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HumpLinks: In Search of a Plan B

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Whatever it was that the Angels brain trust was trying to do for 2019, somebody needs to tell them it ain’t working.

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New York Yankees v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

And in today’s news...the sun rose in the east, the moon set in the west, and the Angels lost 7-5 on a mix of inconsistent pitching and inconsistent hitting. The Halos are now 9 and 15. The season so far has been lose 1, win 1, lose 5, win 6, lose 1, win 1, lose 6 again, win 1, lose 2. If this were roulette, I would put all my money on black.

It’s a pesky thing, trying to compete at the MLB level without a starting rotation and missing offensive firepower from 4 of your 5 slugging positions. I would say that this situation won’t last forever, but I lived through the 70’s.

On the pitching side, we are approaching 15% of the way through the season and what do we know? Skaggs, Tropeano and Heaney are Faberge eggs, beautiful in their glass cases but far too fragile to play with. Meanwhile, Harvey, Cahill and Stratton are mashed potatoes...without the butter or salt or pepper or milk or gravy. Photo props. We should just try bullpenning every game. With 18 arms on staff, everybody pitches 1 inning every other game until further notice.

On the offensive side, this is not rocket science. The best way to force a team to pitch to Mike Trout so that Mike Trout can hit home runs, is for the guy hitting behind him - in this case Justin Bour - to hit home runs every time the opposing team refuses to let Mike Trout hit home runs. Justin Bour grand slams will do the trick. Keep it up, Bour. It would also help immensely if guys got on base in front of Mike Trout. I know, radically clever of me, ain’t it? Trout is more productive than the rest of the entire team put together, so we might as well try and take advantage of having him around.

It’s Wednesday. We are half way through this nightmarish week. Dream of Mythological-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Angels News

I’m calling it: Brian is the best Goodwin ever to play under the Halo...............

I pointed this out yesterday. Compared to almost every other MLB player, Mike Trout doesn’t swing at very many pitches. Of any kind. He certainly has stopped swinging at bad pitches. What gets to us LAA fans who are blessed with seeing him every night is his growing propensity to not swing at good pitches, either. In fact, only 19 guy swing at fewer pitches in the strike zone than Trout (David Fletcher leads all of MLB). On the plus plus side, when Trout DOES swing at something in the zone, only 3 guys make better contact. Click the link to be shocked at who makes best contact on pitches inside the zone..........(RESEARCH PROJECT FOR YOU: go to FanGraphs and look at Team Batting Stats. Walk through all the Plate Discipline data points and notice how disciplined are the Angels as a team. Then go to MLB.com and look at THEIR Team Batting Stats, and notice how low the Angels rank on Hits, Doubles, Triple, Home Runs. They have the lowest strike outs but are middle of the pack in walks. Disciplined, but unproductive.).............

This is by design. It’s “the process”. Results to follow...........

And on the defensive side, Skipper Brad is one damned shifty dude. (Of course, I probably shouldn’t be blaming him for this.)...........

Mike Trout Major Porn of the Day. “Dale Murphy: I played against some of the all-time greats. Mike Trout is better than all of them.”..........

Tommy La Stella love............

I am not a big fan of home run parties, but boys will be boys so I just let it go. However, if this becomes a real thing I might have to whip out my cloud cannons..........

This is not a real thing. I refuse to allow it. (Hansel Robles and his 0.971 WHIP is quite a real thing, however.).........

Zack Cozart is avoiding the IL. No word on whether or not he got some sense knocked into him Monday night..........

I forgot to put this up earlier this week. Last Friday Luis Garcia visited Handy Elementary School. Halos players do this all over OC, but Handy Elementary is special to this writer. When I was a punk 8-year old, my family was part of a tribe of Little League enthusiasts who, due to demographics, split off from Sunrise LL to form North Sunrise LL. Our home field was Handy Elementary. My dad, being an officer of the League, brought his whole crew of kids to help build the fields. If you ever visit Handy, and walk out onto the smaller fields that are still on school grounds (not the ones in the adjacent park), walk to the dead center of the grass and stand at the home plate that faces Southwest. Those infield baselines? I personally trenched them way back in 1964. That has all been replaced by a full dirt infield, but the baselines remain right where I originally dug them...........

Angels fans invent a much better way to enjoy the break between frames..........


Everywhere In Baseball

Mega Contracts go bad for other teams, too. We have seen this one coming a long way off. Miguel Cabrera is going to be the burden of the Tigers for a very long time. But let’s frame that properly. It’s only a burden if the ownership chooses to make it a burden. How much money an owner chooses to spend on player salary is entirely discretionary................

As weird a take as you are gonna read today. “Did Babe Ruth ever hurt his oblique? Blame supplements and weights for these injuries.” Baseball players need to soften up, spend more time watching golf and drinking beer from the sofa. Then they won’t get hurt so damned often..........

Babe Ruth would not recognize MLB hitting today.............

The Yankees injury bug is unprecedented. Until you actually read the article and learn that it is precedented...by the Angels..........

The current MLB draft system is fairly straightforward, with a couple of odd quirks for compensation. This, it is easily exploited. This is why we have tanking. I would think that the goal of any effort to re-architect a talent distribution system should be some form of fairness, both to teams and players, which does NOT encourage anti-competitive behavior, and remains as simple as possible. And I would think that this particular re-architectural attempt is some guy on Ritalin..............

No we know where MLB is getting all that extra juice to pump into their official baseballs. They are importing it from Korea...........

Blue Jays super prospect Bo Bichette had his hand broken by an inside pitch. This should push back any talk of bringing him up any time soon (after Baby Vlad arrives, of course)............

Any “system” for determining the player with the best combination of speed and power, which fails to come up with Mike Trout as the answer, needs to go back to the drawing board. After all, going back over the past 3 full seasons, Trout is 8th throughout all of MLB in Home Runs, and 11th in Stolen Bases, and nobody else is close............

Bryce Harper is enjoying a Major League honeymoon with Philadelphia. The fallout of his blowup the other night shows that he might be mellowing. Because he got called out for getting ejected by his pitcher and, again in public, he calmly accepted his tongue-thrashing. That’s the kind of thing that normally stays in the clubhouse...........ESPN notices that Harper, as an 8-year vet, should know better by now..........

This AP report on MLB Opening Day payroll is just the kind of thing that can be used to argue player salary trends in any way you wish. On the one hand we get “...Major League Baseball’s opening-day payrolls...drop by $43 million for 2019”......On the other hand “Payrolls, however, rose by $131 million when using the averages of multiyear contracts.”.....On the one hand “Payrolls totaled $4.072 billion on opening day, down 1.1 percent from $4.115 billion at the start of last season and $4.135 billion on opening day 2017...”.....On the other hand “Since the end of last season, teams agreed to a record $4.195 billion in guarantees beyond 2019, breaking the previous mark for out-year commitments of $3.414 billion set following the 2013 season.”..........


The Duffle Bag

Imagine being retired in order by a relief pitcher...who normally plays catcher...............MLB has changed the official logos. Just darker, but maybe that’s because I am not wearing my glasses..........Yasiel Puig is living large with his rumble reputation............Clever! MiLB player solves his poverty-level pay problems by pivoting to a tiny house. That would also solve the bus trip problem too, I would guess...........