.300 was so long ago, Peter Bourjos getting noticed. Halolinks

Remembering the Angels' .300 lineup - SweetSpot Blog - ESPN
The Angels' pitching has actually been worse than their hitting. With the addition of Dan Haren, though, the Angels have four good starters. The bullpen's been just fair, but bullpens are the easiest thing to fix. Their outfielders and their DH are getting old but their infield is young. They'll need to find another hitter this winter, but if Morales comes back strong there's no reason the A's [sic] can't, at the very least, make a decent showing next year.

Other than forgetting he's writing about the Angels and not the A's, an interesting post by Rob Neyer.  What's interesting about it?  To me it's the fact that I disagree with his conclusion...

Red Sox Welcome Sinking Angels to Fenway Park - Across Enemy Lines - NESN.com
There are a few different factors as to why the Angels aren’t performing as well as most Halo fans expected. Losing their best hitter (Kendy Morales) to a freak injury, slow-footed outfield defense, and a terrible bullpen contributed to the downfall, but the biggest reason is the club’s awful hitting.

Those are my words quoted above, and in disagreement with Neyer's column referenced above this one.  NESN contacted me asking if I'd answer a couple questions about the Halos and my answers can be found at the link.  What do you think (answer in today's poll)

Angels-Red Sox Preview -  FOX Sports on MSN
Ranked among the league leaders in ERA and tied with fellow All-Star Jon Lester for the team high in victories, Clay Buchholz has more than done his part to improve the Red Sox's playoff chances. He's 3-0 with a 1.48 ERA in his last four outings. "I've definitely exceeded anything I thought I'd be able to do in this game so far this year," he said after throwing eight innings of one-run ball in Wednesday's 10-1 win at Toronto. The right-hander has won both of his starts against the Angels (60-59) this year and Boston has won all seven matchups, including four at Fenway from May 3-6. Trailing AL West-leading Texas by a wide margin, the Angels likely need another solid performance from ace Jered Weaver (11-7, 2.87) if they're going to post their first win over Boston since sweeping last year's AL division series. Weaver, 2-0 with an 0.83 ERA in three starts this month, went a season-high eight innings in Wednesday's 2-1, 10-inning victory over Kansas City. He had 11 strikeouts to raise his major league-leading total to 182.

Weaver takes the hill and this is the game where he can prove he's truly the Angels ace by doing what aces do...winning the must-win game.

 

Angels sign first-rounder Cowart - angelsbaseball.com
Financial terms of the deal weren't officially disclosed, but a source told MLB.com that Cowart's signing bonus amounted to $2.3 million. There's video!

Peter Bourjos quickly makes impression with Angels - latimes.com
Says Manager Mike Scioscia, "A good speed from home to first for a right-handed batter is 4.1 seconds. He's faster than that." Says second baseman Howie Kendrick, "He's up there with the best in the league, with [Pittsburgh's Andrew] McCutchen and [Tampa Bay's Carl] Crawford. With our own Erick Aybar. We were coming around the bases the other day and I looked back and he was right on me, so I had to get it in gear." The always affable Hunter says, with a huge grin, "He might be the fastest white guy I ever saw."

A Critique of Peter Bourjos’ MLB.com Highlight Reel - FanGraphs Baseball
In their most recent Prospect Handbook, Baseball America calls Bourjos’ defense "game-changing," and the numbers agree: per Total Zone, Bourjos was worth +76 runs in 360 games started in center field 2006 to 2009. The question remains, though: of what value is Bourjos to the more aesthetically oriented baseball enthusiast? In what follows, I hope to provide something like an answer, as I critique each of the eleven videos at Bourjos’ MLB.com highlight reel.  There's video!

By any measure, the Padres are suddenly overwhelming favorites to win the West -  USATODAY.com
Over at coolstandings.com, which uses the above theory and others to calculate playoff probabilities, the Padres now are given a 90% chance to make the playoffs. In other words, they're almost as much a postseason shoo-in as the Yankees.

At least one Southern California team looks like they're going to make the playoffs.  By the way, the Angels still have a 2.5% chance.

New York Mets consider trying to void Francisco Rodriguez's contract - SI.com
The Mets are looking into the possibility of voiding closer Francisco Rodriguez's contract, SI.com has learned. If the team is successful in doing so, they could save at least $17 million, and potentially more. They are looking into whether the contract, for $37 million over three years, can be voided based on Rodriguez injuring himself outside the course of play.

K-Rod is out for the remainder of the season due to the injury he sustained while beating up the grandfather of his kids.

The .300 – Tonight, they dine in ... mediocrity  - The Orange County Register
Things have certainly changed. The Angels' everyday lineup this year usually features just one hitter with an average currently above .280 (Torii Hunter at .290), and all of the nine players from the .300 game are below that mark this season.

Slideshow of what those .300 hitter are doing now.

Washington Nationals, top pick Bryce Harper agree to 5-year deal -  SI.com
Power prodigy and No. 1 overall draft choice Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals agreed on a five-year, $9.9 million deal late Monday night, beating the midnight deadline for 2010 draftees.Harper's deal is a record for a non-pitcher signed out of the draft who had not become a free agent.Current New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira set the previous record for a major league deal for a position player, getting a $9.5 million, four-year deal from the Texas Rangers in 2001. Harper's deal, like Teixeira's, was negotiated by agent Scott Boras.

Hey, maybe now he can afford to wash his face.  It really surprised me when I read that Teixeira's deal was the largest and it took nine years to surpass it.  2001 was also the year the Rangers signed Alex Rodriguez to the $250M contract.  No wonder they went bankrupt. 

MLB Draft History
Cool list of each draft pick and when they signed.

Ball Four at 40 - Ron Kaplan's Baseball Bookshelf
The Baseball Reliquary presents "Ball Four Turns Forty," an exhibition celebrating one of the great books in American literature, Jim Bouton’s Ball Four, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of its publication. The exhibition, which opened on Aug. 9, runs through Oct. 1, 2010 in the lobby display cases of the Burbank Central Library, 110 N. Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank, Calif.Former major league pitcher Jim Bouton’s greatest impact on the game came as the author of Ball Four, published in 1970, arguably the most influential baseball book ever written and one which forever changed the face of sportswriting and our conception of what it means to be a professional athlete.

If you haven't read it, you're missing out.  Go to the library, or Barnes and Noble, or Amazon and get this book and read it.  Like right now...I'll wait.

Ranger dangers - Angels blog : The Orange County Register
And Vlad Guerrero continues to do what he can to hurt the Rangers’ chances, going .286/.286/.286 over the weekend. On Saturday, down two runs with one out in the ninth, with the tying run at the plate, he was caught trying to steal second base — maybe the second-worst baserunning error of the season. His OPS is now just .838, which means there’s still a chance he’ll actually end up hitting worse this year than he did last year (.794).

Maybe he'll finish with worse slash-stats, but he's already bested last year's totals for HR, RBI, 2B, R, and total bases.  Added bonus, he's hit into less double plays in 60 more plate appearances.

Tampa Bay Rays beat Cliff Lee, Texas Rangers -  FOX Sports on MSN
Carlos Pena hit a tiebreaking single during a four-run eighth inning and the Tampa Bay Rays rallied to beat Cliff Lee and the Texas Rangers 6-4 on Monday night in a potential playoff preview.

"Potential playoff preview"?  Crap.

Column To Be Named Later: Dave Cameron Writes A Bad Rebuttal - Baseball Daily Digest
Unfortunately for Poz, writing about the Mariners in a negative light has consequences and someone is always going to stick their head up the bull’s ass to find out if that really was a T-bone no matter how respected the butcher is. Enter Dave Cameron who is always at the ready when it comes to bull.

It seems like I've been picking on Dave Cameron a little bit this season.  It's completely unintentional, I think he's a great writer, although sometimes he comes off as biased. However, it looks like the Baseball Daily Digest doesn't like him as much as I do.

Surprise diagnosis prevents Brewers from signing top draft pick - Big League Stew -  Yahoo! Sports
As first reported by John Klima of Baseball Beginnings, Covey was diagnosed with Type I diabetes during a medical exam last Wednesday The revelation helped explain why Gatorade's California Player of the Year experienced a drop in velocity late in his high school season ... but it also threw a wrench into his plans for pro baseball. Faced with a short time to make a very important decision, the 19-year-old righty decided to honor his commitment to play baseball for the University of San Diego. He'll be close to home there and he believes he'll be able to better learn how to deal with his new condition.

Eight is not so great:

American League West
Team W L Pct. GB
Texas 67 50 .573 -
L.A. Angels 60 59 .504 8
Oakland 57 60 .487 10
Seattle 46 73 .387 22

 

 

August 17 - BR Bullpen
1967 - California's Jim Weaver gives up Reggie Jackson's first ML homer but holds on to beat Kansas City, 4 - 3.
1985 - Reggie Jackson hits his 522nd career home run off Oakland's Bill Krueger to move past Ted Williams and Willie McCovey into 8th place on the all-time list.
1994 - Former major league 1B Willie Aikens is convicted by a federal jury on four counts of distributing crack cocaine and one count of using a gun in a drug transaction. He could face at least 15 years in prison.

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