Archive for the ‘Los Angeles Angels’ Category

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Angels

Albert Pujols is throwing it all the way back to the late 2000s. The Angels’ first baseman leads the major leagues with six home runs and is hitting .280/.349/.587 in his first 18 games of 2014. His current 167 OPS+ is his best mark since the 2010 season, the last time the 34-year-old reached the All-Star game.

Whenever a hitter of Pujols’s former stature manages an elite stretch like this one, particularly early in a season, it’s worth taking note. It’s especially worth noting when the player in question is healthy for the first time in years. Pujols missed roughly the final third of the 2013 season in order to finally undergo surgery on his right knee as well as rest the plantar fasciitis that has chronically bothered his left heel.

Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus documented Pujols’s issues last season in a column aptly titled “The Week In Albert Pujols Playing Through Pain.” Pujols was never a burner, but he ran in an extremely pained manner in 2013. The issues were particularly apparent on this play, a groundout on April 13. Watch the instability in his front leg in particular:

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MLB: Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox is in its 12th season of existence, a wonderful service and piece of technology that allows fans to watch their favorite team no matter their geographic location.

That is what and how should primarily be used – to follow your favorite team. So do that, watch them with hope in your heart.

But it also enables hardcore baseball fans to watch all the other, out-of-market games. They can track their fantasy players or watch their second favorite team, provided their parents did a poor enough job raising them to allow for such trite weakness.

While allows for a mosaic mode to watch multiple games at once, this is for degenerates or crazy people only.

Most people want to pick one game and watch it. Enjoy it. Get into it. But which game?

That’s a matter of personal preference. If you need some guidance, allow this list to determine the ten teams you most want to AVOID on your surfing, starting with the least desirable option in baseball right now.

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Mama, let your boys grow up to be baseball players. Mike Trout on Friday signed a contract that will pay him more than the career earnings of LeBron James. It is half the length and nearly 50 percent higher than Sidney Crosby’s contract.

Mike Trout just walked away from, roughly, $100 million. By signing a contract that buys up his first three years of free agency, he might have left $100 million on the table.

And yet he signed one of the 20 or so biggest contracts in baseball history. A guy with 336 career games played. He’s probably going to be okay.

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MLB: Minnesota Twins at Seattle Mariners

Baseball is a young man’s game. There aren’t many players still producing into their forties. Raul Ibanez is not “many players.” If you wondered who authored the best age-41 season in baseball history, you might be surprised to learn that Raul Ibanez is in there with a shout.

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MLB: Cleveland Indians at Los Angeles Angels

A rather dramatic three-team deal just threw the Winter Meetings into gear, with the Angels shipping out slugger Mark Trumbo to the Arizona Diamondbacks along with two players to be named later, Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago of the White Sox headed to Anaheim and Adam Eaton on his way to Chicago.

It’s a big deal, as the Angels had so little room to maneuver they needed to make any deal involving Mark Trumbo. The Orange County native, an useful power hitter about to get more expensive as he hits arbitration for the first time, represents tantalizing power from the right side of the plate. It was too much for Arizona to resist, as they give up a stalled pitching prospect and their exciting center fielder to get the ever elusive right-handed power bat.

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MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics

Mike Trout is the best player in baseball. Even if you don’t agree, you would have a hard time mounting a vigorous disagreement that he ranks any lower than second. He might not be as good a hitter as Miguel Cabrera right now but, at 22-years old, the gap is more narrow now than you think.

Mike Trout turned 22 in August, which makes 2013 his “age-21″ season. Among all players in the history of the game, Mike Trout ranks among the very best, ever, at this point in his career. His OPS ranks fourth behind Ted Williams, Mel Ott, and Jimmie Foxx (inner circle Hall of Famers all.) His OPS+, which adjusts for era and league? First. None better through age 21. Zero.

We could keep going all day long. Batting average? 7th best at this age. On base and slugging percentage? Top five each. He is on a historical trajectory that could well see him end up as one of the best players in history. Obvious hyperbole, but Trout keeps playing at such a level as to render no hyperbole off limits. All bets are off.

Even without considering his age, the things he’s doing (or has already done) in his career puts him in extremely exclusive company. How many (Live Ball era) center fielders can say they put up seasons with an OPS+ higher than 165 in their careers more than once? Nine.

Rk Yrs From To Age
1 Willie Mays 7 1954 1965 23-34 Ind. Seasons
2 Mickey Mantle 7 1955 1964 23-32 Ind. Seasons
3 Joe DiMaggio 4 1937 1941 22-26 Ind. Seasons
4 Tris Speaker 4 1920 1925 32-37 Ind. Seasons
5 Ken Griffey 3 1993 1997 23-27 Ind. Seasons
6 Ty Cobb 3 1921 1925 34-38 Ind. Seasons
7 Mike Trout 2 2012 2013 20-21 Ind. Seasons
8 Bobby Murcer 2 1971 1972 25-26 Ind. Seasons
9 Duke Snider 2 1954 1955 27-28 Ind. Seasons
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/19/2013.

How many can say they did so (OPS+ > 165) with 25 home runs and 25 steals? Only three center fielders accomplished this feat. Just one player did it twice: Mike Trout.

Rk Yrs From To Age
1 Mike Trout 2 2012 2013 20-21 Ind. Seasons
2 Matt Kemp 1 2011 2011 26-26 Ind. Seasons
3 Willie Mays 1 1957 1957 26-26 Ind. Seasons
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/19/2013.

The only other player to accomplish this feat more than once, regardless of position? Barry Bonds.

We could sit here all day and create imaginary buckets in vain attempts to place Mike Trout’s young career into context. Most people get it by now: he’s really good. You know the “whats” of his accomplishments and the “whos” of his statistical peer group. What you might not know is the how. I spoke with Mike Trout about how he does what he does in this edition of My Approach.

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A #DADLAP, butt-chin, mullet combo conveniently bundled up into a ridiculously catchy 80s pop song. How could you possibly resist? Something tells me that few did, and Huey spread “the news” and other things, before/during/after this video shoot. What a guy. And how great is that song?! #DADROCK

That said, after 38 years of existing on this planet, I have finally realized that Huey Lewis is fucking awesome … which means that I’ve almost completed my transition from rebellious eternally-teenaged band dude to becoming my dad. Pretty soon I’ll be delivering State of the Union addresses at the dinner table, citing W-L records in baseball conversations and wearing my pants pulled up to my tits.  #DADLAP

On a less depressing note …

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