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At The Break...


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Nice post!

I have renewed faith in Kole.  

I'd like Justin more if he was hitting 5th and there was someone else to do damage in the 4 spot.  

It's going to be very interesting to see what Billy does this off season.  Fletcher will continue to get looks and I am sure Ward will be brought soon but are we really going to leave 2b/3b and util to Cozart, Ward, Fletcher, and JMF for 2019?   That just doesn't feel like enough firepower.  

While I don't like the idea of punting seasons, I really think we're at least 18 months to maybe even 30 months away from our young guys making a major league impact.  It's such a dilemma though because I'd like them to see that through yet we need more than they can bring if we expect the team to be a contender in 2020.  

We really need that Trout extension to give Billy a bit more security.  If you can get him on for the long term with a 3 year opt out, you've extended your window to 5 years instead of 2.  Because right now the timing seems just a bit off.   It really feels like the crop of guys who are A+/AA/AAA like Marsh, Adell, Jones, Rengifo, Ward, Thaiss, Kreuger, Canning, Suarez, and a handful of others are more likely to contribute at a sustainable level in 2021.  Maybe 2020.  By then, a lot of these young guys will be in their age 23-27 season.  

It also take the pressure off to do something drastic/stupid.  

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1 hour ago, mulwin444 said:

As has been discussed, after the initial hot 13-3 (+56 Run Differential)  start, they have been a pretty forgettable 36-45 (-32 Run Differential) and there is really not a lot of expected turn around with the team in it's current form.  Over short periods of the season, it's hard to tell what's just a hot or cold streak and what is likely the way things are going to be for certain players on offense.  So, just taking a look at the team 97 games in, we'll try separate fact from fiction.

Mike Trout: For almost the first three months of the season, Trout was on a historic pace in terms of WAR that was challenging some of the all times greats in the game.  However, on June 19th Trout was DH'd due to an injured finger on this throwing hand and the power has taken a nose-dive to just 2 2B 2 HR 4 RBI in his lat 24 games.  He has still been contributing offensively (.267 .411 .788 OPS in July) but mostly with singles and walks and leaving the scoring to the anemic offense behind him.  Something is clearly wrong and, since he's not swinging and missing at alarming rate, odds are it's something physical.  The trend hasn't been kind lately but the fact that he has taken the field at all tells you it's not something too serious and hopefully the break does him good.

Justin Upton: So far he's put up decent numbers but everything about his play has felt "soft" and underwhelming.  His "clutch" stats have already been discussed but those tend to normalize over the course of a season.  His overall numbers, though, (.251 .344 .788 OPS 118 OPS+) are at or below his career norms, but not far, and his 2.3 WAR says he's making some kind of contribution but, damn, it's a quiet one.  I think he has room to push it closer to his contribution from last season, something like .275 .355 .865 OPS., but below the last seasons .901 OPS.

Albert Pujols: After a bad 2017 (.241 .286 .672 OPS -1.8 WAR), Pujols has seen a bit of an upswing in his numbers so far this season.  After flirting with staying below .700 OPS for much of the season, he went on a tear in July (.297 .366 1.042 OPS)...and then promptly went on DL because of course he did.  Then, we get the feedback that Albert has been playing on "1 1/2 legs" for a while now and, you look at 2017, and wonder exactly how long.  Is he going to come back and continue his tear?  Likely no, but, if he could just maintain somewhere in .750-.780 OPS going forward the rest of the season that would be huge.

Kole Calhoun: The Tale of Two Seasons - pre-DL .145 .195 .374 OPS, post- DL .274 .319 .926 OPS

Can we expect a .926 OPS from here on until the end of the season?  Um, no.  However, the change as far as hard contact versus the auto-outs he was hitting earlier this year speaks to the adjustments he's made since his "injury".  He's not really taking walks, and he's K-ing about ounce a game, but he's finally getting the extra base hits he was known for so far in this career.  Going forward, I can see him hitting somewhere around .265 .320 .750, giving hope he'll actually earn the last year of his contract in '19.

Martin Maldonado: In a season and a half with the Angels, Maldonado has put up .226 .284 .645 OPS which, essentially, is what he basically put up offensively in 6 season with Milwaukee.  He is who is with the bat but, at minimal cost, he's put a 2.5 WAR since he's been here at a key position, primarily due to that nebulous thing called "Catcher Defense and pitch calling".  He's leading the league at a 48% caught stealing percentage but curiously also leads the league in passed balls with 10.  Yes, it's been a weird season.  Expect more of the same from Maldy.

Andrelton Simmons: .313 .371 .814 127 OPS+ 4.6 WAR - Kind of says it all doesn't it.  Did I mention the 28/16 BB/K ratio?  Speed numbers are down a bit which reflects him being in more of a run producer role, but OBP. SLG, OPS, OPS+ all are advancing and he's threatening the 7.1 WAR he put up last season.  No reason we shouldn't expect this to continue.

Shohei Ohtani: Who knows what to expect really?  In spring training, the experts were lamenting the fact that Ohtani looked overmatched and were questioning the Angels inserting him in the every day line-up.  Then, he put up a .283 .365 .887 OPS 144 OPS+ and everyone got real quiet.  He has struggled against lefthanded pitchers this season but found the ability to double off a tough lefthander in Scott Alexander on Friday and worked a walk on Saturday off the bench against Jansen to start a game-tying rally.  Even if he doesn't pitch the rest of the season, the guy is an untapped fount of awesome waiting to explode with the bat and I can see him catching fire in the 2nd half.

Ian Kinsler: He's, eh, alright.  Good defensive player that screams "veteran presence" at a transitional position for the Angels at 2B.  You keep waiting for him to catch fire but then he just does, well, this:

image.png.c90a6bbed47d35828c2ea3d7efbb6e6f.png

Almost four months.  That's not a glitch, that's a feature -  $11 mil has gotten us 1.5 WAR.  It was nice that Ian waived his no trade to be sent here but the Angels have options in David Fletcher (for now) and potentially Rengifo in the future.  It doesn't a crystal ball to see what we'll get out of Ian Kinsler the rest of the season if he stays in Anaheim.  There needs to be a change.

Luis Valbuena: The baseball equivalent of the GIF of someone shoveling money in a stove.  Here's Valbuena as an Angels player: .201 .277 .672 OPS and he's trending downward from last season...downward as in .204.250 .594 OPS in 2018. The idea was right - lefthanded 1B/3B who has extra base pop - but the results are in and, yeesh, he sucks.  No way to sugarcoat it.

With Ward destroying AAA, even with his defense being a "work in progress" having a 3B and 2B of Ward and Fletcher makes sense for the 2nd half.

If Pujols comes back healthy enough to finish the season, I think we could benefit from having a look at something like below for a bit:

1. Calhoun RF

2. Simmons SS

3. Trout CF

4. Upton LF

5. Pujols 1B

6. Ohtani DH

7.  Ward 3B

8. Maldonado C

9. Fletcher 2B

 

 

Nice analysis, but if Kinsler remains on the team he'll continue to start. I too would like to see what Ward and/or Thaiss has but I don't want them to be the yoyo equivalent of our bullpen most of the first half. If they join the team, let them stay. Otherwise, I'm content with waiting until Kinsler is officially gone so that Ward can get a lasting major league interview.

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2 minutes ago, Torridd said:

Nice analysis, but if Kinsler remains on the team he'll continue to start. I too would like to see what Ward and/or Thaiss has but I don't want them to be the yoyo equivalent of our bullpen most of the first half. If they join the team, let them stay. Otherwise, I'm content with waiting until Kinsler is officially gone so that Ward can get a lasting major league interview.

I think the Angels need to find a new home for Kinsler.  Obviously, it will be Fletcher/Valbuena at 3B and Kinsler at 2B until that happens but Valbuena and Kinsler need to go, sooner the better.  After that, just go with Fletcher 2B, Ward, 3B, and JMF utility

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1 minute ago, Dochalo said:

Nice post!

I have renewed faith in Kole.  

I'd like Justin more if he was hitting 5th and there was someone else to do damage in the 4 spot.  

It's going to be very interesting to see what Billy does this off season.  Fletcher will continue to get looks and I am sure Ward will be brought soon but are we really going to leave 2b/3b and util to Cozart, Ward, Fletcher, and JMF for 2019?   That just doesn't feel like enough firepower.  

While I don't like the idea of punting seasons, I really think we're at least 18 months to maybe even 30 months away from our young guys making a major league impact.  It's such a dilemma though because I'd like them to see that through yet we need more than they can bring if we expect the team to be a contender in 2020.  

We really need that Trout extension to give Billy a bit more security.  If you can get him on for the long term with a 3 year opt out, you've extended your window to 5 years instead of 2.  Because right now the timing seems just a bit off.   It really feels like the crop of guys who are A+/AA/AAA like Marsh, Adell, Jones, Rengifo, Ward, Thaiss, Kreuger, Canning, Suarez, and a handful of others are more likely to contribute at a sustainable level in 2021.  Maybe 2020.  By then, a lot of these young guys will be in their age 23-27 season.  

It also take the pressure off to do something drastic/stupid.  

Doc, are you willing to wait for those 18-30 months? As an Angels fan, I'm not really used to waiting. We know Cozart has a job when he returns. If Fletcher and Ward can prove they're for real, perhaps he can be traded. I just don't want to wait around for Adell et al because those are X factors and I think it's too long. I think we need a reliable (say, healthy starter) and offensive bat, at the least, during the offseason, perhaps to replace Kole. I give Billy slack for rolling the dice on some good moves (Cozart, Kinsler, Upton) but coming up craps for the most part. This shouldn't happen in 2019. 

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Time to stop giving Valbuena and Kinsler at bats and plan for next season and beyond. I'm not saying give up entirely on the rest of the season but we have got to stop playing guys that are washed. This franchise has done too much of that. And now we actually have talent to give a try.

This team needs to add at least one big bat this offseason, preferably two. We have Trout, Simmons, Upton, sometimes Ohtani and that is about it right now as far as proven threats. Time to bring in a guy that can mash and let Simmons leadoff.

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2 minutes ago, Torridd said:

Doc, are you willing to wait for those 18-30 months? As an Angels fan, I'm not really used to waiting. We know Cozart has a job when he returns. If Fletcher and Ward can prove they're for real, perhaps he can be traded. I just don't want to wait around for Adell et al because those are X factors and I think it's too long. I think we need a reliable (say, healthy starter) and offensive bat, at the least, during the offseason, perhaps to replace Kole. I give Billy slack for rolling the dice on some good moves (Cozart, Kinsler, Upton) but coming up craps for the most part. This shouldn't happen in 2019. 

I'm just not sure Torridd.  Such a tough call.  I don't want to wait but I don't want them to do anything desperate.   

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Billy's strategy for 2018 was good, it just didn't work out. Presumably he'll do something similar this offseason, but put a bit more money into the bullpen, especially if they trade off parts in the next couple weeks. I could also see some kind of surprise move - maybe a starter, maybe a hitter - but I think (thankfully) he'll stick to the plan: don't rob the future for short-term gains and build for sustained excellence.

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Trout makes things complicated. You almost can't NOT go for it the next 2 years because of how great he is. At the same time, you don't want to go all in on 2 years and be left with nothing if he walks. 

Billy Eppler has quite possibly the toughest GM job in baseball the next 2 years

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6 minutes ago, Dochalo said:

I'm just not sure Torridd.  Such a tough call.  I don't want to wait but I don't want them to do anything desperate.   

It's why I want to give Ward and Fletcher fulltime at bats right after the All Star/as soon as we can unload Valbuena/Kinsler.  It's highly unrealistic to expect us to get back even into the 2nd WC spot contention and we supposedly will have a healthier and rested Pujols then as well.  The sooner we know have the next Kennedy and Glaus versus the next Espinosa and Wood the better.  

Machado and Harper will get their deals and I think Eppler will you those as the baseline for what he will propose to Trout.

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Great post, @mulwin444. Spot on. 

I think Sosh is ordered to play the vets all the way up to the deadline in hopes one of them gets hot and a team in need of some veteran presence, an injury occurs or need to fill a backup role come up. 

As far as the bullpen, trade everyone except Anderson -- unless you get a top 50 prospect for him. 

Parker, Alvarez and Bedrosian should help out a contending team, as would Kinsler you'd think.

Do not trade Heaney or Skaggs for any reason. We have no clue as to when Ohtani will be back on the mound. It could be 2020 if he elects for surgery at season end.  

I've said this before, will say it again. If you can get deGrom for guys like Marsh, Jones and one of Canning/Suarez, you do it IMO. The Mets ace is signed through the 2020 season. This team needs an ace. 

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2 hours ago, mulwin444 said:

I think the Angels need to find a new home for Kinsler.  Obviously, it will be Fletcher/Valbuena at 3B and Kinsler at 2B until that happens but Valbuena and Kinsler need to go, sooner the better.  After that, just go with Fletcher 2B, Ward, 3B, and JMF utility

I agree about Ward but everyone seems to forget that Scioscia will end up platooning Ward and whomever is the left handed bat on the bench. Same with Thaiss and anyone thecall up. I look forward to the day that Scioscia is gone. He over manages, constantly changing the lineup. This team is not the National league, put the best 9 players in the lineup and stop messing with it.

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Kinsler needs to be traded and neither he or Valbuena will be here next year so investing at bats in either of them seems pointless. 
If you cant trade em, sit em, its moot. 

We need to see where some of this youth everyone seems to think are organizational saviors really are and if they can be more than 4A guys.  Give them the rest of the year to show us something so if nothing else at least we know where the gaps are next off season rather than continuing the circle jerk one way or another.  Odd are they will not all be worth it, but we need to know which ones are or might factor into the next 2-3 years. 

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6 minutes ago, floplag said:

Kinsler needs to be traded and neither he or Valbuena will be here next year so investing at bats in either of them seems pointless. 
If you cant trade em, sit em, its moot. 

We need to see where some of this youth everyone seems to think are organizational saviors really are and if they can be more than 4A guys.  Give them the rest of the year to show us something so if nothing else at least we know where the gaps are next off season rather than continuing the circle jerk one way or another.  Odd are they will not all be worth it, but we need to know which ones are or might factor into the next 2-3 years. 

You’ve heard this before but I’ll repeat it, the real talent (saviors) is still a couple of years away.  That being said Ward is probably ready.  He’d be the only guy I call up right now.  Start him and Fletcher every day.  

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2 minutes ago, Stradling said:

You’ve heard this before but I’ll repeat it, the real talent (saviors) is still a couple of years away.  That being said Ward is probably ready.  He’d be the only guy I call up right now.  Start him and Fletcher every day.  

I agree with this. Ward and Fletcher should start every day. Later in the year, Thaiss, Hermosillo, Jared Walsh, Luis Rengifo, Luis Pena, Simon Mathews, Tyler Stevens, and maybe Griffin Canning and Jose Suarez should be given some playing time at the major league level.

A year from now we'll be talking about cups of coffee for Jahmai Jones, Jo Adell, and Brandon Marsh.

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37 minutes ago, Stradling said:

You’ve heard this before but I’ll repeat it, the real talent (saviors) is still a couple of years away.  That being said Ward is probably ready.  He’d be the only guy I call up right now.  Start him and Fletcher every day.  

Yes, iv heard it many times, which is why i have always mentioned the "Trout window"... if that help isnt coming till outside that window, what do we do within it?

Doesnt change the point in this case though, we need to see what we have that "near ready" to plan for next season.

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