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Wednesday Halolinks: Gold Gloves and Missed Opportunites

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The 2013 Gold Glove winners were announced. Mike Napoli is still awesome, and still not an Angel.

"I still can't believe they traded him."
"I still can't believe they traded him."

Today's edition of Halolinks covers "what if" and missed opportunities.  Two of the saddest conditions a person can feel.  Sorry about that:

  • The 2013 Gold Gloves were announced yesterday.  I didn't hear anything about it, maybe because there were no Angels on the list, but still...this is, or used to be, kind of a big deal: Top stats to know: 2013 Gold Glove Awards - Stats & Info Blog - ESPN.  "The Gold Glove Awards were announced on Tuesday, with this year’s field featuring a nearly even mix of first-time honorees and repeat winners. For the first time, a statistical component factored into the voting -- the SABR Defensive Index accounted for 25 percent of the vote. The remaining votes came from major league managers and coaches."  Another thing I missed was the use of SABR stats in selecting the winners.  Probably a good idea.
  • In baseball, as well as in life sorry to say, I have a hard time with the "what if?" game.  I was a big Mike Napoli fan when he was in Anaheim, and not just because of how well he played, but he just seemed like a fun guy to root for.  So now that he's having success in Boston, and on the biggest of stages in October, I've been thinking, "What if he were still with the Angels?  How would the team be different?  Would they be better?"  How did Mike Napoli become an asset at first base? -  "Among first basemen with 200 innings at the position, Napoli ranked fourth of 54. But the three ahead of him, Josh Satin of the Mets, Daric Barton and the Athletics, and Kyle Blanks of the Padres, each played fewer than 300 innings at first this season. Napoli played just under 1,100. By the numbers, he was one of the best regular defensive first basemen in baseball this year. And he's done it at age 31, with a pair of degenerative hips, playing roughly as many games at first this year as he'd played, total, in his major league career."
  • Had the club not made the worst trade in baseball history and kept Napoli, it's likely that neither of these players would be on the Angels' roster: LA Angels banking on Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton to rebound -  "Make no mistake: The Angels' shortcomings in 2013 revolved around pitching. It's the foundation of every championship club, and while their offense ranked seventh in the Majors in runs during this just-completed 84-loss season, their pitching staff was 24th in ERA. But that does little to hide the fact that their highest-paid players have yet to live up to expectations -- albeit for vastly different reasons."  And roughly $50 million dollars would be available to improve the pitching staff.
  • This is pretty cool, especially to those who thought Calhoun's 2013 performance was somewhat flukey: Five Notable Steamer MLEs from 2013 (Batters) - FanGraphs Baseball
    Name: Kole Calhoun, 25, OF
    Organization: Los Angeles AL
    Level: Triple-A (Pacific Coast)
    MLE: 274 PA, .303/.366/.501 (.321 BABIP), +15 Off*, -4 Def*, 4.3 WAR550*
    Notes: Calhoun actually recorded 222 plate appearances with the Angels in 2013, but they occurred almost exclusively in August and September, when the team was in no danger of threatening for a playoff spot, so it’s possible that his performance went unnoticed. The major-league figures were good (.282/.347/.462, .311 BABIP). The minor-league figures (translated above) were also quite good. A brief inspection of Calhoun’s player page reveals, also, some optimism on Steamer’s part regarding Calhoun’s 2014 season: in 558 PAs, he’s projected to produce a 120 wRC+ and 2.5 WAR.
  • There are two stories tracking with the Angels; the possible trade of either Mark Trumbo and/or Peter Bourjos, and the hopeful signing of Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.  I think the former is going to happen, but I have serious doubts about the later: Quick Hits: Robertson, Dodgers, Tanaka, Orioles -  "The Dodgers' pursuit of pitcher Masahiro Tanaka appears to be "the most obvious move since Brad Pitt sidled up to Angelina Jolie," writes Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times. Dilbeck cites the Dodgers' signings of Hyun-Jin Ryu, Yasiel Puig and Alexander Guerrero as evidence that the team will use its considerable financial heft to pursue the biggest-name international free agents. "We've scouted him a lot, we're very much aware of him," says GM Ned Colletti. "We saw him as recently as two days ago."  By the way, I would have linked to the original LA Times story, but I've reached their limit on free content.  I hope the few dollars they make offset the lack of web traffic they lose by limiting access.  I'd be very interested in how that's working for the OC Register.  By limiting online access, these newspapers are trying to generate subscriptions.  I'm no business major (obviously), but wouldn't focusing on web content be the correct business model going forward?
  • Anyway, if the Angels don't get Tanaka, they also will miss the opportunity to market his pitching.  Not to say he throws anything different than his U.S. counterparts, but we'd be able to hear about stuff like this: Unspinning The Mythical Gyroball, The Demon Miracle Pitch That Wasn't.  "Misunderstanding. Myth. Marketing coup. What exactly is the gyroball, that esoteric, invincible pitch from the Far East that supposedly dazzled NPB batters for years before coming to our shores in Dice-K's repertoire, promising to reshape the art of pitching, and what ever became of it? When I read Uehara's eulogy last week—eighteen years after the gyroball's discovery, nine years after it first caught the West's eye, and six years after it threatened to take MLB by storm—I realized I didn't have any answers."
  • The latest on Trumbo/Bourjos: Padres Have Interest In Mark Trumbo -  "The Padres have interest in Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports (on Twitter). The Angels are known to be interested in acquiring pitching for Trumbo, however, and Shaikin notes that San Diego might not be the best match -- their collection of young pitching includes several players (Cory Luebke, Joe Wieland, Casey Kelly) who are in various stages of recovery from Tommy John surgery."  I rarely use Twitter, but if I did, I'd tweet shit like this:
  • How much would you pay for World Series tickets?  Cardinals-Red Sox World Series Game 6 tix going for almost $2,000 -  "In advance of Wednesday's potential clincher for the host Red Sox, ticket brokers are commanding an average of almost $2,000 per -- $1,868 per, to be precise -- reports Forbes."  here's the Forbes article: Red Sox World Series Tickets At All Time Record Price, Pushing $2000 Average.  "The last time they won in the World Series at Fenway Park was September 11th, 1918.  On that day, only 15,238 were in attendance for the game, down from 24,694 the night before when the Red Sox lost 3-0 to the Cubs."
  • It's been almost 12 years since I've moved away from SoCal, so I'm the last person to comment on the Angels local radio station, but that doesn't mean I'm completely out of touch about how they're wasting a great opportunity to generate interest in their product: Driving along with 50,000 watts of Redbird power - Baseball Nation.  "When I was growing up in Kansas, I listened to the Royals on the radio almost every night. But sometimes, if the Royals weren't on and the Cardinals were, I would go sit in the car and listen to KMOX and Jack Buck for a while. Just as my grandmother was doing, hundreds of miles away. KMOX, especially some decades ago, was a magical sort of thing that brought everyone between the Appalachians and the Rockies together. And I continue to believe that baseball on the radio, and especially while driving down a two-lane highway, is one of the best things going."  Also: Trying to Outrun the Cardinals’ Long Reach -  "The penetrating strength of KMOX, a powerful radio station in St. Louis with a tradition of Hall of Fame broadcasters, has helped turn countless families into Cardinals fans since 1926, when it broadcast its first game."
  • This is either unfortunate or genius: Christian Science Church Looks Like a Giant (penis) from Space.  "The Christian Science Society of Dixon, Illinois, could not have gotten more literal if they tried -- which they supposedly didn't when they constructed a church that looks from a certain angle like a giant phallus, complete with balls and bushy pubes."