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MondoLinks: It’s Prediction Weak

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3 Days remain until Opening Day!

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It’s pretty sad when just about anybody could predict the outcome off the 2018 regular season, and easily be at least 90% correct. I realized this while reading Grant Brisbee’s predictions. It contains the expected “let’s go SF Bay team and dump on the Angels” stuff, although that is a tad harder to do this year. But except for that, and parking the Cards atop the NL Central (which is not that big of a stretch), this list looks like anything my own wife would whip up. How boring is this?

It’s what we are left with.

Just reflect, instead, on these gloriously strong Last-Days-Of-Spring-Training-Links:


A Little Bit of Angels News

The MFY can have their dead Babe Ruth. I prefer my Mike Trout legends living. And that’s no joke.............

Trout will be coming to a batter’s box near you this season, apparently armed with a personal lead-lined K-Shield to protect him from his “Only Kryptonite”..........Seriously, If he can carry that ST K-rate through to October, I see a 12 WAR season potential, something we haven’t seen out off a position player since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967..........

Positional Power Rankings for CF, which showcase Trout of course, have a laughable factoid buried within: “Mike Trout is so good that, if you took Mike Trout, and then you removed from him enough talent to make the next-best center fielder, you’d still have enough left over to have an All-Star center fielder.“..........

Kevin Maitan reminds me of a very young David Ortiz. And I wouldn’t have planned to put Ortiz at SS, either..........

Ok, let’s have some roundup of the weekend Ohtani fun. It’s all in the spin, and I ain’t talking about the rotation of Shohei’s slider. He pitched an intersquad game on Saturday. On that all parties agree. The official line is that “Ohtani has ‘great outing’...threw 85 pitches, 47 for strikes.The unofficial line is that Ohtani had an “...uneven final spring practice appearance...throwing only 47 strikes in 85 pitches mostly to minor leaguers....a mixed bag.The even less official line was that “Ohtani, 23, unofficially threw 85 pitches, but his fastball command was off, resulting in five walks, a hit batter and two wild pitches. His velocity was also down from previous starts, according to scouts in attendance.” I don’t know about you, but my opinion is that Ohtani is something more credible than a project, but not an MLB player at the moment. Perhaps before we get to June. Meanwhile, the MSM loves to pump out ink focusing on the glass being half empty, while the only public-facing quotes we should expect from the Angels are that the glass is not only full full, but spilling potential all over the table top. I choose to live in the in-between.........

Ironic comment of the weekend was this one, talking about Ohtani: “I don’t dig too deep into numbers. Once you get on a big-league field, under the lights, in a big-league game, it’s a completely different ballgame than spring training…I think he’ll be OK.” That comment came from Tyler Skaggs, who promptly went out and ‘pitched’ on Sunday, giving up 4 runs (all earned) on 4 hits and 5 walks against 4 strikeouts, across only 3 innings of work. Skaggs’ next quote: “...definitely not the outing you want at the end of Spring Training.”..........

Final Ohtani. High Heat Stats tips us to this tracker of the Ohtani rookie card, and how the prices have dropped as his ST production has failed to live up to the hype. I can’t read that card trader web site well enough to identify any such trend, but I can do this. Sold listings only, sorted by date, I see no such straight line trend...........

Luis Valbuena belts one Beltre-style..........And one Halo fan snags it, Boog-Style..........


Everywhere In Baseball

We got Milestone Watch 2018 in effect, probably with Doppler radar too. 3,000 hits and 2,000 Runs Batted In for Albert Pujols. He will go into the Hall with a Cardinals cap, but his milestone baseballs will all be stamped with a Halo and that’s something STL fans will just have to deal with, for an eternity............

This is the kind of silliness that makes for fun media attention and lots off smiles by team execs who see the humor in it all, but generally opens the door to bad things happening at the fan level. It’s just an open invitation to retribution and shenanigans. The Oakland A’s have announced that when the interleague rivalry games with the Giants move to a 3-day series in Oakland, all Giants fans will have to pay an additional $20 to park, from the standard $30 to $50, unless they shout “Go A’s!” Ok, three thoughts: first, what might now the Giants do in retaliation?.....Second, what will be the most common tag line that Giants fans tag on the end of that yell? (“Go A’s!”...pay the money and drive away shouting...“and F&#k yourselves!” would be my guess).....And, third, $30 TO PARK FOR OAKLAND GAMES?!? They only charge $150 for a season ticket!. That would mean that if you attended all 81 home games, and paid that $30 parking fee each time, you would pay $2,430 for parking, or 16 times as much to park as you paid to attend..........

You are living in an evolutionary era, and your verbal tropes and personal assumptions need to evolve along with the times. Like many of you, I also barked at the idiocy of defensive metrics. When I showed up here a decade ago, defensive stats were an absolute shit show and not enough people cared to admit as much. Slowly this opinion became more common and discussed. But right about when it was the standard comment to object against stats, we started to see a shift to better data points AND the introduction of StatCast data, which is far more objective. By the time I retire from this gig, defensive metrics won’t be the Cousin Eddie of baseball..............

Rougned Odor, already pretty well established as an underachiever, appears to be getting worse. But he is “ready to go”!............

M*A*S*H Report: The Giants got majorly clobbered. Not 2017 LAA level (yet) although you wouldn’t know based on press reactions. But it is currently the biggest pitching rotation dent of the year. First they lost Jeff Samardzija for at least a month with a pectoral strain. Immediately thereafter, Madison Bumgartner took a shot off a comebacker and broke the small finger of his pitching hand. He will be out until June..........Rangers’ coach Howard Johnson (makes great pancakes, by the way), got smacked in the noggin by a line drive while sitting in the dugout, and had to be hospitalized. He has since been released. I assume that he is undergoing mandatory concussion protocol before he is allowed to make any coaching-like statements or anything..........Detroit has lost John Barbato for a spell...........Yankees’ 1B Greg Bird has been shut down for just a little bit..........Cardinal starting pitcher Adam Wainwright is officially off to the DL with a hamstring pull............


Hot Stove

The top prospect within the Phillies franchise, Scott Kingery, has made the team. He made it so much that Philadelphia has already signed him to a contract extension, 6 years for $24 million. And to think John Lackey remains unsigned. Collusion, obviously.............

How is this for bizarre? Scott Kazmir threw a 90-100mph bullpen session the other day and went hard at it, assuming that he would not be making an appearance yesterday in a final ST outing. That assumption was wrong and his arm was burnt out in his ST start. His velocity was low. He suffered tired arm. And he was pulled from the start. Afterwards in his interview with the press he expressed the belief that he would be ready for the slotted April 10th regular season rotation start. That belief failed to last but a few hours. Even as he was saying that the Braves FO was doing the paperwork to release Kazmir, still owing him $16 million in what is now dead money...........

Yasmany Tomas, the $68.5 million Cuban bonus baby signed by the Diamondbacks, is now the $68.5 million bonus baby playing in the minor leagues for the Diamondbacks...........

Bartolo Colon makes the Rangers Opening Day roster! Oops. No he does not. Same web site. Same day. Two different authors..........

Zack Wheeler is having a nightmare off an MLB career...............

K-Rod has been jettisoned by the Phillies here at the last minute. Add Frankie Rodriguez to the names of Napoli, Lackey and Aybar who are watching the sun set on their MLB careers..........

Our SBN overlords are still particularly butt hurt by the way things shook out this Winter. They spend most of their “preview” summary to bash Baseball for adopting a more modern community of Front Offices that know how to focus on analytical roster construction and refusing to overpay bloated dollars to aging players of middling productivity...........

The bigger problem in Baseball is, by my way off thinking tanking. Sam Miller dives deep. I would like to think that tanking only works if you are the only one, or only of two, in any specific window of time. Too many tankards (and I use that word on purpose) should dilute the returns for losing. But it may take too long to figure that out. And to too much damage to the integrity of competition might hit the sport between now and when we figure it all out. Integrity IS at stake, because tankard create an imbalance in scheduling and that can be huge when it comes to playoff slotting.............


The Duffle Bag

Random reddit user gives us a sneak peak at one in-stadium dining menu. I am still flummoxed at the idea that some kitchen can gear up to the threat of 30,000 ‘sushi’ meals in one night.............Jeff Fletcher finally figures out Daylight Savings Time Math..........Yankee fans looked at the 2018 MFY lineup and came up with the nickname Mount Crushmore. Why Aaron-Stanton-Sanchez-Estrada-Sabathia didn’t win eludes me..........I would think that a Luis Severino could afford one of those Disney tour guides..........NBA & MLB at war over parking privileges up in Oakland?..............