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Thor'sLinks: Youth shall be served

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Avengers, this day our battle hath dealt the Titan-Lord a sound and satisfying defeat!

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Well, I'll be gobsmacked! I was completely wrong in my expectation that Andrew Heaney was ill-prepared to deal with the MLB Houston Astros in light of his Spring, and his recent lack of success at Salt Lake. Foolish was I to ignore how Houston would be suffering a hangover from their offensive explosion the night before, being too spent to muster much offense on short rest. Theirs was an offense so burnt out that even a Fernando Salas was able to mow them down. And twice foolish was I to not understand that the Angels are not the only team that might fall victim to the phenomenon that is "brand-new-pitcher-makes-like-Cy-Young-in-initial-opposition".

My bad. Smart money remembers my lack of prognosticative skill when in Vegas, and plays against me to their extreme advantage.

So here, have fun. Have links.

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Angels Baseball

Andrew Heaney: So this, folks, is why Jerry Dipoto sacrificed one year of Howie Kendrick's services. Kendrick is having a decent enough season up the freeway, currently sitting at 0.6 fWAR overall. And his Steamer projection now anticipates he will finish 2015 at 1.2 fWAR. We are catching a huge break, however. Kendrick's replacement, Johnny Giavotella has gathered 0.2 fWAR and Steamer project him out to finish at 0.6 fWAR. So the expected on-field player value for the chance to acquire the long-term services and contributions of Heaney are predicted to be 0.6 fWAR. Less than 1 game, and in only 1 season. What are we getting for 0.6 fWAR? We are getting a top prospect who just went out and buried the slugging Houston Astros in his first MLB start. Chris Iannetta: " 'His fastball command was a little bit better -- I think that's one thing that kept him in counts and kept him in the game longer. And then you're starting to see that slider develop a little bit more from where it was in the spring. He's still a work in progress, still has a ways to go, but he definitely made some positive strides.' "...........

Taylor Featherston: Featherston, of course, wins the game yesterday in the bottom of the 13th with a walk-off single to drive in Erick Aybar. (See the play here.) But did you notice his previous at-bat, back in the 11th? Facing Josh Fields, whos was throwing fastballs up to 98 mph and contrasting those with breaking balls as slow as 80 mph (a 17 mph delta), Featherston started off at 0-2. But then he settled in and worked the count back to 3-2, surviving 8 pitches before finally striking out swinging on pitch #9. That was Fields' 25th pitch overall and represented 36% of Fields' outing. Fields was pulled immediately thereafter and replaced by Luke Gregerson..............

Albert Pujols: We have seen enough games with our eyeballs to recognize that Albert Pujols is hot right now. The questions, though are (1) why and (2) how long will it last?  This study doesn't provide definitive answers but does dive into the data pretty well. Pujols is now back to owning the outer third of the strike zone. And he is also making extremely good contact.............

College World Series: Virginia ousts Vanderbilt to take the College World Series title for 2015. This was a repeat of last year's finals, won by Vanderbilt. Why is this in the Angels' section? Because Virginia's 4-2 win was made possible, in no small part, by this fantastic defensive play of Cavaliers' third baseman Kenny Towns. And, as it happens, Kenny Towns was the Angels 20th round draft pick in the 2015 draft just completed............

Quick Takes: Nothing gets past Rob Neyer, who agrees with us that the words of fired Marketing Executive Robert Alvarado are the true working business strategies and opinions of the senior-most LAA executives, and that Alvarado's mistake was saying them out loud, and in the raw............


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Elsewhere in Baseball

Axes to Grind: The next revolution in baseball is upon us. It's the bat, something that has changed almost imperceptibly since inception (at least, at the pro level where metal bats are not certified). And the revolution occurring with the bat has nothing to do with any part that might ever come into purposeful contact with a baseball. It's the knob. the primary idea is that the current knob shape promotes injuries, something I have not heard about. My intuition, FWIW, would have guessed that it promotes the proper bat rotation at time of impact with the ball ("label up") because it forces the wrist position as the arms move through the swing. At any rate, Dustin Pedroia has been killing it since he adopted the in-game use of The Axe Bat...........

Talkin' Trash: Yeah, this is awesome, even if it does lead to some copycat trend in the future. A young Indians fan sitting along the field level snags a foul ball and goes all in on Miguel Cabrera. Miggy gives it back, laughing. Later he rewards the youngster for his skills both with glove and with chutzpah by gifting him some cool artifacts. The kid's mind is blown. So is mine. Baseball is awesome............

Big Trouble in Little (League) Chicago: Here is a beautiful SBN Long Form worth reading over a cup of coffee, updated yesterday. It's a profile of Chris Janes, the man who blew the whistle on Jackie Robinson West Little League's All-Star team. It's the first in-depth piece I have read about the whole issue, so perhaps I am jaded. But my takeaway is that Chris Janes needs a good lawyer and a good public relations team. Otherwise, he is going to get completely steamrolled, financially and legally, by a group of people who wish to leverage our ongoing illness of racial inequity to justify the bad behavior of adults exploiting children for glory...........

Cheap Labor: Mike Scioscia is costing Arte Moreno $5 million this season, and $18 million over the next three. Arte could have saved an awful lot of money had he chosen Terry Francona, instead. Francona could be had for peanuts popsicles...........

Curvaceous: This is way cool! It used to be thought that a curveball was merely an optical illusion. Then, modern technology revealed that the flight pattern actually does curve. Now, we know that both explanations combine to form the truth. The flight pattern is a curve, but the spin of the ball creates an optical illusion that tricks the brain into misreading where that path is actually taking the baseball. And you can see this effect in action for yourself right here............

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And now, being the full service weekend linkage institution that we are, here is the obligatory moment we take out of each Friday Thursday...for beer...(which works better on Thursdays anyway, because it gives you all some runway to take advantage of Friday goings on...)

Friday: Nada

Saturday: Dana Point Food, Wine & Craft Beer Festival at Sea Terrace Park............Red, White & Brew Music Festival at Galway Downs Equestrian Center in Temecula..........2015 Hop 'N Barley Beer and BBQ Festival at Skypark in Scotts Valley..........2nd Annual Euro Bierfest at Alpine Village in Torrance............Bell Tower Brewfest in Placerville, right there on Main Street. (this one got to my curiosity. The Bell Tower is literally a tall framework with a bell installed up top, used to call local firemen since 1865. The project originated as far back as 1856. So I wonder if they ring it in celebration these days?).........Claremont Blues & Brews Craft Beer Walk from 4 to 8 in Claremont Village..........Lodi Craft Beer Festival at the Lodi-Tokay Rotary Club in Lodi (If you trip across it, pay no attention to the fact that this is part of the September Lodi Grape Festival. This event IS in June!)...........

Sunday: Stone Sour Fest at Stone Brewing Company in Escondido..........

BEER BONUS: We continue to track the Ales for ALS 2015. project brought to us by red floyd. Each week I will check back in and look for upcoming events for this worthy cause. At this time there are no events listed, but stand by!

Stay safe, everyone!

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(All grammatical errors still remaining should be intentional.)

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