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MondoLinks: As Trout rises, Richards slows down

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Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

As if on cue, Mike Trout has heated up. 9 hits over the last 9 games, 5 of the doubles and his first home run of Spring Training, Mike has raised his BA 94 points and his SLG 165 points. Oh, sure, small numbers. But it is more about his awakening over this last week+ than the numbers themselves. Kind of like last spring, when he kicked it into gear right about March 21.

Meanwhile, Garrett Richards is Mr. 85% Man. Makes a hell of a lot of sense to me. Why be the guy who roars into early retirement when he can cruise through a long and successful career? Richards' 85% is still as good, if not better, than most MLB pitchers and that will be a lot easier on his body..........

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A Little Bit of Angels News

Just a personal observation. As I spend each night raking up the loose stories in order to sort out those I find worthy of your attention, I do see hundreds of headlines. And the vast majority of those headlines promising to preview the 2017 baseball season use some image of Mike Trout to draw the reader's attention. Like this one from ESPN. So, yeah, nobody else is pointing it out but Mike Trout is fast approaching status as The Face of Baseball..........

So on to more Trout. FanGraphs finally got to the their positional power rankings for center field over the weekend, and Mike Trout dominates as expected. I know that WAR doesn't work this way, but it's fun to note that Trout's WA projections total more than all the center fielders for the Giants, Brewers, Padres, Athletics, Cubs, Tigers and White Sox combined. An eyeball test shows that it might even be possible that Trout projects for more WAR than the combined efforts of every non-starting center-fielder throughout all other 29 MLB teams..........

How about another Trout Tale? Mike has come up with a pretty damned good idea and made it public. MLB should do with umpires what MLB teams do with players during Spring Training: take them out after the 5th inning and let minor league umps take over. Give 'em some experience to help both the minor league quality AND prep them for promotion, while allowing regular umps to get back into game shape as slowly as the players get to do. I don't know how the MLB umpires feel about it, but everybody else seems to think it's a great idea..........

After more time to allow things to come into focus, Andrew Heaney's decision to sell shares in his own future gets a review. It's a pretty solid, if also rather conservative, approach to earnings. Heaney comes across as refreshingly practical...........

Albert Pujols is working his butt off so that he can still just keep on working. It's a tough place to be in, considering how all that work doesn't amount to that much for a DH. FanGraphs projects all that work to reach 1.1 WAR.............

Looks like Mike Scioscia is getting himself ready for the regular season, too. Arguing balls and strikes during games that don't mean anything?............Yeah, these games don't mean anything until they get a chance to mean something. Then they mean a whole hell of lot more fun, don't they?...........

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Everywhere In Baseball

Bert Blylevyn, one-time manager of Team Netherlands by the way, is of the mind that some players on Team Puerto Rico were beyond the fine line of fun and over into the territory of "hot dogging it"..........

Is it odd that I am, for some odd reason, rather content that the Indians are dominating the AL Central?..........

Kolten Wong is somewhat unclear on this whole notion of meritocracy that is modern professional athletics. After being rather sucky last season, and more again this spring, he is all bent out of shape that this means he will not own a starting spot at second base for the Cards..........

Sloppy. The kind of thing that reminds me to retain doubts and not indulge in lust for sabr. What are teams doing in response to shifts? First point: "Ground ball rates have fallen as shift uses climb, but not for reasons that are obvious. More for reasons I only tell you about and not quantify". Second point: "So pitchers are probably doing something different. But I don't have the data to figure out what, if anything, is going on." Third point: "I keep hearing that batter are changing their swing plane for more uppercuts, but I am personally biased against such a thing being possible, so I am just to surmise that the trend away from ground balls is probably a correction back to what was probably normal but I won't prove that." And on it goes. If you get more out of it than that, bless your mathematical soul...........

Oh groovy! The day has finally come!! Mike Trout is no longer the #1 most valuable candidate to be traded. Mostly because the ones above him are younger, cheaper, and still extremely productive. So will this shut down the inanity? Nah. Go find out who they are for yourself............

Food for thought: putting the WBC in the same window as Spring Training can have consequences. In the case of Jose Barrios, pitcher for the Twins, it will cost him an Opening Day roster spot as he still needs work to stretch out.............

It's not that much money, but I still think that Rougned Odor is going to find a way to make the Rangers regret signing him to any extension. It just feels like his destiny...........

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The Duffle Bag

The latest person to see Alex Rodriguez as a jerk is Alex Rodriguez...........On yeah, this is sweet. Duck Hunt, but with Randy Johnson!...........I missed this one. Team USA celebrated on the field with a statue of an eagle? Where did they get that, Hobby Lobby?............Fox Sports agree. Our throwback unis to the 80's were our best. Clean, crisp and distinctive.............Out of the mouth of babes. The Indians are trying to extend Francisco Lindor, and the news is scooped by a 6-year old...........Minor League Baseball teams have all the fun. Softball teams just define when a meme has jumped the shark..........Don't you love it when something happens on the field so extraordinary that even the announcers lose their shit!?............Barry Bonds take some BP, shows why he never needed PEDs in the first place............

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