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Thor'sLinks: 1st place Halos sweep off to Minnesota

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Mike Trout gets on base. Kole Calhoun drives him in. Matt Shoemaker shuts down A's. Rinse. Repeat. Halos sweep Oakland.

Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

Fun things happen with small numbers. The Angels went into Oakland in last place and came out, three games later, in first. Sweeps are fun. Sweeps against Oakland are wonderful. Sweeps against Oakland as a prelude to 3 games against the worst team in the league - the winless Twins - is pure bliss.

And what might be even more fun is the thought that even as Mike Trout i still warming up to Spring (he is a known slow starter), Kole Calhoun might actually be proving that he really might be a true 4 bWAR range player after all. That would be huge.

Have some Big Broom Links:


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Everywhere In Baseball

Science: Statcast is bringing us the Data of Revelation. Spend some time re-learning everything you thought you knew about what makes the hitting of the baseball better. Launch angle, exit velocity, running speed, they are all there............

Yo knows the Bartman: If the Cubs had Yeonis Cespedes playing as their left fielder back in 2003, Steve Bartman would not be living in seclusion today. But then, based on how Cespedes attacks the front row faithful, that's because Steve Bartman would probably not even be living today..........

Father's Day Blues: As Jessica posted yesterday, MLB released their specialty unis for the 2016 season. Lots of cool stuff there. I would like you to scroll through the Father's Day jerseys, though. Note how almost every team uses blue as their primary color. Two teams stand out, however. The San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Angels. Neither team wants to showcase blue. There is just something about the color blue that bugs the Giants and Angels..........

Anchors Aweigh!: One simple way to look at LAA economics is to consider how much Arte is paying out for his starting rotation, and comparing that to the expected results coming back from those players. Sure, we grouse about the Hambone and Pujols contracts, but when the above study is done, as FanGraphs just did for us, a Halo fan weeps. Because of the amount of funds being allocated to C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver, versus what is expected out of them this season, the Angels have nearly the worst projected dollars to WAR in all of baseball..........

Shifting Tides: You may have heard that the Angels are far more shift happy than anybody else in baseball this season. Of course, we can project our own belief systems on the "why" that may be the case, but it's probably more important to focus on the outcome of the effort. We are outsiders. We will never know the true "why", anyway. Chalk it up to adaptation. Anyway, back to the results. So far, not so good. "The major league average on balls in play against shifts was .287, but against the Angels it was .339. The overall average on all ground balls was .237, but against the Angels it was .271." But as Mike Scioscia is quick to point out, unlax. Small numbers.............

To Hec With Starting: Hector Santiago is achieving more consistent success (delightfully!) by changing his approach from that of a starter to that of a reliever. Santiago knows the approach of working out of a bullpen so, really, this more like going back to working like a reliever. Says Hector: "Just straight-up attack. One pitch at a time. One at-bat at a time. One inning at a time. Just try to get through each inning as fast as you can." In simpler terms: focus.............

Committed: Kudos to Adam LaRoche for getting personally involved in the fight against sex trafficking in Southeast Asia. Seriously. That is not a low-risk commitment and it is an extremely important cause. I worked up a thought experiment, though, when I read this. These I often do when my brain goes into abstract mode and I think about the root concepts of money. This thought experiment concerns leverage and LaRoche stands as my inspiration. The amount of money LaRoche can raise as a ballplayer (even now at the end of his productivity) can fund, on a pro rated basis, enormously greater numbers of resources to marshal in that fight than he can do by his own hand directly. LaRoche is astronomically more effective as a baseball player than he is as a sex slave investigator. By leveraging his advantages as the former, he could be more impactful in pursuit of the latter. Assuming that all LaRoche tells us is true, that $13 million he left on the table in Chicago could save an insane amount of children from those sex slave brothels he researched. Thousands, even. This is not intended to slight LaRoche in any way. It's just an idea in my head that it is possible to derive true social value from the pure pursuit of capital. That value requires, of course, an altruistic effort on the back end akin to that of Adam LaRoche.........

Real World Calling on Line 5: Of all the people involved with the Mets, beyond the owner, the general manager, the coaching and scouting staffs, the broadcasters, the players and the trainers, who would come to mind as the next most visible and meaningful member of that organization? If you said Mr. Met, buy yourself a beer! Now, count in your head how many people you think that might be? 100? 150 at the outside? Ok, so here is the story. The Mets contracted with Josten's to manufacture 750 diamond and sapphire rings to share among the franchise personnel and celebrate their NL Pennant in 2015. And they gave out all those 750 rings. But they did NOT give a ring to the employee who has been Mr. Met for the past 12 years. Why? Because the Front office made up some Mets rules and, therefore, Rules. Steven Boldis was employed as a part-time employee and didn't log enough hours to meet Mets Rules. Sadly, the people managing this process did not have enough experience in this kind of thing to set aside 5 - 10 such rings to hand out under special circumstances. Even more sadly, the Mets hired a replacement to take over for Boldis and that guy worked the final month of the season (probably trained by Boldis himself). And because that guy was hired as a full-time employee, that guy qualified. That guy got a ring for one month's work. Boldis got bupkis after 12 years. I have worked in corporate America for more than 40 years. I have seen this kind of stuff all that time. It's how the real world out here beyond the white liens fails to function............(O/T: Microsoft Dictionary doesn't know the word "bupkis"? really??)..........

Back that Tank up: Yesterday I linked to some serious kudos for Cubs' GM Theo Epstein. Today I link to a significant tool Epstein exploited to vault the Cubs to the top of the heap of hopefuls: tanking. First we get the corporate speak from Epstein: "We didn’t set out to lose. That’s not the goal." Then we get the truth: "But I think we were accepting of where we were in the success cycle. We recognized the massive talent deficit that we had in the organization, and we understood the different avenues that we could take to fill that void." It just so happened that being quite accepting of losing (not the goal, mind you, but being deliriously happy with as much of it as they could get) resulted in good draft slots, extra compensation picks, and a much larger draft bonus pool. All of those things can infuse the franchise foundation in a hurry. Just ask the Astros...........

Guilty As Charged: It's time to spill out some disclosure here. The Cleveland Plain Dealer is getting hosed for behaving like a blog collator. Single sourcing their info from third parties and not sending out reporters to cover the teams directly. In other words, they are guilty of being me. That's how I operate. Of course, we don't have access to wire services so I have to get tidbits second-hand. I do, though, try to second source (or original source) those as much as time permits. And, no, we don't have anybody with actual access to the personalities whether on the road or at home. I get shit wrong, too. And I make my fair share of editing mistakes. So if those things are reasons to castigate the service, I am guilty too and you all should know what it is that you are reading............

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The Duffle Bag

Just like this kid this kid I would sulk, too, if I were ever caught on camera rooting for the Mariners..........Mike Trout on Kobe Bryant's last game: "It’s crazy when you think next year he’s not going to be in uniform. Goes by quick.". Um, Mikey, you were still only 4 years old when Bryant was drafted into the NBA..........Next Factoid For Tears: Noah Syndergaard has already thrown more pitches at the speed of 98mph or better than the entire Angels staff threw in the entire 2015 season..........Mike Trout needs to enter the 2016 Home Run Derby just so that we can get photos of him wearing this!..........What happens when a pitcher insists on throwing the same damned pitch to the same damned spot that the same damned hitter keeps fouling off to the same damned place? The same damned thing. It ain't no miracle..........Pablo Sandoval spent the winter stuffing his pie hole. Red Sox manager John Farrell is stuffing Sandoval on the DL..........With his explosive base stealing prowess the other night, Albert Pujols joined some rare company...........Santa Claus is a Blue Jays fan. Who knew?..........Does that whole no gambling thing about baseball apply to minor leaguers, too?............There are two ways to survive a trip into Dodgers Stadium. Go as a posse and overwhelm with numbers, or slip in solo and stealthily fly beneath the radar of scum...........

OT: This is how I plan to enter the game from the bullpen when I become the Halos' closer..........

Also OT, but even better: NASA research for human survival on Mars results in better beer brewing for our survival right here on Earth. Either that, or the very best craft brewery in our solar system will someday be found on the Tharsis Bulge..........

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