There is actual baseball being played this afternoon. Yep, two teams made up of mostly minor leaguers and invitees will take the field in Arizona and Florida to play this game we're so attached to. MLB.tv will broadcast the event.
Today must be projection day as there are numerous pre-season numbers and updates having been posted. Here's the first power-ranking sort of look from Grantland: The 30: Offseason Stock Report - Grantland, "4. Los Angeles - Angels While Josh Hamilton’s relapse is undeniably sad on a human level, the cold baseball truth of it is that the Halos might actually be better off with C.J. Cron in the lineup. The 25-year-old bruiser swatted 61 homers and 87 doubles in 346 minor league games, and he should give the bottom of the order some needed pop." Rounding out the top 4 are Seattle, the Dodgers, and Washington. Is anyone else surprised Seattle is placed so high. It seems like they've sorta snuck up on me.
- Here's a projection for some Angels rookies. The second base situation could be rather alarming if none of the current options take hold: The Top-Five Angels Prospects by Projected WAR - FanGraphs Baseball, "All three of the batter-type prospects who appear here were acquired by the Angels over the offseason: Featherston from the Rockies and Cubs by way of the Rule 5 draft and then a trade; Kubitza from a trade with Atlanta; Perez, in a different trade, with Houston. None profiles as even an average major leaguer according to Kiley McDaniel, but all three feature non-negligible present value per Steamer. Featherston, for his part, will compete this spring training with three other players — Johnny Giavotella, Grant Green, and Josh Rutledge — to fill the second-base vacancy created by the departure of Howie Kendrick to the Dodgers. None of that triumvirate is demonstrably better or worse than Featherston according to Steamer."
- FanGraphs also updated their team projections, The Team Projections and You, Again - FanGraphs Baseball. They have the Angels going 86-76, Oakland 82-80, and Seattle at 87-75. Once again, Seattle is projected to take the West division. They have also updated their anticipated player numbers: 2015 ZiPS Projections! - FanGraphs Baseball. I just took a few minutes to browse these, but guess who the projections pick to win the A.L. home run title?
- A couple posts from Angels.com and MLB.com:
Kind of like Annie Savoy, I pick one player season and it's looking like Calhoun is going to be the guy. So it looks like I might have to buy a plane ticket covering the week of June 12th. Calhoun more than a tone-setter for Halos - angels.com, "The Angels will celebrate him with a Kole Calhoun visor on June 2 and a Kole Calhoun bobblehead on June 12. "I thought it was pretty cool to go out there and have your team recognize you like that," said Calhoun, an Arizona native. "When bobbleheads first came out I thought they were the coolest thing ever. I wanted to go to Diamondbacks' games and get all their bobbleheads when they were doing them. So to have one now is kind of surreal. It's cool for myself and my family."
I like giving Lyle crap. Don't know why, but it just brings a smile to my face. That means whenever I read a Spencer post, I imagine how he's sitting at the keyboard trying to incorporate Jeff Mathis into each of them. Today he must have thought about how much greater Righetti's career would have been had he had Mathis catching him. And heck, just imagine how much better of a coach he would be if he had Mathis as one of his players!: Righetti a quiet constant in Giants' success - MLB.com, "I rely on him in so many ways every day -- before games, during games, after games," Bochy said. "There's nobody better than Rags. I'd hate to think what it would be like without him. He's everything you could want in a pitching coach. He works as hard as anybody and has the respect of the players."
I mentioned above that real spring training games were going to be played today, and most of the teams would be comprised of the obscure players we seldom hear about. However, that might be different for the Halos: Scioscia ready to roll out regulars in spring games - angels.com, "When guys are ready to play we're going to start folding them in because you can always back a guy off if he's getting too many at-bats or getting tired, but it's tough to speed them up," manager Mike Scioscia said. "The guys that are ready to get out there and start competing, we'll get them a couple at-bats."
- Can you imagine negotiating a multimillion dollar deal via text message? Modern technology! Huston Street ready to resume contract talks - The Orange County Register, "Street, 31, is due to make $7 million this season in the final year of a deal he signed with the San Diego Padres. He is seeking a four-year deal worth between $36 million and $46 million. Street has said he would want the Angels to have his new deal start in 2015, overriding the current contract."
- Interesting, long article: Baseball Writers, Big Business and Big Sport – The Hardball Times, "Football has surpassed baseball in popularity, but the very idea of a "national game" doesn’t exist without baseball’s explosion throughout America in the late 1800s. This explosion would not have been possible without baseball reporters, or perhaps more accurately, without the invention of the baseball reporter. In the early deployments and discussions of the baseball reporter, we can see the seeds of the same relationships that produce so much sports content and so little focusing on larger social issues."
- Cool photos of the construction: Wrigley Field from Above - cubs.com
- I'll just leave this here: Yankees Rookie Nervously Tells A-Rod How Much He Used To Hate Him As A Kid (source intentionally omitted), "I’ll never forget visiting Yankee Stadium with my dad when I was 15, and every time you came up to bat I would just boo and scream "Asshole!" at you as loud as I could. And now we’re sharing the same field—I can hardly believe it."