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    AngelsWin.com got a reaction from Angel Oracle in OC Register: Billy Eppler’s top three and bottom three moves for the Angels   
    The Angels announced that Billy Eppler will not return as their general manager after five seasons that did not include a winning record.
    Here are the five best and five worst moves Eppler made in his tenure with the Angels.
    BEST
    1) Mike Trout’s extension.
    Prior to the March 2019 deal when the Angels signed Trout to a 12-year contract, the question of Trout’s long-term future had been hanging over the franchise. Trout had two years to go before free agency, and if a deal didn’t get done then, Trout was likely to be gone at the end of his contract, if not traded before. Trout said one of the main reasons he signed was he had faith in Eppler’s ability to build the Angels into a long-term winner.
    2) Winning the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes.
    Perhaps no player in major league history has been at the center of such a recruitment process. Not only did Ohtani come from Japan with extraordinary talent and potential, but he came at time in his career when MLB rules put a cap on his bonus, so every team could afford him. No team could simply outspend the others to win the bidding. Ohtani got to pick based on what he felt was the right fit, and by all accounts the sales job Eppler did was one of the deciding factors.
    3) The Andrelton Simmons trade
    Erick Aybar was heading into his final year before free agency, and the Angels had no heir apparent. Shortstops in their prime are rarely available in trade, so when Simmons was out there, Eppler realized the significance of the moment and gave up the top two pitching prospects in a thin farm system to get him. Simmons was a solid contributor and two-time Gold Glove winner with the Angels. Sean Newcomb has been a middling swing man with the Atlanta Braves, and Chris Ellis has pitched just one inning in the majors.
    WORST
    1) Zack Cozart
    In five years Eppler signed only two free agents to multiyear deals: Anthony Rendon and Zack Cozart. The three-year, $38-million deal for Cozart didn’t get the Angels much of anything. The Angels ended up sending one of their top prospects to the Giants just to get them to take the final year of Cozart’s contract, and the Giants released Cozart. To be fair, most of what happened to Cozart was because he suffered a serious shoulder injury three months into the deal, and he was never able to recover. However, he was 32 when the Angels signed him, and coming off one All-Star season in an otherwise nondescript career. He was hitting .219 with a .658 OPS before he got hurt.
    2) Matt Harvey
    Harvey had been one of the game’s top prospects and then one of its top young pitchers before injuries and other off-field issues derailed his career, and Eppler took a chance at a bounceback when they signed him to a one-year, $11-million deal in December 2018. Harvey pitched poorly, spent two months on the injured list, came back for a couple games, and then was released. He had a 7.09 ERA in 12 starts.
    3) Trevor Cahill
    The Angels signed Cahill around the same time as Harvey, although his deal was only for $9 million and he actually made it to the end of the 2019 season by working out of the bullpen in the second half. Cahill went from a 3.76 ERA in Oakland in 2018 to a 5.98 mark with the Angels in 2019.
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  2. Like
    AngelsWin.com got a reaction from Inside Pitch in OC Register: Mike Trout on postseason drought: ‘It’s time. We’ve got to get to the playoffs’   
    The Angels are again preparing to pack their bags before an October of watching other teams in the postseason, followed by a winter of trying to do what it takes to join them.
    For Mike Trout, who has continued to build a Hall of Fame career while being notably absent from the playoffs, it is beyond frustrating.
    “The biggest thing is getting to the playoffs,” Trout said Saturday. “You guys see it. I see it. It sucks, being out of it. It’s time. We got to get to the playoffs.”
    The Angels came up painfully short in this coronavirus-shortened season, digging themselves too deep a hole over the first month to escape with a strong second month. They were eliminated with a loss to the Dodgers on Friday in the 58th game of 60.
    “You look at this team we have right now, it could have been a different story if we played a full season,” Trout said. “We just got hot a little late, and we fell short.”
    Another season short of the playoffs is certainly not what Trout expected 18 months ago, when he committed for 10 years beyond the two he had left on his contract.
    Trout said at the time that he believed in the Angels, and specifically in general manager Billy Eppler, whose future is in limbo with a contract expiring at the end of this season.
    “Obviously, Billy was a big reason I signed back here,” Trout said. “Billy and I have built a friendship over the years. You know he’s put a lot of great teams together and obviously it just didn’t work out these last few years, but the relationship and the friendship I’ve built with Billy, obviously goes beyond baseball now … I don’t know what direction they’re going to go or what’s going to happen. I guess we’ll see here in a couple of days.”
    Whoever is working on the Angels’ roster over the winter, Eppler or his successor, Trout said he would continue to provide whatever feedback or support is requested.
    “Whatever they need, I’m definitely here to give whatever I think, and obviously they listen,” Trout said. “Hopefully we make some moves this offseason to get over the top … I couldn’t even tell you who the top free agents are. If there’s a guy that could help this team, I’m 100 percent trying to recruit him.”
    As for his own performance, Trout will head into the final day of the season with a .281 average, 17 homers and a .993 OPS. His OPS has been over 1.000 each of the past three seasons.
    While the numbers would be outstanding by the standards of anyone in the majors, Trout was disappointed with his season.
    “I just didn’t have the consistency at the plate,” he said. “I’d go through a good stretch and then I’d lose it for a little bit. When you have a full season, you minimize that little skid or slump. In a 60-game season, it’s obviously more important.”
    Trout’s slight dip could result in his first time ever being out of the top four in the MVP race. Jose Ramirez, Jose Abreu, Tim Anderson, DJ LeMahieu and Nelson Cruz all have also had MVP-caliber seasons.
    All of those players are on teams headed to the playoffs. The Angels have been there only once with Trout, in 2014.
    “I don’t like losing,” he said. “I want to get to the playoffs. I think that every time we come into spring training our main goal is to get to the playoffs and bring a championship to Anaheim. That’s just the mindset. You come up short and you’re that close, it sucks.”
    LINEUP SHUFFLE
    Trout, Anthony Rendon and Justin Upton were among the regulars to get the night off Saturday, with the game rendered meaningless by the Angels’ loss Friday.
    Manager Joe Maddon instead used the kind of lineup you’d see in spring training, with young players throughout. He put Jo Adell in center field and gave Jared Walsh a shot in right field.
    Maddon also was able to pencil Elliot Soto in at shortstop for his first major-league start. Jahmai Jones was promoted to make his first major-league start at second base.
    The middle infield spots were open because Rendon got the night off – moving David Fletcher to third – and because Andrelton Simmons opted out and Luis Rengifo went on the injured list with a strained hamstring.
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    Griffin Canning, who was scheduled for Sunday, will not pitch either. Maddon said there’s nothing wrong with Canning, but there’s no reason to risk injury with him in a meaningless game. They are likely to have a bullpen game instead.
    View the full article
  3. Like
    AngelsWin.com got a reaction from OhtaniSan in OC Register: Why Angels pitching struggled and what needs to be done   
    After a winter of fans and analysts saying the Angels didn’t do enough to address their pitching, Manager Joe Maddon spent much of spring training, and the subsequent summer camp, telling anyone who would listen that the pitching was better than the perception.
    Now, it’s the fall. And the Angels are likely to miss the playoffs, mostly because the pitching wasn’t good enough.
    As they prepare for another winter, they’ll be going through the process of evaluating their pitching staff and trying to determine who is a part of the answer and who isn’t.
    Certainly, there is more reason to be optimistic now than a month ago. The recent improvement has encouraged Maddon that maybe, given a full season instead of 60 games, his assessments wouldn’t seem so inaccurate.
    “There is a limited window to watch all this occur,” he said. “I really believe, give these guys a little longer runway this year, and you’d have continued to see even greater improvement.”
    The Angels’ rotation, which was a disaster at times early in the season, now looks to have a solid foundation, in need of perhaps one big addition or a couple smaller ones.
    Dylan Bundy has been the surprise of the staff all season, carrying a 3.29 ERA into his final start. Bundy, 27, has used his off-speed pitches more to reinvent himself.
    Andrew Heaney has a 4.02 ERA, including a 2.70 mark over his past five starts. Heaney, 29, essentially made the opposite adjustment as Bundy, throwing more fastballs. He also showed the ability in his last start to change gears mid-game when necessary, bouncing back from allowing three first-inning runs.
    Griffin Canning has a 3.99 ERA, including 3.14 in his past five starts. His adjustments have been the typical ones that any 24-year-old in his second season might make, including getting ahead in the count and altering a game plan.
    “I think there’s another level of Griff that’s going to be very interesting to watch,” Maddon said. “His overall pitchability, knowing what to do with all the different weapons. The command continues to get better. The guy is on the cusp of really putting things together.”
    Beyond those three, the rotation is less certain, although still potentially promising.
    Jaime Barria, 24, has a 3.62 ERA in seven games this season, the result of some changes to his pitch-usage and a return of the confidence he had in 2018. Patrick Sandoval, 23, was a favorite of Maddon, based on his stuff, but he had trouble harnessing his emotions and throwing strikes. His three extended relief outings since returning from Long Beach have been encouraging.
    And then there is the Shohei Ohtani question. Ohtani, 26, didn’t even complete three innings this year before suffering a season-ending injury, but one of those innings was dominant. He was throwing 96 mph fastballs and diving splitters. The stuff is there, and he’s done it in the majors before, so the Angels and Ohtani won’t give up just yet.
    The hope is a normal spring training, and another six months removed from his October 2018 Tommy John surgery, will allow Ohtani to pitch to his potential.
    At this point, though, it seems the Angels have to put him in the rotation in pencil, and have ample backup plans.
    Ideally, the Angels would have someone to put in front of all of those pitchers at the top of the rotation. That’s easier said than done.
    Trevor Bauer is the best pitcher on this winter’s free-agent market, and after that there are dozens of pitchers with varying degrees of question marks because of age, injury or recent poor performance.
    Trading for a top-of-the-rotation starter is even more difficult, because they simply aren’t available. When they are, the price is exorbitant. More likely would be acquiring a mid-rotation pitcher with some upside, as they did with Bundy. Maybe someone like Detroit’s Matthew Boyd or Pittsburgh’s Joe Musgrove.
    The Angels also could use some help in the bullpen, and finding relievers from outside the organization is even more dicey. One of the reasons general manager Billy Eppler doesn’t spend big on the bullpen is he believes the chances of success are almost as good with waiver-wire pickups as with $8 million relievers.
    The biggest success stories in the 2020 Angels bullpen have been Mike Mayers (claimed on waivers) and Felix Peña (picked up in a minor trade).
    The three pitchers who were supposed to anchor the bullpen, though, were disappointments. Hansel Robles (10.43 ERA), Ty Buttrey (6.04) and Keynan Middleton (5.25) had all been successful late-inning relievers at various times. If even two had pitched to their potential this year, the Angels’ season might have gone in a different direction.
    Now the Angels have to figure out if their issues this year were a small sample-size blip. Are they still pieces of a winning bullpen in 2021?
    “It’s true they maybe they weren’t up to what you had thought, but that doesn’t mean over the course of six months they would not have been,” Maddon said. “I don’t know that. Great arms, really good arms. Some are still learning. One guy (Robles) is more of a veteran. It’s just hard to specifically understand whether it would have gotten better or continue to regress.”
    The Angels also still have Cam Bedrosian, whose monthlong absence with an adductor injury is one of the underrated reasons for the Angels’ bullpen failure. In the nine games he’s pitched, Bedrosian has a 2.84 ERA, following 3.80 and 3.23 marks in the previous two years.
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    The Angels didn’t have that chance this year. They – and the rest of the world, honestly – are hoping for a return to normalcy next year.
    “There’s shining lights out there,” Maddon said. “There are parts of it. We weren’t able to recover in a shortened season. It’s the end of the year. I get it. But it’s two months. You normally have time to correct things, and now we don’t.”
    View the full article
  4. Like
    AngelsWin.com got a reaction from Angel Oracle in OC Register: Angels win again to stay barely alive in postseason chase   
    The Angels continue to play their best baseball at a time when it’s almost futile.
    The Angels completed a two-game sweep of the playoff-bound Padres on Wednesday in San Diego, winning 5-2 keep their faint mathematical hopes for the postseason alive.
    The Angels (26-31) have won six of seven and 14 of 20. They trail the Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays by three games apiece, pending each of their games later Wednesday. The Angels have three games left against the Dodgers, following an off day Thursday. The Astros and Blue Jays each have four games left after Wednesday.
    Although the Angels’ chance of making the postseason is still minuscule, they can take some solace in the fact that they’re finally playing their best baseball.
    On Wednesday, they took the lead with a four-run second inning that included three homers. Shohei Ohtani hit his first homer of the season against a lefty, a two-run shot to tie the game, then Justin Upton hit a go-ahead homer.
    Ohtani and Upton had been near the top of the list among the hitters whose struggles helped the Angels dig such a deep hole.
    The Angels also got solid pitching again.
    Jaime Barria gave up a two-run homer to Eric Hosmer in the first inning, and then pitched a perfect second after the Angels gave him a lead.
    Manager Joe Maddon pulled Barria after a leadoff double in the third and brought in Patrick Sandoval.
    Sandoval retired the next eight hitters, including five with strikeouts, to finish with three scoreless innings.
    Sandoval has pitched three times in relief since returning from Long Beach, allowing four runs in 11 1/3 innings.
    Matt Andriese followed him to the mound and pitched two scoreless innings, followed by Mike Mayers working a scoreless eighth. Mayers pitched for the third day in a row and fourth time in five days. He faced six batters apiece Monday and Tuesday.
    After Mayers gave up a leadoff single in the ninth, Felix Peña finished off the victory.
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  5. Like
    AngelsWin.com got a reaction from Angel Oracle in OC Register: Julio Teheran’s disappointing season with the Angels is likely over   
    The Angels took advantage of Thursday’s off day to drop Julio Teheran from the rotation for the final weekend at Dodger Stadium.
    The move is no surprise, considering Teheran has a 9.49 ERA, and the Angels can now use their top three starters – Andrew Heaney, Dylan Bundy and Griffin Canning – against the Dodgers.
    Barring a relief outing over the weekend, Teheran’s disappointing season with the Angels has come to an end, well short of what the Angels had hoped for when they signed him to a $9-million, one-year deal in December.
    Teheran brought a track record of durability and consistency. He had averaged 32 starts with a 3.64 ERA over the previous seven years, and he was still 29 when spring training began.
    “It’s too bad we had to go home after the original spring training, because he was throwing the ball great,” Manager Joe Maddon said Wednesday. “I think the layoff time hurt him. He came back and he was ill, and I think he was in a constant state of catch-up. It’s happened to a lot of guys, not just him. A lot of guys with really good backs of baseball cards had a difficult time.”
    Teheran tested positive for COVID-19 in June, just before he was to report for summer camp. He missed two of the three weeks of camp, and then pitched in just one intrasquad game before the Angels activated him.
    He was never able to return to the form of most of his career. He pitched just one game in which he lasted at least five innings and gave up fewer than three runs.
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    When Max Stassi hit two homers and had four hits Tuesday night, he became the first Angels catcher to do that since Bengie Molina in 2000.
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    AngelsWin.com got a reaction from Angel Oracle in OC Register: Angels’ Justin Upton looks to carry hot finish into next season   
    ANAHEIM >> Now that Justin Upton has discovered himself again, the next challenge will be to make sure this is the guy who shows up in 2021.
    Upton started this sprint of a season with a horrendous month, and he’s followed it with a good month.
    He hit .094 with a .357 OPS in his first 71 plate appearances, and since then has hit .318 with a 1.021 OPS in the next 75 plate appearances.
    Unfortunately for him and the Angels, it came too late to earn any additional opportunities beyond this week, so it’ll be something that Upton takes into the winter and the preparation for 2021.
    Can you essentially “bottle up” a good swing over the winter and open it again in April?
    “It’s tough,” Upton said. “Obviously, it’s tough, but knowing what feelings and what changes or things you’re trying to maintain, I think that’s the key. Having an idea of what you want to do. Once you start swinging again, I think if you have an idea of what you’re trying to do and you have a goal, you can get close.”
    Upton, 33, has two years left on his deal with the Angels, which will pay him another $51 million. Obviously, the Angels and Upton are both hoping for more success over the next two years than he’s had over the previous two.
    Last year, Upton came into spring training with a knee injury, then he hurt his toe just before opening day. He was shut down again in September because of the knee injury. In between, he hit .215 with a .624 OPS.
    This season Upton showed up for spring training in February after what he said was a clean offseason. Manager Joe Maddon said he looked like “a prizefighter.” The pandemic then shut everything down for months, and when Upton returned in July, he wasn’t right.
    “I hate to sound like an old guy but doing this for so long, you get comfortable with going through spring training, going through Opening Day and those types of things,” Upton said. “I’ll just admit I adapted poorly to the second spring training. You know I’m not gonna blame it on that. It’s definitely on me.”
    Upton said his timing was off during the miserable start, and he had to shorten his swing to get it corrected. In the past month, he’s been a different player.
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    “I still feel like I have a lot of good baseball to play,” Upton said. “It feels different body-wise but I still felt good I still feel like I can play at a good level. I’m excited for hopefully a normal spring training next year and prepare myself to play, hopefully, at this level for years to come.”
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    AngelsWin.com got a reaction from Angel Oracle in OC Register: Jared Walsh grand slam breaks open Angels’ victory over Rangers   
    Jared Walsh #25 of the Los Angeles Angels hits a grand slam home run in the fourth inning against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 21, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

    Jared Walsh #25 is congratulated by Max Stassi #33, Andrelton Simmons #2 and David Fletcher #22 of the Los Angeles Angels after hitting a grand slam home run in the fourth inning of the game against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 21, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
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    Dylan Bundy #37 of the Los Angeles Angels pitches in the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 21, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

    Texas Rangers’ Nick Solak (15) is safe at first base before a catch by Los Angeles Angels’ Jared Walsh (25) during the second inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

    Jared Walsh #25 is congratulated by Max Stassi #33 and Andrelton Simmonsof the Los Angeles Angels after hitting a grand slam home run in the fourth inning of the game against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 21, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels crosses the plate for a run on a ground out by Max Stassi as catcher Jeff Mathis #2 of the Texas Rangers awaits the throw in the second inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 21, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

    Jared Walsh #25 of the Los Angeles Angels lands on the turf after missing a double off the bat of Anderson Tejeda of the Texas Rangers in the second inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 21, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

    Isiah Kiner-Falefa #9 of the Texas Rangers is congratulated by Joey Gallo #13 after hitting a solo home run in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 21, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

    Jared Walsh #25 of the Los Angeles Angels hits a grand slam home run in the fourth inning against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 21, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

    Texas Rangers’ Rougned Odor hits a ball that was caught by Los Angeles Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons for an out during the second inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

    Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Dylan Bundy throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

    Los Angeles Angels’ Jared Walsh hits a grand slam during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

    Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Hoby Milner throws during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

    Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor catches a ball hit by Los Angeles Angels’ David Fletcher for an out during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

    Jared Walsh #25 is congratulated by Max Stassi #33, Andrelton Simmons #2 and David Fletcher #22 of the Los Angeles Angels after hitting a grand slam home run in the fourth inning of the game against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 21, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

    Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani walks to the dugout after scoring a run due to a ground ball by Max Stassi during the second inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

    Los Angeles Angels’ Jared Walsh (25) celebrates with David Fletcher, left, Andrelton Simmons and Max Stassi, right, who all scored on Walsh’s grand slam during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

    Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) walks to the dugout after scoring after a single by Max Stassi during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
    Show Caption of
    Expand ANAHEIM — A quiet afternoon for the Angels’ hitters got loud quickly.
    After mustering just an infield hit and a single run in the first three innings, the Angels exploded for seven runs, including a Jared Walsh grand slam, in the fourth inning of their 8-5 victory over the Texas Rangers on Monday.
    The Angels (24-31) remain barely alive in the postseason race, trailing both the Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays by four games pending their games later on Monday. The Angels have five games left.
    Even if their season ends this week, the Angels can take some satisfaction that they may have uncovered a future contributor in Walsh.
    In his last 17 games, Walsh has 24 hits in his last 64 at-bats (.375) with eight homers, and he has hits in the last 13 games.
    For the season, Walsh is hitting .312 with a 1.035 OPS. He has only 84 plate appearances, which is probably too few for him to seriously challenge Seattle’s Kyle Lewis for the Rookie of the Year, but he could get some second- or third-place votes. Lewis had an .849 OPS over 218 plate appearances, heading into Monday night’s game.
    Walsh provided the big blow to break open Monday’s game with the first grand slam of his career.
    The Angels had already turned a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead with two runs on a Max Stassi single and another on an Andrelton Simmons single.
    David Fletcher then reached on an error to load the bases for Walsh, who emptied them with a 450-foot drive to center field.
    That was ample cushion to get a victory for Dylan Bundy, who wobbled early but got through five innings with just three runs on the board.
    With likely one start to go over the weekend at Dodger Stadium, Bundy has a 3.29 ERA. The Angels have won seven of his 11 starts.
    More to come on this story.
    View the full article
  8. Like
    AngelsWin.com got a reaction from failos in OC Register: Taylor Ward credits new mental approach to late-season surge with Angels   
    ANAHEIM — The metamorphosis for Taylor Ward, going from a nondescript minor league hitter to a good major league hitter — or at least showing promising signs as such — occurred in two stages.
    The first stage he accomplished in 2018, when he retooled his swing. That led to a breakout season at Triple-A and got him to the majors that August.
    The second came only recently, and Ward said it was more mental than anything.
    “The biggest thing is my mindset in the box,” Ward said on Friday. “In 2018 or ’19, a pitch would not go my way or I fouled off a pitch or whatever would happen and my mindset would change or I’d start questioning what the pitcher was going to throw instead of sticking to my approach and what I’m looking for. The biggest thing I’ve done this is year is sticking to my approach when things aren’t going your way or however it is, the entire at-bat.”
    The improved approach has helped make Ward one of the Angels’ small-sample size success stories in this otherwise dreary season.
    He was hitting with .290 with a .772 OPS heading into Friday’s game, including 12 hits in his previous 22 at-bats.
    Ward is now getting the majority of the playing time in right ahead of highly touted prospect Jo Adell, who has struggled.
    Manager Joe Maddon said he’s not concerned about Adell’s long-term prospects. He simply needs to make adjustments, just as Ward has done.
    After tearing up Triple-A in 2018, Ward hit .181 with a .590 OPS in parts of two big league seasons.
    Ward says the revamped swing he developed at Triple-A in 2018 is mostly still intact. He said it is designed to keep his bat head in plane with the ball, rather than getting under it.
    Maddon, however, suggested that Ward may have been one of many hitters who got misguided advice about “launch angle” that doesn’t play in the majors.
    “I’ve been a fan since I met him in camp,” Maddon said. “The only thing that he had issues with is somebody wanted to teach him to lift the ball and he got this thing that’s all over the Internet that’s really horrible and it’s it’s impacting a lot of young hitters,” Maddon said.
    “A lot of hitting coaches who I talked to say it’s kind of a bane. There’s a lot of people via the internet charging prices for kids to watch these videos. They are being taught these things that are not going to help them against Major Leaguers or just any kind of good pitching. So he had to get away from that. Some other guys have had to. He has and he’s making the adjustments.”
    If Ward, 26, continues to hit well through the end of this season and into spring training, he will put more pressure on the presumptive corner outfielders in 2021: Justin Upton and Adell. It’s also possible Ward could work his way into being attractive trade chip to help the Angels fill another hole.
    Ward said he’s trying not to think about his long-term place in the organization.
    “I still think I haven’t done anything yet,” he said. “So there’s always that drive.”
    Related Articles
    Jared Walsh rises as bright spot in Angels’ lefty woes Angels play a complete game, beat Diamondbacks to avoid sweep Rare rough start for Dylan Bundy sends Angels to another loss Hoornstra: ‘What even are positions anyway?’ The answer is complicated Angels top prospect Jo Adell reflects on difficult learning curve as a rookie ALSO
    The beginning of Shohei Ohtani’s throwing program is “right around the corner,” Maddon said. Ohtani was shut down for the year as a pitcher after suffering a forearm strain in early August. He is expected to return to his two-way role in 2021. …
    The Angels are in the process of finalizing details for a fall instructional league, according to a source, which will help replace some of the development time their minor leaguers lost by not having a minor league season. All the Arizona-based teams, at least, are expected to hold instructional leagues. …
    The Angels took their team photo on Friday afternoon, but they did it in a non traditional way. In order to maintain social distancing protocols, the players were photographed in groups and the pictures will be stitched together digitally. They also did one version with the players wearing masks.
    View the full article
  9. Like
    AngelsWin.com got a reaction from Tank in OC Register: New approach helps Jared Walsh’s future look permanent with Angels   
    Throughout the hot streak that has begun to change the perception about who Jared Walsh is and who can be, he has chosen not to delve too deeply into how it happened.
    In describing the swing he first brought to the major leagues, Walsh has a fairly simple description.
    “Last year, I had a lot going on,” the Angels first baseman said. “You know, it works sometimes, but it wasn’t consistent enough.”
    Less is definitely more when it comes to hitting in the majors.
    Since eliminating much of the movement in his stance as he prepared for the pitch, Walsh has made himself an entirely different hitter, culminating in a sizzling week.
    Over the past six games Walsh has 11 hits in 25 at-bats, a .440 average. It also includes a four-game span in which he homered in each game, including a game-tying homer in the eighth on Friday and a go-ahead homer in the 11th on Saturday.
    Walsh is hitting .359 in 13 games since he was recalled from the Angels’ alternate site on Aug. 28, having been sent down after going hitless in 10 plate appearances in his first stint in the majors this season.
    Last year, he hit .203 in 87 plate appearances in his first crack at the big leagues.
    “There were some timing issues that I kind of realized when I got called up last year that I wanted to address,” Walsh said. “As hitters, we build habits, good and bad. For me it was trying to be more direct to the ball, a little more efficient, and stuff like that.”
    When Walsh stepped into the box in 2019, his hands pumped up and down as the barrel of the bat wagged over his shoulder. Even when he started the 2020 season in the big leagues in July, he still had some of that excess movement.
    But after being dispatched to Long Beach, Walsh finally got himself settled. Now, the hands are mostly still, the bat barely moving as he prepares to unleash his swing.
    Manager Joe Maddon, who didn’t see him last year but did see him in spring training and summer camp, said Walsh has made significant strides.
    “He’s not as jumpy, that’s the only way I can describe it,” Maddon said. “He has really good hands. The way he works the end of the bat, honestly, is an elite method.”
    While Maddon concedes that it’s easy to get carried away with a small sample size, he is a believer that Walsh is not a fluke. He’s also a big fan of his defense at first.
    “It’s no secret as to why he’s been doing what he’s been doing,” Maddon said. “With good health, and if he can just maintain some real simple mechanical issues, he could do this for a while.”
    If Walsh, 27, is beginning to carve out any sort of significant big league career, that would be a remarkable success story.
    A product of the University of Georgia, Walsh was selected in the 39th round of the draft, which is normally reserved for high school kids who have no chance to sign or the scouting director’s nephew. He never was given much consideration as a top prospect.
    Also a pitcher in college, Walsh had been used as a mop up reliever throughout the minors. The Angels actually sent him to instructional league to refine his work as a pitcher to make it a more viable part of his toolbox.
    When Walsh finally reached the majors in 2019, he did so as both a pitcher and a hitter. He appeared in five games, all with lopsided scores.
    The Angels still viewed him all along as primarily a hitter, though, and in that respect he struggled in his first taste of the big leagues. He didn’t feel much better about things this year.
    Part of the problem, he said, was that he never does well in spring training. Then the pandemic shut down the sport, and then it shut him down. Walsh tested positive for COVID-19 in June and spent three weeks on his couch. Although he said his symptoms weren’t bad, the time off didn’t help his preparation for the season.
    Although Walsh made the Angels Opening Day roster, Maddon said he didn’t look right.
    “He came up the first time and was just a little uncomfortable,” Maddon said. “He was not himself. He was nervioso.”
    Walsh admitted as much: “Absolutely. I think most people that are not experienced at this level are a little bit nervous, so yeah, but I’m pretty sure if I played in a beer league softball game I’d have some nerves.”
    Walsh and his .000 average were shipped back down to Long Beach, with the Angels’ reserve squad, and there he and the hitting coaches began to seriously clean up his mechanics.
    His quieter stance has led to more success, which has led to more playing time, which has led to more confidence, which has led to more success.
    “It’s a big deal when you think you might be in the lineup, day in and day out,” Walsh said. “So I’ve been lucky to kind of get on a little roll.”
    His roll, of course, has led to questions about his future. Since the Angels traded C.J. Cron before the 2018 season, the Angels haven’t had anyone else do well enough at first to outperform even a declining Albert Pujols.
    Walsh is giving hints that maybe he could be the Angels next everyday first baseman. Pujols, 40, is signed through next year.
    Related Articles
    Albert Pujols equals Willie Mays on all-time HR list, helps Angels to victory Fired clubhouse worker files suit against Angels Jared Walsh homers in the 11th to lead Angels to victory over Rockies Mike Mayers credits his Angels breakout to social media Angels blow lead in ninth and lose to Rockies on walk-off grand slam Walsh, incidentally, said he still plans to work out this winter as a pitcher, after a spring training injury eliminated that part of his game this season.
    If his new success at the plate is sustainable, though, the Angels may not need him to step on the mound any more.
    Walsh said he’s just going to play as well as he can and let someone else decide where he fits.
    “I really love this organization and want to be a part of it for a long time,” Walsh said. “I think there are some really outstanding players here. I want to be a part of the future in any way I can. And I think that role will kind of solve itself so I don’t really jump to conclusions too much.”
    View the full article
  10. Like
    AngelsWin.com got a reaction from Angel Oracle in OC Register: New approach helps Jared Walsh’s future look permanent with Angels   
    Throughout the hot streak that has begun to change the perception about who Jared Walsh is and who can be, he has chosen not to delve too deeply into how it happened.
    In describing the swing he first brought to the major leagues, Walsh has a fairly simple description.
    “Last year, I had a lot going on,” the Angels first baseman said. “You know, it works sometimes, but it wasn’t consistent enough.”
    Less is definitely more when it comes to hitting in the majors.
    Since eliminating much of the movement in his stance as he prepared for the pitch, Walsh has made himself an entirely different hitter, culminating in a sizzling week.
    Over the past six games Walsh has 11 hits in 25 at-bats, a .440 average. It also includes a four-game span in which he homered in each game, including a game-tying homer in the eighth on Friday and a go-ahead homer in the 11th on Saturday.
    Walsh is hitting .359 in 13 games since he was recalled from the Angels’ alternate site on Aug. 28, having been sent down after going hitless in 10 plate appearances in his first stint in the majors this season.
    Last year, he hit .203 in 87 plate appearances in his first crack at the big leagues.
    “There were some timing issues that I kind of realized when I got called up last year that I wanted to address,” Walsh said. “As hitters, we build habits, good and bad. For me it was trying to be more direct to the ball, a little more efficient, and stuff like that.”
    When Walsh stepped into the box in 2019, his hands pumped up and down as the barrel of the bat wagged over his shoulder. Even when he started the 2020 season in the big leagues in July, he still had some of that excess movement.
    But after being dispatched to Long Beach, Walsh finally got himself settled. Now, the hands are mostly still, the bat barely moving as he prepares to unleash his swing.
    Manager Joe Maddon, who didn’t see him last year but did see him in spring training and summer camp, said Walsh has made significant strides.
    “He’s not as jumpy, that’s the only way I can describe it,” Maddon said. “He has really good hands. The way he works the end of the bat, honestly, is an elite method.”
    While Maddon concedes that it’s easy to get carried away with a small sample size, he is a believer that Walsh is not a fluke. He’s also a big fan of his defense at first.
    “It’s no secret as to why he’s been doing what he’s been doing,” Maddon said. “With good health, and if he can just maintain some real simple mechanical issues, he could do this for a while.”
    If Walsh, 27, is beginning to carve out any sort of significant big league career, that would be a remarkable success story.
    A product of the University of Georgia, Walsh was selected in the 39th round of the draft, which is normally reserved for high school kids who have no chance to sign or the scouting director’s nephew. He never was given much consideration as a top prospect.
    Also a pitcher in college, Walsh had been used as a mop up reliever throughout the minors. The Angels actually sent him to instructional league to refine his work as a pitcher to make it a more viable part of his toolbox.
    When Walsh finally reached the majors in 2019, he did so as both a pitcher and a hitter. He appeared in five games, all with lopsided scores.
    The Angels still viewed him all along as primarily a hitter, though, and in that respect he struggled in his first taste of the big leagues. He didn’t feel much better about things this year.
    Part of the problem, he said, was that he never does well in spring training. Then the pandemic shut down the sport, and then it shut him down. Walsh tested positive for COVID-19 in June and spent three weeks on his couch. Although he said his symptoms weren’t bad, the time off didn’t help his preparation for the season.
    Although Walsh made the Angels Opening Day roster, Maddon said he didn’t look right.
    “He came up the first time and was just a little uncomfortable,” Maddon said. “He was not himself. He was nervioso.”
    Walsh admitted as much: “Absolutely. I think most people that are not experienced at this level are a little bit nervous, so yeah, but I’m pretty sure if I played in a beer league softball game I’d have some nerves.”
    Walsh and his .000 average were shipped back down to Long Beach, with the Angels’ reserve squad, and there he and the hitting coaches began to seriously clean up his mechanics.
    His quieter stance has led to more success, which has led to more playing time, which has led to more confidence, which has led to more success.
    “It’s a big deal when you think you might be in the lineup, day in and day out,” Walsh said. “So I’ve been lucky to kind of get on a little roll.”
    His roll, of course, has led to questions about his future. Since the Angels traded C.J. Cron before the 2018 season, the Angels haven’t had anyone else do well enough at first to outperform even a declining Albert Pujols.
    Walsh is giving hints that maybe he could be the Angels next everyday first baseman. Pujols, 40, is signed through next year.
    Related Articles
    Albert Pujols equals Willie Mays on all-time HR list, helps Angels to victory Fired clubhouse worker files suit against Angels Jared Walsh homers in the 11th to lead Angels to victory over Rockies Mike Mayers credits his Angels breakout to social media Angels blow lead in ninth and lose to Rockies on walk-off grand slam Walsh, incidentally, said he still plans to work out this winter as a pitcher, after a spring training injury eliminated that part of his game this season.
    If his new success at the plate is sustainable, though, the Angels may not need him to step on the mound any more.
    Walsh said he’s just going to play as well as he can and let someone else decide where he fits.
    “I really love this organization and want to be a part of it for a long time,” Walsh said. “I think there are some really outstanding players here. I want to be a part of the future in any way I can. And I think that role will kind of solve itself so I don’t really jump to conclusions too much.”
    View the full article
  11. Like
    AngelsWin.com got a reaction from Stax in OC Register: New approach helps Jared Walsh’s future look permanent with Angels   
    Throughout the hot streak that has begun to change the perception about who Jared Walsh is and who can be, he has chosen not to delve too deeply into how it happened.
    In describing the swing he first brought to the major leagues, Walsh has a fairly simple description.
    “Last year, I had a lot going on,” the Angels first baseman said. “You know, it works sometimes, but it wasn’t consistent enough.”
    Less is definitely more when it comes to hitting in the majors.
    Since eliminating much of the movement in his stance as he prepared for the pitch, Walsh has made himself an entirely different hitter, culminating in a sizzling week.
    Over the past six games Walsh has 11 hits in 25 at-bats, a .440 average. It also includes a four-game span in which he homered in each game, including a game-tying homer in the eighth on Friday and a go-ahead homer in the 11th on Saturday.
    Walsh is hitting .359 in 13 games since he was recalled from the Angels’ alternate site on Aug. 28, having been sent down after going hitless in 10 plate appearances in his first stint in the majors this season.
    Last year, he hit .203 in 87 plate appearances in his first crack at the big leagues.
    “There were some timing issues that I kind of realized when I got called up last year that I wanted to address,” Walsh said. “As hitters, we build habits, good and bad. For me it was trying to be more direct to the ball, a little more efficient, and stuff like that.”
    When Walsh stepped into the box in 2019, his hands pumped up and down as the barrel of the bat wagged over his shoulder. Even when he started the 2020 season in the big leagues in July, he still had some of that excess movement.
    But after being dispatched to Long Beach, Walsh finally got himself settled. Now, the hands are mostly still, the bat barely moving as he prepares to unleash his swing.
    Manager Joe Maddon, who didn’t see him last year but did see him in spring training and summer camp, said Walsh has made significant strides.
    “He’s not as jumpy, that’s the only way I can describe it,” Maddon said. “He has really good hands. The way he works the end of the bat, honestly, is an elite method.”
    While Maddon concedes that it’s easy to get carried away with a small sample size, he is a believer that Walsh is not a fluke. He’s also a big fan of his defense at first.
    “It’s no secret as to why he’s been doing what he’s been doing,” Maddon said. “With good health, and if he can just maintain some real simple mechanical issues, he could do this for a while.”
    If Walsh, 27, is beginning to carve out any sort of significant big league career, that would be a remarkable success story.
    A product of the University of Georgia, Walsh was selected in the 39th round of the draft, which is normally reserved for high school kids who have no chance to sign or the scouting director’s nephew. He never was given much consideration as a top prospect.
    Also a pitcher in college, Walsh had been used as a mop up reliever throughout the minors. The Angels actually sent him to instructional league to refine his work as a pitcher to make it a more viable part of his toolbox.
    When Walsh finally reached the majors in 2019, he did so as both a pitcher and a hitter. He appeared in five games, all with lopsided scores.
    The Angels still viewed him all along as primarily a hitter, though, and in that respect he struggled in his first taste of the big leagues. He didn’t feel much better about things this year.
    Part of the problem, he said, was that he never does well in spring training. Then the pandemic shut down the sport, and then it shut him down. Walsh tested positive for COVID-19 in June and spent three weeks on his couch. Although he said his symptoms weren’t bad, the time off didn’t help his preparation for the season.
    Although Walsh made the Angels Opening Day roster, Maddon said he didn’t look right.
    “He came up the first time and was just a little uncomfortable,” Maddon said. “He was not himself. He was nervioso.”
    Walsh admitted as much: “Absolutely. I think most people that are not experienced at this level are a little bit nervous, so yeah, but I’m pretty sure if I played in a beer league softball game I’d have some nerves.”
    Walsh and his .000 average were shipped back down to Long Beach, with the Angels’ reserve squad, and there he and the hitting coaches began to seriously clean up his mechanics.
    His quieter stance has led to more success, which has led to more playing time, which has led to more confidence, which has led to more success.
    “It’s a big deal when you think you might be in the lineup, day in and day out,” Walsh said. “So I’ve been lucky to kind of get on a little roll.”
    His roll, of course, has led to questions about his future. Since the Angels traded C.J. Cron before the 2018 season, the Angels haven’t had anyone else do well enough at first to outperform even a declining Albert Pujols.
    Walsh is giving hints that maybe he could be the Angels next everyday first baseman. Pujols, 40, is signed through next year.
    Related Articles
    Albert Pujols equals Willie Mays on all-time HR list, helps Angels to victory Fired clubhouse worker files suit against Angels Jared Walsh homers in the 11th to lead Angels to victory over Rockies Mike Mayers credits his Angels breakout to social media Angels blow lead in ninth and lose to Rockies on walk-off grand slam Walsh, incidentally, said he still plans to work out this winter as a pitcher, after a spring training injury eliminated that part of his game this season.
    If his new success at the plate is sustainable, though, the Angels may not need him to step on the mound any more.
    Walsh said he’s just going to play as well as he can and let someone else decide where he fits.
    “I really love this organization and want to be a part of it for a long time,” Walsh said. “I think there are some really outstanding players here. I want to be a part of the future in any way I can. And I think that role will kind of solve itself so I don’t really jump to conclusions too much.”
    View the full article
  12. Like
    AngelsWin.com got a reaction from Inside Pitch in OC Register: New approach helps Jared Walsh’s future look permanent with Angels   
    Throughout the hot streak that has begun to change the perception about who Jared Walsh is and who can be, he has chosen not to delve too deeply into how it happened.
    In describing the swing he first brought to the major leagues, Walsh has a fairly simple description.
    “Last year, I had a lot going on,” the Angels first baseman said. “You know, it works sometimes, but it wasn’t consistent enough.”
    Less is definitely more when it comes to hitting in the majors.
    Since eliminating much of the movement in his stance as he prepared for the pitch, Walsh has made himself an entirely different hitter, culminating in a sizzling week.
    Over the past six games Walsh has 11 hits in 25 at-bats, a .440 average. It also includes a four-game span in which he homered in each game, including a game-tying homer in the eighth on Friday and a go-ahead homer in the 11th on Saturday.
    Walsh is hitting .359 in 13 games since he was recalled from the Angels’ alternate site on Aug. 28, having been sent down after going hitless in 10 plate appearances in his first stint in the majors this season.
    Last year, he hit .203 in 87 plate appearances in his first crack at the big leagues.
    “There were some timing issues that I kind of realized when I got called up last year that I wanted to address,” Walsh said. “As hitters, we build habits, good and bad. For me it was trying to be more direct to the ball, a little more efficient, and stuff like that.”
    When Walsh stepped into the box in 2019, his hands pumped up and down as the barrel of the bat wagged over his shoulder. Even when he started the 2020 season in the big leagues in July, he still had some of that excess movement.
    But after being dispatched to Long Beach, Walsh finally got himself settled. Now, the hands are mostly still, the bat barely moving as he prepares to unleash his swing.
    Manager Joe Maddon, who didn’t see him last year but did see him in spring training and summer camp, said Walsh has made significant strides.
    “He’s not as jumpy, that’s the only way I can describe it,” Maddon said. “He has really good hands. The way he works the end of the bat, honestly, is an elite method.”
    While Maddon concedes that it’s easy to get carried away with a small sample size, he is a believer that Walsh is not a fluke. He’s also a big fan of his defense at first.
    “It’s no secret as to why he’s been doing what he’s been doing,” Maddon said. “With good health, and if he can just maintain some real simple mechanical issues, he could do this for a while.”
    If Walsh, 27, is beginning to carve out any sort of significant big league career, that would be a remarkable success story.
    A product of the University of Georgia, Walsh was selected in the 39th round of the draft, which is normally reserved for high school kids who have no chance to sign or the scouting director’s nephew. He never was given much consideration as a top prospect.
    Also a pitcher in college, Walsh had been used as a mop up reliever throughout the minors. The Angels actually sent him to instructional league to refine his work as a pitcher to make it a more viable part of his toolbox.
    When Walsh finally reached the majors in 2019, he did so as both a pitcher and a hitter. He appeared in five games, all with lopsided scores.
    The Angels still viewed him all along as primarily a hitter, though, and in that respect he struggled in his first taste of the big leagues. He didn’t feel much better about things this year.
    Part of the problem, he said, was that he never does well in spring training. Then the pandemic shut down the sport, and then it shut him down. Walsh tested positive for COVID-19 in June and spent three weeks on his couch. Although he said his symptoms weren’t bad, the time off didn’t help his preparation for the season.
    Although Walsh made the Angels Opening Day roster, Maddon said he didn’t look right.
    “He came up the first time and was just a little uncomfortable,” Maddon said. “He was not himself. He was nervioso.”
    Walsh admitted as much: “Absolutely. I think most people that are not experienced at this level are a little bit nervous, so yeah, but I’m pretty sure if I played in a beer league softball game I’d have some nerves.”
    Walsh and his .000 average were shipped back down to Long Beach, with the Angels’ reserve squad, and there he and the hitting coaches began to seriously clean up his mechanics.
    His quieter stance has led to more success, which has led to more playing time, which has led to more confidence, which has led to more success.
    “It’s a big deal when you think you might be in the lineup, day in and day out,” Walsh said. “So I’ve been lucky to kind of get on a little roll.”
    His roll, of course, has led to questions about his future. Since the Angels traded C.J. Cron before the 2018 season, the Angels haven’t had anyone else do well enough at first to outperform even a declining Albert Pujols.
    Walsh is giving hints that maybe he could be the Angels next everyday first baseman. Pujols, 40, is signed through next year.
    Related Articles
    Albert Pujols equals Willie Mays on all-time HR list, helps Angels to victory Fired clubhouse worker files suit against Angels Jared Walsh homers in the 11th to lead Angels to victory over Rockies Mike Mayers credits his Angels breakout to social media Angels blow lead in ninth and lose to Rockies on walk-off grand slam Walsh, incidentally, said he still plans to work out this winter as a pitcher, after a spring training injury eliminated that part of his game this season.
    If his new success at the plate is sustainable, though, the Angels may not need him to step on the mound any more.
    Walsh said he’s just going to play as well as he can and let someone else decide where he fits.
    “I really love this organization and want to be a part of it for a long time,” Walsh said. “I think there are some really outstanding players here. I want to be a part of the future in any way I can. And I think that role will kind of solve itself so I don’t really jump to conclusions too much.”
    View the full article
  13. Like
    AngelsWin.com got a reaction from Angel Oracle in AngelsWin.com Today: AngelsWin.com Interviews Angels Prospect Jose Rojas   
    Good interview, @Dave Saltzer.
    I'd love to see the local kid get a shot here down the stretch at the 1B spot and other spots. 
  14. Awesome
    AngelsWin.com got a reaction from Angel Oracle in AngelsWin.com Today: AngelsWin.com Interviews Angels Prospect Jose Rojas   
    Interview Conducted By David Saltzer, AngelsWin.com Senior Writer
    Here at AngelsWin.com, we have been wondering what life is like for the Minor Leaguers working out at the Long Beach facility. It’s got to be very difficult for those players, going through the same routines, trying to stay in shape, ready to join the parent club at a moment’s notice, all while facing the same players each and every day.
    One of our favorite stories in the Long Beach complex is that of Jose Rojas. Having grown up locally in Anaheim, and played for Vanguard University, he’s a versatile player who shows a strong bat. He can play 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and the outfield. Seeing him make it to the majors would be a wonderful success story for the local kid who made it.
    We recently caught up with Jose to find out how he’s doing, what life is like in the Long Beach training facility, and how he’s working hard to make his baseball dreams come true.
    Please click on the image below to watch our interview with Angels prospect Jose Rojas.

    AngelsWincom Interviews Jose Rojas August 10 2020 from AngelsWin.com on Vimeo.
    View the full article
  15. Like
    AngelsWin.com got a reaction from Angel Oracle in OC Register: Justin Upton has heated up after a dreadful start, and brought the Angels with him   
    Justin Upton stepped to the plate on Aug. 24 mired in an unimaginable slump, one that had seen him collect one measly infield hit in his last 39 at-bats, with nearly half of those at-bats ending in strikeouts.
    It was so bad that Upton, in the middle of a $106-million contract, had been benched for the previous four games.
    Then Upton got a hanging slider from Houston Astros lefty Framber Valdez, and he hit it over the right-center field fence.
    It was the start of Upton getting himself right by … going to right.
    “That’s always a good sign when you use the whole field,” Upton said the next day. “That was a good sign.”
    Starting with that homer, Upton has been more than good. Upton has hit .382 with a .462 on-base percentage and a .735 slugging percentage in the last 34 at-bats. He has just four strikeouts in that span.
    During the Angels’ four-game sweep of the Astros over the weekend, Upton drove in five runs, including a game-tying two-run homer in the first game on Saturday and a key two-run single to extend an eighth-inning lead on Sunday.
    “I’m getting back to basics in the cage and working as hard as I can and starting to see some results,” said Upton, who has also regained an everyday role since Brian Goodwin was traded.
    To Manager Joe Maddon, there has been a clear difference in Upton over the past couple weeks.
    Maddon said Upton has been “quieter” in his setup, which allows him to get the bat head to the ball more often. That’s cut down on the strikeouts.
    Whether Upton has been focused on hitting the ball up the middle and the other way, or whether it’s just the result of a more compact swing, it’s made a difference in the results.
    “I like the idea that he’s centered,” Maddon said. “You stay in the middle of the field. That’s where he’s doing his damage. Early on it was obvious that he was pulling off the ball. When do that you get long with your swing and you get more body than hands.”
    Before that four-day layoff, Upton was hitting the ball to the right side just 12.8 percent of the time, compared with a career-long 26.1 percent coming into the season. During his current streak, he’s the ball to right field 23.1 percent of the time.
    Although Upton still has a few weeks to go if he’s going to maintain this hot streak long enough to erase the previous ice-cold streak, what he’s done so far — hot and cold — has been enough to sell Maddon on Upton’s makeup.
    Just over a month ago, when the Angels promoted Jo Adell and Maddon told Upton that he was going to get the short end of a platoon with Goodwin, Upton handled it professionally and did not sulk.
    “The worst thing I could possibly do is to come in here and hinder the growth of the team, hinder the atmosphere,” Upton said. “So that’s not something that I’m about. It’s not what I do.”
    Instead, Upton simply retreated to the cage with hitting coaches Jeremy Reed, John Mallee and Paul Sorrento and tried to fix what was going wrong.
    “If you could put on GoPro camera and just watch what he does when he gets here, he’s really committed to getting his swing back,” Maddon said. “The guy’s got a lot of pride and class. You’re not going to find a nicer young man.”
    Upton’s slump and his turnaround have paralleled the team’s. The Angels still lost the game that Upton homered against Valdez, falling to 9-21, but they are 8-4 since then, including a current five-game winning streak.
    In a normal season, of course, there would be enough time for the team and Upton to turn their current streaks into something that would bury the memory of the dreadful start.
    This year? Probably not.
    With 18 games to go, the Angels are still 17-25, and Upton is still hitting .192.
    “Now that it’s May, you’re starting to see him,” Maddon said, referring to where a normal season would be at this point. “I’d love to see him play in June.”
    View the full article
  16. Facepalm
    AngelsWin.com got a reaction from Angelsjunky in OC Register: Mike Trout belts 300th career homer, but Angels blow lead in loss to Astros   
    ANAHEIM — The Angels bullpen clearly doesn’t want Mike Trout to able to celebrate a homer milestone without a sweat.
    Trout set the Angels franchise record with his 300th career homer in the  third inning, but the Angels bullpen blew a late lead before the hitters rallied to get the Angels a wild 10-9 victory over the Houston Astros in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday.
    A night earlier, when Trout tied Tim Salmon for the franchise record, the Angels let a late three-run lead get away before winning in the 11th.
    This one was even wackier.
    The Angels trailed by three runs in the third, when Trout hit his two-run homer. The eventually took a one-run lead into the seventh and final inning, only to have Felix Peña allow three runs.
    In the bottom of the seventh, though, Trout and Shohei Ohtani led off with back-to-back walks and then Justin Upton drove in one with a double off the top of the right field fence, narrowly missing a game-winning three run homer. Upton had earlier tied the game with a two-run homer.
    An out later, Jo Adell poked a hit down the right field line to drive in two and give the Angels their third straight victory.
    It made for a happy ending a couple hours after Trout had passed Salmon.
    “It’s time the pass the torch on to somebody else in the family — another fish,” Salmon said on the television broadcast.
    The homer also put Trout back atop the major league leaderboard with his 15th of the season.
    An inning later, the Angels tied the game on a homer by the Angels most heralded prospect since Trout. Adell belted his third career homer, and the 21-year-old rookie’s blast tied the game and took Griffin Canning off the hook for the loss.
    Canning struggled in his first outing after the best game of his career, an eight-inning performance on Monday. Canning gave up a homer to Preston Tucker in the second and then three runs in third, all on two-out hits.
    The Angels came into the game allowing opponents to .314 with two outs and runners in scoring position, second worst in the majors.
    They would allow more two-out damage in the seventh, setting the stage for the rally in the bottom of the seventh.
    More to come on this story.
    View the full article
  17. Like
    AngelsWin.com got a reaction from Inside Pitch in OC Register: Angels Q&A: How they got here and where they go next   
    The trade deadline has passed and the playoffs are now all but mathematically out of reach – insert “Dumb and Dumber” meme – for the Angels, who are 12-24 with 24 games to go in the season.
    We asked you on Twitter for the questions, and many of them were the same larger topics, about how the Angels got here and where they go now, and specifically about the immediate plans for General Manager Billy Eppler and shortstop Andrelton Simmons.
    Considering the franchise’s relatively critical condition, we’re giving you more in-depth answers on the big questions, instead of short answers to a lot of little ones. We’ll start with the most fundamental question of them all.
    Why do we (stink)?— @cnkp1002
    Although etiquette forces me to replace the word this reader actually used, you know the crux of the question. We took an in-depth look last week at the circumstances that led the Angels here, but there is a three-point, shorter version.
    First and most important, the Angels farm system deteriorated. Baseball America ranked the Angels’ system fourth in 2007, and by 2010 it was 26th. It perked up to the middle of the pack from 2011-13 — Mike Trout was included in ’11 and ’12 — but from 2014 to ’17 it ranked last three times and 27th once.
    Second, Trout arrived. Obviously that is a blessing, but when Trout’s presence coincides perfectly with a deteriorated farm system, it puts the Angels in an awkward spot.
    They still managed to win in 2014 and 2015, despite the poor farm system. By 2016 – when Eppler took over – the farm system still was awful, and Trout had ascended from very good to generational. That means you can’t rebuild the system by trading him or by trading everyone but him, because the latter would have intentionally wasted a couple years of his prime. It also would have given them no chance to re-sign him.
    Third, in consecutive years the Angels had spent huge money on contracts for Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, and by around 2016 it was clear neither of those had worked as they’d hoped. That likely created a reluctance from owner Arte Moreno to go really big in free agency unless the circumstances were just right, and they usually aren’t.
    Add all that up: The Angels couldn’t strip down the big-league team to rebuild the farm system, had no farm system to trade from to improve the big-league team, and were reluctant to spent the type of money to rebuild it through free agency (which usually doesn’t work anyway).
    So here they are.
    The Angels have been trying to rebuild without tearing it down for the last 5 years or so. Look at what the White Sox have done in the same timeframe – they got rid of everyone, and now have the most exciting young team in baseball. Shouldn’t the Angels blow this thing up now? — @garyprohaska
    If you want the Angels to “get rid of everyone,” that has to include Trout, and that’s a whole different discussion than it was two or three years ago.
    Trout now has a no-trade clause and he’s owed another $360 million for the next 10 seasons. So you have to find a team that Trout wants to go to, and that team has to be able to afford him, and it has to be willing to give up enough talent for it to make sense for the Angels. Those are a lot of tight requirements.
    If the Angels wanted to go that direction, the optimal time to do it would have been before the 2019 season, and even then there’s no guarantee they’d have been able to get back enough talent to make trading a Hall of Famer palatable.
    What is your read on the GM position re-sign or go in a different direction?— @DennisHartnet10
    Unless the Angels already extended Eppler and didn’t tell anyone (which happens), his contract expires at the end of the season. When someone has a contract, the question is whether he’s done poorly enough to be fired. But when a contract is finished, it’s whether he’s done well enough to be extended. Those are different standards.
    It’s solely up to Moreno whether Eppler stays or goes, but when he was asked in spring training what needed to happen for Eppler to get an extension, Moreno said flatly the Angels needed to win, for everyone’s sake.
    “As a group, we need to win,” Moreno said. “I probably should fire myself.”
    Do you think the plan is to give (Andrelton) Simmons a (qualifying offer) or extension since they didn’t trade him?— @baseballchick
    The Angels traded away Tommy La Stella and Jason Castro for modest returns, in part because they get nothing if those players leave as free agents. Simmons, obviously, was different, because they didn’t trade him. Simmons is making $15 million this year, and the qualifying offer figure is likely to be something just under $18 million.
    Simmons is about to turn 31, so getting him back on a one-year deal at that price wouldn’t be the worst thing. Perhaps he’d be overpaid, but it would be for only one year. And if Simmons rejected it, the Angels would get a draft pick as compensation when he signed elsewhere. Attaching a draft pick to a free agent can also reduce other teams’ interest in him, which could make him cheaper if the Angels wanted to re-sign him later in the offseason.
    So, yes, I do believe there’s a chance the Angels make him a qualifying offer. I don’t believe they would sign him to an extension, because no player this close to free agency is going to give up the chance to see what the open market has for him.
    What starters are realistic for next season? — @MJM2378
    The free-agent starting pitcher market is pretty thin this winter. Trevor Bauer is clearly the best, with Marcus Stroman, James Paxton, Jake Odorizzi and Robbie Ray among the next tier, and three of them have been hurt this year. There are also lots of guys like Jose Quintana, Chris Archer, Mike Minor and Rick Porcello who are sometimes pretty good and sometimes pretty bad.
    On the trade market, the Angels could take a run a pitcher like Alex Cobb, Danny Duffy, Matthew Boyd or Yusei Kikuchi. Again, no sure things there.
    Do you think there is a pitching development problem within the Angels system? — @_JacobCisneros
    As you glean from the previous answer, the solution to the Angels’ pitching issues isn’t likely to come from someone they add in the winter. They are going to have to get more out of the pitchers they have developed, which they haven’t done well lately.
    Since 2012, the only homegrown pitchers to have a season of 150 innings with an ERA under 4.00 have been Jered Weaver (3), Garrett Richards (2) and Matt Shoemaker (1).
    Related Articles
    Jaime Barria allows one run, but Angels drop pitchers’ duel against Mariners Angels deal Brian Goodwin to Reds for two pitchers Follow breaking news from beat reporters on MLB’s trade deadline day Angels lose to Mariners in 10 innings despite strong outing from Griffin Canning Angels ship catcher Jason Castro to Padres for hard-throwing reliever No one has done it since 2016, homegrown or otherwise.
    Somewhere in the scouting-drafting-development chain there’s been a problem, or more likely a lot of little problems. Probably some bad luck with injuries too.
    When the Angels are good again consistently, it won’t be because they signed Bauer or some free agent. It will be because they figured out how to get the most out of guys like Shohei Ohtani, Griffin Canning, Patrick Sandoval and Reid Detmers.
    View the full article
  18. Like
    AngelsWin.com got a reaction from Slegnaac in OC Register: Follow breaking news as it happens on MLB’s trade deadline day   
    What will the Angels and Dodgers do with Major League Baseball’s trade deadline ending at 1 p.m. today? The Angels made moves Sunday and appear to be sellers at the deadline as their playoff chances go south. But the Dodgers have the best record in baseball and may stand pat. But you never know. Follow SCNG’s Jeff Fletcher, Bill Plunkett, J.P. Hoornstra and other MLB insiders as news breaks throughout the day on social media.
    A Twitter List by SGVNSports
    View the full article
  19. Awesome
    AngelsWin.com got a reaction from Angel Oracle in OC Register: Hoornstra: New sign stealing report corroborates evidence against Astros, Red Sox   
    This is a story about applying data to the game of baseball, one you haven’t read before. It’s about a science experiment. It’s about cheating. It’s about the sign-stealing scandals you know about, the (potentially illegal) sign-stealing you don’t know about, and all the would-be sign stealers of the future.
    Like any science experiment, this one began with a question. If we look closely at the swing habits of two teams Major League Baseball recently penalized for cheating – the 2018 Red Sox and 2017 Astros – does something look different? Is evidence of sign-stealing born out in the numbers?
    The answer, Jason Wilson believes, is yes.
    Wilson is a statistics professor at Biola University in La Mirada. He is the co-creator of a baseball metric, Quality of Pitch, that attempts to separate good pitches from bad using a variety of components. He’s used Quality of Pitch to grade pitches, pitcher starts, and pitcher seasons. For this experiment, he wanted to use Quality of Pitch to discern cheating.
    More specifically, Wilson wanted to know if Astros and Red Sox hitters were laying off high-quality pitches that other hitters could not. His initial report, co-authored with Brian Zarske, Jason Lane and Wayne Greiner, was finalized Monday and shared privately with the Southern California News Group. It’s 29 pages long. The relevant analytical details are many; some are less wonky than others. Here are a few useful things to know:
    • The report doesn’t analyze every hitter on the 2018 Astros and Red Sox, only six of them. For his comparison, Wilson looked at every team’s top six hitters by pitches seen – with one notable exception.
    • The six 2017 Astros chosen for the report were those identified by SignStealingScandal.com as having benefited the most from the so-called “Banging Scheme”: Marwin Gonzalez, George Springer, Alex Bregman, Carlos Beltran, Yuli Gurriel and Carlos Correa. The 2017 Astros’ top six hitters by pitches seen were Springer, Jose Altuve, Bregman, Gonzalez, Josh Reddick and Gurriel. Beltran ranked seventh. Correa ranked eighth. Swapping Beltran and Correa for Reddick and Altuve makes an important difference, as you’ll see.
    • The Red Sox and Astros were found by MLB to have cheated during home games, but their methods diverged. While the Astros banged and whistled, the Red Sox relied on a runner on second base to relay signs illegally, using information taken from a real-time video feed.
    • The Astros’ data looked at every high-quality pitch they saw at home in 2017. This was compared to every high-quality pitch they saw on the road, and also to every high-quality pitch every other team saw at home. The Red Sox’s 2018 data includes only high-quality pitches they saw at home with a runner on second base after the third inning. This was compared to similar data for every other team from 2013-18.
    Wilson’s data claims to affirm what we already know: the 2017 Astros and 2018 Red Sox didn’t swing at pitches that their opponents did, at a rate too high to be considered random. That’s great, but the league already punished both teams. Why should we care now?
    Glad you asked.
    Wilson’s data also offers corroborating evidence for not cheating.
    Remember that Altuve and Reddick were not included in the 2017 Astros data that amounted to a statistical smoking gun. That’s because they were largely exonerated by SignStealingScandal.com, a website launched by Astros fan Tony Adams in January. There’s evidence of a banging trash can in 19 of Reddick’s plate appearances in 2017 and, in most of those, the bang was audible when it should not have been. In other words, his teammates did a poor job stealing or relaying the opponent’s signs. Altuve made only 22 similar plate appearances, and the “correct bang rate” was nearly as poor as it was for Reddick.
    Adams used video-based evidence to unearth the sound of a banging trash can, but he noted that the Astros used other means to steal signs. What about the mysterious “buzzer” allegedly hidden under Altuve’s jersey?
    If that buzzer existed during the 2017 regular season, it probably didn’t help Altuve. When Wilson added Altuve and Reddick to his data set, and swapped out Beltran and Correa, the statistical signature for cheating disappeared. The Astros’ take rate on high-quality pitches was “not statistically distinctive because at least one team is this extreme every year,” the report claims.
    Other teams have been accused of cheating in recent years, but none were punished so roundly by MLB – or accused by Wilson’s data.
    The New York Post reported in June that the Yankees were recently accused of using a replay room and a dugout phone to relay signs to batters. Wilson analyzed the Yankees during three relevant seasons (2015-17). He looked specifically at players who became Yankees during this time period, and compared their swing rates before and after joining the team. He found nothing of significance.
    To be clear, Wilson’s report doesn’t exonerate the entire Yankee organization during that three-year period. It merely claims a subset of their hitters didn’t benefit from stolen signs like the 2017 Astros or 2018 Red Sox, if the Yankees stole signs during these years at all.
    More broadly, the report is incapable of convicting or exonerating any team or individual. Dozens of teams could have stolen signs illegally but, if their top six hitters (by pitches seen) failed to take advantage of the information, it would not have appeared in Wilson’s data. If only a portion of their top six hitters took advantage – even four of the six, like the 2017 Astros – the data might not signal a team-wide pattern using Wilson’s method.
    In a telephone interview, Wilson acknowledged these limitations. He described his report as a “first pass.”
    “We tried to focus on groups of players because we’re looking for team-wide behavior,” Wilson said. “That seems to be a safer approach. So I want to be careful about how I say this: in principle, you could pull out and look at individual players. That said, individual players have the ability to make larger changes, say from season to season. There could be physical issues that are happening that could affect performance. Maybe they get some kind of private coaching or something. We might not have information about that.”
    Perhaps most critically, the report can’t detect illegal sign-stealing. Baseball bans teams from using electronic equipment to steal signs in real time, a crime for which the 2017 Astros and 2018 Red Sox were punished. By identifying the one trait these teams had in common, under the only conditions their hitters were known to receive signs, Wilson’s data reveals a statistical signature that can be applied retroactively, after every season to come.
    It can also be applied retroactively to seasons past. That’s where the report gets really interesting.
    Related Articles
    Dodgers extend win streak to 7 games as Gonsolin shuts down Mariners Inside the Dodgers: Maintaining a prospect pipeline during a pandemic Dodgers’ Dave Roberts says baseball’s unwritten rules ‘have changed, should change’ Seager brothers each hit home run but Dodgers win matchup with Mariners Brother vs. brother: Seagers face off for first time as Dodgers face Mariners Using the same method Wilson used to identify the supernatural patience of the 2018 Red Sox, four teams met his threshold of statistical significance from 2013-18. The Red Sox weren’t even the most patient club in the face of high-quality pitches, at home, with a runner on second base. That honor belongs to the 2013 Cincinnati Reds.
    That year, the Reds’ top six hitters by pitches seen were Joey Votto, Shin-Soo Choo, Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, Todd Frazier and Zack Cozart. Votto and Choo are two of the league’s most patient hitters. Each was in his prime in 2013. They finished first and second in baseball, respectively, in bases on balls. Votto missed most of the 2014 season with an injury, while Choo left for Texas as a free agent. Perhaps their absence affected the Reds’ data profoundly enough to give the statistical appearance of sign stealing. I spoke to one league source who was not aware of any sign-stealing allegations against the 2013 Reds.
    Cincinnati replaced manager Dusty Baker with Bryan Price after the 2013 season. The Reds haven’t reached the postseason since. Wilson’s report can’t tell us whether their last playoff berth was achieved legally or illegally, but it can tell us where to look for sign stealing in the future – no banging trash cans or anonymous allegations necessary.
    View the full article
  20. Like
    AngelsWin.com got a reaction from Angel Oracle in OC Register: Angels allow four homers as pitching issues sink them in sweep against Dodgers   
    ANAHEIM — The Angels endured the worst day of a disappointing start to the season on a sweltering Sunday afternoon.
    The Angels gave up four homers and lost 8-3 to the Dodgers, getting swept in the first half of the annual Freeway Series and sinking even deeper from playoff contention in this shortened season.
    After losing four in a row and seven of nine, the Angels are 7-15 with more than one-third of the 60-game season complete.
    Even with a new playoff format that will include eight teams per league, the Angels are digging a challenging hole.
    The top two teams from each division will comprise six of the playoff spots, and the Angels are 4-1/2 games behind the second-place Houston Astros in the American League West.
    Two other teams with the best records will also qualify. The Angels are four games behind the Texas Rangers and Chicago White Sox, who are currently at .500 and tied for the No. 8 spot.
    With 38 games to play, there is certainly time, but they will need to play better than this.
    Although there was a stretch early in the season when the hitting was the primary reason for their issues, for the most part it’s been inconsistent pitching.
    Julio Teheran took the ball for his third start since the Angels signed him over the winter looking for, at worst, dependable innings.
    Teheran came down with the coronavirus in late June, and as a result he missed two of the three weeks of summer camp. The Angels decided to insert him into the rotation after just three innings in an intrasquad game, and it hasn’t worked.
    Teheran has allowed 11 earned runs in eight innings, including four more runs on three homers. Teheran got through the first two runs without giving up a run, but in the third he gave up a homer to Keibert Ruiz in his first big league at-bat and then a two-run homer to slumping Max Muncy.
    After a walk in the fourth, Teheran was pulled.
    Matt Andriese entered and allowed Teheran’s runner to score along with three of his own on a Corey Seager three-run homer.Related Articles
    Slumping Albert Pujols out of Angels lineup for second straight day Dodgers edge Angels in 10th to take first two in Freeway Series Julio Teheran prepares for third Angels start after abbreviated preparation Slumping Cody Bellinger blasts two homers to lead Dodgers over Angels Angels GM Billy Eppler expects trade market to define itself late
    The only positives on the day for the Angels were Anthony Rendon’s continued hot streak and Jo Adell’s improvement.
    Rendon belted a solo homer, his fifth in six games on the homestand.
    Adell had two singles that left the bat at 115 mph and 111 mph. He also made an out on a 106 mph groundout and a 101 mph flyout.
    Adell was 4 for 13 with four strikeouts in his second week in the big leagues, after going 2 for 15 with nine strikeouts in the first week.
    He also memorably made a four-base error a week earlier, but this week he had a nice catch against the fence and on Sunday he picked up his first assist. He threw out Matt Beaty trying to stretch a single into a double, saving a run.
    View the full article
  21. Like
    AngelsWin.com got a reaction from Tank in OC Register: MORNING WRAP: Chris Taylor saves Dodgers; Mike Trout’s two homers come in Angels loss   
    The Morning Wrap shares the day’s top five stories from our reporters at the Southern California Newspaper Group … And have everything delivered to you in our daily newsletters
    THURSDAY, AUG. 6
    ONE: The Dodgers’ needed all of Joc Pederson’s two homers and  five RBIs and a game-saving throw from Chris Taylor to hold on for a 7-6 victory over the Padres.
    Next up: Giant at Dodgers, Friday, 7:10 p.m.

    The Padres nearly tied the score in the bottom of the ninth on Manny Machado’s fly-out to left, but Taylor’s throw home nailed Trent Grisham trying to score from third to ensure the victory. In other news, the Dodgers defended their decision on Gavin Lux not making the opening day roster.
    What Chris Taylor said: “Manny hit it pretty low, so I feel like I got a pretty good jump. I don’t think he really got into it. Luckily, my momentum was already taking me in and I just tried to get rid of it as quick as I could and give Will an easy one-hop.”

    TWO: The Angels wasted two homers from Mike Trout in a 7-6 loss to Seattle, and many were wondering about Angels manager Joe Maddon’s decision to pull starting pitcher Julio Teheran, who was one pitch away from ending the third inning in a scoreless game, writes J.P. Hoornstra.
    Next up: Angels at Mariners, today, 1:10 p.m.

    What Joe Maddon said: “We went with the high-percentage play and it just didn’t work out. We talked afterward. (Teheran) said he could have continued, and I’m sure he could have. It’s just one of those things we made our mind up to do, and we did.”
    What Julio Teheran said: “I wasn’t expecting to go as long, like a normal start, but I didn’t know (my pitch limit) was 55 pitches. It’s something obviously they have to control. They’ve been controlling my pitches and I know how to handle that. … Obviously I was trying to convince Joe to stay, but there’s a process we have to follow.”
    Also, there’s this on Shohei Ohtani…

    THREE: The chances of college football in the fall seem to be diminishing each day, and UCLA football was the latest to take a hit after at least eight football players tested positive for COVID-19 since arriving on campus for voluntary workouts, LA County Public Health officials revelaed on Wednesday. “At UCLA, we’ve seen a number of football players who returned to campus and tested positive,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.

    FOUR: The Lakers were uninspiring in Wednesday’s loss to the Thunder, and reporter Kyle Goon described it like this: But even a nod to cosmic forces has not yet undone a shooting slump that humbled the Lakers in a 105-86 loss to the Thunder — a result that has no bearing on their top-seed status, but has continued to undermine confidence that they can reach the contending level they had in March. And although he won’t be ready when the playoffs start, help could be on way with the arrival of Rajon Rondo, Goon Reports.
    Up next: Lakers vs. Rockets, today, 6 p.m.


    FIVE: Clippers center Ivica Zubac described what life has been like inside the bubble in Orlando, comparing it to international tournaments where everyone sees each other at the hotel. And some good news from the NBA, who announced that no players tested positive for the coronavirus for a third consecutive week, writes Mirjam Swanson.
    Next up: Clippers vs. Dallas, today, 3:30 p.m.

     
    View the full article
  22. Like
    AngelsWin.com got a reaction from Angel Oracle in OC Register: Hoornstra: The 2030 baseball season – download it today!   
    Greetings from Publicly Funded Ballpark in Portland! I’m J.P. Hoornstra, and welcome to Opening Day of the 2030 season. The Portland Protesters are hosting the Los Angeles Angels of Orange County. So sit back, relax, and enjoy seven innings of baseball. Today’s Spotify broadcast is presented by Amazon Autonomous Vehicles. Amazon AV: let us drive responsibly when you don’t want to!
    The Protesters will have five rookies in their lineup today, more than any of the 32 teams taking the field on Opening Day. Portland’s lineup is predictably the youngest in baseball, with an average age of just 23. Their payroll is just barely above the salary floor. In fact, this was a major storyline throughout spring training: Can the Protesters get above the league-minimum floor, which was set at $99 million for the 2030 season? Then eight days ago, they signed their only free agent since the end of last season, Yasiel Puig, the Wild Horse, 39 years young. And so Portland becomes Puig’s 13th team in the past 11 years. If you can believe it, his past nine have all been as a non-roster invitee to spring training.
    Now Puig is the oldest active player in the game – a title he wrested from the Angels’ designated hitter tonight, Mike Trout. Trout will be batting cleanup, sitting on 650 career home runs. His 9-year-old son Beckham will be the Angels’ bat boy, sitting on zero home runs, but we’re looking forward to plenty from him someday. Something else we’re looking forward to? Today’s game is brought to you by “Star Wars: Ewoks,” opening in home theaters Friday.
    We’re a few minutes away from the first pitch presented by Nordstrom*Sears*Macy*s, but good seats still remain for this game. Take out your smartphone, open the Protesters app, reserve your seat, and retina scan your way through the turnstiles. Even if you can’t make it here today, those of you listening to this broadcast will hear the sounds of a sellout crowd. The ambient noise has been upgraded again for a new season, so you’ll be hearing the sounds of exactly 35,978 Portlanders – a capacity crowd at Publicly Funded Ballpark – whether you are here or not. Think about how far we’ve come since the infamous coronavirus season of 2020. Hard to believe it was only 10 years ago that some players actually preferred the sound of silence to the sound of digital crowd noise.
    Of course, back then, it wasn’t uncommon to see a rookie play nine innings in a four-hour long game. Thankfully we’ve gotten time of game under control, and who even misses those final two innings anyway? Just don’t expect to see any rookies play the full seven today. The Protesters need to keep their youngsters’ service time under control. And thanks to a new rule this year, they can do that while putting their best players on the field every day. Service time will be accrued on a per-inning basis, so enjoy those first five innings, folks. The last two could get dicey as the Protesters empty their bench.
    Tonight’s sixth inning will be the TikTok America inning! We want to see your best TikTok video featuring you wearing your Protesters gear. Upload your video, use the hashtag #ProtestersBaseball – the “baseball” part is really important – and you’ll be automatically entered into our 2031 season ticket giveaway! We’ll be choosing one winner every sixth inning, 154 times a season. The Protesters will be wearing their home Thursday alternates today, the ones with two sponsor patches on each sleeve, but you can wear any old thing with a Protesters’ logo in your video. Good luck to all today’s contestants. TikTok America: where America pretends it can dance.
    Your chances of winning depend on the number of entrants. The Protesters’ chances of making the playoffs, on the other hand? Well, they went up again this offseason without lifting a finger. That’s because Major League Baseball increased the number of playoff teams yet again, from 16 to 24. Remember that MLB sent the winner of the American and National leagues directly to the World Series until 1969, then expanded from four to eight teams in 1995, then from eight to 10 in 2012, and from 10 to 16 in 2020.
    The 16-team postseason was supposed to be temporary, you might recall. But it was such a hit, it stuck around for another nine years! Now, with the regular season being trimmed from 162 to 154 games, that left room for yet another postseason round. Portland finished with a 70-92  record last year, but if a 24-team postseason had been in place, they would have been only two games out of a playoff berth. Imagine how much fun that will be at the end of another rebuilding season!
    As for me, I’ll imagine it from home. Your Portland Protesters broadcasters will finish the regular season on the road, but the broadcasters are not traveling with the team in 2030 – another legacy reminder of that fateful 2020 season. Not to worry: all 50 camera angles available to the Official MLB Replay Booth, Presented by Warby Parker, are available to me here in our Stumptown Coffee Studios, which was recently outfitted with 6G wireless technology. What could we possibly miss?
    OK. Only one last item of business to check off before today’s first pitch, brought to you by Nordstrom*Sears*Macy*s. We’ll throw it down to pitcher Jimmy Stiles in the dugout. He’s starting for the Protesters on Sunday and, due to some staff budget cuts, he’ll be serving as our in-game reporter this season. He’s also the host of his own podcast, Stiles and Strikes, now available on Spotify. Subscribe to Stiles and Strikes, and don’t forget to rate and review today!
    Now Jimmy, we understand the National Virus Index has been declared Threat Level Orange today, so you’ll be required to wear a mask in the dugout just like the fans in the stands. That’s OK. Speak loudly and clearly into your Apple earpiece, and we’ll be on our way.
    Jimmy, take it away!
    View the full article
  23. Awesome
    AngelsWin.com got a reaction from Angel Oracle in OC Register: MORNING WRAP: Ohtani done pitching? Angels, Dodgers win   
    The Morning Wrap shares the day’s top five stories from our reporters at the Southern California Newspaper Group … And have everything delivered to you in our daily newsletters
    WEDNESDAY, AUG. 5
    ONE: Angels manager Joe Maddon said Shohei Ohtani is likely done pitching the rest of the year after being diagnosed with a grade 1-2 strain of the flexor pronator mass on Monday, reporter Jeff Fletcher writes. But that won’t stop Ohtani from being a DH.
    Next up: Angels at Seattle, today, 6:40 p.m.
    What Joe Maddon said about Ohtani:  “I’m not anticipating him pitching at all this year. From what I’ve seen, I believe that he can (be a two-way player). “We just got to get past the arm maladies and figure that out.”
    Angels win: It wasn’t all bad news, after losing seven of their first 10 games, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols homered in a 5-3 victory over seattle.

    TWO: Lakers reporter Kyle Goon is inside the bubble in Orlando and writes how well Dion Waiters has blended with the Lakers after losing guard Rajon Rondo to an injury. And find out when Rondo is expected to return.
    Up next: Lakers vs. Oklahoma City, today, 3:30 p.m.


    THREE: Dustin May pitched well enough for the Dodgers to break up a no-hitter in the sixth inning, and then rally for a come-from-behind 5-2 victory over San Diego. While Corey Seager came up with a big hit to tie the game, nobody has been as hot as A.J. Pollock. Also, reporter Bill Plunkett writes how Justin Turner is rounding into form.
    Next up: Dodgers at Padres, today, 6:10 p.m.


    FOUR: The Rams’ Jalen Ramsey knew the contract questions were coming during his zoom call on Tuesday, but he wants to leave those questions for his agent, and focus on the training camp, reporter Kevin Modesti writes.
    What Jalen Ramsey said: “I told you at the beginning of this (contract negotiation), I’m controlling what I’m able to control,” said Ramsey, who spoke from the Rams’ facility in Thousand Oaks. “I’m letting my agent, who is by far the best agent in the game, David Mulugheta, and the front office handle it. I can’t do anything about it. I’m not worried about it. I’m trying to do my job as a football player, I’m trying to be a leader of the team. If it comes, it comes. It’s going to be a surprise to me just like it’s going to be a surprise to y’all.”

    FIVE: The Suns are battling several teams for the final playoff spot, and got a huge victory over the Clippers on a game-winner from Devin Booker in a 117-115 victory. The Clippers are now 1-2 since the restart, but still second in the Western Conference behind the Lakers. The game marked the return from Lou Williams, who scored just seven points. But he only played 20 minutes and felt good to play again after 10 days in quarantine.
    Next up: Clippers vs. Mavericks, Thursday, 3:30 p.m.
    What Lou Williams said: “Yeah, I needed it, I needed it. I don’t know if I was going to be able to just watch that game today with the last 10 days being by myself, being isolated, watching so much basketball — watching so much good basketball.



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  24. Like
    AngelsWin.com got a reaction from Tank in OC Register: MORNING WRAP: Ohtani done pitching? Angels, Dodgers win   
    The Morning Wrap shares the day’s top five stories from our reporters at the Southern California Newspaper Group … And have everything delivered to you in our daily newsletters
    WEDNESDAY, AUG. 5
    ONE: Angels manager Joe Maddon said Shohei Ohtani is likely done pitching the rest of the year after being diagnosed with a grade 1-2 strain of the flexor pronator mass on Monday, reporter Jeff Fletcher writes. But that won’t stop Ohtani from being a DH.
    Next up: Angels at Seattle, today, 6:40 p.m.
    What Joe Maddon said about Ohtani:  “I’m not anticipating him pitching at all this year. From what I’ve seen, I believe that he can (be a two-way player). “We just got to get past the arm maladies and figure that out.”
    Angels win: It wasn’t all bad news, after losing seven of their first 10 games, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols homered in a 5-3 victory over seattle.

    TWO: Lakers reporter Kyle Goon is inside the bubble in Orlando and writes how well Dion Waiters has blended with the Lakers after losing guard Rajon Rondo to an injury. And find out when Rondo is expected to return.
    Up next: Lakers vs. Oklahoma City, today, 3:30 p.m.


    THREE: Dustin May pitched well enough for the Dodgers to break up a no-hitter in the sixth inning, and then rally for a come-from-behind 5-2 victory over San Diego. While Corey Seager came up with a big hit to tie the game, nobody has been as hot as A.J. Pollock. Also, reporter Bill Plunkett writes how Justin Turner is rounding into form.
    Next up: Dodgers at Padres, today, 6:10 p.m.


    FOUR: The Rams’ Jalen Ramsey knew the contract questions were coming during his zoom call on Tuesday, but he wants to leave those questions for his agent, and focus on the training camp, reporter Kevin Modesti writes.
    What Jalen Ramsey said: “I told you at the beginning of this (contract negotiation), I’m controlling what I’m able to control,” said Ramsey, who spoke from the Rams’ facility in Thousand Oaks. “I’m letting my agent, who is by far the best agent in the game, David Mulugheta, and the front office handle it. I can’t do anything about it. I’m not worried about it. I’m trying to do my job as a football player, I’m trying to be a leader of the team. If it comes, it comes. It’s going to be a surprise to me just like it’s going to be a surprise to y’all.”

    FIVE: The Suns are battling several teams for the final playoff spot, and got a huge victory over the Clippers on a game-winner from Devin Booker in a 117-115 victory. The Clippers are now 1-2 since the restart, but still second in the Western Conference behind the Lakers. The game marked the return from Lou Williams, who scored just seven points. But he only played 20 minutes and felt good to play again after 10 days in quarantine.
    Next up: Clippers vs. Mavericks, Thursday, 3:30 p.m.
    What Lou Williams said: “Yeah, I needed it, I needed it. I don’t know if I was going to be able to just watch that game today with the last 10 days being by myself, being isolated, watching so much basketball — watching so much good basketball.



    View the full article
  25. Like
    AngelsWin.com got a reaction from failos in AngelsWin.com Today: AngelsWin.com Interviews William Holmes   
    By David Saltzer, AngelsWin.com Senior Writer
    To say that 2020 has been a strange year is clearly an understatement. Not only has it dramatically disrupted Major League baseball, but it has all but shutdown Minor League baseball. The long-term effect of that will not be known for years.
    As fans, we know that the Minor Leaguers are our future. Their development is critical to the success of the Angels organization.
    To find out more about how those players who are not part of the limited training program are doing, we recently met online and spoke with William Holmes, the Angels 5th round draft pick in 2018. For William, development is critical, as he is trying to become part of the wave of 2-way players, following in Shohei Ohtani's footsteps.  Drafted out of high school, William has posted a .252/.357/.329 line with 18 walks and 1 HR in 168 PAs and a 5.18 ERA with 38 Ks in 24.1 IP. He's done that all while being one of the youngest players in the leagues in which he played.
    We spoke with William about his goals, how he's progressing, and what he's doing this offseason to continue his development. As a player, he shows plenty of promise with lots of athleticism that should lead to success on both sides of the game. At AngelsWin.com, we believe that as he matures, and improves, he will shoot up our prospect charts over the next couple of years, and is definitely one of our prospects worth getting to know.
    Please click below to watch our interview with William Holmes. 

     
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