Well, here we are. The final Big Bang Friday of the 2013 season, regular or otherwise. 10 days left before the silence of the 2013 MLB playoffs.
I commented on this the other day, and it begs a feature mention here. I find it intriguing that all these kids the LA Angels have been bringing up out of our farm system have been amazingly productive this season, considering that they are coming from what is almost universally perceived as the worst farm system in all of baseball. And this is intriguing to me precisely because of what has been happening at the polar opposite franchise, the Texas Rangers (have you seen how Rangers fans feel about Jurickson Profar these days? Profar was the bulwark of their system. Their Tiny-Trout.). It's the Rangers' farm system that is annually lauded among the very deepest and strongest. If you flick over to BBR and stack the 2013 rosters of our two teams based on WAR, you will find a lot more LAA draftees with + bWAR values than you will expect based on reputation alone, and they stack up favorably compared to the Rangers roster. And even granting credit for that Texas farm system having provided the raw materials for trade acquisitions, they still hold up well.
Excluding Free Agents and Purchased Players, the Rangers farm has yielded a combined 24.1 bWAR so far this year. The Halos, led by Mike Trout's 9.1 bWAR, have the absolute edge at 27.8. What with having the best all around player in baseball, that warping of the space-time continuum around any other farm system is to be expected. So without Trout, LAA sits at 18.7. Now, that Trout-less 18.7 is about 25% less than that of the Rangers, but "the glass half full" way to look at that is that the "the atrocity" of the LAA farm system has actually yielded 75% of the value as that provided by "the magnificence" of the TR farm system.
Much better than the common narrative would allow us to believe, I suspect. So, yeah, you kids are doing alright.
Too bad you play for a manager who prefers players that are not kids. 2013 is long lost but, in hindsight, need it have been?
On To Angels Baseball!
- Mike Trout Porn (because you knew I always lead with just this sort of stuff): Scott Miller jumps onto the Mike Trout bandwagon. Yes, as Miller points out, what Trout is doing is approaching comic levels of Hollywood special effects as they become even more unbelievable. "If he can get to 200 hits this year, he'll hit another historic plateau: Nobody in major-league history, in his age-21 season or younger, has ever produced 200 hits, 25 homers, 30 steals and 100 runs in a season." And hits smack upon a meme that I keep pounding: "The biggest shame of the Angels' now-annual disappearing act is that because of it, they've failed to get Trout in front of the largest audience possible. Which is a shame, because those who haven't paid enough attention to him this year have shorted themselves." That is correct. West Coast time zones and lack of national TV coverage are costing all sorts of self-proclaimed baseball enthusiasts the chance to see, in their own time, the kind of on-the-field achievements that they always glorify in black and white news reels.
- Twitter Bitch Slap: This was fun...John Severino tweets out this yesterday: "No disrespect to Trout, but with 9 teams in contention in AL - MVP has to come from one of them. I'm a sucker for playing under pressure." Well, that really pissed off Jesse Spector of The Sporting News, who then blasted back with this...and then this...and then this...and then this...and then this...and then this...and then this...before finishing with this. My favorite response, though, came from @marv3mania: "And I'm a sucker for a player who keeps playing his hardest even after his team is no longer in contention", where he trips Severino into inadvertently conflicting with his own original logic.
- Jered Weaver: The Big News on yesterday's off day is that Weaver's season is being unwoven here at the end, as he is scratched from tonight's game due to forearm stiffness. If it relaxes, he might be around for one final start next week. Sosh jockeyed his rotation and is sending Matt Shoemaker to the mound tonight. Yeah, I went there. Somebody had to be first.
- ROY: Now I do admit that I, personally, have spent a few Fridays mocking the official team bleat on behalf of J.B. Shuck's bonafides for RoY consideration this season. But I have agreed that, considering the weakness of the class, even Shuck deserves some looksee. Even I have to call shenanigans when I read somebody blowing him off completely. Not this year, pal. One of these two players (Player "A") is considered by the author the shoe-in front runner. The other (Player "B") is considered absolutely and totally unworthy of any further consideration whatsoever. As if Player "A" is lightyears beyond Player "B". Player "A" was described as having "flashed the leather" in being involved in 342 outs, out of 348 chances, with 6 errors. But Player "B" (he being unworthy of even discussion), was involved in 306 outs, out of 310 chances, with 0 errors (and only doing this). A hell of a lot closer than the author wants you to believe. So by now you certainly know where I am going with this, but it still boggles the mind. If you strip away names and geographies, things are a lot less cut and dried:
- Final Thought: Monday marks the 35th anniversary of the untimely death of Lyman Bostock. MLB Network will be running a bio documentary Sunday evening. Please remember to fly your Angels pennants at half mast.
Buy Stuff - Crazy-ass Baseball Finds On the Internet:
I have absolutely no idea where this phenomenon came from, or why it would be a thing. But if you are a serious nut-case for both Angels baseball AND Poker Night with your fellow Angels buds, I guess you've found your niche. Angels Poker Chips.
Or, you could now start buying up Bill Mazeroski's personal stuff.
Also, just a quick note to 5th Starter and littletalks: in last week's WeekEnd Linkage, the two of you fawned over the vintage publication by Thomas Lawson, "The Krank: His Language and What it Means". Well I might not have found an edition for you (supposedly, only three copies are known to still exist), but I can predict your approximate cost should one pop up in the near future!
Friday, September 20 @ 7:05 PM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) Seattle Mariners @ LA Angels - Angel Stadium - Anaheim
[BIG BANG FRIDAY, TROUT FARM IN SECTION 101]
Erasmo Ramirez (RHP) 5-2 4.98 ERA versus Matt Shoemaker (RHP) 0-0 0.00 ERA
Saturday, September 21 @ 6:05 PM, (MLB.TV Only) Seattle Mariners @ LA Angels - Angel Stadium - Anaheim
[TROUT FARM IN SECTION 101]
Joe Saunders (LHP) 11-15 5.16 ERA versus Jerome Williams (RHP) 8-10 4.65 ERA
Sunday, September 22 @ 12:35 PM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) Seattle Mariners @ LA Angels - Angel Stadium - Anaheim
[FAN APPRECIATION DAY, ANGELS TEAM PHOTO, TROUT FARM IN SECTION 101]
Felix Hernandez (RHP) 12-9 3.01 ERA versus C.J. Wilson (LHP) 17-6 3.36 ERA
So Jered Weaver was scratched from tonight's start due to forearm tightness. And, with this decision, you get the following comment from DiPoto, which seems perfectly reasonable: "We're in the final 10-day stretch of the season," Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a phone conversation. "At this point, you don't want to send Jered out there if he's feeling any degree of discomfort. The smart thing for us to do is just push him back. That's what we'll do."
Which makes me wonder. Not that I fear Hernandez on Sunday. I like to see solid competition as it makes for better games while we still got 'em, and the Halos mysteriously tend to do well against Hernandez anyway. But after missing a couple of weeks due to an abdominal injury (strained oblique), what's the hurry in bringing him back for a game between two teams going nowhere? It would make more sense to me that they would hold him and get him more bullpen work and slot him against Oakland, but only if Oakland still had not locked up the AL West. Otherwise, let him take the remainder of the season off altogether, and target some winter work. Felix is their roster anchor for the next few years. Why not error on the side of caution with your franchise pitcher, as with Weaver?
This Date In Baseball History: 1902 - Utility infielder Jim 'Nixey' Callahan tosses the first no-hitter in White Sox history..........1907 - Nick Maddox of the Pirates, a mere 20 years and 10 months of age, no-hits the Dodgers (actually called The Superbas" at the time)...........1908 - Frank Smith of the Chicago White Sox, apparently the master of the spitball, tosses the second no-hitter of his career, this time against the A's..........1919 - The Boston Red Sox hold "Babe Ruth Day" for their star player, who then rewards them by scoring the winning runs on both ends of a double header. Good times are had by all! It will be the last time he ever plays for the Red Sox...........1931 - Charles Evard "Gabby" Street, a catcher who had retired after his 1912 season with the Yankees and is now the manager of the St. Louis Cards, steps back onto the field for the first time in 19 years and takes up the catchers gear, going 0 for 1 at the plate but throwing out a runner attempting to steal. Street will lead the Cards to the WS title in 1931, but end up being replaced in 1932 by Cards second baseman Frankie Frisch. This will make Frisch a player-mananger, so the Cards will look to pick up a full-time second baseman. They will sign, for his last season as a player, Jimmie "Pee Wee" Reese..........1958 - Hoyt Wilhelm no hits the Yankees...........1968 - Mickey Mantle hits the final home run of his career..........1973 - Willie Mays announces his retirement..........1998 - Cal Ripken Jr. removes himself from the lineup, thus ending his consecutive game streak.
Rounding Up The Major League News
- Blaze: You probably know that Billy Hamilton has arrived. The dude is fast, without a doubt. Apparently, he might also be able to hit as well. (Side thought: between Trout, Harper, Machado and now Hamilton, our national baseball future looks bright.) I had been of the belief that Mike Trout was the fastest base runner station-to-station but Peter Bourjos was the fastest base runner across two bases or more. Now we have Hamilton up here, and our guys might be bumped down to 2nd and 3rd fastest. But here is something to think about: the fastest time Hamilton ever produced rounding all the bases (on an inside-the-park home run) was 13.8 (the actual video is still here, starting at the 36 second mark). The fastest ever recorded to date in MLB is Peter Bourjos, at 14.02. Let me help you with that math. That's a difference of only 22 hundredths of a single second. And, for the record, Bourjos was starting from the right-handed batter's box while Hamilton was starting from the left-handed batter's box. And Bourjos was assuming that the left fielder gobbles up the grounder in shallow left, so he did not put on the jets for the first 90 feet. Hamilton is probably the fastest runner in all of baseball. But Bourjos might probably be faster still.
- Kyle Lohse: Here is a diversion on a slow news day. We all tend to complain about plate umps and robots when things don't go our way. Baseball players themselves, apparently, are no different. Fortunately, we have just enough robots in place to check up on these complaints after the fact (full disclosure: I still have serious concerns about this stuff but I do use it when I cannot argue the physics in any specific example). In today's case, Kyle Lohse was quoted as whining quite a bit about the strike zone called yesterday in his outing against the Cubs. "Not a whole lot of it was me," Lohse said. "When you have an umpire that says your grumpy face is going to cost you strikes, you've got issues. I wasn't as consistent as I want to be, but I made a lot of really good pitches and I guess I looked funny out there and wasn't going to get the calls." That's pretty unusual to be calling out an ump's strike zone after the game in public. I think that the players all know when an ump is jacking up the zone, and they just learn to deal with it, filing that particular caller away for future reference. Not Lohse. Not yesterday. Well, taking a look at the actual robot results, it appears Lohse picked a bad time to go public. I count only two pitches the Lohse threw in the zone which were called balls. Meanwhile, I find at least one pitch well outside the zone got called in his favor for a strike, and two that were in his favor when they were borderline. Lohse threw 100 pitches, which means that the robot can prove the ump was 97% accurate. Obviously more accurate than Lohse, standing 60 feet away.
- Thundering Herd: Some people might laugh a the vision of Prince Fielder scoring all the way from first base. Some people might laugh at the vision of Fielder getting tagged in the face at the plate. I laugh at the fact that the thumping vibrations emanating from the soil as Fielder was pummeling his way around the base path, which had to be growing louder and louder as he neared home plate, frightened Seattle catcher Mike Zunino away from the danger of any collision so badly that he was half way to the dugout when he tried to apply the tag!
- Poor Babies: Since August 22nd, the Yankees have played 25 games in 28 days. They have gone 12 and 13 in that span and now find themselves 3 1/2 games out of the final Wild Card spot and 4 teams ahead of them with an elimination number of 7. The NY media is sensing the blood in the water, and the Yankees themselves are tossing chum, ' "I think that we're tired," [Soriano] said.'..........I cannot help but point out that in that same time, the Angels have played 26 games, and they have managed to go 19 and 7 and rising. After all these years putting up with all the EastSPiN bias, we have waited for this a long, long time. So let's all pile on, shall we?
- R.I.P. Baseball Fan: Wow, this is sad. I failed to pick up on the news that yet another fan had died inside a ballpark during a game. Now it turns out that the fan did not fall at all, but used the venue to take his own life. It's absolutely tragic that anyone would find themselves in a place where they find their own demise the only way out, and it is especially troubling that they would get to that point in a place populated by tens of thousands of other people, including thousands of children, and force many of them to be participants in the act.
Video Of The Week
(A Field Of Dreams, with real HoF MLB players)
(Trouble viewing the video? Direct link here.)
Prince Fielder, never one to pass up a bite to eat. I know that probable comes as a real surprise. (Hey, there ARE some foods that Fielder clearly fears! But that's kind of a thing, is it not? I know Pablo Sandoval also suffers from food distraction. After all, Pablo clearly wants his cake, and ends up eating it, too.)..........Speaking of elephants, Fielder and Sandoval are not the first examples of pachyderms playing baseball..........Silly rookie, still playing with Little League fundamentals. Welcome to Mike Trout's world, son..........If Indiana Jones focused on baseball , he would have done this..........It must not be tough enough not getting struck out buy big league pitchers, so what the hell, let's volunteer to strike out one's own self!..........I love this play, I hate this play. It's clever. It's cheap. It's heads up. It's brain dead. Stupid base runner, stupid first base coach. Sneaky-assed infielder. I suspect that the coach immediately walks up to Matt Carpenter and nags at him about Spring Training fundamentals...in September...........Those weak-assed bigots of baseball, the Boston Red Sox and their fans, are at it again with their stupid meme-of-the-year. "Fear The Beard". Yeah. Let's just pretend that 2010 never happened. Because, after all, them Boston types were not a part of that at all!..........One GIF, 50 Home Runs...........One page, 50 train wrecks (home plate collisions).
And now, being the full service weekend linkage institution that we are, here is the obligatory moment we take out of each Friday...for beer...
Friday: You might have missed it, but LA Beer Week kicked of yesterday. This "week" runs all the way through the end of the season, so we have a whole lot of events to cover. It's pretty much a co-op event covering LA and Orange Countys, so it's a grab bag of stuff. The Friday Event Listing is here (it's kind of a sloppy page, and you have to scroll down a bit)............We are apparently close enough to October that all the Oktoberfests can start kicking off. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Voted one of the 10 best Oktoberfest celebrations in the country, Pier 48 Waterfront in San Francisco is the site for the 14th Annual Oktoberfest By The Bay. This runs all weekend long...........San Diego's original beer festival, the San Diego Festival of Beer, is on at Columbia and B Street in downtown SD. It only runs from 6pm to 11pm, though, so maybe it's more a "fest" than a "festival"..........And, of course, LA County Fair is still going strong, and they have beer.....Oh, and the 77th (!) Annual Danish Days are running all this weekend in Solvang!
Saturday: We got another Oktoberfest here, more tongue & cheek, with The Wurst Oktoberfest party with Dudes Brewing Co. (see what I did there?) at the Barsha Wines & Spirits Tasting Room in Manhattan Beach...........Also in Manhattan Beach, Tin Roof Bistro is hosting Bangers & Casks Event...........The Downtown Long Beach Associates is putting on the Promenade Beer & Wine Festival, at the Downtown Promenade from 1st Street to 3rd Street...........Belment Shores is not about to be upstaged by downtown LB, so they are pitching Big Beer & Bacon Breakfast Tap Takeover. Bringing out the bacon? Yeah, that's the big guns right there..........Don't forget: LA Beer Week is still going. Here is The Saturday Event Listing...........And LA County Fair, and the 77th Annual Danish Days.
Sunday: Stone Brewing down in Escondido is putting on a public viewing of the American Premier of the new television show "Brew Dogs", hosted James Watt & Martin Dickie of Scottish television fame. they are bringing their show to the US to tour our national beer scene...........Don't forget: LA Beer Week. Here is The Sunday Event Listing...........And LA County Fair, and the 77th Annual Danish Days.
Future Forecasts: Still gifted to us by Ladybug:
First, coming up next, is Rocktoberfest at The Yost Theater in Santa Ana, TOMORROW(!) September 21...........
Second is the Ultimate Beerfest OC on October 19th at the OC Fairgrounds. Again, Living Social..........
Third is an Amazon Coupon for Beer Tasting for 2 to 4 guests, with souvenir glasses, at Dale Brothers Brewery in Upland.