Robert Frost says it best. We humans, imperfect, are burdened to forget the true results of our past choices and doomed to exist forever between perfection and imperfection. And our flawed memories tend to end up creating a view in our rear view mirrors that is more favorable to our preferences, than reality has actually painted on the canvas of history.
Thus it is with MLB drafts.
Go ahead and whoop it up over these two days of draft selections. The good and the bad are fun to discuss. That is, as long as you don't go back and re-live your commentary in past drafts, comparing that to the yield of those past classes.
- Angels Lose: They lose the game to the Houston Astros 8-5. We witnessed Cam Bedrosian's first career bullpen struggles get converted into an ERA blessing of 16.4. This occurred, in large part, thanks to Fernando Salas' keen ability to upgrade Bedrosians' bases loaded situation into three quick runs via two hits that brought in all 3 of Cam's runners, AND 1 of his very own. Tyler Skaggs gets stung with the loss because he surrendered 4 runs in 5 innings of work and the Angels did not gain their 5th run until their 9th frame, after the Bedrosian/Salas extravaganza, and Mike Trout got back into action by going 2 for 5, opening with a triple to left on the 4th pitch he saw in the game. But thus, in the end, did the Halos end up losing the series in Texas, 2 games to 1. Only a slight upgrade to getting swept in Oakland.
- Drafty: A good amount of chatter concerning the LAA approach to this year's draft has been that Dipoto is focused on stocking up in the pitching department. Now, far be it for me to second guess the present and/or forecasted needs of this franchise, but I have no problem at all second guessing the spin on it all. Such framing of the message implies that there has been less focus on drafting pitchers in the past. Well, as it happens, this particular blogger has been tallying Dipoto's drafts all along. Here is where he stands as of this morning (FINAL TALLY):
|POSITION||2012||2013||2014||TOTALS||% OF TOTAL|
The point, obviously, that the correct representation of the LAA approach to the 2014 MLB 1st Year Draft should read that Dipoto is "focused on pitching...again".
- Draft Results: This is all still ongoing, of course, but here is where our 2014 draft stands as of Thursday night, which was limited to the first two rounds (Rounds 3 - 10 are today, starting at 10AM, and rounds 11 - 40 are Saturday, also starting at 10AM). With their first first round pick in three years, sitting hard at #15, the Angels selected Sean Newcomb, left-handed pitcher out of University of Hartford (Connecticut). Coming up on his 21st birthday and standing at 6'-4" and 240 lbs., this is a big kid with a 94mph fastball that tops out at 100mph. Oh, and he leads all NCAA division 1 pitchers with an ERA of 0.00. But, wait?...Bullpen?................In the second round, drafting the 53rd selection, the Halos took Joe Gatto, a right-hand pitcher out of St. Augustine Prep HS in New Jersey. One wonders if the LAA Area Scout for New England has had his street cred upgraded in response to his Mike Trout find. Anyway, Gatto is a famous comedian the top prospect out of NJ, and was rated the 42nd, or 43rd, or 72nd best prospect depending on who you ask. Gatto is also a big boy, 6'5" and 215 lbs. with a fastball up to 95mph. A couple of tidbits to spice things up with Gatto: first, he shares the same agency as Albert Pujols, which could make signing him easier. And, second, he has a scholarship offer from North Carolina, which could make signing him tougher. FYI, July 18th is this year's signing deadline...........Oh, and a recap of the interesting outcomes in the first two rounds is here.
- Howie Kendrick: Heads up , boys and girls. It's time to start tracking Howie as he nears a congratulatory accomplishment. His all-time single-season record for bases on balls 33, set back in 2011 (his All Star season). That year he also suffered though his all-time single-season K count, striking out 119 times. Overall his batting average was .285 and his OBP was .338. To date in this season, Howie has already amassed 21 BB's, so he is within striking distance of his season high. His BA is .288 and his OBP is .356, but the REAL significant item is that he is going to break into new BB territory at a time when his K count remains (by comparison to 2011) a measly 39!!!
- Interesting factoid: On 6/2/2014 I started building today's Links article, and entered the terms "Angels" and "MLB" into the SBNation image search tool on the prowl for a cool pic to lead things off. The first 146 images were 100% Dodgers. The next 4 were Oakland A's. The first LA Angels pic came in at #151. Arte Moreno is losing ground.
This Date In Baseball History: 1892 - Benjamin Harrison becomes the first sitting president to attend a baseball game. Unsurprisingly, the Washington Senators lose.........1918 - Casey Stengel steps to bat at Ebbets field for the first time since being traded away from the home team Dodgers. He calls time, steps out of the batter's box, and tips his cap to the crowd. Out flies a bird..........1920 - The Cardinals play their final game in their home field of 25 prior seasons, in order to move over and share a field with the St. Louis Browns. This is to cut costs and generate funds from the sale of their old park. The money accumulated will be used to fund Branch Rickey's idea of building something new for player development, to be known in the future as a "farm system"................1939 - The very first Little League game is played in Williamsport, PA. The final score is - surprise! - 23-8...........1941 - The NY Giants become the first pro team to wear protective headgear..........1944 - Annabelle Lee pitches the first perfect game in the history of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Ms. Lee. Two and a half years later Ms. Lee will have a nephew who will end up enjoying one of the most colorful career in MLB history: Bill "Spaceman" Lee..........1957 - For the first time in the history of baseball, an MLB game, originally planned for Ebbets Field, is "fogged out"..........1971 - One of the most coveted tickets in baseball back in these days was Bat Day, when all kids were given a real youth-sized baseball bat. On this day, in Yankee Stadium, the kids begin to bang their bats in unison (as we all did, in all stadiums), and chunks of concrete begin to fall from the structure. This was the sign that Yankee Stadium was in seriously ill health..........1986 - MLB Instant Replay, old style! During the pre-game, Padres manager Steve Boros tries to hand umpire Charlie Williams a videotape of a disputed call from the prior evening and is immediately ejected before the game even starts...........2006 - The Dodgers score 6 runs in the 6th inning of the 6th game in the homestand, occurring on the 6th day of the 6th month of the 6th year of the century..........
But the most important event to have happened on this date in MLB history occurred in the year 2000. On this date the video board operators in Angel Stadium play a clip from "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" during a game against he Giants where the Halos were trailing 5-4 in the bottom of the 9th inning. Benjie Molina strikes out. Adam Kennedy singles. Scott Spiezio walks. Darin Erstad singles in Kennedy to tie the score. Kevin Stocker grounds back to the pitcher who throws out Speizio trying to score from home. But Mo Vaughan singles in Erstad with the winning run as the Halos walk off and The Rally Monkey is born.
- Good wishes: Let's lead off with a serious moment, as prayers and well wishes go out to Greg Colbrunn, BoSox hitting coach, who went to the hospital while suffering from dizzy spells during pre-game on Wednesday and was diagnosed as having suffered from a brain hemorrhage. That has to be a very frightening episode for anyone 44 years of age.
- War Games: The work that goes into building a draft list, and then managing that list as the other teams take away all your prizes, is rather elaborate. And the GM is not as involved as you might think. "You will notice that there has been very little mention of the General Manager to this point. While the scouting director has kept him in the loop regularly regarding the ongoing proceedings, the GM obviously has lots of fish to fry, and need not be a regular occupant of the draft room. He will receive too much credit and too much blame for the decisions that take place there, but the role of the GM in the draft process is often overblown....The GM will most certainly be in the room, however, when the top few tiers of prospects are discussed and placed in the top 15-20 spots on the draft board. He will likely have seen a few of them in person, and will have pointed questions to ask about many of the ones he has not seen."
- Kendrys Morales: Now that we have reached the 2014 draft, Morales the free agent is truly free. Now we will get to see Scott Boras really pull his magic. There are a lot of suitors listed (Rangers, Yankees, Brewers, Mariners, and Mystery Team) and the compensation penalty is now cleared. "Morales is believed to have received some two-year interest in recent days but he may prefer to sign a one-year deal to set himself up for full free agency this winter. He wouldn't be encumbered by the draft-compensation rule next winter as his new team will be ineligible to saddle him with another qualifying offer as a player who won't have played a full season with the club." Personally, I call bullshit on the old Boras trick of "Mystery Team".
Here is an ancient find. Yet one more way that pro football just screws up everything............A lot of work goes into those mound logos for the TV cameras...........And even more work goes into lawn mowing artistry..........Now that they are not one of our minor league affiliates, suddenly the Kernels discover their inner cool............I think we can all agree that baseball is a pretty damned exciting sport. Except in Chicago. And in Cleveland............Is it me, or is Norichika Aoki finding his way into more than his fair share of bloopers? Here is his latest...........You know what, Mattingly? we LA Angels fan agree. Your team is shitty.............Fun with draftee names. This should be a drinking game on draft day!
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: The Beaumont Cherry Festival runs all weekend in the IE...........Also running all weekend are The Pony Express Days, in McKinleyville..........And The American Graffiti Festival, a part of Graffiti Summer, takes place in Modesto.
Saturday: Bates Nut Farm out in Valley Center (down in San Diego County, near Hellhole Canyon) is the site of The 3rd Annual MusciFest..........If your into music, but wish to avoid a hellhole, you might consider The Beatles & Beer charity beer event, to be held in North Hollywood & taking over the full top level of a local parking structure..........or, if charity is your thing and you are farther north, another such event is at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa, Beerfest - The Good One............Leaving charity out of it, right next door to the stadium at The Phoenix Club is The OC Beer Festival...........The Santa Barbara Ocean Festival kicks off, running for a full week.
BEER BONUS: Amazon is running a Local Deal. $75 buys you two tickets to the Nepenthia Beer Garden Charity Event, to take place June 21 from 3 to 7 PM. It's a fund raiser for Artistic Minds, that pairs craft brews with top OC restaurant dishes.