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Thor’sLinks: Ohtani Sho’s The Way To Victory

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Shohei homers again, just to make RoY voters feel happier with their future choice.

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Texas Rangers v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Sweet Ohtani dreams! While Mike Trout is climbing the WAR ladder as an OBP machine by drawing walks (6 in this series against 1 single), Shohei ain’t going to waste that by standing around. 2 for 4 with 2 of the 3 LAA RBI’s to top the Rangers 3-2 (the other RBI being a Taylor Ward solo HR), Ohtani carried the team to the series sweep. Shohei’s 2 RBI’s came on a run-scoring base hit in the 4th, (against a lefty, so pick a new poison MLB!), and then on a go-ahead solo home run in the 8th. That home run doinked on top of the low LF fence and should have been an easy snag for Joey Gallo, but...Rangers defense. In between those moments was that Taylor Ward homer in the 5th (which Gallo also got to watch).

And, whoa!, Nice job, Andrew Heaney. A Quality Start. Heaney was 0 for 3 in QS’s in April, then 5 for 6 in May, 3 for 5 in June, 5 for 5 in July(!). But then only 2 for 6 in August and 1 for 4 before last night in September. That was a mere 3 for his last 10 outings. So last night was nice to see.

And, juicily, the Angels finish the year 13-6 against the Rangers. And know for all time that those bandwagon fools of fans out of Arlington abandoned that team long ago. At the time of this writing, after the game has been over for about 15 minutes, there were only 30 posts in their game thread. They drew barely over 2 million at home.

The east coast cold is a little better. It’s moved down to my chest so my head is clearing up and the tinnitus is at bay. Maybe I will have the wits to launch this Linkage post on time today? (wink wink)..........

No game today. The Final Stand this weekend as the A’s come to town.

Have some Three-Scoops-Of-Angels-Wins-Swirled-In-Rangers-Losses-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Shohei Ohtani News

Let’s have some fun here and do a roundup..........Looking back in time, coming out of Japan he was anticipated to be a Babe Ruth parallel..........His value was unprecedented...........He certainly is underpaid, perhaps the most underpaid man on Planet Earth (well, behind me...and maybe you)..........Well, he ain’t Babe Ruth, so what, exactly, do we have on our hands here?..........We have east coast writers now conceding the RoY to Shohei, is what we have..........Well, not ALL of them, but that post is weak sauce..........

A Little Bit Of Mike Trout News

Trout has crossed the 10bWAR mark again. This makes 3 times in his career to date. That puts him in rare company. But let’s get real. Mays and Horsnby had 6 such seasons. Ruth had an astonishing 10. Trout has his best chance to increase this stack of amazing seasons over the next 7 seasons. It’ll be nice if he can stay healthy each of those years...........

A Little Bit Of Angels News

Eric Chavez played in 17 MLB seasons. 1,615 games. But 171 of those games he was in pinstripes. Therefore, none of the rest of his career counts. He is an ex-Yankee...........

LA Times jumping to the front of the line concerning Mike Scioscia career memorials..........

Traditionally, they don’t announce Silver Slugger winners until early November. I can’t find an official press release (it ’s probably hidden behind the MLB Press Release site), but apparently Mike Trout, Justin Upton and Shohei Ohtani are finalists..........

Lord Jessica is keeping track for us. Roberto Baldoquin is joining the AFL. Keep in mind that he is 3 years older than Jaime Barria, 1 year older than Shohei Ohtani and Michael Hermosillo, the same age as David Fletcher and Taylor Ward, and only 2 years younger than Mike Trout..........

Hermosillo will be playing in the Dominican Winter League..............

I have no idea what language AAA hitting coach Donnie Ecker is using here. But if it results in Taylor Ward and Michael Hermosillo and Matt Thaiss being significantly more productive with a bat than Brandon Wood I will be deliriously happy..........

I will say again below, I think that bullpen construction efforts are the biggest crapshoot in baseball. A GM has to get lucky to assemble a lineup of arms that will synergistically get hot and peak in their careers together in the same season. It’s Mariano Rivera rare that any reliever stays at peak form for many seasons, so you gotta collect them at the right time. Credit Billy Eppler for not giving up. He worked his ass off trying to rectify early season fumbles. Again and again he swapped out names. I’m surprised that we didn’t run out of jersey numbers. 33 different guys have taken the mound this year, not including position players tossed out there during moments of crisis. I want to give props to this guy, but the last time I called out a reliever by name he promptly blew the next two save opportunities. So I won’t mention his name. I will just link to the new stud. All of that to say that I have been tracking Rotographs ongoing analysis of bullpens. They publish material as guidance to fantasy players. And, like this week, they have very often have something interesting to say about the longer term bullpen options for the Halos...........


Everywhere In Baseball

This Addison Russell thing is a mess. Things first popped up on MLB’s radar last June. Then Russell’s ex-wife went public with more details, forcing MLB’s hand and putting him on leave. MLB claims that this is not the case, that they had more details after interviewing the victim. But the timing smells bad. Meanwhile, Joe Maddon mucked it all up, first stating that he wasn’t interested in reading the ex-wife’s story. Later he did read it, and expressed proper remorse. Good PR work there, Cubs Front Office.

Earlier this year I noticed that we seemed to be having an unusual amount of hand injuries suffered as a result of HBP. I joked about how nice it would be if somebody invented protective gloves. That’s a joke because protective gloves do already exist, and would be highly beneficial. Players just need to use them. Well, now that we are at the other end of the season the data is in and, yes, this year we have had twice as many hand injuries in MLB..........And no sooner do I type that, but we can now add Kris Bryant to the list..........

Bob Brenly used to be an MLB manager. He knows far better than we the mess that is Joe West. Now Brenly is armed with a mic, which grants him the last word on Country Joe. So when Joe West starts doing stupid Joe West things, and Brenly is there to observe and comment, Brenly roasts West on behalf of us all..........

It’s Open Season on Baseball Managers. John Gibbons of Toronto is the latest to fall..........

Fair is fair. Mookie Betts has my vote..........

Sometimes the best deals are the ones you don’t make. I would bet dollars to donuts that there were quite a few fan bases that were drooling at the prospect of a Chris Davis free agency opportunity back in the 2015 season. His previous 4 season HR totals were 33, 53, 26 and 47. He placed 3rd in MVP voting after 2013 and 14th after 2015. Although he always wanted to stay in Baltimore, he was going to get his $160 million deal from somebody. Baltimore it was. And it’s Baltimore that still suffers. As bad as folks decry the Pujols deal, at least Albert doesn’t generate a -3.2 bWAR for his $25 million plus salary............

This tale of attendance figures for the Madison Mallards, a summer collegiate team in Wisconsin, only slightly veils the realization that baseball is loved, and will survive. Averaging 6,249 attendees per game, respectable or even superior numbers relative to 13 of MiLB AAA, shows that people love good ballgames, and they love them live, and they even love them in places that MLB serves only by association (Brewers territory)..........

While working our way through the Minor League circuits, about that Texas Rangers “strong farm system”. Maybe not so much...........

Dave Dombrowski, GM for the Red Sox, is always going to have to live with the reputation of destroying a farm system to build a short-term powerhouse. It’s his legacy from Detroit, re-written in Boston. But blaming him for having a bad bullpen in both cases? I don’t know. My POV has always been that bullpens are the biggest crapshoot in baseball. More than the post-season. Dombroski has merely failed to strike a hot hand or two in the same season, a not too uncommon occurrence in MLB..........

Well. I was as wrong as I usually am. Part Two of Sheryl Ring’s FanGraph review of the legality of tanking did NOT exonerate Derek Jeter. In fact, quite the opposite. Sheryl is quite willing to realize that there is at least one way to list out how a franchise can and cannot be accused of violating Rule 21(a): the Marlins making changes that result in a lessor team to save money is bad, while the Orioles doing the same thing is good - because it happens at a different point in the season and nobody squawks about such timing. But that is a very short list. IMHO, light years too short. And weak. (For example, the Marlins were not going to keep Giancarlo Stanton after this season regardless, so they either sell or forfeit. Forfeit would be bad in terms of fielding the most competitive team year over year. Selling is at least better than forfeiting. How does that fit Ring’s narrative? It doesn’t. And, in hindsight, Stanton is less than half the player he was just last season. Miami’s 2018 RF, Brian Anderson, has accrued 3.8 bWAR to date. Stanton as the MFY DH is at 3.4. How does THAT impact an assessment?) But we are beyond that. Part Three is coming..........

If are among those already looking past these last few days and the post-season, here is your jump start on the 2018-2019 Free Agent class..........


Baseball Americana

Here is the first tidbit from my visit to the Baseball Americana exhibit at The Library of Congress last week. Long-time HH’ers will recall an offseason several years ago where I surveyed the very long history of statistics in Baseball. One chapter focused on Albert G. Spalding. He is an early stats hero. He also was pretty big in sporting goods, of course, and San Diego residents owe him a major debt of gratitude. Anyway, stats. There I was amusing myself and meandering from case to case when lo, and behold(!), I came face to face with a genuine 1881 edition of Spalding’s Official Baseball Guide!!


The Duffle Bag

Bartolo Colon remains our MLB treasure..........Maybe the best way for Rob Manfred to engage the next generation of baseball fans, would be to red line the current generation of baseball fans..........Something tells me Max got lucky the other night. And I don’t just mean his 300th K..........There are only two things more cute than a baseball story with an animal. One of those two things would be a baseball story with 5 animals. And the cutest thing is any baseball story with tiny humans..........Really cool JD Martinez HR GIF. if only it had overlays to subtract Fenway Park..........I suspect that Taylor Blake Ward might be misreading Bryce Harper’s reaction. Harper might just as well be saying that an 8-year contract ain’t gonna do it. Not in Scott Boras’ world..........


OK, this is way Off Topic, but a fun one to put out into the world at this time. By now most of you should know that my day job has been in IT. That career is just a few years away from completion now, but a couple of decades ago when I was working as the Solutions Architect for a major (and I mean MAJOR) Law Firm, I was approached by a Silicon Valley startup looking to leverage our influence as a customer in the personal computer network space. At that time, one of their products was an on-prem appliance that could be used to index private data and then allow internal folks to run full text searches and retrieve relevant files. You think nothing about this now, but back then it was revolutionary. A few such services existed (AltaVista, anyone?), but not as an on-prem tool. Together the reps and I built a pitch and a test system to present the Technology Committee for approval. We showed how the tool not only found docs, but stack ranked them based on relevance. I expected an easy approval and funding. This would simplify the research work and speed up results immensely. Instead, I got nothing but looks of open-mouthed shock. First, how dare any software programmer presume to know what is important to A Lawyer? Of all the gall! Second, A Lawyer gets paid in 15 minute increments. Why would anyone want to eliminate any of those?? A Lawyer hand-reading carton after carton of hardcopy was the main source of revenue, for chrissake!! The project was kicked to the curb. The startup that wanted to work with me? That was Google. Now 20 years old today.