a winning team, even at a low level, is a hallmark of the Angels' player development staff. The bullpen, filled with homegrown right-handed arms, is where this has had the greatest impact, but the lineup and bench have benefitted as well. How many teams will miss the playoffs this season--or spend millions of extra dollars--because their farm system can't produce a Robb Quinlan or a Kevin Gregg?
The Angels' offense has been marred by a lack of production at first base. The Cubs and Corey Patterson have been at the center of a number of rumors involving Braves CF Andruw Jones. And although the Brew Crew has done an admirable job this season of staying afloat, it would behoove GM Doug Melvin to sell off the remaining usable parts and build for the future. All this and much more news from Anaheim, Chicago, and Milwaukee in your Wednesday edition of Prospectus Triple Play.
The Angels could find a new sheriff at third base soon, while the Cubs have exceeded all offensive expectations, and Lyle Overbay has been the driving force in the Brewers surprising success. All this and more news from Anaheim, Chicago and Milwaukee in your Wednesday edition of Prospectus Triple Play.
He's hit 16 home runs in his last 25 games. He hit 4 home runs in a recent doubleheader. He's driven in 30 runs in his last 15 games; while that's situational and lineup-dependent, it does tell us he's consistently driving the ball. He's on pace for 96 extra-base hits. (That's at 23--not a late 20s power spike or some such thing.) He's slugging .700. At his age and level of performance, it's difficult to understand why he's not at Triple-A or in the majors; much like Justin Morneau, he's ascended beyond the players at his current level and deserves a challenge. But as good as McPherson has been, there's still another third baseman who's ahead of him.
K-Rod may be the best reliever in baseball. Sammy Sosa's costly sneeze lands him on the DL. Ben Sheets is having a breakout season. These and other news and notes out of Anaheim, Chicago and Milwaukee in today's Prospectus Triple Play.
K-tastic!: Following up from last season, when he was lights out from June onward, Francisco Rodriguez has once again put the 'filth' in 'filthy'. After allowing 29 hits in his last 70 innings last year, here's his line so far this year: 19 IP, 12 H, 4 BB, 31 K and a 0.47 ERA. Not quite the K/BB ratio of Eck in his prime, but then again Eck's K rate was never this good (14.7 K/9IP) With Rafael Soriano wrestling with nagging injuries thus far, Rodriguez can make a good case as the best young reliever in baseball. After splashing on the scene at the end of 2002, last year's impressive campaign got missed by a lot of people (partially because it was hard to top his performance in 2002 down the stretch and in the playoffs, and partially because he got off to a rough start. Many times, we get caught up too much in a pitcher's first 20 IP or a batter's first 100 AB when that player's obviously out of line with expected performance. Hey, what is happening to Ramon Castro this year, anyway?)
The Angels overspent for Garret Anderson. The Cubs hope Matt Clement can shake his early-season struggles. The Brewers will use Junior Spivey as trade bait. These and other news and notes out of Anaheim, Chicago and Milwaukee in this edition of Prospectus Triple Play.
Irrational Exuberance: The Angels' Arte Moreno opened up his wallet for Garret Anderson and found 48 brand new million dollar bills to be doled out over four years. To be fair, at times we've been overly critical of Anderson--that was mostly in the early days of his career when his superficial counting stats (BA, RBI) ruled the day. He's become a very useful ballplayer, even if he lacks the gaudy on-base percentage or spectacular defense that might raise him to star status.