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Worst Off-Season Yet? Why Do Leadoff Hitters Suck? Halolinks.

The worst offseasons in Angels history - Sam Miller - The Orange County Register
If the Angels don’t make another move this offseason, the winter will go down as a disappointment for most fans. (HUGE SPLASH aside.) But you’ve been through worse. Much, much, much worse. Here are the four worst offseasons in the team’s history, outright disasters that will make you downright giddy about the Angels this winter...

Sam Miller tries to make us feel better about this year's off-season by pointing out it could be much worse. One thing I noticed about previous bad off-seasons when compared to this year, is at least the Angels didn't lose an impact player to free agency following the 2010 season (unless you count Hideki Matsui and Scot Shields). This off-season hasn't been bad...just uninspiring. Be sure to check out the comment section of this OCR post where Matt Welch and Sean Smith show Earl Bloom the backs of their hands.

Hitting by Lineup Slot, 2010 - Walk Like a Sabermetrician
NL #3 hitters were the most productive in 2009 as well. American League teams had their best hitters in the cleanup spot on average. In the leadoff piece, I touched on how leadoff hitters as a group were below-average; here we see that it was the AL that produced that result, as junior circuit leadoff men were less productive than any other spots other than #8 and #9.

I find it interesting the Angels fell into the same "let's put a crappy hitter in the leadoff spot" trap that most of their AL rivals did. Imagine how much of an advantage an AL team with a good leadoff hitter has over their competition when compared to the low rankings of the other top-of-the-order hitters. Another take-away point from this post; the Angels did not have a top ranking in any batting order slot, but they did have the worst #8 hitter in baseball. Any guesses as to who that would be? (Hint: Rhymes with Shmeff Shmathis)


The Internet Zealot Responds - The Baseball Analysts
Heyman released his Hall of Fame ballot on Twitter several days ago but devoted his entire column on Monday (sans his picks on the second page) to "Why I didn't cast a Hall of Fame vote for Bert Blyleven, again." Incredible. He mentions Blyleven specifically or refers to him in 24 of the 26 paragraphs that comprise nearly 2,000 words. By comparison, he writes one paragraph on Roberto Alomar, his top candidate; four paragraphs defending his selection of Jack Morris over Blyleven; and a few sentences on a separate page on each of his five other picks (Barry Larkin, Dave Parker, Tim Raines, Don Mattingly, and Dale Murphy). I'd like to respond to the following excerpts from Heyman's column...

What follows in the above post is Rich Lederer ripping Jon Heyman a new pooper.

The Two Markets - FanGraphs Baseball
There are several possible explanations for why these markets have gone different ways this winter; the one that holds the most water in my mind is that teams are reacting to the rise in prices in free agency by increasing their valuations of cost-controlled players. Teams are essentially seeing that the free-agent market has mostly recovered after a downturn in spending last year, and with prices for players with 6+ years of service time going up, the perceived value of players who are not yet subject to market pricing also has gone up.

Taking advantage of weak-minded Front Offices; the next inefficiency to be exploited by Moneyball-minded General Managers! This is a Dave Cameron post and I wanted to take the time to mention that he was right and I was wrong last off-season when he wrote:

It may work, but for the first time in a while, the Angels are clearly vulnerable. They’re no longer the clear favorites in the AL West, though they’re still certainly in the mix. But without a premium group of young players to build around and some important aging role players, the Angels are at a crossroads. If they don’t win in 2010 with this team, it might be time to look at going young for a year or two in order to rebuild the foundation of the team.

I went on record saying he was a biased idiot because he had ranked the Angels the 11th best organization. I thought the club should have been ranked higher, but as it turns out I was the biased idiot.