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Thursday Halolinks: Previewing the 25-Man Roster, Mike Trout Not There

Mike Trout and Vernon Wells get into a brawl over who will man left field for the Angels in 2012.
Mike Trout and Vernon Wells get into a brawl over who will man left field for the Angels in 2012.

Yo-eleven. Less than 12, more than 10 days until pitchers/catchers report Halolinks:

  • NBC Sports is doing a feature on each team's projected opening day 25-man rosters; here's what they have on the Halos: Running down the rosters: Los Angeles Angels - HardballTalk. "Texas still has more depth and minor league talent to play with, but the Angels have the better rotation and now arguably the game’s best hitter anchoring the lineup." I'm a little concerned with the drop-off of talent the Angels have after #5 starter Jerome Williams, but I hate to say it, I wasn't aware of how weak the the bullpen looks until reading in this post. The only new addition to last season's staff was 39 year-old LaTroy Hawkins, and unless the club signs one of the few remaining free agents (Luis Ayala), or one of their current relievers has a breakout season (I'm betting on Rich Thompson), the pen may be the Angels downfall in 2012.
  • Mark Saxon's continued look at each position: Position previews: Left field - ESPN Los Angeles. There was some minor rumblings about the Vernon Wells/Mike Trout situation in left field, but Saxon gets a definitive answer, "Nothing gets Angels fans more riled up than thinking about left field; specifically, the brutal 2011 season of left fielder Vernon Wells.... Which figures to make the following comment by general manager Jerry Dipoto like nails on a chalkboard to some fans: "Vernon's our left fielder." Dipoto made that statement Wednesday, when I asked him whether there will be a measure of competition for the spot this spring." It sounds like Trout will start the season in Utah, "Guys who make their debuts as teenagers are in a selective class. He's got a huge upside and we'll make sure he gets his reps. With our current setup, there's no reason to rush him," Dipoto said.
  • And speaking of teenagers, here's an interesting post from FanGraphs: High School Draftees and Elite Seasons - FanGraphs Baseball. A couple of telling stats point out the difference in drafting HS and college players, "79% of collegiate first-round draft picks reach the major leagues for at least one day. 62% of high school first-round draft picks reach the major leagues for at least one day. 32.8% (77 of 235) of elite players were drafted out of high school. Compare that to the 45.9% (108 of 235) that attended some sort of college, and we are left with the conclusion that high school players are not worth the risk. The increased reward of an increased likelihood of drafting an elite player is simply not corroborated by the numbers. Not only do collegiate players reach the big leagues at a higher rate, but collegiate players also make up the vast majority of the elite players in the MLB since the 2000 season."

ESPN's Keith Law takes a look at each teams' minor league system: San Diego Padres have the best farm system in baseball - ESPN (subscription req'd). You'll need an Insider subscription to read the entire post, but in case you don't, here's what he has to write about the Halos, "15. Los Angeles Angels There's only one real sure thing in the system (Mike Trout), but the Angels have a number of guys who are one major adjustment away from becoming impact prospects."
  • Prospect Q&A: 'Reck' turns to Langston - News. "Reckling compiled a 3.73 ERA in 17 starts and posted the first two complete games of his career, including a two-hit shutout the night before his 22nd birthday -- before a sore throwing elbow cost him most of July, August and September."
  • Within this post, The Angels' Mark Trumbo has been cleared to gradually resume all baseball activities. -, I read the following tidbit, "Trumbo and new general manager Jerry Dipoto have planned to meet a few times this offseason, but their schedules haven't allowed them to. Dipoto has had frequent talks with Trumbo's representative, however, with Trumbo saying: "They have a good understanding of what's going on, and my agent's asked a number of tough questions and Jerry's had good answers, and we feel satisfied with everything we've heard." This just seems weird to me...why did Trumbo have his agent talk with Dipoto instead of just picking up the phone himself and having a chat with the Angels' GM? Or if there were "tough questions", why didn't Dipoto dial up Trumbo to discuss their plans for the sophomore slugger? Like I said, this just seems weird to me.
  • Will big contracts for Pujols, Darvish, Fielder and Reyes pay off? - FOX Sports. "The Big Four have created limitless optimism in their respective cities. Many fans of the Angels, Tigers, Rangers and Marlins are absolutely certain their team will win the World Series. They don't want to hear the cautionary tales. But they should." This post also points out this, "Kevin Brown signed the first nine-figure contract after the 1998 season. Since then, 3,843 players have appeared in the major leagues, according to STATS LLC. So, over the past 13 seasons, less than one percent of all big leaguers can understand the pressures of being a $100 Million Man." But guess what -- Albert Pujols was already one of those $100 Million Men. The pressure's off! Unless being part of the TWO HUNDRED Million Dollar Man club puts some weight on his shoulders.
  • Erstad talks big game, but let’s see if Huskers deliver - Daily Nebraskan - University of Nebraska. "While coaches don't generally call their teams lazy nor do players call their team unprepared, the confidence the team is showing means they aren't willing to write off this season, despite Erstad's assurances he was "building for the long haul."
  • Well, so much for that...Rich Harden to Miss 2012 - FanGraphs Baseball. "According to CSN’s Ray Ratto, who attributes this piece of news to Peter Gammons, Rich Harden will miss the upcoming season due to a torn capsule in his shoulder." Iin a previous Halolinks post I had suggested the signing of Harden for the Halo bullpen. Nevermind.
  • Although he was a Yankee and came up through their minor league system, for some strange reason Nick Johnson was one of my favorite prospects. When skimming this post, Orioles close to minor league deal with Nick Johnson - HardballTalk, I had to laugh at this comment, "yankeesgameday - Feb 8, 2012 at 7:35 PM... Nick fractured his wrist signing the contract and is out until July."
  • If I ever get the chance to talk one-on-one with Angels manager Mike Scioscia, one of the off-the-record questions I'd like to ask him will be, "Why didn't you use Russ Branyan more often during the 2011 season?" Minor signings: Branyan, Suppan find homes - "Branyan, 36, will get $750,000 plus incentives if he makes the team, reports's Jon Heyman, and could prove to be a pretty interesting signing for the Yankees. He's left-handed and has good power. He hit 31 homers in 116 games for the Mariners in 2009 and then hit 25 bombs in 428 plate appearances in 2010. Now, last season Branyan hit just .197/.295/.370 for the Diamondbacks and Angels."
  • We've discussed this a little bit here on Halos Heaven, but CBS and Forbes have new posts looking at Bryce Harper: Will A-Rod pass torch to Harper as most disliked? - "4. Outward arrogance/bad PR. While Harper works hard, never gets in trouble off the field and seems to have great intentions, he's had a few public relations issues already. He blew a kiss at a pitcher after homering off him in the minors last year. He was ejected from a game for screaming at an umpire. At the Future's Game last year, he missed a cutoff man that ended up costing his team a run, but in the locker room he said he didn't care that he just wanted to show off his arm. It also didn't help when a coach said he faced the most scrutiny of any player since Jackie Robinson (which isn't a comparison, but when the names are used side-by-side it just feels wrong to many)." The CBS article was in reference to this photo click-through post: America's Most Disliked Athletes - Forbes. A-Rod was the only baseball player on the list.
  • Yesterday's Halolinks had Dave Cameron's 10 Best Transactions, here's the flip-side: The 10 Worst Transactions Of The Winter - FanGraphs Baseball. "These moves represent transactions where the team gave up something of legitimate value and, in my estimation, aren’t likely to get enough back in return to justify their investment."
  • Deadspin has this story: Source: Someone Tried To Sell A Dallas TV Station A Josh Hamilton Sex Tape From The Night Of His Relapse. "Eyewitnesses reported seeing Hamilton go into the restroom with a woman while an employee of the restaurant blocked the entrance, according to the TV station's employee."
  • For you fantasy baseball guys: Five Teams With Interesting Closer Questions - Fake Teams.
  • And finally, here are two posts about money, perception, and irony. The first, Reyes' hair sells for $10,200 on eBay - "Reyes had to cut his long hair because the Marlins have a policy in place that forbids long hair. It's probably a bit antiquated, but whatever, they are paying Reyes over $100 million for the next six seasons. The haircut was broadcast on MLB Network last Friday."


    Jeremy Affeldt: Master Of Irony - Hot Corner - Baseball Nation
    . "Affeldt's made $9 million the last two years, and will make another $5 million this year. He knows that 46 million Americans are using food stamps to get by, and complaining about the price of groceries is poor form when you're a millionaire. Unless you're being ironic."