Right off the top, this being a three day holiday weekend, we have some bonus info here for Monday, in the Weekend Series section and in the Beer Events listings below Slap Hitting. Make sure you don't miss those. And this is a 4000 word monster of a links entry. Hey, it's me being your working man. You have 4 days to digest it all. Chew slowly! For you of the tl;dr faith, the summary for everything below is: the internet was awesome this week!
Jason Vargas shuts down Rays on 3 hits, collects 2-0 victory as the Halos win the series ("The Angels win the series! The Angels win the series! The Angels win the series! The Angels win the series!") I mean, seriously, at this point does it really matter whether or not this squad takes more wins than their opponent in any remaining set of games? Shouldn't we be more focused on how great Vargas looked and consider what might have been, with an eye towards 2014?
Speaking of forward looking, congrats to recent callup Luis Jiminez for nabbing the opening (and winning) RBI in his first game up. That whole sequence of base running was pretty wonky, however. An accurate throw has Conger out by a country mile. Probably the wrong guy on base to be pressing things and restore the glory days of aggressive base running. But, hey, it worked. The pressure paid off with the bad throw and the run scored. And the throw was just bad enough that it put the Rays' catcher Jose Lobaton far enough out into the infield that he could gun down Jiminez trying to press things with a belated dash from first to second on the throw home. I mean, really, if the throw home is good than the frame is over and Jiminez won't have second base anyway. Jiminez only gets second base if the throw is to the backstop. That is something pretty easy to make sure of. So you have the catcher and the newbie flying around the basepaths all over the place where they shouldn't be, resulting in a much needed good thing (the run) and the inevitable bad thing (the out).
By the way, raise your hand if you have the answer to Mike Scioscia and his play calling selection concerning bunt opportunities. He had J.B. Shuck on 1st base with nobody out in the opening frame, Aybar up to bat, and did not bunt. But in the 6th inning, with Mike Trout on 3rd and Kole Calhoun on 2nd, and TWO OUTS, he has Hank Conger at the plate. By that point in time, Conger had a walk and a double in his first two plate appearances. So Sosh calls for a bunt. Oh, and Aybar was skipped over for the man-on-first-zero-outs-bunt-the-runner-into-scoring-position again, making it twice in the game.
Mark Trumbo, in a late season 3 for 22 slump of Jeremy Hellickson proportions (you will get that gag later on down the links page, I assure you), was "rested" for the game. Apparently he got enough of that rest through the first 7 innings because he was slotted into the game late as a defensive replacement. When a Mark Trumbo is a defensive upgrade to the squad you have out on the field, you know you are having a very difficult year. Meanwhile, ever the optimistic little army, the official LAA Game Note for yesterday's game puts a focus on Trumbo and proclaims that he is a "Heating Halo", since he "...has a triple, four home runs and 11 RBI over his last 12 contests…He leads Halos with 21 RBI this month...".
On To Angels Baseball!
The Scott Downs Project, Part 3: PITCH COUNTS
Ok. Deep breath. Switch gears. So by now you should have enough info to understand that we are on track for showing that Mike Scioscia under-utilized a valuable asset placed at his disposal, for whatever reason. We started by looking into the number of batters Downs faced during the three seasons just prior to his LAA tenure, versus his LAA days. On the possibility that Downs was pitching worse, more often, as an Angel than he was as a Blue Jay, we filtered out those outings when he was surrendering runs and we still have Downs being used less than he was capable. But there still remains the notion that maybe the fewer number of batters faced was some sort of function of pitch count. So here we are.
I am not so concerned with how many pitches Downs might have to throw, but how his manager reacts to those pitches being thrown. It's obvious that the more pitches any pitcher has to throw, the more batters will have been faced, the more outs will be recorded, the more walks, the more K's, the more base runners, and the more runs, etc. For a reliever, lots of pitches is not to be considered a good thing. This is not about pushing pitchers beyond their effective purpose. This is about managerial philosophy for how they control that purpose.
Some quick data points: under Scioscia, Downs was most likely to toss 7 pitches exactly, and only went more than 25 pitches 4 times. His highest was 29. In the three prior years not under Scioscia, Downs was most commonly going to throw 13 pitches exactly, and he went more than 25 pitches 16 times. In fact, he threw more than his Halo total of 29 pitches 6 times, with a high of 39. So, yeah, same results as with batters faced.
In terms of pitch count, Sosh was heavily slanted to restricting Downs to 9 pitches or less. It didn't matter if Downs was in trouble or not. Conversely, starting at 10 pitches, pre-Sosh was almost universally more likely to keep Downs in the game than Sosh. Let's go to the tables:
# PITCHES THROWN REGARDLESS OF OUTCOME
|7 pitches or less||9 pitches or less||13 pitches or less|
In only 6.04% of his outings pre-Sosh, Downs was limited to 7 pitches or less. During his nearly three years with us, that restriction jumped to 11.52%. Scioscia limited Downs to 7 pitches or less almost twice as often as Downs had just proven he could actually accomplish. Same with 9 pitches or less. In nearly 50% of Downs' outings just before Scioscia Control he was going 14 pitches or more. But, under Scioscia Control, almost 40% of the time he was going 9 pitches or less. To help with an obvious question about counts higher than 13 pitches, 48.90% of the time Toronto allowed Downs to pitch 14 pitches or more, while Sosh allowed that only 40.61%.
So, as with batters faced, we need to check how well Downs was doing when he was being limited to so few pitches as a Halo. That's next week.
- Mike Trout: Last week I linked to a Dave Cameron Fangraphs article inquiring the value of a Free Agent Mike Trout for a single year deal over the 2014 season., A hypothetical value prop exercise. Caeron left it his constituency to answer his question. Excellent dialog there, and most of his commentors went between $32 mill and $40 mill, with a few $60 mill. You guys, in my poll, went 31% in favor of +$30 mill. Here is where I circle back and do my reveal. A few weeks ago Jonah Keri over at Grantland was linked to here on HH, writing about "Mike Trout's Ridiculous Encore Performance". That article had a sidebar about signing Trout. The conclusion of that sidebar read as follows: "But even after baking in that potential regression, ZiPS projects Trout to produce a staggering 71.5 Wins Above Replacement over the next 10 seasons — roughly what Reggie Jackson and Rod Carew produced for their entire careers. In other words, even if you paid Trout as a $30 million–a–year player for his first six years of free-agent eligibility, he'd still project to be a hellacious bargain." Nothing short of sick. Someday you will brag to your grandchildren that you...were here.
- More Trout: Rev's recent article on the historical significance of Jered Weaver's recent win, and his place in team career WAR rankings, got me to thinking. Trout is going to finish this season already ranked in the Top 20 All Time Halos. He is already ahead of Troy Percival’s 16.9 and closing in on Jarrod Washburn/Dean Chance and their 20.4/20.5 respectively. Howie Kendrick sits next at 21.9 but he might yet still play some more this year. Mike Witt currently sits at 16th place with 22, but Howie could then pass him up before the season is out. Trout might finish this season already holding down 17th place, with a chance to move up into the Top 10 before the end of 2014. Guess who sits at #9? Jered Weaver. Even if we lose Trout to FA when his contract expires, at the rate the kid is going he is going to end up no worse than #3 all time in terms of bWAR for franchise career contributors. And he will still be 5 or so years away from his prime.
- Final Trout: ESPN is slowly getting sucked into the Vortex of Mike Trout The Greatest. A little while ago they stuck their toe into things with this article. That, of course, sets off TWO factions of ignominious lamentations: those from old dudes freaked out about their law care, and Detroit Tiger fans. Well, to update things, this week they added another take, which started off with: 'I read through the comments and, frankly, they were a little depressing, with one common argument going something like, "This just shows what you idiot sabermetricians will do to try and prove Trout is better! Here's the thing about that complaint: Aren't the "little things" actually an old-school argument about players? You know, "He does the little things to help his team." I remember years ago I had to do a presentation to a group of people who worked on ESPN's baseball coverage, including some of the analysts then working for the network. I was discussing the merits of OPS as a better way to measure a player's offensive value than just batting average or RBIs; one of the former players suggested the stat was biased against the players who did the little things.'
- PEDS: MLB announced three more Minor League players have been suspended for failing their drug test screenings. One of those is Brandon Bayardi of Angels, previously playing for the Orem Owls in A ball. He has been suspended for 50 games now, but it would be interesting to be in the club house one day should Bayardi ever reach the Big League club, and was introduced to Trout. (Ok. Yeah. One more Trout.)
- Bobby Knoop: Score one for us old-timers! The Angels have announced that Bobby Knoop will be the next player inducted into the Team Hall Of Fame. The induction ceremony will occur in Anaheim prior to the September 5th game. Fregosi and Knoop were the first masterful double-play tandem that I got to see in person. Not to be overlooked, also during this ceremony "Long-time Angels employees Susan Weiss, in her 50th season at the ticket office, and John Moynihan, who has been with the club in several capacities since the inaugural season of 1961, will receive gifts commemorating their service to the organization."
- MSM: As I wander far and near to pull together stories from the week, sometimes I trip over the sublime. The news feeds picked up on an OC Register article posted by Jeff Fryer where somebody had given it the laughable title of "Scioscia never had the horses to keep Angels in race". To be clear, there is a HUGE difference between having horses that end up failing to pull the expected load, versus not having horses in the first place. There is no way that before the season started anyone could have claimed that this roster could not even contend. I don't know what Fryer's actual content is all about because I won't pay for it (maybe for the best considering that title), but it could be that it's all about not having enough offense to overcome such a shallow pitching staff. But I could not resist juxtaposing this headline with the OC Mission Statement, which includes "...we strive to deliver significantly more value than we are asking you to pay..." Hey, Jeff, for the record...the Angels went into the season with the idea that they would have to overwhelm their pitching diffeincies with offensive prowess. The offensive prowess part actually worked, as the Angels still ended up with one of the best offenses in the AL. But, at least, in the coming debate over who should get fired and who should not, we now know where Fryer sits.
- Josh Hamilton: And that's a wrap! With two games still to be played in August, Hambone has achieved a new personal best in the single-month record for men left on base. He now stands at 67, already two more than the 65 he posted in April. For those interested, that is 243 LOBsters for the season, so far. And to think, there is still so much baseball left to be played!!
- FAIL: Last week I wrote how the Rangers and A's had already won more games this season than the Halos were tracking to win all year. Well, things adjusted a little bit with the recent team success, but both Texas and Oakland succeeded too, so it's still a fatal condition. Meanwhile, for those of you wanting to following the zombie trail towards mathematical elimination, you can absorb all the misery right here.
Buy Stuff - Crazy-ass Baseball Finds On the Internet:
For all you Dapper Dandies out there, who cherish your chance to go all cufflink on your fellows,
Friday, August 30 @ 5:10 PM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) LA Angels @- Miller Park, Milwaukee
(RHP) 8-7 3.46 ERA versus (RHP) 8-13 4.51 ERA
Saturday, August 31 @ 4:10 PM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) LA Angels @- Miller Park, Milwaukee
(RHP) 5-10 4.69 ERA versus Marco Estrada (RHP) 6-4 4.44 ERA
Sunday, September 1 @ 11:10 AM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) LA Angels @ Milwaukee Brewers - Miller Park, Milwaukee
(LHP) 13-6 3.36 ERA versus (RHP) 9-8 3.39 ERA
Monday, September 2 @ 6:05 PM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) Tampa Bay Rays @ LA Angels - Angels Stadium, Anaheim
[TROUT FARM IN SECTION 101]
Chris Archer (RHP) 8-5 2.81 ERA vs. Garrett Richards (RHP) 4-6 4.16 ERA
Well, we probably have to figure that the most compelling story for this weekend is how WiHalo is dealing with the weekend work responsibilities of his job, versus the Angels playing in his own back yard...On the cute factoid side of things, this is the first time that Jered Weaver has ever pitched against the Brewers, and this is the first time that the Halos have ever faced Wily Peralta. Also, I do believe that this is the first time the Angels have faced the Brewers in Miller Park since 2002.
This Date In Baseball History: 1905 - Hall Of Fame hitmaster (and guano crazy) Ty Cobb kicks off his illustrious Major League career with a double in his very first at-bat, which comes just three weeks after his mother killed his father...........1913 - MLB umpires launch their long and storied history of obnoxious asshattedness when Bill Brennan forces the Phillies to forfeit their game to the Giants while leading 8-6, because he got pissy at Phillie fans waving handkerchiefs and straw hats while sitting in the bleachers. The forfeit will get overturned by the League office and forced to be played to completion............. 1928 - Hall Of Fame hitmaster Tris Speaker ends his illustrious Major League career with a strikeout as a pinch hitter in his final at-bat............1961 IBM computer "Casey" steps up to bat and predicts that Roger Maris has a 55% chance of hitting 61 home runs to top Babe Ruth's single season record...........2002 - Bud Selig announces a last minute deal between owners and the MLBPA averting a strike, and allowing the season to continue, thus setting the stage for the Anaheim Angels WS title...........
Rounding Up The Major League News
- Managers: Are you in the mood for a new coach? Do you have your doubts about the value of coaching at the Major League level?? Have you forgotten how closed-minded baseball people can be??? Listen to Gabe Kapler. Kapler, for those unfamiliar, Kapler had himself a nice 12 year career, collected one ring withe Red Sox in 2004, and has turned out to be a refreshingly open and informative guest voice over at BP.
- Managers (2): Oh, by the way, don't miss this ranking system by Dayn Perry, looking back on the careers of all current MLB managers."Mike Scioscia...Not Half Bad."
- Mark Reynolds: The Yankees were, amazingly, forced to play Mark Reynolds at second base as a consequence of losing Robinson Cano to a contusion of his hand. One of the worst infielders in baseball was tossed into the fire of an unfamiliar position, sparking all kinds of curiosity. In honor of the situation, I offer up this old Sam Miller piece concerning the true reason for Reynolds' poor fielding skills. And what Reynolds retrospective would be complete without this?
- Verklempt: I have some good news to report, and some bad news. On the upside, Mark Heisler is reporting that it appears that T.J. Simers has been canned from the LAT and probably that they are only working out terms of settlement. Surprisingly, this most likely has nothing to do with him being an asshat.............On the downside, this can only mean that some media outlet on the more national/global scale is going to hire Simers and grant him even more visibility than he has had to date and we will only end up suffering even more for a little while. By the way, it is pretty fun to read Heisler totally gloss over the root causes of the fall of the daily newspaper industry.
- Marlon Byrd: Byrd had a pretty magical day this past week. First, he was to be honored by the Mets with his own t-shirt giveaway night. Then, on the very day of that event, the Mets rewarded Byrd even more by trading him, moving him from a team having a miserable 59 win season (sound familiar?) over to the playoff bound Pittsburgh Pirates. Win!
- MEDIA: Upstairs, at Baseball Nation, Larry Granillo did an awesome job of mining old broadcast rights data and conversations for back in 1961, our birth year. And, dig this: the largest combined package belonged to the Dodgers at $1,000,000, and the second largest package belonged to the Yankees at $900,000, but tied for third place in all of baseball at $750,000 were the Giants...and the LA Angels! The city of New York was down to a single team, and the A's were still in Kansas City, so the LA market absolutely crushed the rest of baseball with a grand total of $1,750,000 in combined radio and TV rights.
- Torii Hunter: Hunter hit a walk off home run yesterday to claim the final game of their set against the A's, preventing a sweep. Good for him, I suppose. It doesn't mean anything to us anymore. Except for one tiny, little factoid. So far this season Hunter has grounded into only 7 double plays. Every few seasons or so Hunter tosses out a year where he ends up in single digits for GIDP's. We got one of those in 2009. But we also got 24, 22, 15 and 15. I already linked to a story earlier this season which revealed that Hunter decided to change his approach at the plate, now that he is in Detroit. So, yeah, that hurts. Thanks, Torii. It's not like we could have used a few more wins in recent seasons.
- UNREAL: If you check the official box score for yesterday's game between the Astros and Mariners, you will see that MLB claimed 22,203 in attendance If you look at a photo taken at the first pitch of the game itself, you will see that those digits actually mean 22 people in attendance, in section 203. And, yes, I do know that all teams use paid attendance...blah...blah...blah...but my way is funnier.
- BEER BONUS: I pulled this up from below, to here, just to make sure that nobody misses it. CBS Sports broke out the cost of beer, per ounce, for each Major League ballpark. At the very bottom of that list, coming in the least expensive/most affordable, is the very reason that Arte keeps himself off the hook so well among fans concerned about the direction of the franchise. "What's obvious, though, is that the Red Sox hate America. Also obvious is that the Angels hate America's livers but demonstrably love the remainder of the human construct."
Video Of The Week
(The swing, the flip, the strut, the hop, the trot....the out! Oops.)
(Trouble viewing the video? Direct link here.)
A nice bio of the working man's third baseman, Ken McMullen. One of my favorite vintage Halos who spent too little time with us..........Not quite sure how to type this, but it appears that not every Dodger fan is an idiot..........So you are full of righteous indignation concerning PEDs users and convinced about the modern testing procedures getting tougher and tougher. Right? Right?? Wrong. Oh so very, very wrong.........Man I love these. Conger continues to get major kudos for his framing. Iannetta totally sucks at it. That hurts pitchers, of course. But those WALKS!!!............An interesting development has occurred which might end up being added to Mike Trout's agent's bag of magic tricks. Boras is thinking of a 12 year deal for Bryce Harper...........If LAA is trying to rebuild their Latin American pipeline, when are we going to be tapping into some of this?...........Jeremy Hellickson nabbed the 2011 AL ROY over Mark Trumbo. Jeremy Hellickson was sent down to A-Ball to sit on his butt for a week while the Rays figure out where to slot that 9.15 ERA of his over his last 5 starts............All I've got to say is...more fun than a Rally Monkey! And, lest you think that the person under that dress could only have been a dude due to form, check this out...........Why not keep one's sense of humor in all this? C.J. Wilson is still having fun with his embarrassing moment this week...........What could be more cool than creating and running your own successful video game company? How about selling your own video game company, using the money to create your own pro baseball expansion franchise, and then working your ass off to become a knuckleball pitcher on said expansion team??? Huh? Huh? Anyone?
And now, being the full service weekend linkage institution that we are, here is the obligatory moment we take out of each Friday...for beer...
Friday: Downtown Orange. The Circle. The 41st Annual Orange International Street Fair. Beer, food, beer, music, shops, and beer. Be there! I will be (bicycle, no HaloMobile)............Or, the 2013 LA County Fair kicks off. Yes, they do serve beer. Lots and lots of beer.
Saturday: The Orange International Street Fair is still in full swing. And nearby at Valiant Brewing Company is the English Barleywine release STENTORIAN beer tasting event..........The Upland Woman's Club is hosting their What Ales Ya Beer Festival in, of all places, Upland. (Tickets are required to be purchased in advance)............Down in Ramona, ChuckAlek Independent Brewers is putting on the 2013 Summer Reserve Beer Pairing Dinner and Bottle Release.............Hermosa Beach brackets the summer with the their back-end festival Fiesta Hermosa.
Monday: Final day of Fiesta Hermosa.
Future Forecasts: Let's keep these up and handy from here on out to the dates of the events, shall we? Ladybug has shared some finds worthy of our consideration. (NOT in chronological order, to read carefully!):
First off is the Delicious Chili and Brewfest on The Queen Mary in Long Beach on September 1. Ladybug links us to The Living Social online deal...........
Second is the Ultimate Beerfest OC on October 19th at the OC Fairgrounds. Again, Living Social..........
Third is a new one, Rocktoberfest at The Yost Theater in Santa Ana, on September 21...........