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Angels Take Series From Rangers, Remain Road Warriors (So Far)

April 16th, 2015

 

Game 1: Angels 6, Rangers 3 | Game 2: Rangers 8, Angels 2   |  Game 3: Angels 10, Rangers 2

Pretend, for a moment, the Royals aren’t a team. The Angels are 4-2! They’ve won two road series against division rivals! C.J. Wilson still hasn’t allowed a run this year!

Well that was fun. Unfortunately the Royals do exist, and their weekend sweep is a black mark book-ended by two otherwise successful series victories over potential playoff contenders (maybe not so much with the Rangers, but you never know).

Whatever gods the Rangers angered last season have not been appeased, as injuries are already piling up for Texas. Gone for the season are Yu Darvish and Jurickson Profar. Ryan Rua was placed on the 15-day DL and Derek Holland, the team’s best pitcher in Darvish’s absence, was placed on the 60-day DL over the weekend. Not fun times in Arlington, but if they can tread water for a couple months, maybe they can hang in the race. Adrian Beltre can do all things.

On to the games, with some stray observations from each.

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 Game 1

* At least through two starts, Matt Shoemaker has remained a valuable member of the rotation. It initially looked like it was going to be a short evening for Shoemaker after he allowed four hits and three runs in the first inning, but Shoemaker then cruised and retired 10 Rangers in a row. Everyone’s favorite regression candidate, especially PECOTA, has so far staved off a sophomore slump thanks to a small uptick in his strikeout percentage — 24%, compared to 22.8% last season — and his persistent refusal to walk batters, walking only one of the 50 hitters he has faced this year. It’s difficult to glean much, if anything, from two starts, but The Cobbler’s first two are an encouraging sign that 2014 was not a fluke. As long as Shoe avoids the home run ball, as he did Monday, he will have a fine 2015 in the middle of the Angel rotation.

Arbitrator Rules in Favor of Josh Hamilton: No Suspension Coming

April 3rd, 2015

 

Major League Baseball announced that Josh Hamilton will not be suspended for his offseason drug use after an arbitrator ruled Hamilton did not violate his treatment program.

Earlier this offseason, Hamilton self-reported his cocaine use to MLB, after which a four-person board consisting of two members from MLB and two from the player’s association met to decide whether new commissioner Rob Manfred would have the right to suspend Hamilton. The two sides split the vote 2-2, with the players’ union as expected ruling in favor of a non-suspension for Hamilton, forcing an arbitrator to make the decision and ultimately rule that Major League Baseball could not suspend Hamilton for this infraction.

Normally I would say “good job MLB,” but well, they’re PISSED about the result. In addition to appointing two people whose job was almost certainly to rule against Hamilton,  here’s their statement:

Angels Spring Training Overreactions: 2015 Edition

April 3rd, 2015

 

The Angels wrapped up their Arizona portion of Spring Training Wednesday afternoon to finish 13-12-1 in the Grand Canyon State. With just a few days before actual baseball that counts consumes our attention for the next seven months, it is time to check in on the performances of some key Angels over the course of their time in Arizona, hopefully with a little context. To do that, I’ll take all spring stats from Baseball Reference and use their OppQual feature, which averages the quality of opponent each player faces. The scale is 1-10, “10″ representing actual MLB players, “8.0″ representing Triple-A, “”7.0″ Double-A, and so on. Presumably, a “1.0″ would be a team of me cloned eight times and being forced to play after watching Boyhood and sobbing for 15 minutes. Only players with a couple at-bats even have a chance of facing a 10.0 OppQual, as spring rosters are muddled with non-roster invites.

We know spring results are basically meaningless. Rosters filled players that may never get a cup of coffee in the majors, small sample sizes, and players/managers not giving maximum effort to win meaningless games make it impossible to glean too much about an upcoming season, but it is still interesting to see how some of the players performed as the Angels hope to start hot and eliminate the poor taste of October among themselves and the fans.

For each player below I’ll hand pick a stat and see what it says about that player going forward. It probably means nothing, but what fun is that?

Stats are through action on April 1.

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Infield (Catchers too)

 

Josh Rutledge (8.4 OppQual) – .170/.216/.191

We’re not in Kansas Colorado anymore. Even when manning the keystone for the Rockies, Rutledge wasn’t that great, posting a 104 wRC+ at Coors last season. Thought to be the favorite for the Opening Day second base gig, Rutledge’s brutal spring may have opened the door for…

Previewing the AL West: Texas

March 2nd, 2015

 

2014 Results

67-95, 5th in AL West

RS: 637 (10th in AL)
RA: 773 (14th in AL)

Pythag W-L: 67-95 (t-29th)

 

2014 was the Season From Hell for the Texas Rangers. The Rangers turned lofty preseason expectations—26 of 44 various baseball minds on ESPN pegged the Rangers to at least qualify for the postseason—into the third-worst record in baseball, a fitting bottoming out in what has been a gradual decline for the franchise since Nelson Cruz failed to secure the Rangers’ first World Series title in 2011. Jon Daniels & Co. made big-money gambles on Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo that didn’t pay off due to a lack of performance and injury; Fielder missed 120 games with neck surgery—and only slugged .360 when he did play—while Choo posted a career-worst .340 OBP and missed the final 34 games of the season when the Rangers were in Tank Mode anyway.

Fielder and Choo were hardly the only Rangers to miss time as Texas set the dubious MLB record for most players used in a season, trotting out 64 (!!!) different players over the course of the year. Once number-one overall prospect and probable starting second baseman Jurickson Profar missed the whole season. Ace Yu Darvish was shut down in early August. Derek Holland broke his mustache and didn’t make his season debut until September 2. Matt Harrison started only four games and now looks questionable to ever pitch again thanks to an endless stream of back ailments. Martin Perez set the world on fire through his first five starts before petering out in May and requiring Tommy John surgery. And on and on and on.

No team would have been able to overcome the glut of injuries the 2014 Rangers suffered. If there’s a positive to come from the onslaught of injuries, it’s that it will allow Texas to pick third in this June’s amateur draft with a chance to stock an already loaded farm system—ranked fourth by Baseball Prospectus—with high-end talent.

 

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 2015 Projections

82-80, 4th in AL West

RS: 701 (8th) RA: 693 (17th)

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?”

Halos Daily

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