Weaver Makes Case As Ace, More Fangraph Idiocy.  Halolink

Angels 11, Cubs 0 - MLB - CBSSports.com
Two Angels outfield prospects had big days: Terry Evans went 5 for 5 with a homer and Peter Bourjos celebrated his 23rd birthday by homering and tripling.

Another fine outing by the Angels pitching staff.

Weaver makes case to start opener - angelsbaseball.com
Angels manager Mike Scioscia will officially announce his team's Opening Day starter on Thursday. On Wednesday, Jered Weaver, who is on track to pitch the first game of the regular season against Minnesota on Monday, reminded everyone why he is the front-runner. Weaver allowed one hit in five scoreless innings in the Angels' 11-0 victory against the Cubs on Wednesday at HoHoKam Stadium. The right-hander struck out nine and did not walk a batter in the 60-pitch outing.

Weaver is the ace of the Angels "Red Barons" (that's the nickname I just made up for the Angels starting pitching squad.  You can send the royalty checks via Paypal).

Organizational Rankings: #6 – Seattle - FanGraphs Baseball
The combination of a winnable division and a high variance roster gives the Mariners a legitimate chance at winning the World Series this year, even with a roster that has plenty of warts. They’re not the favorites, certainly, but if you ran the 2010 season 1,000 times, the Mariners would end up champions in a non-trivial amount of them. They’d also finish last a bunch of times, which is part of the risk they’ve had to accept. But we cannot ignore the fact that among the 30 MLB clubs, Seattle is more likely to win the title in 2010 than most of their competitors.

You knew this was coming, right?  When Cameron had the Angels at #11, and then claimed there was no fan bias in the ranking, you had to figure the Mariners would be pretty high up.  And I completely understand if there were bias.  I know there would be no way I could write an unbiased article ranking teams because I spend so much more time analyzing the Angels than the other 29 teams.  To keep away from any possible "fanboy bias", I'll leave the Angels out of this and ask, who in their right mind would rank the Mariners ahead of the Phillies?  And not by just one spot, but three?  I got this story by way of The Baseball Think Factory, where this Fangraph article is being commented about.  Two of my favorite comments:

"Howie Kendrick, Mike Napoli, and Brandon Wood are as good as the 3-4-5 hitters Oakland or Seattle has. And they will be batting 7-8-9."

"Also, the Mariners can have a large payroll and have a smart front office. Unlike say the Angels, who I guess run their team on a shoestring budget and whose management hasn't fielded a winning team in over five months."

I emailed Dave Cameron to see if he'd be interested in doing a chat on Halos Heaven about his rankings.  He replied he was really busy this week, but would be happy to answer any questions.  Here's your chance -- if you have any questions for Dave, please ask them below in the comments section and I'll forward them to him.

Is the Angels' offense moving back to the American League? - The Orange County Register
"We are going to be a team that has the ability to drive the ball better than we have at any time since maybe 2000," Scioscia said, invoking the most aberrational offensive season in Angels history. The 2000 Angels (Scioscia's first team) hit a franchise-record 236 home runs, the only time in franchise history they have topped 200 home runs.

Kendry Morales’ star is on the rise - latimes.com
It's premature to proclaim but not preposterous to think that Kendry Morales could be to the Angels over the next six seasons what Vladimir Guerrero was to them the past six: a slugger to build an offense around.Morales, who is batting .380 (19 for 50) with two homers and 12 RBIs this spring, is beginning to look and act like a player of Guerrero's stature.

Willits could open season on DL -  The Orange County Register
If Willits goes to the DL to start the season, that would open the door for Evans, the only one of the other outfield candidates who plays center field. Robb Quinlan, Michael Ryan, Corey Aldridge and Wilson would then be competing for the final two spots on the bench – one if the Angels decide to open the season with a 12-man pitching staff (unlikely at this point).

I forget where I read a comment about this story (it may have been on AngelsWin, but I'm not sure), but someone speculated the reason for putting Willits on the DL was to make it easier to get Evans through waivers.  Not a bad theory, if the Angels can keep Evans in the majors for the first week or so, the other teams will have already made their roster moves, meaning less of a chance Evans gets claimed.

Angels expanding radio reach - angelsbaseball.com
On Wednesday, 710 ESPN (KSPN) and KLAA AM 830 announced a new partnership beginning April 5 that will bring 60 Angels games to 710 ESPN while allowing listeners of KLAA the opportunity to hear some of ESPN Radio's national weekday programming.

Obviously, this has no impact on me in Wisconsin, but I'll miss the humorous comments about colon cleansing.  Okay, maybe not so much.

Red Sox are no Angels -  The Boston Globe
When it comes to opening day box office draws, Red Sox fans might be forgiven for thinking their team is tops. But according to a new survey, they Red Sox are no Angels - or Yankees or Twins either. A new survey by StubHub, the ticket marketplace owned by eBay Inc., concludes that the Angels versus the Yankees in New York is the shaping up to be the most expensive opening day ticket, with an average ticket price of $230.

It's those transplanted Californians who have escaped the balmy So Cal weather for the seasons in New York who are buying up all of those tickets.

Offseason Free Agent Spending By Team - MLBTradeRumors.com
A total of $972MM was spent on Major League free agent contracts this offseason, led by the Red Sox at $137MM. The Marlins are on bottom, with no big league free agent contracts signed. Each team spent about $32MM on average. 1. Red Sox - $137,030,000 2. Cardinals - $129,450,000 3. Mets - $75,350,000 4. Brewers - $55,650,000 5. Angels - $52,000,000

I thought this was very interesting.  The Angels spent the fifth-most amount of money on free agents this past off season, after so many said the Angels off season was bad.  I know it's not how much you spend that determines success, but in many of the things I read about the Angels off season, I was under the impression that they didn't do as much as other teams.

Picking apart our offseason MLB Power Poll - Stan McNeal -  Sporting News
6. Angels. We would rank few clubs this high after losing their All-Star leadoff hitter, No. 1 starter, future Hall of Fame DH and key lefthanded reliever. But we believe in Mike Scioscia.
7. Mariners. If we'd known Casey Kotchman and Milton Bradley would be manning the 3 hole and cleanup spot, we'd have bumped Seattle out of the top 10.

A review of their preview.

BDD ‘10 Team Previews — Los Angeles Angels : Baseball Daily Digest
It is unlikely that this year’s team will come close to the runs scored by the 2009 version, so the season may depend on run prevention and, in particular, the reliability of Ervin Santana and Scott Kazmir. The consistency of the bullpen, especially Brian Fuentes, will also be important. That Fuentes led the league in saves in 2009 shows the meaninglessness of that statistic.

And another preview.

AL West: Angels' top-dog status hinges on Weaver - Yahoo! Sports
And while Weaver may lack the snarl and World Series Game 7 pedigree of departed Angels ace John Lackey, his record after 110 starts – 51-27 – is well ahead of Lackey’s 43-38.

It must be preview season.

Comparison of Hitters and Pitchers on the DL - Beyond the Box Score
Someone asked me for this data, so since I had it available, I decided to create some pretty graphs. Here are how pitchers and hitters compare in trips to DL, days on DL and salary lost due to time on DL;

You'll have to follow the link to see the pretty graphs, but it's worth it.

Denard Span of Minnesota Twins hits mother with foul ball - ESPN
In a shocking split-second, Span hit a hard foul ball that struck his mom in the upper chest Wednesday. She was treated by paramedics and back in the stands minutes later. "Tell everyone that I'm all right," Wanda Wilson told The Associated Press hours later by telephone. "Everyone was so worried, he was so worried. But I'm all right." "As the ball was in the air, I realized that it was going after my mom," Span said after arriving back at Twins' headquarters in Fort Myers. "When I saw her go down, I just couldn't do nothing but go after her.""That's what hurt me the most," Span said, "when she started crying.""What the odds of that happening?" Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson said.

If there were about 7000 fans in the stands, and one of them were Span's mom, I think the odds were 1:7000.

"Scrabble" nickname is awesome but impossible - umpbump.com
This morning Paul emailed the UmpBump writers with a new candidate for best nickname in baseball. It seems the Blue JaysMarc Rzepczynski is nicknamed "Scrabble." Awesome!

Yesterday's awesomeness:

LA Angels AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Izturis, M, 2B 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 .372
  Statia, 2B 2 1 1 0 0 0 1 .182
Ryan, LF 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 .257
  Shields, S, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
  b-Wilson, Bo, PH-1B 2 0 2 1 0 0 0 .370
Wood, B, 3B 4 1 2 0 0 0 0 .308
  Sandoval, F, 3B 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .167
Napoli, C 4 1 1 2 0 3 3 .279
  Perez, D, SS 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .000
Quinlan, 1B 3 2 1 1 1 0 2 .191
  Rodney, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
  Carmona, I, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
  d-Sutton, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .250
  Perez, Ju, RF 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Bourjos, CF 5 3 2 3 0 0 2 .229
  Auer, CF 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Evans, T, RF 5 2 5 3 0 0 0 .293
  McKiernan, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Patchett, SS 2 0 0 0 1 0 2 .308
  c-De Los Santos, A, PH-C 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 .167
Weaver, Jr, P 2 0 0 0 0 2 2 .000
  a-Aldridge, C, PH-LF 2 1 1 1 0 0 1 .378
Totals 42 11 16 11 2 7 16  

a-Popped out for Weaver, Jr in the 6th. b-Singled for Shields, S in the 7th. c-Grounded out for Patchett in the 8th. d-Lined out for Carmona, I in the 9th.

BATTING
2B: Evans, T (5, Berg), Wilson, Bo (1, Berg).
3B: Bourjos (1, Zambrano, C).
HR: Napoli (6, 1st inning off Zambrano, C, 1 on, 2 out), Bourjos (2, 6th inning off Samardzija, 1 on, 1 out), Evans, T (1, 9th inning off Caridad, 1 on, 2 out).
TB: Izturis, M; Statia; Wilson, Bo 3; Wood, B 2; Napoli 4; Quinlan; Bourjos 7; Evans, T 9; Aldridge, C.
RBI: Napoli 2 (11), Bourjos 3 (6), Evans, T 3 (4), Quinlan (4), Aldridge, C (4), Wilson, Bo (6).
2-out RBI: Napoli 2; Wilson, Bo; Evans, T 2.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Aldridge, C; Bourjos 2; Sandoval, F.
Team RISP: 4-for-11.
Team LOB: 6.

BASERUNNING
SB: Evans, T (2, 2nd base off Samardzija/Soto).
PO: Evans, T (1st base by Soto).

FIELDING
DP: 2 (Sandoval, F-Statia-Wilson, Bo, Perez, D-Statia-Wilson, Bo).

 
Chi Cubs AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Theriot, SS 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 .386
  Russell, J, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
  Flaherty, SS 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 .400
Byrd, CF 3 0 0 0 0 2 0 .309
  Fuld, CF 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .143
Lee, D, 1B 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 .176
  Canzler, 1B 2 0 1 0 0 1 0 .333
Ramirez, A, 3B 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 .257
  LeMahieu, 3B 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .286
Nady, RF 2 0 1 0 1 0 0 .207
  Chirinos, LF 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .286
Soriano, A, LF 3 0 0 0 0 2 2 .235
  Caridad, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Fontenot, 2B 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 .351
  Barney, 2B 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .286
Soto, C 2 0 0 0 1 1 0 .229
Zambrano, C, P 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .143
  Marshall, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
  Samardzija, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
  a-Burke, PH-SS 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .250
  Berg, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
  b-Guyer, PH-RF 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000
Totals 27 0 2 0 4 11 7  

a-Flied out for Samardzija in the 6th. b-Walked for Berg in the 8th.

BATTING
TB: Canzler; Nady.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Flaherty 2.
GIDP: Soriano, A; LeMahieu.
Team RISP: 0-for-1.
Team LOB: 4.

FIELDING
E: Barney (3, fielding).
DP: (Theriot-Lee, D).
Pickoffs: Soto (Evans, T at 1st base).

 
LA Angels IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Weaver, Jr (W, 1-1) 5.0 1 0 0 0 9 0 5.71
Shields, S 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3.60
Rodney 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 10.13
Carmona, I 1.0 0 0 0 4 1 0 0.00
McKiernan 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 9.00
 
Chi Cubs IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Zambrano, C (L, 1-2) 4.0 6 4 4 2 3 1 4.13
Marshall 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.29
Samardzija 1.0 3 2 2 0 1 1 6.55
Russell, J 1.0 3 1 1 0 1 0 0.75
Berg 1.0 3 2 2 0 0 0 3.00
Caridad 1.0 1 2 0 0 2 1 0.00

Groundouts-flyouts: Weaver, Jr 1-4, Shields, S 1-2, Rodney 1-0, Carmona, I 2-0, McKiernan 3-0, Zambrano, C 3-3, Marshall 2-1, Samardzija 0-2, Russell, J 1-1, Berg 3-0, Caridad 0-0.
Batters faced: Weaver, Jr 16, Shields, S 3, Rodney 3, Carmona, I 6, McKiernan 3, Zambrano, C 18, Marshall 3, Samardzija 6, Russell, J 6, Berg 6, Caridad 5.
Umpires: HP: John Tumpane. 1B: Gary Darling. 2B: . 3B: Rob Drake.
Weather: 82 degrees, partly cloudy.
Wind: 15 mph, Out to LF.
T: 2:20.
Att: 7,707.
March 31, 2010
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