The final Tuesday spring training edition of Halolinks:
LINKS ARE AFTER THE BREAK...
- Angels' starter Dan Haren pointed out something I really hadn't noticed in the context that he phrased it: Angels 12, Dodgers 3 - FOX Sports. ''Top to bottom, our lineup is pretty solid,'' Haren said. ''We're adding a three and four hitter, and not too many teams can do that. So it's going to make us better. On paper, we look great, but we've still got to put it together and get it done.'' With Albert Pujols batting third and Kendrys Morales in the cleanup spot after missing 1 1/2 seasons with a devastating ankle injury, Haren's chances of being a 20-game winner look good as long as he keeps pitching the way he has." It's not very often a team can add a #3 and #4 hitters to their lineups in the same off-season, but in a sense, that's exactly what the Halos have done. Last season, the Angels' three and four hitters combined to hit a disappointing 45 home runs. Pujols and Morales could club 70 home runs, or 16 more than the 3 thru 6 Halo hitters combined to hit in 2011. (Baseball Reference) This is going to be FUN!
- That first at-bat at Angels Stadium was pretty cool, but it's nothing compared to the first OFFICIAL at-bat coming this Friday: Spring Training: Angels, Albert Pujols top Dodgers in Freeway Series opener - angels.com. "Monday kicked off the first of three Freeway Series exhibition games between the crosstown rivals, and also the first game Pujols played at his new home." Is this the year Dan Haren wins the Cy Young? "Dan Haren, who was battling what he called "dead arm" his last time out, seemed to have his normal crispness in his final spring tuneup, giving up a run on six hits in 5 2/3 innings. Haren struck out five hitters and walked none, and finished the spring with 25 strikeouts and only two walks in 26 1/3 innings."
- Last season, Haren started the season issuing just 2 walks in his first four starts (5 games, 31 innings), so the lack of base on balls isn't that new to the pitcher. It's just starting to catch more people's attention: Haren's Career Has Been Well-preserved - The Orange County Register. "Haren's career WHIP (walks and hits, per innings pitched) of 1.169 ranks him ahead of Tim Lincecum, Justin Verlander, Cliff Lee, Felix Hernandez and CC Sabathia, and fifth among major league starters. He has walked 1.89 batters per nine innings, and only Roy Halladay, among active starters, can top that. Last season, he had 26 quality starts out of 34, went 16-10, and was third in the American League in on-base percentage allowed. He might be the most underrated player in the game."
- I usually start off with Angel-centric links after the break, but the following post is so good, and so interesting, that its leading off the links: How Al Campanis' controversial racial remarks cost him his career, highlighted MLB hiring practices - ESPN. "Jimmy recalled being at home on April 6, 1987, when he received a telephone call from Al, who was with the team in Houston for opening day, and wanted to make sure Jimmy's wife, Brenda, received his birthday greetings and that they knew he was going to be on the ABC News "Nightline" program that night, to air tape-delayed in California.
CAMPANIS: No, I don't believe it's prejudice. I truly believe that they may not have some of the necessities to be, let's say, a field manager, or perhaps a general manager.
- Ranking MLB's Opening Day starters - FOX Sports
"6. Jered Weaver, Angels: Weaver was the best pitcher in the AL last year, non-Verlander Division. He’s coming off the best season of his career. His age (29) and stuff suggest he’s just hitting his prime. This may be a two-ace team; Dan Haren finished seventh in the Cy Young balloting last year." What's pretty cool is, any of the Angels front-four starters would be the opening day pitcher on most MLB teams.
- The Abreu situation is still festering and should come to one of three conclusions soon; he stays with the team and provides a solid, if not unspectacular bat off the bench, he's traded, or he is out right released. Abreu's final chapter may not play out with Angels - Yahoo! Sports. "The problem is, one man’s dignity is another’s prideful, multi-lingual hissy fit, the eye of the beholder and all that, which is to say that the Los Angeles Angels and Bobby Abreu would seem to be at odds over how this is supposed to end. The one thing they would seem to agree upon: It probably should happen elsewhere. Here's a suggestion: How to Sell an Aging Outfielder - Bugs & Cranks. "1. ‘VETERAN PRESENCE’ THE SHIT OUT OF HIM Meaning: Talk up the positive veteran influence he brings to the team every chance you get. Never mind that it likely isn’t true. So what if players can’t actually develop a better eye just by watching Abreu take pitches. The guy is in his 17th Major League season; at this point he’s just assumed to be oozing sage advice for the youngsters. Don’t let anyone think for a second that this isn’t the case."
- Here's a pretty good video sent to me from The NOC:
- As you've probably noticed, I frequently feature post from The Hardball Times. It just seems like they have something interesting everyday. Here are a couple for today: The forecast for October. "The AL West is a tale of two races. The Rangers and Angels will duke it out for first place in one of the most closely contested division contests." And: Free agent value and building teams from within. "The idea is simple: if you fill a team with fringe players available on the free agent market for the league minimum salary, you would win about 43 games and spend about $12 million. Therefore, a team should not be evaluated only on how many wins it can get beyond that baseline of 43, but on how efficiently it can use its resources to exceed that number."
- Tiffany Simons! (Sorry, but you'll have to sit through a lame commercial before you get to the video. The commercial I was graced with was for some pad thing for women when they pee their pants. Glad NBC is focusing on the right demographic with their videos). Anyway, did I mention Tiffany Simons!:
- Here's a crappy article: Michael Kazin: Why Baseball Is The Best—And Least Exploitative—American Sport - The New Republic. "In 2011, the average price of an MLB ticket was about $27, compared to over $48 for a pro basketball game, $57 for a hockey match, and a whopping $113 for one ticket to a gridiron bruise-a-thon." I'm sure Michael Kazin is a much better writer than me, but not this time.
- This is so awesome...the looks on the hosts when they cut back to their RV (yeah, RV) is classic: Commence The Kentucky Fans Shouting Profanities On Live Television - Deadspin. "Here's a shot from a few minutes ago on WKYT in Lexington of an ill-advised live shot from the middle of a gathering of Kentucky fans at the corner of Woodland and Euclid, near the UK campus. The horrified reactions of the "hosts" broadcasting from what appears to be an RV in New Orleans makes the clip that much better."