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MondoLinks: 39 days until pitchers report!

Spring Training edges closer, stealthily behind all the football attention. So let's flood the Halosphere with a video essay on the Five Tools of Mike Trout.

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During these slow news weeks and weekends as pertains to baseball, half my fun comes from monitoring MLB players tweets during football playoff games. Mike Trout, for instance, is a huge NFC guy, specifically the NFC East. He was huge into the Cowboy/Lions and Cowboys/Packers games.  He doesn't seem too interested in AFC games much, when at all. And I'll bet dollars to donuts that he will be glued to the CFP Championship game tonight. As will be C.J. Cron.  Garrett Richards is a huge Cowboys homer, and he has some serious opinions outside of the NFC East as well, but he had a good perspective on it all.  And, sadly, there is always one. This time it's Vinny Pestano.

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  • There are a lot of people throughout the blogosphere who do an awful lot to research and create stunning content concerning franchise rosters and farm systems and prospect forecasts, etc. And then you go and read how Jerry Dipoto maintains an ongoing spreadsheet that tracks the franchise depth chart for every position, every year, for the next 6 frickin' years and you realize that all these dudes out here on the outside, throughout the blogosphere, are really flying blind, with maybe 25% of the actual information necessary to be forming accurate opinions in the first place.



  • Billy Beane pulled off yet another trade and, of course, since the trade was made by Billy Beane all of baseball swoons. In this case, Beane brought to the west coast a 34-year old Ben Zobrist and the one remaining year on his contract, along with a reluctant Yunel Escobar fresh off a sorry 2014 season, in exchange for the best of what's left of his farm system and what used to be his starting catcher.  By my math, which is still incomplete, Beane has ditched 15 of the 21 most active position players from last season, losing their 18.9 bWAR in the process, he still retains 6 players (and 9.3 bWAR), but all his pickups leave his roster pretty much the same age as this time last season, but nearly 9 bWAR poorer. (Those numbers don't include Jon Lester and Jeff Samardzija.)..............If only Beane were as good at Moneyball as, say, Brian Sabean of the Giants.


  • Here is a trick question for you. If you had to choose between David Ortiz, Mike Napoli, Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez as your cleanup hitter, which would you choose? What? You chose Hanley Ramirez and his .448 slugging percentage? You, my friend, are managerial material. John Ferrell and Boston Red managerial material.


  • The above may be why, despite all the media hype that the Red Sox garner, Ferrell is not on this list of forecasted HoF managers. Our Mike Scioscia is on the list, with the theory that one more ring would make him a shoo-in. I find it interesting that Showalter is considered higher than Sosh, though Sosh has yet to be fired by anybody (mush less three franchises), managed his teams to more wins, a higher winning percentage, more post-season appearances, more post-season wins, and more World Series rings. But, whatever.



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The Five Tools of Mike Trout: A Video Essay

We have all heard of it. The Five Tools of Baseball. Lore has it that the great Branch Rickey is the father of the term, and the concept, first made public in his book The American Diamond. (I haven't read this book myself. I didn't even know it existed until doing the research for this paragraph. I'm adding it to my library.) in this book Rickey claims to know of only two such players in the game at the time of composition: Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. Throughout history, there haven't been too many more. We are talking well inside the inner circle HoF type players, here, people. Some players had all 5 tools, but circumstances precluded their full exploitation over an extended career. Bo Jackson and Josh Hamilton, for example.

Nobody disputes a 4-Tool Mike Trout. But our Little Mikey is growing up. Remember, for the record, that Trout was younger than all but 1 or 2 of the players in this past Futures Game during the All-Star break. As Mike grows up,a nd he works on his game, and he grows into his body, his final tool improves. And as he does, the following essay is going to need some serious updating.

But we have the evidence that he is already here. Mike Trout is Shock. And Awe.

Tool 1: Hit For Average

Tool 2: Hit For Power

Tool 3: Speed on the Basepaths

Tool 4: Defense

Tool 5: Strong Arm

So there you have it, Coach Jim Leyland, "Wonderboy", indeed.