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Wednesday Halolinks: Looking For Relief, Pujols Paying Off Already

"Good job Scotty, but I'm taking you out."
"All I've done is warm up!"
"Good job Scotty, but I'm taking you out." "All I've done is warm up!"

I spell relief, H-a-l-o-l-i-n-k-s:

  • Mark Saxon continues his look at the 2012 Angels with this post about the bullpen: Position previews: Relievers - ESPN Los Angeles. Nothing new here, but he does mention Scott Downs, "Downs is among the most underrated pitchers in the major leagues, in part because of his middle-innings role and in part because of his upper-80s fastball. In three of the last four seasons, he has had a sub-3.00 ERA. In two of those seasons, it has been under 2.00. His WHIP the last two seasons has been around 1.000. Right-handed hitters batted .214 off him last year. Lefties hit .179." I know perception and reality seldom are the same, but my perception of how the Angels used Downs last season was one of wasted opportunity. If I remember correctly, there were a couple games where the lefty threw less than 10 pitches. One key to an improved season by the Halo pen may be the better and more frequent use of Downs.
  • Within this post, Alden Gonzalez answers Angels fans' questions in the final offseason Inbox - IT looks like the Angels are no longer looking at free agent relief options. ""We didn't feel like the opportunity existed to find the right piece for us, where we were," general manager Jerry Dipoto said Saturday. But he also noted that in Spring Training, with basically all 30 teams conducting in-house competitions in the bullpen, relievers have a tendency to become available on the waiver wire." Or in other words, the only addition we can look forward to are other teams' cast-offs?
  • And look who back: Lyle Spencer: Angels about to feel power of Albert Pujols - Typical Lyle post, "Scioscia has managed quiet leaders before, from Tim Salmon and Garret Anderson to Vladimir Guerrero and Bobby Abreu. And most of all, Jeff Mathis. They all do it their own way." Okay, sorry, I added the Jeff Mathis part. But I had you going for a second, didn't I?
  • Here's an interesting article from Bill Plunkett, Angels cashing in on exciting off-season moves - The Orange County Register about the effect of signing Pujols and Wilson. "According to the team, ticket sales for the Angels' 15 spring games at Tempe Diablo Stadium are trending 24 percent ahead of 2011 with five of the games already near sellouts – Friday March 9 against the Padres, Saturday March 10 against the Giants, Friday March 16 against the Indians, Saturday March 17 against the Brewers and Sunday March 25 against the Rangers. The Angels sold out just two of their Cactus League games last spring."
  • Just a ranking, no analysis: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Top 12 Prospect Rankings - Beyond the Box Score
  • According to this post, 2012 Amateur Draft Order - MLB Daily Dish, the Angels' surrender their first round pick (#19 overall) to the Cardinals for signing Pujols and don't have a pick until the second round.
  • Mailbag: Will Angels have Kendry-Albert 1-2 punch? - NBC Sports. "And no individual comeback may have more importance than that of Kendry Morales. If he's the middle-of-the-order, left-handed threat he was in 2009, the Angels' lineup takes on a far more dangerous look"
  • This entertaining Jeff Sullivan post made the rounds yesterday: The 10 Worst Swings Of The 2011 Season - Baseball Nation. "My definition of a bad swing is not a swing where the hitter trips and falls or lets go of the bat or something. Rather, I'm looking for swings at pitches the furthest away from the strike zone. Swings that were poorly conceived. Swings where the hitter falls or lets go of the bat are bad swings, too, but they're not bad swings for our purposes. There isn't data for sloppy or mechanically improper swings. There is data for swings at wild pitches." But how could a post about bad swings not include this dandy, nutbuster by Erick Aybar:
  • The OC Register's Sam Miller also writes for Baseball Prospectus: Pebble Hunting: Watching the Worst Game of 2011 - Baseball Prospectus. This is a funny post, but the quote I'm highlighting here is this comment, "I was thinking of cancelling my subscription to BP, but the last couple months of reading your work has completely changed my mind." Nice job, Sam.
  • Another Baseball Prospectus post: Wezen-Ball: Robot Umpires in 1939 - Baseball Prospectus. "From a 1939 "Popular Science" spread called "New Inventions in the Field of Sports: Novel devices provide thrills for players and spectators, and give aid in practice"
  • Report: Gwynn having surgery to remove tumor - "Hall of Fame outfielder Tony Gwynn was scheduled to have surgery on a cancerous tumor in his right cheek...He's blamed the cancer on his smokeless tobacco habit. Gwynn used smokeless tobacco for his entire 20-year big-league career and beyond. However, he said he has not used since his 2010 surgery."
  • Jose Guillen Wants To Play Again - MLB Daily Dish. "According to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes, former major league player Jose Guillen is attempting a comeback to the major leagues after skipping the 2011 season to recover mentally and physically. The former outfielder will turn 36 years of age in May, and has been training in his native Dominican Republic to get back into shape, reports Rojas."