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IGNORED

Re-grouping a bit (or, "At least we're not 0-4!")


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It was a rough series, especially considering that it was in Anaheim. You'd think that the Angels could, at least, manage a split, but it didn't happen.

Let us consider a few things:

The Astros are a very good team, and played great baseball. Timely hits--including lots of dingers--stellar defense, and excellent pitching. They are also clearly a better team than the Angels, but we knew that going into the year.

But that's just it: this is the beginning of the year. Teams don't remain static all year, but change. They go up and down, get hot and cool down. They--both as a team, but also individual players--"figure things out."

And yes, they won a game - against the Astros. And they really only got blown out once. Small sample size and all.

The Angels are too talented not to improve. I'm going to hold to my pre-season prediction that they'd win 90+ games. Maybe it is 88 or 89, but I don't think it will be 80. For that to happen, a lot has to go wrong - lots of injuries, in other words. Even "only" winning 88 games probably keeps them in a wildcard spot into September, which is the best fun we'll have had in half a decade or more.

Remember, this is a much better team than it was a year ago, at the beginning of last season. In that year, they lost two of their three best players for most of the season and ended up being close enough to .500 (4 games below) that they were, at worst, mediocre (or the low side of average).

Mediocre + improvements (e.g. much better pen) + relatively healthy superstars = a good to very good team.

Notice the phrasing "relatively healthy." I'm not predicting that Trout, Ohtani, and Rendon will play in 150+ games each. But if they can manage 400 starts between them, the lineup should be in good shape. Even just 350 starts will be pretty damn good compared to last year.

And no, I'm not saying this team is magical. I'm saying they're better than their 1-3 record entails. Four games does not a season make - we're talking a timely hit or two and they're 2-2.

Or to put it another way for, for chrissakes, it's early!

 

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The Angels have work to do for both on field and off the field.  This roster in it's current construction is not a playoff team.  Perry missed or chose not to do some additional roster moves during the offseason that are already becoming obvious oversights. 

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3 minutes ago, eligrba said:

The Angels have work to do for both on field and off the field.  This roster in it's current construction is not a playoff team.  Perry missed or chose not to do some additional roster moves during the offseason that are already becoming obvious oversights. 

There's literally no way to know that after four games. Check in after 40.

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5 minutes ago, Hubs said:

There's literally no way to know that after four games. Check in after 40.

I don't need 40 games of Mayfield and Duffy batting cleanup to recognize that there was a missed opportunity during the offseason.  I don't need 40 more games to recognize that relying on Sandoval, Detmers and Suarez as key contributors could be a miscalculation.  I recognize that the division or wildcard is not won in the month of April. 

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We can make all the excuses in the world. but the bottom line is that is the team we have to beat to be taken seriously... all the pre-season hype just got a kick in the nethers. 
Were we competitive, yeah, save for a few innings in game two, but in the end the scoreboard is all that matters
They beat us, soundly, +10 run diff for them, - 10 for us.  It took us being perfect in that game three to win it.
Its early, but we simply must do better to be taken seriously.

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2 hours ago, eligrba said:

I don't need 40 games of Mayfield and Duffy batting cleanup to recognize that there was a missed opportunity during the offseason.  I don't need 40 more games to recognize that relying on Sandoval, Detmers and Suarez as key contributors could be a miscalculation.  I recognize that the division or wildcard is not won in the month of April. 

Mayfield and Duffy batting cleanup is a bit of a head-scratcher, but doesn't necessarily equate with a "missed opportunity."

Furthermore, experimentation early on is to be expected. I would guess that, by season's end, the lineup will look more like this:

LF Marsh

DH Ohtani

CF Trout

3B Rendon

1B Walsh

C Stassi

RF Ward/Adell

2B Some guy

SS Some guy

Meaning, Marsh is the natural lead-off guy, once he gets a bit more experience. That pushes everyone back, and Maddon will have no excuses for a more traditional middle of the order.

I say "some guy" for 2B/SS, because both will likely see a lot of different guys - not just the current ones, but also possibly Stefanic, Rengifo, and Davis. Who knows, maybe Stefanic is called up and takes over as the starting 2B and lead-off man.

 

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This reminds me of that picture of the CNN reporter calling it mostly peaceful protesting while the city is on fire behind him. 

Yeah it's only one series but the Astros exposed a fundamental flaw with the Angels roster construction. The fact is, they're top heavy, and not balanced at all. 

The lineup is solid, 1-5. But 6-9... No consistency. The rotation is solid if they're healthy, but in order to keep these guys healthy, they'll need to be kept around the 5 inning mark. The bullpen looks good at the back end. But in middle relief, they have some serious holes. 

Contrast that with the Astros, it doesn't matter who they plug in, they're good. 

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1 hour ago, floplag said:

We can make all the excuses in the world. but the bottom line is that is the team we have to beat to be taken seriously... all the pre-season hype just got a kick in the nethers. 
Were we competitive, yeah, save for a few innings in game two, but in the end the scoreboard is all that matters
They beat us, soundly, +10 run diff for them, - 10 for us.  It took us being perfect in that game three to win it.
Its early, but we simply must do better to be taken seriously.

Was there even any hype going into the season? Everyone seems to be firmly in the "resigned indifference" phase

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1 hour ago, Angelsjunky said:

Mayfield and Duffy batting cleanup is a bit of a head-scratcher, but doesn't necessarily equate with a "missed opportunity."

Furthermore, experimentation early on is to be expected. I would guess that, by season's end, the lineup will look more like this:

LF Marsh

DH Ohtani

CF Trout

3B Rendon

1B Walsh

C Stassi

RF Ward/Adell

2B Some guy

SS Some guy

Meaning, Marsh is the natural lead-off guy, once he gets a bit more experience. That pushes everyone back, and Maddon will have no excuses for a more traditional middle of the order.

I say "some guy" for 2B/SS, because both will likely see a lot of different guys - not just the current ones, but also possibly Stefanic, Rengifo, and Davis. Who knows, maybe Stefanic is called up and takes over as the starting 2B and lead-off man.

 

Solid counter point.  Do you think the "some guy" was a purposeful decision or a necessary one by Minasian?

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36 minutes ago, eligrba said:

Solid counter point.  Do you think the "some guy" was a purposeful decision or a necessary one by Minasian?

Well, I was quietly predicting that Arte would want his big splash, and surprise everyone with a Correa signing (also, a big Latino star to replace Pujols). Instead, Minasian spent a lot on a bunch of pieces for mainly short-term contracts.

I think shoring up the bullpen was necessary as far as filling holes is concerned, but signing a Correa would have been a luxury, although improved the team significantly. But I figure that Minasian thought he could get 2ish WAR out of the current cast of characters at SS, and the +3 from Correa was made up for by a greatly improved bullpen.

The middle infield is quantity over quality. I think the idea is that "some guys" will be solid enough. That's why I think we're going to see a revolving door, especially over the first two months.

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1 hour ago, Angelsjunky said:

Mayfield and Duffy batting cleanup is a bit of a head-scratcher, but doesn't necessarily equate with a "missed opportunity."

Furthermore, experimentation early on is to be expected. I would guess that, by season's end, the lineup will look more like this:

LF Marsh

DH Ohtani

CF Trout

3B Rendon

1B Walsh

C Stassi

RF Ward/Adell

2B Some guy

SS Some guy

Meaning, Marsh is the natural lead-off guy, once he gets a bit more experience. That pushes everyone back, and Maddon will have no excuses for a more traditional middle of the order.

I say "some guy" for 2B/SS, because both will likely see a lot of different guys - not just the current ones, but also possibly Stefanic, Rengifo, and Davis. Who knows, maybe Stefanic is called up and takes over as the starting 2B and lead-off man.

 

I have issue with 'some guy' at 2b and SS and then stating that it doesn't equate to a missed opportunity.  

I felt like a damn broken record the entire offseason.  I mentioned it about a thousand different ways.  Roster depth.  MIF depth.  OF depth.  Depth depth depth.  Good teams have it and ones that aren't as good typically don't.   Concerns about Adell and Marsh's consistency.   What if Fletcher stays the same?  And in general, the sheer talent of the MIF with a bunch of waiver guys.  Or how much do they plan on using Suzuki?  

So the result is already Kurt twice in four games, Adell being inconsistent or just bad, and two journeymen manning the cleanup spot.  And it's not just about the cleanup spot but the fact that everyone after them also has serious question marks.  And a few of those question marks are expected.  Others are just poor roster construction and a lack of talent and then relying on Joe to try and piece the shit together the right way.  Which for me is like watching a 7 year old solve a rubik's cube.  'Hey!  I got one side!'.  No.  someone has the pattern but he refuses to use it.  

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8 minutes ago, Dochalo said:

I have issue with 'some guy' at 2b and SS and then stating that it doesn't equate to a missed opportunity.  

I felt like a damn broken record the entire offseason.  I mentioned it about a thousand different ways.  Roster depth.  MIF depth.  OF depth.  Depth depth depth.  Good teams have it and ones that aren't as good typically don't.   Concerns about Adell and Marsh's consistency.   What if Fletcher stays the same?  And in general, the sheer talent of the MIF with a bunch of waiver guys.  Or how much do they plan on using Suzuki?  

So the result is already Kurt twice in four games, Adell being inconsistent or just bad, and two journeymen manning the cleanup spot.  And it's not just about the cleanup spot but the fact that everyone after them also has serious question marks.  And a few of those question marks are expected.  Others are just poor roster construction and a lack of talent and then relying on Joe to try and piece the shit together the right way.  Which for me is like watching a 7 year old solve a rubik's cube.  'Hey!  I got one side!'.  No.  someone has the pattern but he refuses to use it.  

I like the Rubik's cube analogy - that works really well.

That said, I think the "depth" thing is a bit tricky. What is depth, exactly? Where does it come from? Ideally, prospects. If not, solid bench guys - maybe former starters who had an off year and are ready to bounce-back, or just good veteran bench players. The problem, though, is that unless you have prospects, the bench guys are going to look like what the Angels have - Rojas, Duffy, Wade, Mayfield, Suzuki, etc. They are mediocre and probably shouldn't be starters (except Duffy, who I think can be a solid 2 WAR guy).

So then what depth really means is better players in every day roles, so your mediocre guys are where they belong - on the bench. I mean, it is hard to have a team with 15 hitters who could start on most teams. Maybe that is what you mean by depth, but how many teams have that?

I mean, I agree that the Angels look weak right now, with only five guys looking like bonafide average or better starters (Trout, Rendon, Walsh, Ohtani, Stassi). I think they're hoping that Fletcher rebounds and Ward, Marsh, and Adell get there - so they could have 8-9 guys. And maybe Duffy is good enough to be considered #9-10. And then there's Stefanic, who I think belongs on the major league team. Meaning, the team could/should deepen as the young guys mature and Maddon figures out the infield.

And remember, I agree with you about going after Chris Taylor, or at least someone better than what they have. But we can't always get what we want and the Dodgers offered Taylor a contract he couldn't refuse, and Perry had already spent big money on Syndergaard and Raisel - two things the Angels needed (although it remains to be seen whether Noah can stay healthy enough to earn his $21M). They essentially countered with "We've got Duffy and Wade." Could be worse.

For me the biggest head-scratcher was re-signing Suzuki. That only makes sense if they're confident that Thaiss will eventually be ready, because Suzuki lost his lone average plus skill last year, his bat. I'd rather go for a no-bat, good defensive catcher.

I think they overpaid for some of the relievers, but I'm not entirely mad that they did. I mean, in some ways I'd rather have one Correa than all three of Tepera-Loup-Bradley, but Arte/Perry consider long-term contracts as well.

 

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