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MondoLinks: Farewell 2016. Let the playoffs begin!

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Our long, miserable journey to the offseason is over. We have arrived. Might as well enjoy some baseball before settling in for the busy winter.

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Well, then. It is finished. Battered early with devastating injuries, far and away more impactful than any other team suffered this season (going into the weekend it was already 11.33 WAR lost, worst in all of baseball and more than double our nearest AL West contender). And most of that WAR and time lost was even worse than that, hitting as it did the team's main strength coming out of ST. We were doomed early. Walking dead. Baseball zombies. Most fan bases would evaporate and move on to other things, having little to hold their attention until winter speculation. We are not most fan bases. We held our own. As recently as this past weekend we had one article approaching 10,000 views, another over 5,000, and a few others with more than 1,000.

Halos Heaven fans rocked it. Not just because we are a damned fine community, but also because we have something worth watching that no other fan base has had for many years, some never. We have Mike Trout. The Best Player in Baseball. The single most valuable athlete on planet earth with a bat and glove. On a trajectory to be one of the Top 10 baseball players that ever lived (trying to give consideration to Negro League superstars such as Josh Gibson, "Satchel" Paige, "Cool Papa" Bell and "Buck" Leonard). We have reasons to watch every game, every pitch, every play. One never knows when something amazing might happen.

Let's play a game. Mike Trout will get some number of 1st place votes. And he will get some number of 2nd place votes. He could get some number of 3rd place votes. Those are predictable. But what about 4th place? Will anybody vote Trout after Altuve and Betts and Donaldson? Or, maybe 5th, throwing shade on modern baseball? Here's the game: what will be the lowest position any single BBWAA AL MVP voter will slot Mike Trout? "Left off ballot" is a valid guess. We will reconvene after the award is announced, which will be November 17th.

Have some MLB Playoff Links:

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Everywhere In Baseball

Deck Chairs!: Today marks the first day of the MLB Manager merry-go-round, as skippers get shuffled out of various dugouts of the non-playoff teams. First up, Robin Ventura resigns from the White Sox. I wouldn't be surprised to find that 1 or 2 more reports are already in between the time my fingers type this and your eyeballs end up reading it.........

Trout Porn: Trout got to 30 steals and 100 RBI, but fell 1 HR short of a 30-30 season. Piker. At least he has a puppy to play with in the offseason.........One of the many fun things about Trout is his getting on base thing. Yes, he hits a decent amount of home runs. Yes, he gets a significant number of base hits. But he also walks. A ton. And those careers walks, after only 5 1/4 seasons, are starting to pile up...........In the MVP race, the ability to get on base via the walk is a serious advantage for Trout..........Also with a Sam Miller Tweet, Mike Trout and Mickey mantle are a lot closer in accomplishments than you might think..........Final Sam Miller, who spent a lot of time yesterday gushing over Trout: Trout has four 9+ WAR seasons, and the Mets have none, ever. I should add that it's not just the entire Mets franchise that has no 9+ WAR seasons, but the same is true for the Marlins, Padres, Rays, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays and Rangers. And, with four, Trout alone has more 9+ WAR seasons than most entire franchises..........As Matt Birch points out, Mike Trout was more dominant among the entirety of Major League Baseball than Mookie Betts was among only his own team...........Joey Votto had a damned fine season. But, as a player, Votto knows better than the rest of us what it means to compete in a world that is dominated by a Mike Trout: "Personally, until (Mike) Trout came into the league, I thought every year that I would be in the conversation for best player in the game and he f-----d that up for everybody. Babe Ruth and Ted Williams included. He's ruining it for everyone."..........

Special Trout Porn: Something that came across my radar over the weekend, and definitely worthy of serious consideration. The Actual Difference Between Mike Trout and Mookie Betts, as noted by Dave Cameron over at FanGraphs, is that Mookie Betts makes a shitload more outs that Trout. Betts made (at the time of the article) 86 more outs than Trout, every single one of them working against his own team. Put that way, how again is Betts more "valuable"?...........

Brain Trust: The dugout staff looks to remain intact. Makes sense, really. Except for some really bad baserunning, there is not enough things going right on the field to reveal whether this staff was problematic in any particular way. On the contrary, we might have witnessed our best pitch coaching in many years...........

Butts in Seats: When the final tally comes in, the Angels will have recorded another 3,000,000 fan "attendance" season..........

Value Prop: Jeff Miller of the OCR mails in an obvious column about the obvious. Arte Moreno spent a lot of money on players this year and didn't get his money's worth. I think it's worth noting that Arte spent almost $47 million on two guys who were never going to deliver any worth in 2016, and only $118 million on the team we rooted for. And that includes the contracts of Pujols, Weaver and Trout. Around MLB, below that figure were the Phillies, Reds, Astros, Indians, Twins, Pirates, Diamondbacks, A's, Marlins, Brewers and (bringing up the very bottom) Rays. So, although it was bad, it wasn't as bad as it might look to most............

D-FENCE!: My long journey to the promised land of appropriate defensive metrics is nearing an end. I can taste it. And the things we will be able to do with this information will be astounding. For one thing, we will eventually put an end to all the doubts and arguments against WAR. As with all things technological, however, will we get the tech RIGHT before I reach the pearly gates?. Sure we will, eventually, but I can pick major holes in Instant Replay and major holes in PITCHf/x and both of those have been around a while already. I find major holes in a lot of new tech. Hell, I can major holes in WAZE. Maybe somebody at MLB needs to hire me away from these dailies and make me Tech Czar............

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The Duffle Bag

Now THIS is how to get a baseball game started off!...........This is King Felix, after the final game of his 12th season, never yet making it into the playoffs, being the last Seattle Mariners player to level the dugout and walk back to the clubhouse............Just a friendly reminder. Bobby Bonilla is still getting paid. And he is down to only 19 more years of salary remaining. (Bobby Bonilla's final MLB game was October 7th, 2001.).........The Cubs could win a World Series. This serious possibility had created legions of Cubs "fans". This nice essay about bandwagon fans is worthy of your time, since at this point in our miserable season all our bandwagon fans left months ago and it's just us die-hards...........Just a few years ago Andrew McCutcheon was the Pirates' (and the National league's) Mike Trout. Cutch has fallen off so bad the Pirates are looking to be shopping him this winter. It's hard to think he will return blockbuster value...........This is interesting. The Padres were caught cheating on medical records and kind of screwing the Red Sox in the Drew Pomeranz trade. But MLB gave the Red Sox the chance to undo the deal, and the Red Sox said no..........I think that I have come quite a ways as a baseball fan. When I was a kid, finishing a season with the highest batting average and claiming "the batting title" was a very big thing. Nowadays, being so much more aware of so much more information concerning player performance has me shaking my head that teams still do things such as sit a player on the final day to hold their batting average, so that they can stave off some competitor by the narrowest of margins and clime the "batting title"..........H/T to UniWatch, Doug DeCinces on the 1983 Angels hitting a couple of home runs against eh Baltimore Orioles while wearing the bat bay jersey top...........

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Draft Tracker

There you go, folks. Final outcome is #10 in next year's draft. If drafting smartly, we have a pretty good chance of getting a Kole Calhoun to add to the roster. And we will have some decent spending range with which to work. (No, people, Arte is NOT a tightwad with his pool allocation bonus money. He spends it. Don't waste your keyboard muscles.)

What you don't see here is what happened to the Atlanta Braves. Over their final 14 games the Braves got super hot, winning 12 of them. They finished at 68 - 93, with a .422 winning percentage. They will draft 5th. You will notice that those numbers add up to only 161 games. There was a game scheduled for April 30th against the Cubs in Chicago that was rained out and not made up. Here is the deal. Drafting 1st overall will be the Minnesota Twins. Tied for 2nd are Tampa Bay, Cincinnati and San Diego. That puts the Braves at 5th. But Tampa Bay, Cincinnati, San Diego AND Atlanta all have the same number of wins: 68. But the Braves have 1 less loss, putting their winning percentage just slightly better than those other three. So we have 1 loss. 1 single loss. Since they played 1 game less than the teams drafting ahead of them, all they needed was to win only 11 of those final 14 games and instead of drafting 5th, the Braves would have been drafting 2nd!

By the way, one thing commonly asked around here was what would happen between any teams finishing tied with the same record (I wondered, as well). The correct answer is that the tiebreaker would be the 2015 records of the teams tied. Here is the final order.

Draft-Tracker-10-2

The 2016 slot and pool monies were found here.

The Michael Jimenez Study is found here.

The HBT 2014 Study is found here.

The HBT 2012 Study is found here.

The Sky Andrecheck 2009 Study is found here.

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Godspeed, Mr. Scully. Have yourself a very many pleasant good afternoons.

And, to you as well, Dick Enberg, Godspeed...........

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