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Tuesday Halolinks: Dipoto's little moves could have big impact

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Just because the Angels don't make a "big splash" doesn't mean they aren't improving.

Gordon Beckham's days as an Angel may be numbered.
Gordon Beckham's days as an Angel may be numbered.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving, and were able to avoid being trampled on Black Friday.  Next week is baseball's winter meetings.  So until then, don't expect much to happen in the blockbuster category.  We'll probably continue to see those little moves that could still possibly result in big changes.

Post Turkey Stress Disorder Halolinks:

  • I can't say this enough, I really like the way Jerry Dipoto is building the Angels' roster.  Working within a very tight budget, improving the lower part of the roster, rather than adding another "big splash" type player makes so much sense.  If I understand it right, improving at the bottom has just as much impact as improving at the top.  For example, if we rank players on a scale of 0 to 100, and the roster consists of 25 players with ratings of 30 to 90, replacing some of those within the 30-40 range with 40-50 type players, the improvement is felt throughout the roster.  If the team's average rank is somewhere in the 60's, improvement at the bottom will increase the average skill level just as easily as adding a big name player at the top...and at a lot less salary.  In addition to the players on the 25-man roster, those who are called up to replace injured players are better.  This results in less of a dropoff in talent: Angels banking on pitching depth for 2015 - angels.com. "You can't really downplay the value of those depth-type trades and signings that allow you to start putting together a depth chart, because two years ago we just didn't have one," Dipoto said. "Our depth chart consisted of what you were watching on the field at Angel Stadium, and we've been working really hard the last couple of years to extend it beyond just what you watch here."
  • I wouldn't count out Billy Beane just yet.  It always seems like he's one step ahead of us fans and analysts:
  • Let's see...7929 pee tests? -- that's a little over 94 gallons of urine.  MLB players were given 2,500 additional drug tests last season - Yahoo Sports, "In Major League Baseball this past season, though, drug tests reached a new high — as the league administered 7,929 tests to its players between the first day of the offseason and the last day of the World Series. That's 363 days, the equivalent of 21.8 drug tests per day."
  • Wouldn't be nice if our favorite team was able to do something like this?  Okay, maybe they have, but we just don't know about it:  Searching for Under-Used Breaking Pitches with PITCHf/x – The Hardball Times, "Upon seeing the data on McHugh’s pitches, the Astros reckoned he was underusing his breaking stuff, and that he had the potential to be a much better pitcher if he were to throw a few more bendy pitches. The Astros were onto something. McHugh upped his curve ball-plus-slider usage to 54 percent last season — the highest for a starter since Jesse Litsch back in 2008 — and he suddenly went from being Triple-A fodder to one of the better starting pitchers in baseball."
  • I want to know if fans wear down over the course of a season?  Do Hitters Wear Down Over a Season? – The Hardball Times, "The data are not perfectly smooth, but some trends can be noted. Hitters can expect to see some improvement from the season’s first half to second half in their age 21 to 25 seasons. From age 26 to 34, some decline occurs, with even more from age 35 on."
  • Baseball's reigning grumpy, old grandpa has another article up ranting about steroids and the Hall of Fame.  While reading through it, I noticed Chass seems to go on about who he thinks was on the juice based on second-hand information, and casts his ballot using possible flawed information.  However, the most telling thing was Chass' own ability to make one point, and then completely take the other stance.  Here's an example: Murray Chass On Baseball " BONDS DREAMS ON AS SUPPORT SLIPS SLIDING AWAY, "The history of Hall of Fame voting shows that when players of star status appear for the first time, others on the ballot suffer. There’s no sensible logic to that because with 10 spots on the ballot, voters can vote for the super first-timers and still vote for others." It seems he thinks newcomers have no effect on ballot totals since there are so many spots (10) to fill.  And then a little later in the post Chass uses that "no sensible logic" as the reason for Bagwell's slip:  "I voted for Bagwell on his first appearance on the ballot, when he received 41.7 percent of the votes. After several people told me that he had been heavily involved in steroids, I left him off my ballot the second year. He received 56 percent of the votes that year and climbed to 59.6 percent the next year. But last year he slipped to 54.3 percent, perhaps a victim of the newcomers on the ballot."