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How it all went wrong in 2018 and why there is hope for 2019


Dochalo

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How about a little bit of a forensic look at the 2018 season.  

Through June 9th, we were 37-28 and looking pretty good.  The offense started out super hot and then cooled off but he pitching did the opposite.  

Here are some stats through those first 65 games.  

SP - 349.1 ip, 3.53 era, 3.98 FIP
RP - 239.1 ip, 3.61 era, 4.03 FIP
Offense - 106 wRC+, .743 ops (league avg is .727), .281 BABIP (league avg is .296)

We had scored 294 (4.52/g) runs while giving up 256 (3.93/g).   A run differential that would equate to a winning % of .563 which is equal to about 91 wins.  37-28 is a .569 winning %.  

So nothing looked horribly out of line.  One thing to make note of is the 5.4 innings per start.   That was exactly league avg to that point in the season.  

So how about the next 97 games?

SP - 456.1 ip, 4.95 era, 4.71 FIP
RP - 392.2 ip, 4.10 era, 4.50 FIP
Offense - 97 wRC+, .715 ops, .275 BABIP

that led to a 43-54 record.   We gave up 466 (4.8/g) runs and scored 427 (4.4/g) runs.  A calculated winning % of .460 or a pace to win 75 games.  The offense wasn't hugely different.  We averaged 4.7 innings per start during that stretch and the pen almost pitched the same number of innings as the starters.  

so how the F did that happened?  

From 6/10 to 8/26, we went 26-40.  Here are our numbers from that stretch.

SP - 318.2 ip, 5.28 era, 4.80 FIP
RP - 257.0 ip, 3.82 era, 4.80 FIP
Offense - 101 wRC+, .730 ops, .284 BABIP

Again, the offense was pretty similar but those starters....ugh.  

So?

On Jul10th, Garrett Richards pitched his last game for the halos.  He threw 2 innings on 6/12, 5.1 innings on 7/4, and 2.2 ip on 7/10.  To that point, he had an era in the mid 3's.  

On 6/6, Shohei made his second to last start.  He had a low 3's era to that point.  

We had 14 different guys makes starts in our last 97 games.  That's a 7 man rotation.  

The moral of this story?  

Let's hope that the addition of Harvey and Cahill can approximate what Ohtani and Richards were giving us.  Maybe they won't be quite as effective from an era standpoint, but lets hope that they'll pitch more innings as will Skaggs and Barria.  Which would decrease the number of crap innings from ancillary pen pieces.  

That with the minor additions to the offense should move the needle a decent amount.  

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The Angels roster listed 4 of the 9 starting position players (Ohatani included as DH) with an OBP under .300. Of all of the substitutes and bench players only David Fletcher had an OBP over .300. 

Let that sink in. 

When Ohatani was not the DH only 4 players had an OBP over .300 and one of them was the leadoff, Kinsler, with a .305 OBP. He was later replaced by Fletcher with a .316 OBP until he went down with an injury. 

The offense never had a chance. 

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A good breakdown, but i think you are letting the pen off a little too easy and focusing only on the rotation.   We had a crap ton of blown saves.  Middleton went down in May i think it was and it seemed to go downhill from there till Epp made some moves.

SP wise we had 15,16 guys i think make starts for us, 13-14 legit starters not counting "starter" games.    I cant think of anyone that has much success going that far down the depth chart.   Cle used 7, all season.  Hou 5 starters made over 20 starts each.    What hurt us was too many guys that really had no business on a ML mound, but thats what happens when you go that deep.

I actually have a lot of hope.  Even before these signings we were projected up to 83 and obvious under performed last year.  Right now we have i think 8 guys with ML success planned for the rotation before we even get to Canning/Suarez.  Heaney, Skaggs, Barria, Harvey, Cahill,  Pena, Tropeano, Bridwell.  and of course Ramirez in the wings mid season.   If we can stay within that list, we will be greatly improved.  

The bullpen is already greatly improved.

I think right now what will hold us back in 19 from a legit WC push is the offense as it stands today.    We need to resolve C, and maybeonsider upgrade at other spots short term, but we wont have the budget to do more than C i dont think unless they make some trades 

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5 hours ago, Blarg said:

The Angels roster listed 4 of the 9 starting position players (Ohatani included as DH) with an OBP under .300. Of all of the substitutes and bench players only David Fletcher had an OBP over .300. 

Let that sink in. 

When Ohatani was not the DH only 4 players had an OBP over .300 and one of them was the leadoff, Kinsler, with a .305 OBP. He was later replaced by Fletcher with a .316 OBP until he went down with an injury. 

The offense never had a chance. 

This is exactly right.  The Angels most significant issue by a ward margin is a line up that was loaded with not just bad hitters.  But terrible hitters.  I think a lot of people on this board look at a stat like WAR and think Kinsler was OK.  Kinsler was awful.  He got hot for like 2 weeks in June and then went back to being pretty shitty.  Tho not as shitty as he spent all of April and May.   And then he got traded.  That was good. 

Anyway, then you had Maldanado.  Who was also a pretty ineffective bat.  Albert also, very bad ( I don’t need to rehash why Albert sucks). Then our special boi’s Luis Valbuena(RIP) and Jefrey Marte.  Both of whom were not major league players.  Just putrid zeros in the line up.  And finally, the most disappointing and probably most damaging.  The disaster that was Kole Calhoun in 2018.  Literally the worst hitter in league for 2 months until he got “hurt” and went to the minors.  Then he was like the hottest hitter for like 5 weeks.  Then he sucked again.  I won’t even get into the other train wrecks because they didn’t have that many AB’s.  Anyway, just there you have essentially 4 everyday players (we’ll count the special boi’s as one) who were zeros in the line up.  You just can’t win baseball games like that.  It doesn’t matter who else you have in the line up.  

The next issue was starting pitching.  We didn’t get enough innings.  End of story.  

The bullpen is a far and away tertiary issue. The bullpen was actually pretty decent relative the situations we constantly found our relievers in. 

Edited by UndertheHalo
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6 hours ago, Blarg said:

The Angels roster listed 4 of the 9 starting position players (Ohatani included as DH) with an OBP under .300. Of all of the substitutes and bench players only David Fletcher had an OBP over .300. 

Let that sink in. 

When Ohatani was not the DH only 4 players had an OBP over .300 and one of them was the leadoff, Kinsler, with a .305 OBP. He was later replaced by Fletcher with a .316 OBP until he went down with an injury. 

The offense never had a chance. 

Who is this Ohatani you speak of?

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2 hours ago, Angelsjunky said:

Doc, you're one of my favorite posters but this just reads like you were reaching for something to write about. Late night, the two nurses you brought home are asleep, and you're thinking Angels. I get it. That's a typical night for me too.  But you're reaching, my friend.

what is he reaching on? he just posted a breakdown of the offense and the pitching.

as far as harvey and cahill, i think they would be nice additions if the angels had landed one of their top SP targets. they'll still likely be nice additions, but the staff needs improvement at the top to do much in 2019.

i feel the same way about the RP. i'm fine with the pitchers they have, but i just feel like an experienced closer would define the roles so much better.

i'm not too enthused about the offense either, until i see pujols on the bench or significantly down in the lineup. any angel lineup with pujols hitting in the middle of the order is a bad lineup. that's just the way it is now.

if they could sign a harper or machado to hit in the middle and move pujols to the 7 spot, when he's playing, then i'd start to feel a lot more optimistic about their lineup. that doesn't seem to be the plan for the budget. so, until pujols is off this team, he's going to continue to clog this lineup.

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Well Doc, I think what you wrote made a lot of sense. That June-July-August stretch was a different team than the April-May squad. And it makes sense, last year they lost JC Ramirez, Matt Shoemaker, Garrett Richards and Shohei Ohtani in relative consecutive months.

The rotation never had a chance when injuries came into play. 

Heaney, Skaggs, Barria and Pena did their best to keep that unit afloat, but eventually, Skaggs was injured, Barria was still bouncing between levels because of roster manipulation, so he didn't make as many starts as he likely could have, and Pena really wasn't stretched out for the first half of the season, and by the time he was, the Angels were already in too deep of a nosedive to recover. 

So what makes me think 2019 will be any better?

Heaney being more separated from surgery means he'll step back into the 180 innings of 3.40 ball I picture from him. Skaggs was a borderline ace before injury and his subsequent return inflated his ERA. He should be the same or better this year. Harvey and Cahill aren't the pictures of health themselves, but they both remained relatively healthy last year and can probably go 300 innings with a 4.00 ERA combined. There's potential for more, but let's not write that check just yet. But Barria figures to take a step back with the periphs indicating his performance was luck-driven. Let's also not forget just how effective Ohtani and Richards were, when they were healthy, and the Angels in 2019, can't match that. But they do have more depth because Pena, Canning and Suarez are all outside of the top 5 in the rotation and can Ben called upon when needed. 

The fact is, the Angels 2019 rotation will not get them into the playoffs unless a lot goes right. Skaggs, Heaney, Harvey and Cahill will all need to stay healthy and pitch up to their ability and we'll need a strong follow up campaign from Barria, or a breakout from Canning or Suarez. 

And as far as the offense goes, it's looking a little better, but not much, yet. Ohtani, Trout, Simmons and Upton should all likely remain what we expect. They'll be getting Cozart back, but his career numbers and injuries indicate that he won't exactly be a boost. Calhoun is still the RF but he can't be much worse than he was for most of last year, and Bour and La Stella are both going to make the lineup a little deeper. The biggest difference might actually be the presence of actual depth in AAA. Matt Thaiss, Jared Walsh, Luis Rengifo, David Fletcher, Taylor Ward, Jose Rojas, Michael Hermosillo, Jo Adell....yeah there's some talent there. 

That will probably keep the Angels from slumping as severely as they did last year.

So long story short, the way the sroster is constructed right now, it doesn't have the upside to go on an April-May run like the 2018 team had, but it also has greater depth, which will prevent the June-July-August skid from last year. 

All in all, a pretty unexciting 85 win team. 

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21 hours ago, Angelsjunky said:

Doc, you're one of my favorite posters but this just reads like you were reaching for something to write about. Late night, the two nurses you brought home are asleep, and you're thinking Angels. I get it. That's a typical night for me too.  But you're reaching, my friend.

Where's the reach?  

Maybe my point got lost, so I'll restate it.  When we had GR and Ohtani in the rotation last year, we were playing at a .570 clip.  Pretty much all of their production came in the first 65 games and while it was good, it wasn't mind blowing.  it was 26 starts, 128 ip (4.9ip/start), and a 3.52 era.  

Can Cahill and Harvey produce at that level for a whole season?  probably not but can they give us a combined 4.00 era over a whole season?  I think that's reasonable.  So can Heaney, Skaggs, Barria, Trop, Pena, Canning, and Suarez be good enough to make up the difference?   That difference is about 17 runs allowed if Cahill and Harvey pitch 170 innings.  

Can the bullpen be a little better?  I think so

Can Calhoun give us 2017 production?  Can Cozart be better?  Can we get more production from 1b now that we have Bour?  Can we improve at C?  

none of those things are a massive stretch to say yes to.  Is it likely that all of them will happen?  probably not, but they all don't need to as we've got some actual depth to replace them.  

So is it unreasonable to think we can win 90 games?  I don't think so.  

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17 minutes ago, Dochalo said:

it was 26 starts, 128 ip (4.9ip/start), and a 3.52 era.  

4.9 IP per start is nothing to write home about. That's just not what you need from your #1 and #2. From your #4 and #5, ok.

Saying we need Cahill and Harvey to perform at that level is like saying we need them to be a #4 and #5.

 

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On 12/22/2018 at 2:25 AM, Dochalo said:

How about a little bit of a forensic look at the 2018 season.  

Through June 9th, we were 37-28 and looking pretty good.  The offense started out super hot and then cooled off but he pitching did the opposite.  

Here are some stats through those first 65 games.  

SP - 349.1 ip, 3.53 era, 3.98 FIP
RP - 239.1 ip, 3.61 era, 4.03 FIP
Offense - 106 wRC+, .743 ops (league avg is .727), .281 BABIP (league avg is .296)

We had scored 294 (4.52/g) runs while giving up 256 (3.93/g).   A run differential that would equate to a winning % of .563 which is equal to about 91 wins.  37-28 is a .569 winning %.  

So nothing looked horribly out of line.  One thing to make note of is the 5.4 innings per start.   That was exactly league avg to that point in the season.  

So how about the next 97 games?

SP - 456.1 ip, 4.95 era, 4.71 FIP
RP - 392.2 ip, 4.10 era, 4.50 FIP
Offense - 97 wRC+, .715 ops, .275 BABIP

that led to a 43-54 record.   We gave up 466 (4.8/g) runs and scored 427 (4.4/g) runs.  A calculated winning % of .460 or a pace to win 75 games.  The offense wasn't hugely different.  We averaged 4.7 innings per start during that stretch and the pen almost pitched the same number of innings as the starters.  

so how the F did that happened?  

From 6/10 to 8/26, we went 26-40.  Here are our numbers from that stretch.

SP - 318.2 ip, 5.28 era, 4.80 FIP
RP - 257.0 ip, 3.82 era, 4.80 FIP
Offense - 101 wRC+, .730 ops, .284 BABIP

Again, the offense was pretty similar but those starters....ugh.  

So?

On Jul10th, Garrett Richards pitched his last game for the halos.  He threw 2 innings on 6/12, 5.1 innings on 7/4, and 2.2 ip on 7/10.  To that point, he had an era in the mid 3's.  

On 6/6, Shohei made his second to last start.  He had a low 3's era to that point.  

We had 14 different guys makes starts in our last 97 games.  That's a 7 man rotation.  

The moral of this story?  

Let's hope that the addition of Harvey and Cahill can approximate what Ohtani and Richards were giving us.  Maybe they won't be quite as effective from an era standpoint, but lets hope that they'll pitch more innings as will Skaggs and Barria.  Which would decrease the number of crap innings from ancillary pen pieces.  

That with the minor additions to the offense should move the needle a decent amount.  

A healthy Ohtani is an ace, way better than Harvey and Cahill. Mostly, this team needs to stay healthy. The starting five are okay but the depth is not great. One or two of the RP  nust be consistent in the late innings. Right now there are no proven late innings guys though Buttrey and Robles showed some promise. They still need a lefty or two for the pen. 

The offense is still iffy. Maybe Calhoun can have a good season in his walk year. Fletcher needs to continue with his on base ability and Upton needs a. Big season. The key may be how much of the season that Ohtani misses. The Angels need Ohtani’s bat to protect Trout. Who knows who the catcher will be. 

Bottom line, a lot has to go right for the Angels to be in the mix. Hopefully, Canning can make a contribution along with Suarez and Rengifo. 

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8 minutes ago, TroutTrumbo said:

A healthy Ohtani is an ace, way better than Harvey and Cahill. Mostly, this team needs to stay healthy. The starting five are okay but the depth is not great. One or two of the RP  nust be consistent in the late innings. Right now there are no proven late innings guys though Buttrey and Robles showed some promise. They still need a lefty or two for the pen. 

The offense is still iffy. Maybe Calhoun can have a good season in his walk year. Fletcher needs to continue with his on base ability and Upton needs a. Big season. The key may be how much of the season that Ohtani misses. The Angels need Ohtani’s bat to protect Trout. Who knows who the catcher will be. 

Bottom line, a lot has to go right for the Angels to be in the mix. Hopefully, Canning can make a contribution along with Suarez and Rengifo. 

To be fair, a fully healthy Harvey may be as good as a fully healthy Ohtani. Harvey hasn't been that guy in a while, but the further he gets from surgery, the more velocity he has. I don't know if he'll ever rediscover what he had, but if he does, he's a Cy Young caliber pitcher. 

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I don't think 90 wins is a reach at all. It will take slightly more luck than they've had the past few years, but it's the Angels turn to finally experience some good fortune.

I'm just not convinced 90 wins is enough to get into the playoffs. The Rays look darn good, and now they'll roll out Snell, Glasnow and Morton as a potentially dominant top 3. And their "opener" tactic worked brilliantly, especially with that Yarbrough kid tossing 4 solid innings at a time. They were more lucky than anything last year, but with the amount of young talent they have, 90 wins could actually be legitimate in 2019 for Tampa Bay. 

The A's won 97 games last year. Granted it was an extraordinary amount of luck, by talent they're likely an 80-85 win team. But with Manaea, Montes and Fiers, they have something to build around. The A's offense doesn't need ace level production, they can win with a collection of 4.00 ERA starters that go 150 innings each. And they have a couple of dynamic prospects in Puk and Luzardo that could break in. The A's should win 90 games in 2019. 

The Twins won 78 games last year, but that was without anything from Buxton or Sano. If those two play up to their ability the Twins could be an 85 win team, especially is Berrios pitches like he can. If they make a mid season addition or two, yeah, 90 wins is within the realm of possibility.

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