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Team Contention Cycles - Comparing the Angels to other teams


Angelsjunky

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Appreciate the effort you put in here AJ.  About half way through my reading of your words the main thing I was thinking was “well the Angels are stupid at scouting” and then you more or less mentioned that.  There’s also the seemingly apparent fact that they’ve been slow to implement some of the more contemporary practices around analytics and the like.  So that’s the difference mostly it seems.  Or the most obvious one.  There’s also the anecdotal issue of “luck”.  I guess that’s not something that can really be quantified in a good way but I think most of us that have followed the team for a while would agree that shit luck feels like an endless thing for the Angels.  Some of you older guys who were following the team in the early nineties and the shit times in the 80’s.  Damn that’s gotta be some kind sports PTSD stuff.  Prayers up for AO who is obviously a damaged man.  
 

anyway.   Hopefully they suck less soon.  I don’t think there’s a cycle switch to look forward to that’s apparent.  Being able to consistently win at least 70 games doesn’t really do much for me.  Some real first loser shit that seems like.  It’s awesome to eternally have the 16th pick.  lol.  

Edited by UndertheHalo
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49 minutes ago, UndertheHalo said:

Appreciate the effort you put in here AJ.  About half way through my reading of your words the main thing I was thinking was “well the Angels are stupid at scouting” and then you more or less mentioned that.  There’s also the seemingly apparent fact that they’ve been slow to implement some of the more contemporary practices around analytics and the like.  So that’s the difference mostly it seems.  Or the most obvious one.  There’s also the anecdotal issue of “luck”.  I guess that’s not something that can really be quantified in a good way but I think most of us that have followed the team for a while would agree that shit luck feels like an endless thing for the Angels.  Some of you older guys who were following the team in the early nineties and the shit times in the 80’s.  Damn that’s gotta be some kind sports PTSD stuff.  Prayers up for AO who is obviously a damaged man.  
 

anyway.   Hopefully they suck less soon.  I don’t think there’s a cycle switch to look forward to that’s apparent.  Being able to consistently win at least 70 games doesn’t really do much for me.  Some real first loser shit that seems like.  It’s awesome to eternally have the 16th pick.  lol.  

I tend to feel that if "bad luck" is the norm, there's something else going on. In this case, something lacking on the development and analytics side of things.

That said, I'm not sure I agree with you re: their lack of analytics. In a way, I think Dipoto and Eppler might have relied too much on analytics, and played a real world version of fantasy baseball. "Joe Blanton's peripherals look good, therefore..." Or the Epplerian clean peanut phenomenon. 

Or to put it another way, maybe it wasn't a lack of analytics, but a lack of good analytics. And an accompanying lack of good scouting and player analysis.

I think building a perennial contender is not unlike building a garden or a business. It requires significant early investment, not skimping or "going for it" too soon, and, most of all, a combination of careful and consistent cultivation with patience. 

The thing that really stands out to me about the chart is that the Angels didn't collapse after 2009 - they had a dip in 2010, and then were pretty good for a few years. The collapse happened in 2015-16. If we look back to that period, a lot of it was bad luck: the young pitcher injuries, most notably. But they were also saddled with some albatross contracts, and the farm was depleted, thus they had no internal resources to draw on. Probably what should have happened is that they accepted that they needed to rebuild; if they had in 2016-18ish, they could have been competitive again by 2019-20. Of course the other factor is the Trout Window, which makes it more understandable why they didn't go for a complete rebuild.

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1 hour ago, Angelsjunky said:

I tend to feel that if "bad luck" is the norm, there's something else going on. In this case, something lacking on the development and analytics side of things.

That said, I'm not sure I agree with you re: their lack of analytics. In a way, I think Dipoto and Eppler might have relied too much on analytics, and played a real world version of fantasy baseball. "Joe Blanton's peripherals look good, therefore..." Or the Epplerian clean peanut phenomenon. 

Or to put it another way, maybe it wasn't a lack of analytics, but a lack of good analytics. And an accompanying lack of good scouting and player analysis.

I think building a perennial contender is not unlike building a garden or a business. It requires significant early investment, not skimping or "going for it" too soon, and, most of all, a combination of careful and consistent cultivation with patience. 

The thing that really stands out to me about the chart is that the Angels didn't collapse after 2009 - they had a dip in 2010, and then were pretty good for a few years. The collapse happened in 2015-16. If we look back to that period, a lot of it was bad luck: the young pitcher injuries, most notably. But they were also saddled with some albatross contracts, and the farm was depleted, thus they had no internal resources to draw on. Probably what should have happened is that they accepted that they needed to rebuild; if they had in 2016-18ish, they could have been competitive again by 2019-20. Of course the other factor is the Trout Window, which makes it more understandable why they didn't go for a complete rebuild.

I don’t really disagree with you.  But I do think a lack of investment in the analytics stuff is an issue.  I’ve seen that the Angels hire like one or two guys here and there over the years.  Then I see Fangraphs people on their chats talk about other teams having much more significant departments.  So to me, it seems like a where there’s smoke there’s fire thing.  Recall the Angels got rid of their very modest scouting department during covid shortened season ? The info that seemed come out was that the Angels had like 12-15 guys and the Dodgers had like 90.  I mean it is what it is.  That’s an investment thing.  Anyway.  You know a lot more about this than I do.  I appreciate the post.  Also.  Shut up nerd.  

Edited by UndertheHalo
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30 minutes ago, UndertheHalo said:

I don’t really disagree with you.  But I do think a lack of investment in the analytics stuff is an issue.  I’ve seen that the Angels hire like one or two guys here and there over the years.  Then I see Fangraphs people on their chats talk about other teams having much more significant departments.  So to me, it seems like a where there’s smoke there’s fire thing.  Recall the Angels got rid of their very modest scouting department during covid shortened season ? The info that seemed come out was that the Angels had like 12-15 guys and the Dodgers had like 90.  I mean it is what it is.  That’s an investment thing.  Anyway.  You know a lot more about this than I do.  I appreciate the post.  Also.  Shut up nerd.  

Yeah, I think that comparison with the Dodgers is apt. Think of how many of those guys are regularly in Latin America, finding the Julio Uriases of the world. But we got Deveaux! And Baldoquin!

That goes into what I was saying about "initial investment," which in this context is having a good scouting department.

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7 hours ago, UndertheHalo said:

Appreciate the effort you put in here AJ.  About half way through my reading of your words the main thing I was thinking was “well the Angels are stupid at scouting” and then you more or less mentioned that.  There’s also the seemingly apparent fact that they’ve been slow to implement some of the more contemporary practices around analytics and the like.  So that’s the difference mostly it seems.  Or the most obvious one.  There’s also the anecdotal issue of “luck”.  I guess that’s not something that can really be quantified in a good way but I think most of us that have followed the team for a while would agree that shit luck feels like an endless thing for the Angels.  Some of you older guys who were following the team in the early nineties and the shit times in the 80’s.  Damn that’s gotta be some kind sports PTSD stuff.  Prayers up for AO who is obviously a damaged man.  
 

anyway.   Hopefully they suck less soon.  I don’t think there’s a cycle switch to look forward to that’s apparent.  Being able to consistently win at least 70 games doesn’t really do much for me.  Some real first loser shit that seems like.  It’s awesome to eternally have the 16th pick.  lol.  

It’s not bad luck, and it’s not a lack of analytics. It’s an organizational philosophy. The Angels have adopted the same strategy as the Yankees but without the money to back it up. Every year Arte gives his GM a budget and tells him to go all in.

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Nice job AJ.  

it's sort of a chicken and egg situation but 4 first time GM's in 14 years.  

I don't know how true it is but it sure seems like most of the available resources are allocated to the major league club.  And each GM is going to be a bit different so by the time they get their processes in place, they are gone and the next guy has his own way.  

While it's not all bad luck, there was a fair amount.  The rash of injuries to the pitching staff from about 2016-2018 were pretty rough.  The utter decimation of the farm system which was kicked off by Reagins and completed by Dipoto is by far the biggest reason for the lack of an upswing on the halo's graph.   It's pretty damn rare that trades for established major league players and FA signings alone result in sustained success.  Maybe I'm biased, but that's what all these charts scream to me.   

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20 hours ago, Angelsjunky said:

I tend to feel that if "bad luck" is the norm, there's something else going on. In this case, something lacking on the development and analytics side of things.

That said, I'm not sure I agree with you re: their lack of analytics. In a way, I think Dipoto and Eppler might have relied too much on analytics, and played a real world version of fantasy baseball. "Joe Blanton's peripherals look good, therefore..." Or the Epplerian clean peanut phenomenon. 

Or to put it another way, maybe it wasn't a lack of analytics, but a lack of good analytics. And an accompanying lack of good scouting and player analysis.

I think building a perennial contender is not unlike building a garden or a business. It requires significant early investment, not skimping or "going for it" too soon, and, most of all, a combination of careful and consistent cultivation with patience. 

The thing that really stands out to me about the chart is that the Angels didn't collapse after 2009 - they had a dip in 2010, and then were pretty good for a few years. The collapse happened in 2015-16. If we look back to that period, a lot of it was bad luck: the young pitcher injuries, most notably. But they were also saddled with some albatross contracts, and the farm was depleted, thus they had no internal resources to draw on. Probably what should have happened is that they accepted that they needed to rebuild; if they had in 2016-18ish, they could have been competitive again by 2019-20. Of course the other factor is the Trout Window, which makes it more understandable why they didn't go for a complete rebuild.

The "fall of the cliff" in 2015 was a "perfect storm of combination of "badluck with injuries", Bad FA signings, No international presence, and bad farm system.

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I think it comes down to team building philosophy. Those successful franchises have a plan, they have continuity and they execute well. 

Yes, the Dodgers spend gobs of money, but they also have had the same voice with the same plan for years and they develop internally. They also find ways to maximize on previously marginal players, like Justin Turner and Max Muncy. When combined with homegrown talent, like Seager, Bellinger, Kershaw, Urias and Buehler, and a touch of big market acquisitions, like Mookie Betts, Max Scherzer and Trevor Bauer( before his suspensions) the end result is a winner. 

Now look at the Angels. Developing Trout, Fletcher and Walsh and getting Ohtani has been good, but their failures seem to come in two places

1. They have failed to maximize the players they've acquired. Bundy, Cahill, Harvey, Quintana, Cody Allen, Nava, Gentry, etc... None of them really made an impact. The three that seemed to work out the best have been Yunel Escobar, Alex Cobb and Max Stassi, though none of them have been studs as much as they didn't crater like the others. Certainly not Turner or Muncy level success. 

2. No continuity. Stoneman had a great plan and it worked. Develop internally and augment here and there with well scouted and identified targets. Reagins had a plan, which is ride off the success of Stoneman and add his own flavor and it had mixed results. Dipoto had his plan, which is spend big and worry about the future later and it failed miserably. Eppler had a plan, which was to undo everything Dipoto did and try to rebuild the farm and it too had mixed results. And now we have Minasian, we are two years into this regime and we still have no effing idea what he's doing or if there is even a plan. He says one thing then does another. About the only thing we know is that he's big on clubhouse chemistry and he drafts a lot of pitchers. 

-------

I think the Angels just need to find one plan that works, and stick to that plan for and extended period of time. And that plan, should be fairly straightforward. Invest heavily on the farm and amateur scouting. Lock up home grown talent early. And spend big in free agency very rarely. 

Edited by Second Base
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7 minutes ago, Second Base said:

I think it comes down to team building philosophy. Those successful franchises have a plan, they have continuity and they execute well. 

Yes, the Dodgers spend gobs of money, but they also have had the same voice with the same plan for years and they develop internally. They also find ways to maximize on previously marginal players, like Justin Turner and Max Muncy. When combined with homegrown talent, like Seager, Bellinger, Kershaw, Urias and Buehler, and a touch of big market acquisitions, like Mookie Betts, Max Scherzer and Trevor Bauer( before his suspensions) the end result is a winner. 

Now look at the Angels. Developing Trout, Fletcher and Walsh and getting Ohtani has been good, but their failures seem to come in two places

1. They have failed to maximize the players they've acquired. Bundy, Cahill, Harvey, Quintana, Cody Allen, Nava, Gentry, etc... None of them really made an impact. The three that seemed to work out the best have been Yunel Escobar, Alex Cobb and Max Stassi, though none of them have been studs as much as they didn't crater like the others. Certainly not Turner or Muncy level success. 

2. No continuity. Stoneman had a great plan and it worked. Develop internally and augment here and there with well scouted and identified targets. Reagins had a plan, which is ride off the success of Stoneman and add his own flavor and it had mixed results. Dipoto had his plan, which is spend big and worry about the future later and it failed miserably. Eppler had a plan, which was to undo everything Dipoto did and try to rebuild the farm and it too had mixed results. And now we have Minasian, we are two years into this regime and we still have no effing idea what he's doing or if there is even a plan. He says one thing then does another. About the only thing we know is that he's big on clubhouse chemistry and he drafts a lot of pitchers. 

-------

I think the Angels just need to find one plan that works, and stick to that plan for and extended period of time. And that plan, should be fairly straightforward. Invest heavily on the farm and amateur scouting. Lock up home grown talent early. And spend big in free agency very rarely. 

The Angels go get a fancy coat or shirt from Versace and then pair it with some pants from the discount rack at TJ Max, a watch they bought from some guy on a street corner, some shoes they found in the back of their closet and a belt they made themselves.  

Granted, this is not a unique approach for all teams actually.  Yet some have the ability to recognize how to put their ensemble together with several lesser known yet quality brands before they blow up.  

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7 minutes ago, Dochalo said:

The Angels go get a fancy coat or shirt from Versace and then pair it with some pants from the discount rack at TJ Max, a watch they bought from some guy on a street corner, some shoes they found in the back of their closet and a belt they made themselves.  

Granted, this is not a unique approach for all teams actually.  Yet some have the ability to recognize how to put their ensemble together with several lesser known yet quality brands before they blow up.  

like a boss love GIF

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