Nineteen days until opening day:
- Although the Angels have the best rotation in baseball, an injury to any of the front-four would put a major damper on their return to the post season: White Sox 9, Angels 7 - FOX Sports. "Santana exited after being hit in the second inning and is day to day with a bruise. Manager Mike Scioscia said Santana, who is in line to be the No. 3 or 4 starter, could miss a start without being set back for the season. Santana said he felt a little pain, but he wasn't worried. '''Everything will be OK,'' he said." Losing one starter briefly would be something the club could overcome, losing one or more for any significant amount of time could be devastating.
- Wait a minute...he's made eight outs? What the hell?? Albert Pujols hits his first two home runs as an Angel - latimes.com. "Pujols is batting .500 (eight for 16) with eight runs batted in and six runs scored through seven spring games." Five of Pujols' 8 hits have been for extra-bases. Side-note: Although he is only batting .182, Ryan Langerhans leads the Angels with 7 base-on-balls and has gotten on base in half of his plate appearances. It looks like Langerhans is the type of player Angels' GM Jerry DiPoto was talking about when he mentioned he wanted players who could get on base.
- As we've asked every spring, "Is this the year The Future Batting Champion becomes a Former Batting Champion?" Things we've noticed - ESPN Los Angeles. "Kendrick has made several diving stops at second base, is running the bases well and is 11-for-18 with four extra-base hits and six RBIs. Is it because he's batting in front of Pujols or is it because he keeps himself in such good shape during the winter? Or, is it simply a random distribution early in the spring?" It might be a little of the first thing, not the second, and probably the third. Hitting in front of Pujols will definitely provide whoever is hitting there more pitches to hit since no one will want to pitch to Albert with a runner on base, but I doubt the impact will transform a .292 hitter into a .325 hitter. Where it might help Kendrick is making contact. Last season was the first in the Halo second baseman's career where he topped 100 strikeouts (he had 119). If pitchers are more likely to throw the guy in front of Pujols more strikes, Kendrick will be less likely to be swinging at those low-and-away breaking pitches he frequently misses.
MORE LINKS AFTER THE BREAK...
- Acquiring Dan Haren was probably the best move former GM Tony Reagins ever did...and ironically, it's probably the worst trade current GM Jerry DiPoto has made: Dan Haren’s Under-the-Radar Peak - FanGraphs Baseball. "Whether it’s been the big three of Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito in Oakland, Brandon Webb in Arizona, or Weaver and Wilson in Anaheim, Haren has managed to find himself disguised by bigger names throughout his career. Nevertheless, Haren enters his age-31 season with the chance to extend one of baseball’s best and most underrated peaks in recent history, and he could end up being the true star of the Angels’ rotation in 2012." Someone look it up, has a team ever had 3 players finish in the top 5 in Cy Young voting? How about the top 10?
- Slow and easy: Top prospect Mike Trout, Angels practicing patience with recovery from flu - angels.com. "Scioscia wants Trout to get time in all three outfield positions before the spring is done, and as long as that happens, the skipper said he'll remain in the mix for the Opening Day roster."
- I could be wrong (as I often am), but this doesn't make any sense: Athletics to Pursue Alberto Callaspo? - MLB Daily Dish. "According to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports, there's some speculation out of Spring Training that the Oakland Athletics could pursue Angels third baseman Alberto Callaspo, given their uncertainty at the position." Unless the Angels think Trumbo can handle the position and want to bank on the infield remaining healthy enough that Maicer Izturis can remain in his role as super infield backup, trading Callaspo would severely weaken their depth...something very important to the team's success. It does look like Knobler (heh, heh) is basing this on another writer's speculation and not fact: Drumbeat III: A’s acquire infielder Brandon Hicks - SFGate.com blog. "I think if the A’s were to make a move to fill the third-base spot, it would be more someone like Alberto Callaspo, whose name has been kicked around. Callaspo might be available if the Angels decide Mark Trumbo can play third base every day."
- I mentioned this a little in yesterday's links, but here's something Angels related: MLB players, staff eager for new iPad release – USATODAY.com. ""We talk about baseball being a game of inches - or in our case, frames," says Angels senior video coordinator Diego Lopez. "If you can detect somebody tipping a pitch or maybe doing something with their mechanics, there is an advantage."Lopez says even when a batter requests video that details how an opposing pitcher is getting him out, Lopez will search for footage of the Angels player producing a hit against that pitcher. " We want them to feel more confident - to believe they can hit any pitch," he says. " A lot of times I'll include their favorite song. Our goal is to try to motivate them to peak performance."
- We need a new Napoli on this team so I can make those "He's so getting laid" jokes again: Major League Baseball releases its social media policy — and it’s pretty good - HardballTalk. "The memo goes on to tell players that they should use social media to interact with fans and to work on charity and promotional stuff." Also. it's not a bad tool to line up those post game hook-ups.
- I think this kind of sucks: Iowa town might add to 'Field of Dreams' - FOX Sports. "While the project could provide an economic jolt and breathe new life into Dyersville's most valuable asset, it has unleashed fierce emotions that have pitted neighbors against each other and raised difficult questions for leaders of the town of 4,000. Should the city extend water and sewer service to make the project viable? Would enough people come to make it succeed? And if so, would the development ruin the nostalgic, country feel that made this part of rural Iowa a draw in the first place?" What's cool about this place is how it's so peaceful with the field literally in the middle of nowhere. Adding all of the other crap will ruin that.
- What happens when the stats used to analyze a player collide with that players own perception? Who's right? Tampa Bay Rays' Hellickson shrugs off theory he was more lucky than good - Tampa Bay Times. ""Yea, I just got lucky on the mound," Jeremy Hellickson says dryly. "A lot of lucky outs."The premise is based on a sabermetric calculation, called BABIP, which stands for batting average on balls in play, something essentially out of the pitcher's control. "I hear it; it's funny," Hellickson said, not quite sure of the acronym. "I thought that's what we're supposed to do, let them put it in play and get outs. So I don't really understand that."