The Angels spent lots of money on their rotation this offseason, but was it worth it? Kerry Wood is having a fantastic spring, with improved control. The Tigers have spent the past few weeks upgrading their bullpen in a search for 65 wins. A number of Expos are taking trips to ''club med.'' The Giants have failed to upgrade their offense, while the Dodgers have made small strides. And the Blue Jays traded Jayson Werth, but perhaps for good reason.
But they spent so much money (Part II)... Last time, we looked how Arte Moreno's money isn't going to buy a whole lot of runs. Apparently, Moreno's money won't save a lot of runs either. The Angels spent $66.75 millio to sign Bartolo Colon and Kelvim Escobar, who are projected to post EQERAs in the 4.00s and be worth just a few wins above replacement, apiece. The Halos' starting staff needs to beat PECOTA's projection if the club is to be playoff bound.
Are the Angels the favorites in the AL West, according to PECOTA? How hard did Dusty work Cub starters in '03? And do the Tigers have a better option than playing Alex Sanchez every day? All this and much more news from Anaheim, Chicago, and Detroit in your Thursday edition of Prospectus Triple Play.
If we could only get that "Ready to Rumble" guy to read this...: Without further ado, it is our great pleasure to introduce the spawn of big, bad projection system PECOTA and the brand new BP depth charts: THE PROJECTED AL WEST STANDINGS!
The Angels possess five of the top prospects in the game. Did the Cubs do enough to help their offense this off-season? Jeremy Bonderman is a rare bright spot for the Tigers' future. These and other news and notes in today's Prospectus Triple Play.
Youth Movement: Spring training is here and that must mean one thing: top prospects lists.
The Angels must keep Darin Erstad in center to take full advantage of their off-season moves. The Greg Maddux signing improved an otherwise uninspiring free agent shopping season for the Cubs. The Tigers could win 25 more games this year by virtue of their off-season moves plus regression to the mean. These and other news, notes and pontifications out of Anaheim, Chicago and Detroit in today's Prospectus Triple Play.
Latin Beat: Given his first full off-season to put his stamp on the Angels, owner Arte Moreno left no doubt this was no longer your father's risk-averse, media giant-owned MLB franchise. Moreno and GM Bill Stoneman formed one of the most aggressive tandems of the off-season, with four high-profile free agent signings.
The Angels need to upgrade at CF and DH. The Cubs need players who get on base. The Tigers need an intervention for their pitching staff. These and other news and notes out of Anaheim, Chicago, and Detroit in today's Prospectus Triple Play.
The rotation hasn't been the only problem in Anaheim this season. Mark Prior is a legitimate Cy Young candidate, despite being one of the youngest pitchers in the league. And the Mike Maroth finally lost his 20th game last week, hopefully eliminating Brian Kingman's name from baseball trivia for the rest of eternity. All this and much more news from Anaheim, Chicago, and Detroit in your Thursday edition of Prospectus Triple Play.
Running In Place: Back in the 1980s, Bill James came up with something called The Law of Competitive Balance.
Francisco Rodriguez has been lights out since June; the Cubs' rotation has been one of the best in all of baseball; and Tigers have improved a bit since the All-Star break. All this and much more news from Anaheim, Chicago, and Detroit in your Thursday edition of Prospectus Triple Play.
Sweet Relief: OK, so who's been the Angels' best reliever this season? That's easy: Brendan Donnelly. Whether you're measuring his performance by Earned Run Average or Adjusted Runs Prevented (ARP), it's clear that Donnelly has been the most effective hurler out of the Angels bullpen, as well as the entire league, for all of 2003.
The Angels' bullpen has been lights out beyond belief; Sammy Sosa has really turned it around; and Dmitri Young was a legitimate All-Star pick, no matter what your friends try to tell you. All this and much more news from Anaheim, Chicago, and Detroit in your Thursday edition of Prospectus Triple Play.
The Angels staff has been tateriffic; Mark Bellhorn is getting the cold shoulder in Chicago; and the Tigers have shifted their lineup around, with the hope of reaching 50 wins. All this and much more from Anaheim, Chicago, and Detroit.
I Think I'm Gonna Hurl: While there are a number of differences between the 2002 and 2003 versions of the Anaheim Angels, the greatest disparity comes in the performance of their respective pitching staffs. Where in 2002 the Angels fielded one of the best rotations in all of baseball--a group that finished third in the league in Support-Neutral Value Added (SNVA)--this year's staff has done nothing but struggle, and is currently fourth from the bottom in SNVA, just a notch ahead of the Tigers.
The Angels' defense has fallen hard; Sammy Sosa was caught with a corked bat (perhaps you've heard?); and the Tigers have to redefine the term, 'Star Performer.' All this and other news regarding the Anaheim Angels, Chicago Cubs, and Detroit Tigers.
I'm Looking Through You: At first glance, the Anaheim Angels of 2003 do not appear to be a terribly different team than they were a year ago. Where last year's team finished second in the league in ERA, the current staff ranks fifth. Where the 2002 Angels ran mostly a Run & Shoot offense that centered around putting the ball in play, this year's Angels have followed suit. And where last year's team bunted and stole bases like they were going out of style, this year's Angels have continued the trend.
The Angels have help waiting on the farm. Dusty Baker wrestles with pitch counts. Jeff Bower could hit cleanup for the Tigers and no one would notice. Plus more news and notes out of Anaheim, Chicago, and Detroit.
Bobby Jenks: Perhaps the most controversial inclusion to BP's 2003 Top 40 Prospects List, Jenks continues to do the two things that he does best: (1) ring up strike three; and (2) issue ball four. The owner of a respectable 3.52 ERA at Double-A Arkansas this season--not to mention a K rate of better than 10.5/9 IP--the main problem with Jenks is his horrific walk rate, which is currently 7.4/9 IP. At 22, he still has room to mature, but until that walk rate comes down it's doubtful that he'll be able to make the jump to the major-leagues with any level of success.
Angels: Star Performer: Much like Dirk Diggler in the closing scene of Boogie Nights, the Anaheim Angels' bullpen has been a bright, shining star this season. First in the AL in Adjusted Runs Prevented--and third in the majors, overall--the Anaheim relief squadron is essentially the only thing keeping the team afloat at this point, save Garret Anderson's continuing quest to make statheads taste their own bile.
Cubs: Lineup: The biggest lineup concern continues to be at third base, where
Mark Bellhorn has not been able to get it going. Bellhorn provides two valuable skills--power and patience-which theoretically can trump a low batting average. Unfortunately, thus far he is showing no power at all (five extra base hits in 28 games) and is hitting just .214. Although I am sure this is making Jeff Bower giddy, Dusty Baker is less amused.
Tigers: Streaks: The Tigers stood at 3-20 in late April at the end of their road series with the AL West. But stop the presses! They're on a four-game winning streak! Here's how they have done against the AL East:
Home vs. Baltimore: 0-3, 9 runs scored, 22 runs against
Home vs. Tampa Bay: 1-2, 13 runs scored, 13 runs against
At Baltimore: 3-0, 22 runs scored, 11 runs against
Unlike the cross-town Dodgers, however--the team that leads the planet in ARP--the Angels bullpen has mainly succeeded thanks to the dominance of two pitchers rather than six. And who might those two pitchers be? Troy Percival and Francisco Rodriguez, perhaps? Well, not exactly. Instead, it is Brendan Donnelly and Scot Shields who have combined to be perhaps the most dangerous one-two punch in the American League this season, allowing just four earned runs in 46 IP. Check it out: