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Angels at the Oscars

February 20th, 2015

With the Academy Awards this Sunday, we at Halos Daily thought it would be good to give you a primer on all the films nominated for Best Picture, just in case you missed any. Below are the posters and brief synopses of the eight baseball films nominated for 2015′s most prestigious Oscar.

(Click the posters to embiggen them, for full ridiculousness.)

 

AmericanSwiper

American Swiper

Prompted by the declining stolen base attempts following the aftermath of Moneyball, Mike Trout sets out to protect the legacy of stolen base legends by attempting a daring feat: stealing 100 bases in a season. Little does Mike realize that an adversary with a deadly cannon, Yadier Molina, awaits him.

 

TroutBoyhood

Boyhood

Follow Mike Trout on his journey from a young boy growing up in New Jersey to his present stature as the best player in baseball. You’ll watch Mike eat Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyakis, develop a love for emojis, and break countless piñatas at birthday parties. Directed by Richard Linklater to make you feel old, Boyhood is the perfect film to remind you The Hives were a thing and that Roger Clemens footage from ten years ago is remarkably dated.

 

Byrdman

Byrdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of a Wonky Delivery)

Paul Byrd made a name for himself with his unique delivery. Magazine covers, fast cars, fast women, Zach Galifianakis, Byrd had it all. Then, the ravages of a declining skill set forced his retirement from the game. Refusing to appeal to fans of The Delivery, Byrd begins to teach himself how to pitch more conventionally, hoping to build a successful career in Japan. Critics are calling Byrdman “a movie” and “did you know they didn’t actually film the movie in a single take, it just looks that way?”

2015 Preview: The Infield

February 11th, 2015

 

The Angels’ bread and butter lies in the outfield, but the 2014 infield was no slouch. Chris Iannetta, Howie Kendrick, and Erick Aybar all posted career — or nearly career — seasons, while Albert Pujols and David Freese also post solid years. Despite the success and the majority of those players returning to the squad this season., the 2015 infield is littered with uncertainty. Outfield contributors like Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun seem like decent bets to carry the offense, but for the Angels to repeat as division champs, they will need some secondary support from the guys on the diamond.

 

Chris Iannetta – C

Age: 31
Salary: $5.525 million
Free Agent: 2015

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2014 Stats

Games: 108
Slash: .252/.373/.392
Homers: 7
fWAR: 2.9

_

One of Jerry Dipoto’s first moves as Angel GM still remains one of his best. Dealing a young, cost-controlled arm in Tyler Chatwood to the Rockies was a bit of a risk, but the Angel’s catching situation in the post-Napoli days was an apocalypse. While Chatwood has battled injury and ineffectiveness in Denver — also mixing in a decent run in 2013 — Iannetta has helped fans forget about the days of Jeff Mathis and Bobby Wilson.

Meet the New Angels: Matt Joyce

December 30th, 2014

index

Matt Joyce

Age: 30 | Height: 6’2″ | Weight: 200
Bats: L | Throws: R
Pos: OF/DH

 

Birthplace: Tampa, Florida

Joyce stayed in Florida for his learnin’ career, attending Armwood High School in Seffner and Florida Southern College in Lakeland. At Florida Southern, you can major in Citrus. That’s not a joke.

 

Drafted: 12th round by the Tigers in the 2005 amateur draft

In his three years at Florida Southern, Joyce slashed .306/392/.490. But what of his citrus studies?!

 

Traded Before?: Yup

Detroit shipped Joyce to Tampa Bay for Edwin Jackson in December 2008. I’d say that trade worked out pretty well for the Tigers. Jackson had a nice 2009 season for Detroit (worth 3.7 fWAR), then was a key piece in the December 2009 blockbuster three-team trade with the Yankees and Diamondbacks that netted Austin Jackson and Max Scherzer.

 

Prospect Status

Joyce was a fringe top-30 prospect in the Tigers’ system for his first two seasons after being drafted, per Baseball America. After the 2007 season, Joyce shot up to a personal-best #7 ranking in the system before being called up for good in 2008.

 

What’s his role?

Nathan wrote about Joyce’s impact in greater detail here. Presumably, Joyce will platoon with C.J. Cron at DH, fortifying one of the Angels’ few 2014 weaknesses. Joyce figures to play every day against right-handed starting pitchers, whether that be as the designated hitter or in left field to spell Josh Hamilton. For his career, Joyce owns a 128 wRC+ when he has the platoon advantage — that’s better than the overall 2014 outputs of Alex Gordon and Adam Jones, just to handpick a couple star players. It’s important that Mike Scioscsia limits Joyce’s at-bats against left-handed pitchers, though. Joyce turns into a pumpkin when facing southpaws, evident in his career 61 wRC+.

 

Injury History

Joyce has hit the 15-day DL twice in his career, most recently in 2012 for an oblique strain that cost him 23 games. In 2013 and 2014 combined, he only missed one game due to injury. In 2010 an elbow strain cost him 51 games, but it doesn’t appear as though that injury has bothered him again.

 

Does he Twitter?

He does. You can follow him @sweetswingin20. “Sunday fun day” grates on me almost as much as “a case of the Mondays.”

 

Miscellany

To receive your Citrus degree, you are required to complete 63 hours in the major. That’s sooooooo many Cuties.

 

Meet The New Angels: Cesar Ramos

November 7th, 2014

ramos

Cesar Ramos

Age: 30 | Height: 6’2″ | Weight: 200

Bats: L | Throws: L

Pos: LHP

 

Birthplace: Los Angeles, California

BREAKING: lots of good baseball players come from Southern California.

 

Drafted: Sixth round by the Devil Rays in the 2002 amateur draft but didn’t sign; 35th pick in the 2005 amateur draft by the Padres, who he signed with on June 15, 2005.

Not only was Ramos born in LA, but he played his college ball at Long Beach State with Jered Weaver and former Angel Jason Vargas. Weaver was the ace of the 2004 staff, which tends to happen when you post a 1.63 ERA in 144 innings while striking out 213 and walking only 21. Ramos was no slouch though, being the #2 starter for a strong team that advanced to the Super Regional. He threw 133-2/3 innings for the Beach with a 2.29 ERA.

Pujols and Calhoun Named Gold Glove Finalists

October 24th, 2014

Michael Jackson: more Gold Gloves than Mike Trout

 

Awards season provides bored baseball fans with a bridge to free agency madness, something to get worked up about for a few hours and help us forget the long hours of boredom that is the MLB offseason. The early stages of award season have already begun, as yesterday Rawlings announced the Gold Glove finalists for each position. It’s not surprising the Angels only have two finalists, but it is surprising one of them is not Erick Aybar, who was beaten out at shortstop by Alcides Escobar, Alexei Ramirez, and JJ Hardy (the probably deserving winner).

Measuring defense is always tricky, but whether using the eye test or fielding metrics, Aybar seemed deserving of a spot in the finals. Aybar ranked second among AL shortstops among DRS* and UZR. His 10 errors were also the fewest he’s committed in a season since 2007, when he only logged 79 innings at short. Fielding percentage is in the conversation with saves and pitcher wins as the most useless stats around, but some people pay attention to it. Aybar’s .982 rate was tops in the AL among shortstops. Using traditional and modern defensive measures, Aybar checks out. It’s a bit puzzling Aybar isn’t a finalist, but this is also the award Derek Jeter won five times. Voters might be throwing darts at a bulletin board for all we know.

* Yes, according to DRS Aybar actually cost the Angels three runs, but that’s still good for second best in the AL. The moral of the story: shortstop is hard.

As for the Angels that are finalists. Pujols, a two-time winner when he was in the NL, graded as a top-three first basemen in DRS and UZR, a welcome sight after his injury-plagued 2013 season. At some point in his mammoth contract the Angels will convert Pujols to a full-time DH. The fear after last season was that day was fast approaching, but with a year of solid defensive play Pujols may be able to hold that day off for a little longer. He still runs like a slug, but he has good instincts and an accurate throwing arm at first. The longer Pujols can play in the field, the more value he will bring to the Angels.

Calhoun’s nomination was a bit of a surprise just because he’s a relative unknown, but per FanGraphs there are only seven qualified right fielders in the AL, so Rawlings had to pick somebody. Not that his inclusion is unwarranted — Calhoun saved the most runs and had the second best UZR in the AL, in addition to numerous Web Gem plays the voters love.

Meanwhile, the only other Angels that have a claim for a nomination are Mike Trout and Howie Kendrick. Trout only has a case in name recognition only. He was snubbed in 2012 when he probably should have won, and now it looks like he might not have another chance to win. DRS and UZR say Trout was the third worst center fielder in the AL — this is where my eye test is going to call “bull.” I don’t think Trout is as good as he was in 2012, but he’s not among the worst defensive players in the American League, either.

Kendrick didn’t have much Gold Glove chatter over the summer but he did have another solid season at the keystone. Kendrick rated as the third-best second basemen by DRS and fourth by UZR. Having Aybar and Kendrick man the middle of the infield for nearly a decade has been a huge boon for the Angels. It’s a luxury to roll out guys on Opening Day in two key positions and know you’re going to get 145 games of reliable play. Kendrick and Aybar were huge reasons the Angels won the division crown this year, and if the Angels succeed in 2015 those two are likely going to be underrated, but key, contributors again.

Halos Daily

Dedicated to bringing you top notch Angels analysis!