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This is a 92 win team.
We've had a lot of negativity lately so I felt like putting on the rosy glasses and being a blind superfan for a few minutes. 

Let me preface this by saying I'm not an analytics nerd like some here, so I'm not going to draw up some novel using graphs and spin rates and launch angles. I will however simplify things using fWAR. I want to state I in NO WAY believe WAR equates directly to wins. But I'm doing this anyway.

Now, Fletcher has stated many times before how the majority of improvement comes from within. So I'm going to use WAR to see, realistically how this team (without Rendon, Bundy, Teheran, or Castro) can improve. I will not be using any fangraphs projection systems because fuck you. Again, I'm aware that WAR doesn't quite work this way but it's the simplest way to project things from a fans standpoint and also fuck you.

Anyway, I'm just going to look at the major players and how many "wins" they can add over last year. I won't do this for every reliever.

Trout: Trout missed the final month of the year. I think it's safe to say if he played that final month, he would have been worth 1 more win. So that's a +1.

Upton: Upton is a big key to the success of the team in 2020. Upton was injured and missed more than half the year. He was worth -0.2 fWAR. IF he's healthy, he's one of the most consistent players in baseball. However, I'm going to be conservative here and say he only adds 2 wins over 2019. A 1.8 WAR is quite low for him based on his career numbers but I don't want to be entirely unrealistic. So +2.


Angels acquire Matt Andriese for Jeremy Beasley, DFA Luis Madero
Angels acquire Matt Andriese for Jeremy Beasley, DFA Luis Madero
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Astros punishments: A.J. Hinch and Jeff Luhnow suspended for a year (fired by Crane), team loses 1st and 2nd round picks in 2020 and 2021
Astros punishments: A.J. Hinch and Jeff Luhnow suspended for a year (fired by Crane), team loses 1st and 2nd round picks in 2020 and 2021
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AngelsWin.com Today: 2019-2020 Off-Season Starting Pitcher Trade Series: Tyler Mahle
By Robert Cunningham, Angelswin.com Senior Writer

This series will attempt to identify other potential front-line starters that the Angels can possibly trade for and we will continue the series looking at the Cincinnati Reds, SP Tyler Mahle.


Contract Status - 2020 will be the last season of pre-arbitration control for Tyler. After that he has the three standard years of arbitration control, for a total of four years of team control before hitting free agency.

Repertoire (2019) - Four-Seam Fastball (56.7%, 93.6 mph), Curve Ball (22.6%, 80.6 mph), Split-Finger Fastball (13.5%, 87.4 mph) and Cut Fastball (6.6%, 90.2 mph)

Statcast Information - Mahle has a below average spin rate on his four-seam fastball. However, his curve ball has above average spin (2,595 rpm). Exit velocity, across all of his pitches, has averaged 88.3 mph to-date in his Major League career. Since 2017, his K% has risen steadily from 15.2% in that year to 23.2% in 2019 with a corresponding drop in BB% from 12% in 2017 to 6.1% last season, resulting in a solid 17.1% K-BB% for 2019. Below is a Statcast graphic of his pitch type and frequency use, including his pitch grouping:

Also here is his 2019 Statcast Plinko graphic showing how often he uses his pitches in various pitch counts:

As you can see he generally starts hitters off with a four-seam fastball or, to a lesser extent, curve ball. Unless he gets behind he generally tries to randomize his pitch repertoire after that, only going to the four-seam when desired or he really needs a strike.
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Happy New Year AngelsWin.com!!
What has been your favorite AngelsWin.com moment whether in a post, an entire thread or event that you've attended over the past decade?

Secondly, what has been your favorite moment in Angels Baseball over the past decade?

I'll post mine later this morning. Good night ya'll. Happy New Year!

Here's to an amazing next decade of Angels Baseball and the times we spend together over the next 10 years at AngelsWin.com.

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AngelsWin.com Today: 2020 Angelswin.com Primer Series: Bullpen
By Robert Cunningham, Angelswin.com Senior Writer

NOTE: This article contains a detailed summary of each prospective bullpen candidate under the "Spoiler" bar. Some of you may just want to jump to the conclusion so the player contents are hidden from view. If you want to read that section, simply click on the bar and dive deeper into each of our reliever candidates, there are some interesting tidbits.

In 2019, the Angels continued to develop a core group of relief options that produced to the tune of 2.5 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) across 761.2 innings pitched (IP). The latter number was the 2nd most IP, just behind the Rays bullpen at 772 IP. Assuredly, Eppler and staff would like to not only improve the bullpen's production, but also reduce the total number of IP, for the group as a whole, if possible.

The good news is that most of that relief corps will remain this season and a key reliever, Keynan Middleton, should return to the fold, which could provide a real boost to a squad full of upside and potential, capable of closing out the later innings of any ballgame. It is the hope that the bullpen will potentially improve on their 2019 performances, giving reason to believe that the Angels relievers, as a collective, can build on last years 16th ranked production level and become a Top 10 relief staff.

To start let us review 2019 results for the current, projected, 40-man relief staff as of December 16th, 2019:
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THE Official AngelsWin.com 2019-2020 Hot Stove Thread
Here is the official AngelsWin.com hot stove thread for rumours of signings and trades throughout the entire offseason.
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Who's on first?
First Base is not settled. Who gets the most playing time at first in 2020?

La Stella?


Albert Pujols?
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AngelsWin.com Prediction Contest
So the last pick three contest failed miserably in that nobody really came close. This contest may be a little easier in that the Angels will undoubtedly add a pitcher and catcher from what is a smaller list of candidates that are available. So this is your chance to finally win this awesome artwork to frame it and hang up on your wall. 

The rules: 

Select who the Angels next catcher and pitcher will be from the list of FA candidates or those available via a trade. 


The Angels sign Jason Castro & trade for Chris Archer. Or the Angels trade for Wilson Contreras and sign Alex Wood.

Prize: An awesome Mike Trout by the numbers picture to frame and hang up on your wall. It's a 16"x 20" artwork of Mike Trout's numbers from his  2014 MVP season.
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Best 1-2 & 1-2-3 lineups in MLB
Is Trout, Rendon and Ohtani the best 1-2-3 in baseball?

Vote on who you think is the best in baseball.

I went with our boys, because Rendon & Trout alone are MVP caliber players and I believe that Ohtani is just going to crush it this year.

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WE GOT RENDON (7 years, $245 million)
THE ANGELS GOT RENDON (7 years, $245 million)
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So for $325 million, the Angels sign
...a deal to keep the Angels in Anaheim through 2050, per Bill Shaikin on Twitter. They’ll purchase the stadium and surrounding parking lots.
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Dylan Bundy  Highlights - Arsenal
Bundy doesn't throw 100 mph anymore like he did in his early career, but he can hit 94 MPH on the gun, sits 91-92 MPH and his offspeed stuff is really good. Here's hoping Callaway can help him improve. 


vs. Houston Astros

vs. Oakland A's

vs. Cleveland Indians

vs. Boston Red Sox
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2020 AngelsWin.com Primer Series: Rotation
By Robert Cunningham, Angelswin.com Senior Writer

For the Angels starting rotation, 2019 was not a kind year.

Unfortunately, the Halos starters were last out of all 30 MLB teams in total Wins Above Replacement (WAR) with a measly 3.3 WAR. Other peripheral indicators support the poor performance. For reference, the Nationals led all of baseball with a total 21.4 WAR.

So what do the Angels do to fix this situation?

For reference, the table below shows a leader board of qualified starters, sorted by Wins Above Replacement on a per G (WAR/G) basis, over the last three seasons:
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2020 AngelsWin.com Primer Series: Eppler's Strategy
By Robert Cunningham, Angelswin.com Senior Writer

To classify this off-season as the most important one in Eppler's career, to-date, is not an understatement.

Moreno has not yet publicly extended Billy's contract, which means 2020 is the last year under his current deal and he could be looking for a new position in the coming months if the off-season does not go as planned and/or the Angels get off to a terrible start in the upcoming season.

On top of that Arte has expressed a clear need for this team to push itself into a new window of contention after years of languishing in mediocrity in the A.L. West standings. Moreno wants to see action (fans in the seats too) and is helping Eppler's situation by promising to increase team payroll for 2020 and the acquisition of an experienced skipper in Joe Maddon (Billy might dispute the latter but the author's gut feeling is that Arte made the right move here).

So in order to understand the areas that need improvement (if they are not clear already) let us take a look at how the starting rotation, bullpen, defense, and position players (against both left and right handed pitching) fared in 2019:

2019 Team Starting Rotation Wins Above Replacement (WAR)
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AngelsWin.com 2020 Top-30 Prospects
Welcome to this year’s version of the AngelsWin Top 30 Prospects. As with last year, it is a group effort: the following is a composite list of several AngelsWin.com members and writers, with eight participants this year. The method is simple: the list is an average of eight lists. The benefit of taking such an approach is that not only do we tend to even each other’s biases out a bit, but we also get a range of approaches: from relying mostly on stats, reading other scouting reports, and eye-witness scouting.

Unlike last year, I’m going to include the age the player will be for the 2020 season, meaning how old they are on July 1, 2020.

A note on Ranking Trends: it is simply the different rankings by the eight participants. Most such lists don’t include the “raw wiring,” but as with last year I thought it would be interesting for people see because the range of numbers say a lot about the prospect. Prospects with a relatively narrow range tend to be more predictable, while those with a wider range may also have a wider range of outcomes and greater volatility.

Finally, a big thanks to Scotty Allen (aka "Second Base") for providing the insightful Best Known For quotes.

On to the list…
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How do we stack up if we got Cole and Wheeler
Verlander - 5.7 WAR
Greinke - 2.9 WAR
Urquidy - 2.2 WAR
McCullers - 3.0 WAR
Armenteros - 0.8 WAR
Top 5 total - 14.6 WAR

Fiers - 1.2 WAR
Montas - 3.0 WAR
Bassitt - 2.2 WAR
Luzardo - 2.5 WAR
Manaea - 1.6 WAR
Top 5 total - 10.5 WAR

Gonzales - 2.1 WAR
Kikuchi - 1.6 WAR
Sheffield - 0.8 WAR
Dunn - 1.0 WAR
Swanson - 0.9 WAR
Top 5 total - 6.4 WAR

Minor - 3.1 WAR
Lynn - 4.1 WAR
Allard - 1.5 WAR
Burke - 1.0 WAR
Jurado - 0.9 WAR
Top 5 total - 10.6 WAR

Cole - 6.4 WAR
Wheeler - 3.3 WAR
Heaney - 3.1 WAR
Canning - 2.0 WAR
Ohtani - 2.8 WAR
Top 5 total - 17.6 WAR
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Finding Value in Free Agency...
Just focusing on the SP available...


Pineda, Gibson --  both those guys looks like good gets.   Gibson in particular looks like a candidate to improve -- GB% over 50, in front of a bad Minnesota defense probably contributed to his inflated BABIP (3rd worst in MLB).  The dude, also had a strand rate of 67.50 -- which was the 4th worst in MLB.

In other words..   Kyle Gibson had the third worst defensive showing behind him, coupled with the fourth worst BP support.

Both guys are being projected for two years deals, one at 11 mil per, the other at 10 mil.  Both are projected to be 2+ fWAR pitchers...    While Cole should be the number one target, there are solid options beyond Wheeler for that 2nd spot.
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Top 50 MLB prospects 2020 : CBS Sports
Top 50 MLB prospects 2020: Ranking Wander Franco, Jo Adell and the rest of baseball's best young players

2. Jo Adell, OF, Angels

There's a case to be made that Jo Adell is the best non-teenage prospect in baseball. That case begins with the fact that Adell is a fantastic athlete. Here, watch him do some plyometrics then check back. Done? Good. Adell can hit the ectoplasm out of the baseball just as well as he can ghost around the basepaths or in the outfield. He might finish his development with four tools that project as plus or better -- that isn't a common profile. Talking about only the pluses with top prospects can get boring, but there are few minuses to nitpick with Adell. The main one is that he's prone to swinging and missing. He struck out in roughly a third of his plate appearances in Triple-A over a 27-game stretch. But it's worth noting that he fanned a lot during his initial exposure to Double-A, only to return this year and hit .308/.390/.553 in 182 plate appearances -- with, it should be known, a greatly reduced K rate. If you want a second negative about Adell it's that he's yet to appear in 100 games in a season. (He finished with 99 in 2018.) A third? Uh ... he might never be on your favorite team. Otherwise, Adell is a very good prospect. You're going to like watching him play baseball. You should get the chance to do sometime in 2020.

36. Brandon Marsh, OF, Angels

Although Brandon Marsh may lack Adell's upside, he's a high-quality prospect himself -- one who could well reach the majors in the 2020 season, perhaps alongside Adell. Marsh missed most of June due to injury, but still appeared in 96 Double-A games this season. He hit .300/.383/.428 and delivered seven home runs and 18 steals (on 23 tries). You probably get the gist from those numbers that he can contribute across the board. He can also run, field, and throw, and he might learn to better leverage his raw power in the coming years, too. At minimum, Marsh should develop into a most-days starter in either corner.

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OC Register: Eppler open to trading youngsters for pitching
OC Register: Eppler open to trading youngsters for pitching
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Angels hire Tony La Russa as a Senior Advisor to Baseball Operations
According to Maria Torres of the LA Times, GM Billy Eppler said Tony La Russa is joining the front office as a special assistant of baseball operations.


Here's the official press release from the Angels:

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Astros accused of high-tech sign-stealing scheme during 2017 championship season

Mike Fiers outed them...
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Crappy pitching - and why there's reason for optimism in 2020
Here is a list of all Angels pitchers in 2019 who had a negative fWAR, with their innings pitched. I'll put it in spoilers, because its pretty long.

That's 572.1 Innings of -5.7 fWAR pitching. 

Now obviously it is unavoidable for even a good team to have some pitchers who produce negative WAR. Even the great Astros had -2.4 from negative fWAR pitchers. But here's the huge difference: those pitchers accounted for 136 IP. 

Meaning, the Angels had about 440 more innings than the Astros from pitchers below replacement level.

That the Angels pitching sucked in 2019 is nothing revelatory to anyone reading this, but I think this is a very important and informative angle on what needs to be done, and also gives us reason for hope for 2020. More on that in a bit.

If you want a team other than the Astros to compare, here are all 10 playoff teams:

That Rays number is particularly striking: they had almost no really bad pitchers.

Anyhow, there's a range there - and the World Series champs are last among the ten, but the big takeaway is that no playoff team had more than 258 innings of negative fWAR pitchers. Thus the Angels had at least twice as many negative fWAR innings as any playoff team, and about twice the fWAR. That illustrates one part of the improvement that needs to happen - the other part being that they have to replace those innings with good pitching, not just mediocre pitching.:
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YOU Build the 2020 Angels // YOUR Offseason Plan
I know, I know. We've had prediction threads, we've had offseason wishlist threads, we've had what you want to see happen, what you think we'll see. Almost every thread recently has devolved into an 'offseason plan' thread at some point.

But what I'm hoping for this thread though is actually for the time being, no discussion, no debate, no arguments for or against, just a very simple list what you would do this offseason if you were GM in a quick, easy format.
I've included some of my reasoning and justifications, but utilized the 'spoiler' feature to keep those items hidden and to keep things concise.

The idea being we can revisit this later and discuss midseason/next offseason, I'm sure @Lou will help us all remember, and see how things went. 
Payroll Limits:
To keep things semi-realistic, we'll assume the Angels have about $145m committed following the recent guys who were cut. This figure takes into account:

Guaranteed contracts

$1m Kole Calhoun buyout (if you want to keep him, just add his salary back into the figure)

arbitration projections (Bour, Garcia, Trop are already removed)

minor league salaries for players not on the 40-man


salary for pre-arbitration players

The big unknown is we don't know how high Arte will lift payroll, but let's set a fairly high number as our 'limit' - around $195m/$200m - something that is unlikely, but not outside the realm of possibility. 
Arte's comments and hiring of Maddon and Callaway hint that he's fully intent on going for it this offseason, so we'll stretch this out to something pretty high to account for his penchant for big, expensive surprises. 
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What's the Absolute Maximum you would spend on Gerrit Cole? (And others?)
Try to imagine it is your money, that you're some amalgam of Arte and Eppler (Arteppler?). You have $50-60M to spend this offseason, but also need to consider the long-term plan. Some considerations:

2020: $50-60M to spend (allegedly)

2021: Cozart ($12.67M) comes off the books, but Simmons is a free agent and needs extension (probably). Also, La Stella is a free agent and it's Shohei's first year of arbitration. 

2022: Pujols ($30M) comes off the books (finally), but Upton gets really expensive ($28M); Heaney, Bedrosian, and Robles hit free agency.

2023: Upton ($28M) comes off the books.

The point being, you've got more money to work with this offseason, but then have to spend a bit in 2021 if you want to keep Simmons and Stella; more money comes off in 2022-23.

So the question: What's your plan of action and how much are you willing to spend on free agents? I know we've already talked about this general topic ad nauseum (and will continue to do so), but in this thread the emphasis is on maximum salary (years and total) for targeted players. 

Now obviously you can't answer this question in a vacuum, so offer a plan of action. I'll offer mine shortly in a reply post.

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