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Archive for the ‘Angels’ Category

A’s-Angels Series: A’s Are Good, Angels…meh

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While I realize that the A’s and the Tigers have already split the first two games of their weekend series, I still wanted to note what I saw during the preceding A’s and Angels series. I watched almost all of that series.

The A’s flashed their power all series long. Though they can thump up and down the lineup, Yoenis Cespedis shows some serious power. Note that in the highlight video, you can’t see where the ball actually landed as the camera is focused on the rocks behind the wall but the ball lands somewhere high among them. Remeber that the A’s swept the series, outscoring the overwhelmed Angels 28-11. The Angels only retired A’s batters in order 3 times in the entire series, meaning there were too many baserunners for a lineup with ample power.

I remember last season listening to baseball announcers talk about how the A’s were offensively anemic because they had a low team batting average. After shouting at the screen about the stupidity of that “analysis,” I looked at their stats, and they looked terrible when filtered through a batting average lens. But when park-adjusted, the A’s actually put up the 8th-highest True Average in baseball last year. Their low batting average masked two things: (1) the spread between their batting average and their on-base percentage was relatively high, meaning they were talking lots of walks (5th highest BB%), and (2) the spread between their batting average and their slugging percentage was also relatively high, meaning they were getting lots of extra-base hits (7th highest ISO). And so far in 2013, their road numbers show them to be hitting well in the early going, as they finished their six-game road trip with 6 wins, 0 losses, 51 runs scored, 15 doubles, and 13 homeruns.

You should listen to what Buster Olney and Tim Kurkjian have to say about both of these ballclubs, starting at about the 22:15 mark and lasting until 25:55 (or so), first addressing how good the A’s are and then addressing how not-as-great-as-sportswriters-seemed-to-think-the Angels-would-be the Angels are proving to be.

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Written by jjvedamuthu

April 13, 2013 at 17:19

On the Struggles of the LA Angels

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If you are an ESPN Insider, you should read Buster Olney’s piece from this morning.

If you are not an ESPN Insider, I shall summarize. Olney writes that no baseball owner could throw around cash the way Angels’ owner, Arte Moreno, has without being really upset about their miserable start to the season. And it’s a lot of cash: close to a billion dollars either already spent or committed in future contract value since the last time the Angels made the playoffs (2009). Despite this spending, the Angels already trail the red-hot but wounded Oakland A’s by six-and-a-half games. Hamilton has been just awful, topping off his horrific performance at the plate (.179 AVG, .261 OBP, .051 ISO, .228 wOBA, 35.9% K rate) with an unthinkable baserunning blunder, which ended the Angels’ 5-0 loss to the wretched Astros, which has to really hurt since some expected the series with the Astros to be a sure-fire cure for the Angels’ woes.

As I am a fan of small-market teams (MIN, PIT, SEA, TB, MIL), I find the angst surrounding the Angels…amusing, particularly because T. J. Simers is such an ass, by which I mean bitter old hack.

Written by jjvedamuthu

April 13, 2013 at 16:40

Jered Weaver and the Angel Response (Updated)

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Weaver is going to the 15-day DL, but he will be lost to the Angels for 4 to 6 weeks.

The interesting thing is that there are arguments that run both ways over how this injury will affect the Angels.

Buster Olney talked about it today on his podcast, noting that the Angels possess little starting pitching depth. His replacement will be Garrett Richards, who has not produced at anywhere near Weaver’s level.

Now, what is problematic about simply assuming that Richards will necessarily provide less production than Weaver is that Weaver has shown diminished velocity, and he has been rather ineffective so far in 2013. In fact, in a way, given his reduced velocity and lack of effectiveness, Weaver’s injury may–may–save the Angels from having a Roy Halladay-like situation on their hands in the way the Phillies do. (I mean, how much time can the Phillies afford to give Halladay to right himself? To call his performance thus far sub-replacement level is a kindness in that it elides its actual awfulness.)

On Monday Dave Cameron called the dip in Weaver’s fastball velocity a “giant red flag.”

On Tuesday Cameron argued that the relationship between Weaver’s fastball velocity and his effectiveness might mean that the loss of Weaver may not mean much in the long run since putting a substandard Weaver out there on the mound might not have produced significantly–note the word “significantly” here–better results than using Richards in his place. While bearing in mind that Weaver’s projected performance remains slightly better than Richard’s, Cameron concluded “it won’t matter that much.”

While I am sympathetic to Cameron’s analysis, and I think it saves the Angels from having to run him out to mound, grit their teeth, and pray for him to be effective in the same way the Phillies are going to have to do with Halladay, I also am sympathetic to the perspective arguing that the loss of Weaver may well expose the Angels’ weaknesses. And it will probably really ramp up the pressure on Josh Hamilton, who needs to produce lest he be labelled a free agent bust.

Look, the Angels have spent a ton of money in the past two off-seasons signing former MVPs on the free agent market, and the expectations surrounding them are huge. While they had a better record than the AL Champion Tigers last season, they still finished behind both the A’s and the Rangers. And their rotation did not get better. All of this means their offense has to be as spectacular as advertised, and their bullpen needs to be solid as well, and it needs to do so over more innings than it worked last year in order to compensate for a weakened rotation.

In other words, a lot of moving parts now need to move in concert for the Angels for the next few weeks.

UPDATE–A profile of Garrett Richards and his pitches. It’s not too encouraging for a starting pitcher.

Written by jjvedamuthu

April 10, 2013 at 12:01

Dodgers = The Suck

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Yankees blog covers it well and explains why the Dodgers need to be competently run.

I just don’t get why either LA franchise, either Chicago franchise, or either New York franchise can even be bad absent serious mismanagement. Those teams should always be good, along with the Red Sox. Those are the largest media markets, with huge fanbases and gigantic money to be earned from media. So it is ridiculous that any of those teams are ever not good.

Written by jjvedamuthu

June 21, 2011 at 14:25