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Why I remain optimistic about this organization


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I don't like seeing the Angels lose, but don't mind it if the overall trajectory is good. I'm guilty of the occasional rant, whether ironic or serious, but for the most part I accept the fact that baseball--both the season, but also the longer term--is more of a marathon than a sprint. Or perhaps a more apt metaphor is that there are always going to be ups and downs, hills and valleys. Life cannot be lived just "going up." And so it is with baseball.

The Angels have had some setbacks this year, including one of their best starters actually dying, and it does seem that Eppler's free agent patches were mostly bad to disastrous (Harvey, Cahill, Allen, Lucroy, Bour, Garcia), but not entirely so (La Stella, Goodwin, Smith).

But the key is the trajectory. Is the team getting better overall and does the mid and long-term future look good? That's what I care about. Winning now is fun, making the playoffs is exciting, but being a fan of a perennial contender is far more satisfying.

"Getting better overall" doesn't necessarily mean the number in the win column gets larger every single year. Not only do wins only tell part of the story, but we have to look at longer patterns. What is going on underneath? What is the trajectory of the organization as a whole? In particular, what is the degree, growth, and flow of talent, from scouting to development through the minors to maturation in the majors? Is that growth and flow increasing or decreasing? 

I would say that overall, the growth and flow of talent in the Angels organization is increasing. There have been set-backs in the majors, there are prospects who don't seem to be developing as hoped, but overall the talent is flowing. Talented players are being scouted and signed both domestically and internationally; they are developing through the minor leagues, and they are graduating to the majors.

Here's a list of players who made their major league debuts as Angels in 2015-17: Carlos Perez, Taylor Featherston, Kyle Kubitza, Kaleb Cowart, Jett Bandy, Trevor Gott, Ji-Man Choi, Juan Graterol, Nolan Fontana, Keynan, Middleton, Troy Scribner.

Now here's the list for 2018-19: Shohei Ohtani, Ty Buttrey, Jaime Barria, David Fletcher, Taylor Ward, Jared Walsh, Griffin Canning, Jose Suarez, Luis Rengifo, Matt Thaiss, Jose Briceno, Francisco Arcia, Jose Fernandez, Michael Hermosillo.

Forgive me if I missed someone. Now there are scrubs on both lists; but there are far more useful players and probable major league regulars, and even a star or two, on the second list. If we extend that list to 2020 to make it a three-year span like the first list, we can probably add Jo Adell, Brandon Marsh, Patrick Sandoval, Brennan Lund, and maybe--or shortly after--Jahmai Jones, Jose Soriano, Will Wilson, Luis Madero, Jesus Castillo, etc.

The 2021-23 cohort has a bunch of talent, although it remains to be seen who is on a clear path to the majors.

So yeah, the Angels just lost three straight to one of the worst teams in baseball. Three days ago they were five games over .500 for the first time since the beginning of last year and that flukey hot start. They looked like they had a legimitate chance of grabbing the wildcard. Now those chances seem much smaller, even if technically they aren't much worse. 

But that doesn't matter. Sure, I want to see them get the wildcard. But I also see baseball like gardening: the yield of crops right now is less important than the long-term health and vitality of the soil and plant life. Or maybe a business is better. The quick sale is less important than creating long-term customers.

Yes, there's a sense that the future is never arriving, but again: be patient. The trajectory is overall good.

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You remain optimistic because you love the team and don’t have any other choice.  It’s dumb and weekends like this one are solid reason to lose faith.  But baseball is hard and frustrating.  The Angels are extremely special about making it hard and frustrating.  it is what it is.  I, like you suffer from this terminal pointless optimism.  Many here do.  So it’s cool.  

I appreciate the post and enjoyed reading it.  I even agree with a lot of it. 

I really hope I get to be happy about a championship with you guys at some point. 

Edited by UndertheHalo
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