Halos Daily

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Angels Sending Hamilton Back to Rangers

April 25th, 2015

 

So by now you’ve probably heard… Josh Hamilton is likely headed back to the Texas Rangers in exchange for somewhere around $15 million in salary relief and nothing else. With no players coming back to Anaheim, the deal is more pawn than trade, which tells you everything you need to know about how badly ownership wanted to wash their hands of Hamilton.

A common refrain in wake of the news has been that Hamilton’s contract should immediately go down as one of the worst in franchise history. I can’t say that I disagree with the sentiment, but I would argue that his place on that list has much, much more to do with the Angels than it does Hamilton.

It seems pretty clear now that Arte Moreno was drawn in by Hamilton’s feel-good comeback story, and had no intention of ever confronting the reality of his addiction. Moreno and the front office should have known damn well he was a high-risk acquisition from the day they handed him a five-year contract — it’s not as though Hamilton was shy about his addiction being a constant struggle. For ownership to then go out of their way to pass his recent relapse off as some sort of unforgivable break in trust screams of ignorance at best, maliciousness at worst.

I’m not saying the Angels don’t have a reason to be disappointed in Hamilton. Of course they do. But the club’s reaction to the situation hasn’t been simply one of disappointment, no matter what they might say to reporters. Moreno’s need to not just jettison Hamilton from the organization as quickly as possible but also purge all of his merchandise from the team store well before any official transaction smacks of a spurned lover, not a concerned employer. Moreno’s public admission that he hasn’t spoken to Hamilton since the end of the 2014 season only reinforces the idea of some sort of personal betrayal.

O’, Where Art Thou?!

April 24th, 2015

 

Pitching and defense win baseball games, so the old adage goes. It turns out that hitting and scoring runs also helps. The Angels (7-9) have struggled at least partially in all four of these areas to start the 2015 season, but none more so than the offensive component.

On the heels of one of the most obscure wins in club history, a 2-0 win over the division rival Oakland Athletics that saw the Angels muster only one hit as victors, a feat accomplished only twice before in 51 years of Halo baseball, the men in red find themselves searching for an offensive presence. Outside of the incomparable Mike Trout, who alone has accounted for just about 20% of runs scored (13) for the entire team, the squad is mired in some serious slump-age.

Tied for 30th out of 30 MLB clubs with a .213 team batting average, the Angels are sharing dead last with the aging/rebuilding Philadelphia Phillies. It doesn’t get too much better in the on-base percentage department either where the Halos rank 27th, ahead of only the aforementioned Phillies and the offensively challenged Milwaukee Brewers with a team OBP of .277. This would be slightly more palatable if the power numbers were there, but thus far, outside of home runs where the Angels rank 10th with 15 dingers, the power metrics are ugly as well. Their .625 OPS is 23rd overall and their team slugging percentage sits at a dismal .347, also 23rd. The top ranked team in runs scored is currently the Toronto Blue Jays, who have already scored 94 runs, a full 30 more than the Angels.

Angels Split Four Game Set with Oakland

April 24th, 2015

 

Game 1: Athletics 6, Angels 3 | Game 2: Angels 14, Athletics 1
Game 3: Athletics 9, Angels 2 | Game 4: Angels 2, Athletics 0

 

It wasn’t too long ago that the AL West had just reason to be considered the best division in baseball. Now, roughly three weeks into the 2015 season, the AL West remains the only division without a 9-win team. The division leader? The Houston Astros; a franchise nearly a decade removed from its last postseason appearance, and winners of a combined 234 games (versus 416 losses) over the last four seasons.

Of course, it’s way too early in the season to rush to brash conclusions, but it seems clear that the AL West isn’t what it used to be. Seattle has sputtered out of the gate. The Rangers are likely in the midst of an abysmal campaign. Houston is clearly on the upswing, but still gives off little impression of a shoo-in playoff contender. The Angels and A’s have both had their woes early this season.

This week’s four game set in Anaheim seemed to perfectly exemplify the fungibility that should consume the AL West this season, as the Angels and A’s split the series, with the box scores enacting the form of a roller coaster (not too often you see a 14-1 and 2-0 game in the same series), possibly foreshadowing the tumultuous season ahead for these two teams

Now, before we move onto the recapping, can we just note how extraordinarily awesome Oakland’s roster is. I mean, this team’s starting infield consists of Stephen Vogt, Ike Davis, Eric Sogard, Marcus Semien, and Brett Lawrie, with Mark Canha in left field and a super-uber-utility man in Ben Zobrist. To put this club’s incredible roster-turnover in perspective, here are the number of players on Oakland’s active roster who received at least 300 plate appearances with the club last season: 2*

*That would be Josh Reddick and Eric Sogard. I repeat, Eric Sogard.

Also, is there anyone even remotely as excited as myself about a Sonny Gray-Scott Kazmir-Jesse Hahn-Drew Pomeranz rotation? No? Alright, well let’s get back on topic…

Last Week on the Angels’ Farm

April 21st, 2015

 

Salt Lake Bees

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Relief pitcher Cam Bedrosian has 13 strikeouts and no walks in eight innings so far for the Bees.

The Angels’ Triple-A club is in fourth place in the PCL Pacific Southern with a 1-10 record.  While that’s rather depressing, on the bright side, third baseman Kyle Kubitza has been raking.  He leads the Pacific Coast League in doubles (7), is second in hits (20) and total bases (31), and is fourth in batting average (.417).  The Bees’ catching tandem of Carlos Perez and Jett Bandy has also been hot, going 19-for-52 at the plate so far this season for a .365 batting average.  The two catchers have also hit all three of the Bees’ home runs.  Here are some of the top performances from last week:

• 4/14 – 1B Marc Krauss:  2-for-4, 2 2B
• 4/14 – 3B Kyle Kubitza:  2-for-4, 1 2B, 1 3B
• 4/15 – DH Josh Rutledge:  2-for-4, 2 2B, 1 BB, 3 RBI
• 4/15 – C Jett Bandy:  3-for-5, 1 RBI, picked runner off of third
• 4/16 – Kyle Kubitza:  4-for-5, 2 RBI
• 4/16 – LF Roger Kieschnick:  2-for-4, 2 2B, threw runner out at home
• 4/17 – LF Grant Green:  3-for-5, 1 2B, 1 3B
• 4/17 – Kyle Kubitza:  2-for-4, 2 2B, 1 SB
• 4/18 – Roger Kieschnick:  1-for-4, 2b, threw runner out at 2nd
• 4/18 – RP Cam Bedrosian:  2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO
• 4/19 – Kyle Kubitza:  2-for-3, 1 2B, 2 R, 1 BB
• 4/19 – C Carlos Perez:  2-for-4, 1 2B, 1 BB, 2 RBI, 1 SB

Halos Have Problems In Houston

April 20th, 2015

 

Game 1: Angels 6, Astros 3 | Game 2: Astros 4, Angels 0 | Game 3: Astros 4, Angels 3

 

Remember the time when the Astros joined the AL West and were the division punching bag for a few years while they racked up No. 1 draft picks? That was awesome. Sadly, it seems those days are at an end. Houston now has legitimate MLB players up and down their roster, and several more promising players just on the outside looking in. The Astros are still probably a year or two away from making a real run at a playoff berth, but as we saw this weekend that doesn’t mean they won’t make life a living hell for the Angels and the rest of the division. Good thing the Halos only face them 16 more times this year…

Maybe by the final match-up we’ll be able to determine whether Mike Trout is laughing or wincing in the picture above. Or at least by then maybe someone can figure out who the heck is managing in Houston now. Craig Biggio? Nolan Ryan? Orbit? It’s Orbit, isn’t it?

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Game 1: Mike Trout Makes History … Again

I feel like I’ve run out of wonderful things to say about Mike Trout. Or maybe not run out, but I feel like everything I could try to say has already been said before and thus doesn’t carry as much weight as it should. We’ve been beating the “Mike Trout is a talent for the ages” drum for so long that it seems to have lost much of its meaning. It’s as though we’re at the point in the narrative where the captivating story isn’t the hero doing incredible things, it’s the possibility of him not doing those things — of being exposed by some fatal flaw. We now seem to expect greatness from him, so anything less must mean something is wrong.

Halos Daily

Dedicated to bringing you top notch Angels analysis!