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Thor'sLinks: Weaver rolls back time, rolls Rays

Thy minions did merely annoy me treacherous one.

Brian Blanco/Getty Images

Wins are fun. Ask Harold Reynolds. Two nights ago Deolis Guerra took over on the mound from Tim Lincecum in the bottom of the 5th inning and closed out frame with 3 pitches to Oswaldo Arcia, getting him to pop out. By the time he has to do any more work the Angels had taken the lead and the "W" would be his. He only throws 7 more pitches in the game. Last night Jered Weaver worked through 6 full innings, facing 23 batters, throwing 99 pitches. He gave up a single run, via homer, and took a seat in the dugout with a 7-1 lead. Weaver earned the same "W". Fun. We need more of these. We could spread them around.

Pay attention to Yunel Escobar (while we have him?). Esco is on an 11 game hitting streak where he has 18 hits with 4 doubles while batting .400. He is now hitting .322 on the season, one point behind Mike Trout.

We got a home run out of Trout last night. Always nice but he is on track for only about 31 on the year. That would be his fewest other than his 27 in 2013. This must be this year's temporary byproduct from a change in his approach which has him drastically reducing his K rate. If things go as they have, he will close the year at around 120 strikeouts. His career low is 136 in 2013, but his career high is 184 just 2 years ago. Thus, this is a huge improvement. By the way, after today the Angels fly up to Baltimore where the MLB home run leader is featured. That would be Mark Trumbo, also with a new batting approach this season, with 26.

Have some Scoreboard Links:


Everywhere In Baseball

Not-so-damus: Yeah, The Sporting News got wrong their projections for the Angels this year. On the one hand, it's easy not to foresee the slew of key injuries, especially to key guys like Craig Gentry, who is only now on the brink of restoring his .147/.237/.176 bat to the lineup. But it takes a great deal of intentional blindness to put faith in Billy Eppler's ability to overcome Arte Moreno's tight wallet. "...just after the Winter Meetings, it was expected that Angels general manager Billy Eppler was not finished with the roster: '… there is little doubt new GM Eppler will address areas of need before the season begins.' " This, of course, did not happen. The working theory, denied by the LAA Front Office after the fact, is that Arte wants to stay as far away from the luxury tax threshold as possible, even fearful o fthe small market teams finding a way to lower the threshold in the next CBA. Arte is probably alone in that expectation. (Just a reminder as the trade deadline nears: the Angels currently sit at $24.2MM below the tax threshold and, if anything, are expected to be sellers and not buyers this year.)..........

Trout Porn: This is always fun. Mike Trout is only half way through just his 5th full season as a pro ballplayer. And, yet, he has already passed 12 MLB Hall of Famers this year alone in terms of career WAR. We're talking Hall of Fame, so there are some serious names on that list. Guys like Lefty Gomez and Catfish Hunter and Rich Gossage. Among HoF'ers just ahead (as in, passing them during July), Trout has in his sights guys like Dizzy Dean, Gil Hodges and Lou Brock. At the end of the year, he has an outside shot of overtaking guys like Hoyt Wilhelm, Jim Rice and Johnny Evers. Next year is going to be monumental. Early on he will overtake Sandy Koufax, Nellie Fox and Ralph Kiner. Oh, and just to troll the old guard MSM (I'm looking at you, Murray Chass), in a couple of weeks he will pass Jack Morris..........

More Trout: As defensive information improves and increases, our understanding of defensive merit and defensive value also improve. In this Hardball Times review of Inside Edges Scouting Services, we can see validation that Mike Trout is having his best year in CF. I would still like to it to be more transparent how these studies deal with initial fielder positioning at the time the batted ball is struck, AND how they deal with balls caught beyond the home run fence, AND how much of the assignment of probability is human conjecture. This thought of mine started last year, when I read that UZR relies on "stringers" attending games and use a plot map to define how/where a fielder makes a play on a ball. Players who make a successful play at some spot get credit when other players are unable to make a similar play. And I immediately wondered if that plot map included BEYOND the home run fence. On the surface, it would seem not. Otherwise Trout would have garnered innumerable UZR credit for plays like this and this, precisely because of the rarity. And Trout is not known as a UZR god...........

Final Trout: This is old, but I missed it. So I still owe it to you.  Mikey is the 18th most powerful sports figure in Southern California. Probably destined to move up one notch next year after Vin Scully retires. Maybe two if the Clippers fire Doc Rivers.........

Freak-ish: FanGraphs chats with Tim Lincecum, and we find out that maybe he is open to converting form a thrower to a pitcher. It might take some time, but this might not be just a novelty after all. It has worked for other mound vets, so why not Lincecum?..........

M.A.S.H.: Let's see. Shane Robinson to the 15-day DL with a sprained right ankle after taking a hit-by-pitch on Tuesday. Todd Cunningham has been recalled to take his place...Daniel Nava has tendinitis in his knee, but (in the famous last words of Andrew Heaney and C.J. Wilson) he thinks it can be managed.

Brave New World: The citizenry of Cobb County are still enjoying their royal fleecing these days.  Remember, Cobb county officials had to do a secret deal with the Braves billionaire businessmen so that the public wouldn't have the chance to protect their own money. Then, since it was forced to be public eventually, those county officials waited until the last day to announce the formal vote, preventing review and due diligence by the public to protect their own money. The county officials next gamed the public discussion opportunity and block any dissent, and ended up approving the deal to spend their constituents' money on behalf of the Braves billionaire. As a bonus, this puts county residents on the hook to deal with traffic horrors and/or spend their way out of traffic horrors, since traffic planning is a cost for the little people, not for billionaire owners. But that will all work itself out eventually, since the county officials have found the money for this stuff sitting in the taxpayers' own pockets, originally (and lawfully) voted for public parks. So you would thing the gall behind all of this could not get any worse. You would be wrong! It turns out that county officials have passed laws that make it illegal to charge for event parking within walking distance of the stadium - unless you purchase that parking from the Braves billionaire. And those asshat county officials have the balls to say that it is all about "public safety". Hell, even property owners beyond the half mile zone have to beg permission. This legal work was all done at the request of the Braves. Remember, there will be NO PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION to SunTrust Stadium so ALL fans will have to drive. The Braves chose to not waste too much of the property they are being gifted on mere auto parking spaces, so there are not enough spaces for all those cars at the stadium. Therefore, it is critical that the Braves find a way to retain parking revenue, especially when they have no cost overhead for those spaces. Enter Cobb County Council. We should anticipate that the Braves will insist that county residents pay to have county police stationed at all entrances and prevent county residents from walking into the stadium that county officials built using money stolen from those county residents. In the old days when public officials behaved like this, the public would stock up on supplies of such things as tar, and feathers.............


The Duffle Bag

Josh Hamilton is on the move again. He just put up his Texas mansion for sale. Note that 9,800 square feet in Texas gets you $3.4MM, when 1000 more square feet in Newport Coast nets $12.5MM............At the end of the day, baseball truly is just a game. Kids know this...........MLB needs to amp up their game, and give us these voting visualizations for every player, not just the run-offs!..............Manny Machado's bobblehead is gonna have an epic birthday party..........Not even the United States Air Force can take the asshat out of a Red Sox fan..........On the upside, you can buy 500 level all home games in July and August, Sunday through Thursday only, for just $49 per seat. On the downside, you won't know what seat that is until just a couple of hours before each game. But if you are the kind of fan who has no intention of climbing those ramps for the game anyway, it's a steal..........This year's ASG BP jerseys, created exclusively to suck cash out of your wallet, are pretty cool if you like that whole Padres throwback thing (I didn't like it even when it wasn't a throwback)..........Yesterday we reported that Mike Trout is still not yet into the Home Run Derby. Today it looks like Bryce Harper is forever done with it already. The pocket change monetary value doesn't mean much to these guys any more, so I still feel that MLB need to play to pride and ego and honor winners with a special uni patch until next year..........Pete Rose is surely a slow reader. Only now, one year later, is he figuring out that John Dowd accused him of statutory rape..........Fan A snags foul ball using his cap. Fan B snags cap containing ball, removes ball, and hands cap back to fan A. Young fan C, the kid to whom the ball was headed, walks away the stunned and confused loser..........Miguel Cabrera fouls a pitch off his own leg, gets thrown out at first, objects, is ejected. And this is why players flop instead of just "manning up". Because umpires suck..............Giancarlo Stanton with 4 HR's in 4 consecutive AB's..........Entitlement + 'roid rage = broken bat because only a base hit...........(h/t Uniwatch) Hot Dogs are the best, and hot dogs have always been the best!..........


Mystery Graph

(Yesterday was Jered Weaver's average pitch velocity, year over year. The blue line is his fastball, The green line is his change-up. And the red line is his curveball. All data taken from FanGraphs. This one is EVIL, but the clues are all there...)