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WeekEnd HaloLinks: Angels monkey with spring rally

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In classic Rally Monkey style, the Angels took to the 7th inning to bust up a no-hitter, rally on key hitting by Tout, Cron and Maybin, take the lead, then run themselves out of the inning.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Angels opened 2017 in Anaheim by re-introducing the Rally Monkey to Southern California. Held hitless for the first 6 innings, the Halos busted up the game in the 7th with key hitting by Mike Trout, C.J Cron and (huzzah!) Cameron Maybin (Yunel Escobar broke the no-hitter, and Albert Pujols and Danny Espinosa added a couple of walks in that frame). With the Maybin hit the Angels took the 3-2 lead that would hold for the eventual win, and then they immediately ran themselves out of the inning. Maybin got thrown out trying to take second base on a throw home. But pitchers play role of cut-off an for a reason. And C.J. Cron got thrown out trying to steal home on a double-steal. IMHO, a better slide gets the job done. His lead foot was not aimed at home plate. Overall, that double steal was not well executed but it shows that these guys are going to be aggressive even if they are clumsy about it.

Have some Lords-of-Southern-California Links:


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A Little Bit of Angels News

We kick off our weekend with a Mike Trout, happy with merely being the greatest that ever was, hagiography. Nice long read. The theme is that Trout is going to succeed at everything he does, which includes not wanting to be a superstar...........

Well, let's have us some Mike Trout MVP talk, shall we? Out of the hundreds of dudes who will be playing in the American League this season, there are only about 15 who will have the ability to perform at a level to compete for the MVP award. Not all those will stay healthy. Not all those will have the same opportunities for stats. and not all will actually excel. But still, unless you winnow everything down to the notion that Mike Trout is a certainty, and only one other guy is a certainty, you are still at 50/50. So, realistically. Trout is not guaranteed to win any such award. Therefore, Mr. Jonah Keri, not so bold...........Although favored, look at the support of some of the other strong candidates over on the ESPN roster. Notice, however, how fast a Josh Donaldson falls out of mind with those sheeple, due to Donaldson's injury-aborted season in 2016...........And then we have Ken Rosenthal at Fox, still aglow with World Series memories of Francisco Lindor. I especially love the justification that implies Lindor is deserving for reasons that include his chance to become the new Derek Jeter............SI writers seem to favor Trout, although my browser is failing to render the identities of their voters so I cannot really be sure of what they are saying..........

Matt Shoemaker will no, quiet literally, be one of baseball's most hard-headed pitchers..........

In reviewing Trout and the 2009 draft, I wish to correct Pedro Moura just a bit. It's not that for every Trout there are hundreds of whiffs. Since trout is tracking to be one of the 5 very best of all time, it's closer to the truth that for every Trout there are thousands and thousands of whiffs............

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Everywhere In Baseball

Welcome back to real baseball. Let's pick up where we left off, and continue our tracking of the major trend waves in baseball. Things like tanking as a rebuild strategy, average player ages getting younger, shift and bullpens and pitch framing. FiveThirtyEight does us all an excellent service by putting them all together in one article..........

Mocking the idea that Bryce Harper is overrated, as ESPN does here, might need to be mocked in itself. And using 56 AB's in Spring Training to do it could use some mockery. Harper is, indeed, a phenomenal talent. But my age grants me a longer view than emphasizing one ST. When Harper came up, the "rating" was that he was THE guy who was better than Mike Trout. So, against all that hype (of which ESPN was as guilty as any), how has he rated? The answer is "under". By comparable age, Trout has more hits (744 to 651), more home runs (139 to 121) and greater bWAR (38.1 versus 21.3). So, yes, Harper is a fantastic player. But also yes, by the initial standard that he was rated better than Trout, to date Harper has been over-rated...........

So much with which to work here. In studying the over/under results of 2016 and forecasts for 2017, the LAA spin just writes itself. Most votes last year called for the Angels to fall under a projection of 81.5 wins. But the Halo rotation going into the season had every right to be fairly ranked among the top 10 in MLB. Those who voted for the under had no way to know that the rotation would be decimated by injury right from the get-go, and the team still missed the line by just 8 games. It should have been much worse, but the line was pretty low to begin with. Meanwhile, a legion of voters apparently had no clue that the A's are a shell of their recent heritage, and took the over. They lost. This season, the line on LAA has gone down. The line on Oakland has gone up. Further, the odds makers seem to be completely unplugged on the Texas franchise that is currently running at it's peak right now. It's almost as if the odds makers and voters are still using information from 2003...........

Bobbleheads are great. Minor league bobbleheads are greater. But why do I continue to feel as though bobblehead supremacy remains in our distant future?..........

And here you think Spring Training stats don't matter. They matter if you know where to look. TheRinger shows us strong correlations between strikeouts, home runs and balls in play...........

Around the horn with Rob Manfred. Always important to keep tabs on what he is thinking. Notice how he handles expansion questions. Read between the lines. Think "show me the money."............

The regular season is upon us, and we will get to see if there is any carry over in the tactical usage change of bullpens that we saw in the playoffs, through the regular season. First up, the Andrew Miller Effect...........

We are going to be enduring the new intentional walk revolution. Last season the entire team received a grand total of 21 IBB's, and handed out 27. An IBB takes less than a minute. Here is one example that took only 45 seconds. If the average baseball game is 3 hours and 5 minutes, and we have 162 games a season, that is a total of about 500 hours. This big change will give you back less than one of those hours. Compare that to how much time you will lose to security theater over the season just getting INTO the stadium, and we can be pretty sure that this change is not an answer to any problem............So this leads me to Hardball Times, which also digs into the IBB change. Towards the end, we get this: "MLB has a common problem with many technology startups — it can’t get new users without changing the product, and all the current users would be mad if they did..." It's something I see a lot, and raises my hackles. As a reader, you must first agree that there is a problem that needs to be fixed in order to follow the rest of the argument. I agree that games could be shortened by 20 - 30 minutes, but I am not yet convinced that the current duration is fatal..............

Long Form Alert! The Rite of Spring in America is baseball. And it is decidedly not a passing fad. It's a love that can require a lifetime and, for the participants, often does.............

I had no idea that Chipper Jones carries bad blood for Scott Boras. And it sounds like Chipper will hold his grudge forever. For his part, Boras seems to hold no ill will, and does not agree with the way that Jones frames their what little interface the two even ever had. I do wish to point one thing out, though. Jones notes that Boras is of the opinion that Jones left money on the table, and Jones doesn't care. It's kind of a Jered Weaver "how much money does a person really need?" kind of attitude. Well, that can be fine for Jones (and fine for Weaver), but it is understandable that it is not fine with Boras, or any other player agent. Contracts are beasts of comparisons. Teams, players, the Player's Union, the media, analysts, all use comps to determine current value. It's relative stats versus common compensation levels. When a Chipper Jones agrees to accept less than he could possibly reap for the value of his services, he creates a cascade effect on other players trying to actually maximize their own compensation. A Chipper Jones sets the market, and everybody else has to deal with it...........

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This kind of subject would normally be something found in the duffle bag, but it cannot be overlooked. Adding to the point of the spirit of baseball, this one deserves its own space. So here you have it. Seven minutes and forty seconds of utter cool..................

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The Duffle Bag

In case you travel, want to watch some local baseball, and your hotel bar is not already turned to the game at hand, here is how you watch baseball everywhere. (To an earlier link about broadcast diversity, I notice that 7 American teams - meaning we can ignore Toronto - don't have a Spanish broadcast.).........The Giants showing us all how promos are done. Some solid work there, as usual..........Rougned Odor gets a new contract. One that literally includes some serious horseshit from the Rangers' owner...........Why have I not found a minor league team named for pizza before now?? Not (yet) on their team store..........Still with minor league fun, how the Jumbo Shrimps got their name. Maybe we will get a news channel post-broadcast stream out of Jacksonville..........If you are a merch hawk, move fast. Opening Day will have it's own set of caps..........(h/t UniWatch) You will click over to this photo and wonder what the deal is? Odds are very good you won't notice anything worthy of your time or attention. And then you will read down below in the comments what one of you found and not believe you missed it...........

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