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HumpLinks: Kole Will Be All right

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15 days to Opening Day...

It was an off day yesterday, so let’s digress.

Every now and then I get paired up with a new business relationship that involves some serious amount of collaborative time. Now is one such moment. I have a new work partner and he and I were introducing ourselves on the phone yesterday when he inquired as to whether or not I liked baseball? “Why, yes” I responded, “quite a bit.” So he followed up by asking if I was an Angels fan? “Indeed I am” came my response, although my delivery contained more than a smidgen of feigned innocence. “Cool. I don’t know a lot about baseball and don’t follow it much until the playoffs come along, but then I really get into it. We should talk about that when we get together.”

Oh we will, new partner. We will indeed! What usually follows is a few months of partner-jaw-on-the-floor when they find out that bringing up something they read in the local newspaper or saw on SportsCenter opens up this whole shopping cart of new ideas and greater depth of which they were totally unaware. I am the Cliff Clavin of baseball knowledge in my office.

He also then informed me that he is really big on off-hours event hosting, and that I am to pick the appropriate LAA games this season for him to target as sponsored outings. Based on what he described as his typical outing, since he makes sure to invite the families of his business guests, these outings are well-funded soirees. I’m imagining large fully hosted and catered tailgate BBQ’s and maybe some sweet suite action all season. And it would be a good year for he Angels to make the playoffs.

Ok, back to my duties, starting with the subject of my lede.

Carry on with these 3.1415926535897932384626433-Spring-Training-Links:


A Little Bit of Angels News

If I were Kole Calhoun, I would approach the new RF home run line in Angels Stadium as a blessing...and a blessing. It’s a no-lose proposition. On offense, of course, his left-handed bat should realize a couple more home runs than otherwise. And on defense, he should commit to making more attempts at fly balls against the wall. And those will have two outcomes. Either he is able to catch the same balls as he could have before but now see them classified as “home run robbers” making highlight reels, or he misses those balls that turn into home runs, but he would have missed those balls anyway - not his fault............

This is all about Mike Trout. But instead of writing a snippet to summarize why you want to go read it, I will simply cut and paste the Dek: “Building a FrankenTrout season out of the worst category-specific production of Trout’s career might tell us as much about how good the Angels star is as lauding his record-setting achievements.“..........

Anybody still remember this Kale Cowart guy? Seems like he is still the same Kaleb Cowart as before..........

One thing I don’t worry about when it comes to Garrett Richards is him not knowing his release point all season long. That can happen sometimes. No, with Richards it’s still health. That stem cell therapy thing is still witchcraft to me and injuries last longer than a few innings.............

I like how, in this interview with LAA prospect Chris Rodriguez, that the Angels are developing a national rep as a great franchise for which to play..........

This is why Jon Heyman makes the big bucks. Cam Bedrosian will be the closer this year. Unless he is not..........

Are you looking to pick up potential strong value for cheap in your Fantasy league. That would mean finding somebody who will end up playing like a stud, to the surprise of everybody. We could use one of those. So here are two words from Sports Illustrated: Ian Kinsler..........

From MLB Pipeline: the future looks bright(er). This link contains the best anti-tank gun in our arsenal, coming from Angels director of minor league operations Mike LaCassa: “We want to win at the Major League level here. Some recent examples of franchises who built from player development and scouting didn’t win at the big league level while they were doing that. And we’re trying to do both.“ [Emphasis mine].........

Here is a fabulously fun little story about the clown car act that was the Angels Front Office back in the early 90’s. When you finish, scroll down to the Transactions section here to read something that might not exist anywhere else on BBR..........

So you are saying that Shohei Ohtani would his best Bartolo Colon impression at the plate, if he got to face LAA pitching?..........Downtown LA city skyline? Ugh. (I know you marketeers have your solid defense of the name, but the only people who will see that video board will be people sitting down in Anaheim.)...........On the upside, the grass is magically back. (I still want to be there when they cut the mound off for those truck rallies by using a laser.).......Last week was National Cereal Day, and I missed it.............Enter here for your chance to steal away the Angels’ XBox S with R.B.I. Baseball..........


Everywhere In Baseball

The Twins, folks. If injuries don’t crush us again, the Twins are our true competition this year. They needed every bit of bad luck to steal away that last playoff spot in 2017 and even though we have health (currently) and an vastly improved roster on our side, the Twins has a damned good off-season, too. It was fueled by owner Jim Pohlad colluding his Front Office into doing whatever it was that his Front Office told him needed to be done..........

If you took today’s rosters, and slew time so that every player on every team was in their prime, which team would be favored? The Angels, with Mike Trout AND Albert Pujols, merely come in 5th. We can blame Sam Miller for using Chris Carter instead of Kole Calhoun..........

Stop me if you have heard this before: Troy Tulowitzki is injured and will miss games. Seriously. With 12 years of an MLB career under his belt and only twice playing as many as 150 games, this is dog-bites-man stuff............

I mentioned this last Spring, about how I felt that the very best moment of a Spring Training game actually comes after the 5th inning. That’s when the stars hit the showers and the stands empty. Then it’s just you and a few fellow true baseball addicts in a gloriously small venue now filled with the pure sounds of baseball action. And you can catch glimpses of guys actually working their ass off to make impressions. Exciting ST comeback victories are built this way. You also see other things...........

Oh, sure, NOW Jake Arrieta has “red flags”..........

Fantasy geeks care for this stuff as much as anybody, so the public forums of rotisseries sites are great places to visualize what we always talk about, but MLB Front Offices have mastered: the age curves for MLB performance. And, for those not following the national MLB off-season dialog, the average age of a FA class this decade has fluctuated between a high of 33.6 (2011) and 32 (2015, 2017). Yeah, that’s a really steep slope.........

Here is your first 2018 MLB Ballpark Food Porn Entry of the year: MLB is hosting their first MLB Food Fest to celebrate all the wild ballpark foods around the country. But what idiot failed to make that a national festival that takes place at every frikkin’ ballpark?!? Only New York? That’s some special kind of stupid provincialism............

Projections can be all over the place. They can also agree. In this study you can see how they are in high disagreement for some batters and pitchers, and how they are in high agreement for other hitters in pitchers. But if you study it very closely, you will also learn that there is a large amount of disagreement in just how much Jeff Mathis is going to suck as a batter. Although he will still suck. So, for Mathis, the projections both agree and disagree!..........

The new Federal tax laws are certainly not doing LAA players any favor. “...a player on the Angels with a $10,000,000 annual salary will lose $650,000 by playing half of his games in California.“ Ok, maybe you can blame State Legislature for that one. But I would think that the new Fed law, combined with the variances between the states, makes the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers the choicest places to play. “...the AL West becomes the most attractive for tax status. The World Series champion Houston Astros, along with the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners, all have no state income tax. That means a player on one of those teams would play 99 or 100 of 162 games in states with no tax.” That’s actually short. It would really be 81 home games PLUS 8 or 9 road games in the neighboring ballpark PLUS 8 or 9 road games in Seattle PLUS 3 or 4 games against Tampa PLUS, when Interleague schedules align, 1 or 2 games in Miami. At high tide that would be 105 out of 162 games, state tax free.

As The Athletic grows into a credible Internet source for quality baseball (and lesser sports) information, so does it’s business outlook. Someday you guys won’t even need me anymore..........


Hot Stove

Well that ended fast. Danny Espinosa lost his life line in the Bronx just one New York minute after the Yankees signed Neil Walker.............

Teams and player agents are getting ever more clever with the opt-out clause..........

I really need ESPN to catch up with the off-season. I have a 3rd project active that I want to deliver (along with the finishing pieces of my rotation study and my schedule for LAA promo ideas) to compare this FA season with the others this decade. But they still don’t have all the latest updates. This might require waiting well past Opening Day. I can say, though, that this is the very worst FA class of the entire decade (based on BBR WAR3). And it is sandwiched between the very best class (so far) back in 2015 when teams loaded up already (with the highest overall spend), and what will be a monster class next year for which teams are reloading. I know that some scribes are considering the impact of the 2018 potential market, but I also know that they are ignoring completely the impact of the 2015 market on current roster commitments and wallets. When you see the data, it will jump out at you, too.........


The Duffle Bag

If Spring Training counts as much as Buster Olney wants us to think it does, what does that say about the batting averages of Eric Hosmer (.161) and Aaron Judge (.211)?..........Imagine walking up to the taco truck in Tempe to buy lunch and there stood Matt Shoemaker handing out free tacos. Hey, it could happen. It DID happen with Taijuan Walker............On the other hand, having Mike Trout win you free Whataburgers for a year is a pretty cool fallback prize. Unless you live anywhere near Anaheim, CA. Accoring to Siri, the closest redemption restaurant is 6 hours and 23 minutes away. 2910 Thunderbird Rd. Phx...........The best part about the idea of the Orioles that kids get in free, is that they get parked in the upper decks. All kinds of goodness come from that strategy..........(h/t UniWatch) Bobbleheads gotta have a bobblehouse. No better way to show off your bobbles...........(h/t reddit) Hmmm. Raspberry Pi scoreboard. You should see what I am cooking up in my own garage based on Arduino!..........