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One thing to consider re: depth


Angelsjunky

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I honestly can't remember the last time the Angels were going into a season with a feeling of having as much depth as they do now, especially on the pitching staff. And of course they aren't even done, although I think are very close. My guess is that Dipoto will still be looking at ways to upgrade the hitting, either through an improvement over Freese, a DH/bench bat, or a second baseman.In other words, the depth doesn't extend quite as far to the hitters, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Dipoto fluff things out a bit. But again, the Angels look better now than they did going into 2014, a season in which they won 98 games.

 

That said, 98 games will be hard to match. A lot went right to make that happen. But here's the thing about depth. It might not do much to increase the maximum win potential, but what it does do is reduce the "floor." In other words, let's say that going into last year the Angels could have conceivable won between 80 and 100 games. They pretty much optimized that, mainly due to some surprise performances, no bad years by starters, and generally good health (with a couple exceptions). Going into 2015 I think the conceivable range is more like 85-100, and the difference is depth. Even if things fall apart more than they did last year, aside from a possible serious Trout injury, the Angels have players--particularly pitchers--to fill the gaps.

 

To put that all another way, even in a worst-case (reasonable) scenario, the Angels won't be a disaster and will at least almost certainly be in contention until the end.

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you know, considering all that went wrong last year, im not sure 98 is hard to match.
yes, we had a lot go right but we also had quite a laundry list of issues...from a down year from Hamilton, to pitching injuries, to a non existent bullpen for the first months..  i mean yes we got some great things to balance that but i think just looking at the luck without looking at why it was necessary isnt the full picture

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you know, considering all that went wrong last year, im not sure 98 is hard to match.

yes, we had a lot go right but we also had quite a laundry list of issues...from a down year from Hamilton, to pitching injuries, to a non existent bullpen for the first months..  i mean yes we got some great things to balance that but i think just looking at the luck without looking at why it was necessary isnt the full picture

 

First off, I think when all is said and done, "what went wrong last year" wasn't particularly more than usual, or than the average team faces. Stuff always goes wrong. For the Angels last year it was the injuries to Richards and Skaggs, although Skaggs was counter-balanced by an even superior performance from Shoemaker. Also, you have the bullpen - but that was just the first month or two. Wilson, also, but again - there's rarely a season in which a team experiences no difficulties so I think that, all things tolled, it evens out and 2014 wasn't particularly problem-ridden.

 

As for 98 wins, I agree with you that, in theory, it won't be hard to match it. But you never really can predict a 98 win season. I think with the best possible teams you can say "95+" and the Angels aren't quite at that level. In other words, I'd say something like this:

 

95+ wins: Great team with no significant holes and plenty of impact players

90-94 wins: Excellent team, might have some big question marks

85-89 wins: Good team.

80-84 wins: Average team.

70-79 wins: Poor team.

<65 wins: Terrible team.

 

From those numbers you can extrapolate a +/- 10 win range that depends upon factors such as health, luck, timely hitting, and perhaps fate or destiny, if that's your bag. But again, I think it unrealistic to predict anything more than "95+" wins, even for a great team. Consider also that the great Yankees teams of '96-01, in which then made it to five of six World Series, going 4-1 in them, had the following win totals (WS wins in bold): 92, 96, 114, 98, 87, 95. My point is that there's some fluctuation, and even though the Yankees were truly great during that span of time, only twice of the six times did they equal or surpass the Angels' 2014 win total. The Angels could win 90 games in 2015 and be a better overall team by October and win the World Series.

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Im hoping dipoto is working the phones for a bat, and the greedy part of me would still like a front end pitcher. Im with you AJ, the options now are far better than before, so im more comfortable today with the pitching if we dont do anything else.

But the offense is still a question mark. Yes, we had a great offense last year. Yes we have only lost howie. But hamilton could get even worse. Pujols is a year older. Sans trout were a different team, etc etc etc. All teams have similar questions, i agree. But im only an angels fan so im being greedy. Id be more comfortable if we had at least one more power bat. (Though hamilton earning his check or cron just being decent would solve that).

One thing is for sure. At least from where we sit right now, we still have an absolutely filthy bullpen, and that alone is reason to still expect good things next year.

Side note, not sure where all this upton talk came from, but id be ecstatic to land him next year. He'll prob never be the guy he was in az a few years back, but his last dew season average numbers would be sick with trout...would make one hell of an outfield

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I'd still like to see another bat or two added. Krauss and Butera should be DFA'd to give the team more room on the 40-man. Why not flip CJ, eat part of his contract and maybe get a nice bat back in return, save around $10 million, use all of the money saved to get Headley and then flip Freese for some salary relief and maybe a nice decent prospect. I'm just a little worried about the infield defense now. Freese catches everything hit at him, but range isn't in his vocabulary. Rutledge and Green will be a huge defensive downgrade at second too. Wouldn't mind pocketing a majority of the cash and splurging next winter though. 

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Im hoping dipoto is working the phones for a bat, and the greedy part of me would still like a front end pitcher. Im with you AJ, the options now are far better than before, so im more comfortable today with the pitching if we dont do anything else.

But the offense is still a question mark. Yes, we had a great offense last year. Yes we have only lost howie. But hamilton could get even worse. Pujols is a year older. Sans trout were a different team, etc etc etc. All teams have similar questions, i agree. But im only an angels fan so im being greedy. Id be more comfortable if we had at least one more power bat. (Though hamilton earning his check or cron just being decent would solve that).

One thing is for sure. At least from where we sit right now, we still have an absolutely filthy bullpen, and that alone is reason to still expect good things next year.

Side note, not sure where all this upton talk came from, but id be ecstatic to land him next year. He'll prob never be the guy he was in az a few years back, but his last dew season average numbers would be sick with trout...would make one hell of an outfield

 

I don't think we really need or even have the place for another power bat.  When you look at our lineup, there isn't really a spot that we can pry another offensive piece into realistically speaking.  Hamilton is going to get a fulltime gig for better or worse, Trout is Trout and Calhoun has pretty much solidified his spot as a regular.  Freese, Pujols and Aybar will make up the infield with one of our fill-ins sticking at second (Green/Rutledge).  Cron will DH and give Albert some off days. 

 

I guess we could upgrade at DH, but the wins boost from that would be negligible at best.  Cowgill is fine as a 4th OF.  What are we going to do if we get Upton?  I don't think management is resigned at this point to making Josh a $30M bench player, and Calhoun is quietly a 3-4 WAR asset on the cheap and in his prime.

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Good point Rev. 2B is now probably the only place wecould imp4ove, and even then, its not like there is anyone out there. If Cron can bat .260/.330 with 20 home runs ill be more than happy. Couple that with 'howie-lite' production from green, and hopefully 2014 hamilton contact with 2013 hamilton power, and its gonna be solid.

And agreed bruin (re AJ). Talking about it in terms of what our worst case now vs previous is a good way to look at it.

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The starting pitching depth, which I've complained about since around 2009 (with that period after the Greinke trade the only exception) has finally been addressed and I love it. Having, when Richards returns, a starting pitching depth chart of Richards, Weaver, Shoemaker, Tropeano, Wilson, Heaney, Santiago and Alvarez is pretty ridiculous. Of course that doesn't even include Skaggs or Rasmus.

 

We do look a little light on offensively now, so it'd be nice to find a further upgrade. A Cron platoon partner, a better 3B or someone else to compete for the 2B job are the options that come to mind. But I think Green will put up similar numbers to Kendrick offensively (I'd guess just a tick below), however obviously with significantly worse defensive numbers. I think a 2 WAR season from Green is around what we can expect if he gets 115+ starts and that's fine for a cheap guy.

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Another aspect of the depth isn't "vertical" (this year) but "horizontal" - going forward. We all realize the starting pitcher depth in 2015-16:

 

2015-16: Richards, Weaver, Wilson, Shoemaker, Santiago, Heaney, Tropeano, Rasmus, Rucinski, Alvarez, Sanabia, Snodgress, Smith, Skaggs, maybe one or two others

 

But of those players, only Weaver and Wilson are due for free agency in 2017. Santiago is in 2018; Richards in 2019; Skaggs in 2010; Rasmus, Shoe, Tropeano, Heaney, Rucinski and Alvarez in 2021. In other words, Dipoto has put the Angels in a quite unusual position: Not having to worry about starting pitcher for years to come. Consider that the Angels have six viable starters under club control through the next six years, seven through the next five, eight through the next four, and nine through the next three. And again, that doesn't count Smith, Snodgress, and whoever else might come up through the system during that time - like Ricardo Sanchez.

 

Of course hit shappens. But good stuff happens too. And to be realistic, some of those names aren't better than #5 starters. But depth is depth, and what Dipoto has done over the last year or so has gone a long way to stabilizing the Angels as a perennial contender.

 

Now he needs to start looking at hitting depth...

Edited by Angelsjunky
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I honestly can't remember the last time the Angels were going into a season with a feeling of having as much depth as they do now, especially on the pitching staff. And of course they aren't even done, although I think are very close. My guess is that Dipoto will still be looking at ways to upgrade the hitting, either through an improvement over Freese, a DH/bench bat, or a second baseman.In other words, the depth doesn't extend quite as far to the hitters, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Dipoto fluff things out a bit. But again, the Angels look better now than they did going into 2014, a season in which they won 98 games.

 

That said, 98 games will be hard to match. A lot went right to make that happen. But here's the thing about depth. It might not do much to increase the maximum win potential, but what it does do is reduce the "floor." In other words, let's say that going into last year the Angels could have conceivable won between 80 and 100 games. They pretty much optimized that, mainly due to some surprise performances, no bad years by starters, and generally good health (with a couple exceptions). Going into 2015 I think the conceivable range is more like 85-100, and the difference is depth. Even if things fall apart more than they did last year, aside from a possible serious Trout injury, the Angels have players--particularly pitchers--to fill the gaps.

 

To put that all another way, even in a worst-case (reasonable) scenario, the Angels won't be a disaster and will at least almost certainly be in contention until the end.

 

How do the Angels have a lot of SP depth? What am I missing here?

Skaggs is out for all of 2015 and Richards is a big question mark. Mid-may is what Scioscia expects, so that might mean allstar break in Scioscia speak.

 

so the opening day rotation looks like 

1 .Shoemaker - No complaints here.

2. Weaver - little older and not as dominating as he used to be

3. CJ Wilson - extremely questionable

4. Santiago - questionable

5. Heaney - questionable

6.Rasmus - questionable

 

Am I forgetting someone? 

I know the angels have stockpiled solid arms in the minors, but I'm just focusing on 2015.

 

I think they need to add a vet that can hold us over till the younger guys are more experienced.

Edited by Poozy
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You're forgetting Tropeano. But also look at the list I provided. Rasmus, Rucinski, Alvarez, and Sanabia could all start some games. Not a sexy list, but serviceable.

 

You're also being quite pessimistic about Richards. As some said elsewhere, Scioscia likes to be very conservative. Dipoto and others are far more optimistic that he'll have a normal timeline or, at worst, miss a couple starts but still play in April.

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You're forgetting Tropeano. But also look at the list I provided. Rasmus, Rucinski, Alvarez, and Sanabia could all start some games. Not a sexy list, but serviceable.

 

You're also being quite pessimistic about Richards. As some said elsewhere, Scioscia likes to be very conservative. Dipoto and others are far more optimistic that he'll have a normal timeline or, at worst, miss a couple starts but still play in April.

ah okay thanks. 

I haven't really followed the off season much before the winter meetings.

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Do we have a set bench yet?  What's the best guess?  One of Green or Rutledge should be on the bench. Cowgill, Navarro, Butera, O'Malley?  Do you think Butera starts the year as CI's backup with Perez in AAA?  Did Dipoto will give us some incite in his 3:25 interview 2 days ago?  I missed it.

Edited by beatlesrule
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