2012 Organizational Rankings: #4 – Anaheim

Read the methodology behind the ratings here. Remember that the grading scale is 20-80, with 50 representing league average.

2012 Organizational Rankings

#30 – Baltimore
#29 – Houston
#28 – Oakland
#27 – Pittsburgh
#26 – San Diego
#25 – Minnesota
#24 – Chicago AL
#23 – Seattle
#22 – Kansas City
#21 – Cleveland
#20 – New York NL
#19 – Los Angeles NL
#18 – Colorado
#17 — Miami
#16 — Diamondbacks
#15 — Cincinnati
#14 — Chicago NL
#13 — Milwaukee
#12 — San Francisco
#11 — Washington

#10 — Tampa Bay
#9 – Toronto
#8 – Atlanta
#7 – Detroit
#6 – St. Louis
#5 – Philadelphia

Anaheim’s 2011 Ranking: 12th

2012 Outlook: 65 (3rd)

If you want to find a weakness on the 2012 iteration of the Angels, you can. It’s very possible, for example, that the team’s second-best position player is a prospect (Mike Trout) who’s likely to spend a great deal of the season in the minors. It’s very possible, moreover, that one of the players by whom Trout is blocked (Vernon Wells) will fight to produce something north replacement level. Finally, the team lacks a capital-S Starter both at third base and designated hitter, which isn’t — traditionally speaking, at least — a recipe for success.

Here are a couple things the Angels do have, though: probably the league’s best starting rotation and also Albert Pujols. The ZiPS projection system — which, like most projection systems, is conservative by nature — projects the Angels’ top-four starters (Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, C.J. Wilson, and Ervin Santana) to post a collective WAR of about 18.0. By comparison, only three starting rotations (Philadelphia, Chicago AL, Texas) posted WARs better than 18.0 in 2011 — and even the Angels themselves, sans free-agent signing C.J. Wilson, posted a fourth-place 17.8 WAR. As for Pujols, this is a player for whom a 5.1 WAR — what he posted in 2011 — is considered sub-par. All told, Pujols plus the team’s four best starters should be worth close to 25 wins. Were the rest of team to be average, the Angels would be expected to win ca. 96 games.

That the Angels have some disparity in talent within their own roster is actually maybe a net-plus: as opposed to previous versions of the club, which featured similarly talented players across the entire roster, this is a team that could conceivably be upgraded at the trade deadline.

2013+ Outlook: 55 (9th)

The same traits that will help the Angels in the short-term might (emphasis on might) work against them in the long. This is Albert Pujols’s age-32 season, for example, which means he’s in the decline phase of his career. Yes, it’s an advantage that the decline began at a peak of around eight or nine wins per annum, but it’s also the case that the Angels will be paying him $30 million in his age-41 season. Regardless of what a win is worth on the open market in 2021, it’s reasonable to expect that Pujols won’t be worth his paycheck then. Furthermore, the Angels have quite a lot of money invested in pitchers — or, at least, in two pitchers. Weaver and Wilson are due just under $140 million total between 2013 and ’16, when each of their contracts end. Their health and continued, respective excellence will be key to the health and continued excellence of the club.

That said, so far as future outlook is concerned, having good players is better than not having them (see: Astros, Houston). Between the present roster and what appears to be substantial financial resources (see below), the team is likely to remain above average, barring catastrophe.

As for what sort of talent to expect out of the Angels system, the answer to that question is problematized a bit by the presence of aforementioned uberprospect Mike Trout. Our Marc Hulet ranked the Angels’ minor-league system 19th overall in the majors. A couple of lists using John Sickels’ prospect ratings confirm Hulet’s ranking. But it’s important to note that Trout is a considerably better than any other player in the system — and, without him, that system would certainly rank in the 20s somewhere. C.J. Cron, Jean Segura, Garrett Richards: each has upside, certainly, but none profile as elite players in the way that Trout does. Reinforcements, in other words, are not necessarily on the way in droves from the minor leagues.

Financial Resources: 64 (4th)

Since his purchase of the club in 2003, Arte Moreno has exhibited a strong drive to increase the exposure of the team and to take a greater share of the Los Angeles market, the second-larget metro area in the United States after New York. While Moreno’s efforts to that end have sometimes bordered on the absurd (he is, for example, largely repsonsible for the team’s name change, to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim), there have also been tangible results. Since 2003, the team has drawn more than three million fans in nine consecutive seasons — a threshold it had never crossed before 2003. The Angels recently signed a 20-year deal with Fox Sports worth roughly $3 billion. And the franchise is now the eight-most valuable among the league’s 30 teams, per Forbes’ methodology — a substantial increase over the 20th-place finish in 2003.

Nor has Moreno been hesitant about reinvesting (at least some of) that money into the team, giving his GMs considerable capital with which to construct their rosters. The Angels enter 2012 with the fourth-highest payroll in the majors, at about $145 million. Even after former GM Tony Reagins appeared to handcuff the team by trading for Vernon Wells — and the $80-plus million remaining on his contract — prior to the 2011 season and overpaying for Torii Hunter before that, Moreno approved an extension for Jered Weaver last August and then substantial long-term deals for Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson this offseason. Those latter three deals will account for over $60 million in 2016, the last year of both Weaver’s and Wilson’s contracts. Even with the the Wells’ conract having disappeared, it might be a challenge to surround those three core players with enough talent in 2016.

Baseball Operations: 52 (11th)

For how little we might know about the actual inner workings of this or that front office, we know that much less about the inner workings of the Angels’ front office, specifically, as it’s composed almost entirely of different people than it was a year ago. Mere days after the Angels finished their season 10 games behind the division-winning Rangers, GM Tony Reagins resigned. Farm director Abe Flores and assistant GMs Ken Forsch and Gary Sutherland were also dismissed.

Moreno hired Jerry Dipoto, who worked in scouting and player development with the Diamondbacks, to serve as the team’s next general manager. Before his move to Anaheim, Dipoto was probably most well known (among FanGraphs readers, at least) as the interim GM who traded Dan Haren and his relatively team-friendly contract to (coincidentally) the Angels in exchange for Joe Saunders and some minor-league arms in July of 2010. While the move was generally regarded as one-sided at the time — and mostly represented an attempt by Arizona to clear payroll for the D’backs — it actually did net the team left-hander Tyler Skaggs, now one of the top pitching prospects in baseball.

Besides that, we know relatively little about Dipoto as GM. He hired Scott Servais, the director of a talented Texas Rangers farm system — and also a former teammate of Dipoto’s — to serve as his assitant GM. He signed Pujols and Wilson. And, perhaps most notably, he traded Jeff Mathis to Toronto.

Overall: 61 (4th)

The Angels enter 2012 with one of the best players in baseball, probably the best pitching staff in baseball, and a healthy revenue stream. Given the Angels’ significant financial commitments to Pujols, Weaver, and Wilson through 2016, the club’s success is largely tied to the success of those three players. That said, owner Arte Moreno has showed a willingness to increase payroll in order to remain competitive, which should help the club stay in the mix for playoff appearances for the foreseeable future — and to benefit further from the revenue bumps for which those playoff appearances will be responsible.



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Carson Cistulli has just published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.


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cwhitman
Member
cwhitman
4 years 2 months ago

Anaheim?

Nathan Nathan
Member
Nathan Nathan
4 years 2 months ago

What was Anaheim’s 2011 ranking? You have St. Louis’s listed.

Richie
Member
Richie
4 years 2 months ago

I always get screamed at for insisting it’s just silly/naive to assume Albert is indeed really 32 years old. Might as well get it over with here.

chuckb
Member
chuckb
4 years 2 months ago

just as it’s silly/naive to assume that every other baseball player whose background has been double-checked by the U.S. government myriad times is the age that he says he is.

Absent any evidence, or any indication that any evidence actually exists, it’s silly/naive to assume he’s not the age he says he is. That’s probably why you get screamed at.

colin
Guest
colin
4 years 2 months ago

You are aware that the two cases where an MLB player has been exposed for having a false identity that they were ‘outed’ to the government right? It is not easy when players pick up legitimate alter ID’s to use.

jim
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jim
4 years 2 months ago

so why even do it at all?

Phrozen
Guest
Phrozen
4 years 2 months ago

Yeah… Pujols is really Jamie Moyer’s alter ego. That’s why he had such a rough (relatively) run last season. It’s hard to mash when you’re recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Randy
Guest
Randy
4 years 2 months ago

Well, we have a debate!

On one hand, there is an MLB organization who researched whether or not it was worth committing $250 million to a player who may or may not be 32 years old, decided that he was 32 years old, and pulled the trigger.

On the other hand, there is a random guy on the internet who thinks its silly. Presents no evidence, but who cares? It is like, so obvious that he is 74 years old man, and anyone who thinks otherwise is just being naive.

I’m stumped. I just can’t decide who is more credible.

Richie
Member
Richie
4 years 2 months ago

Actually, this stuff taken all together is an excellent indicator that the press was right back in the 90s re McGwire, Sosa et.al., when they kept their mouths and pens shut about what they knew what was going on in general. Had they even just speculated about it, like Rob Neyer has done now, folks like you guys would’ve screamed bloody murder at them.

Interesting that Rob Neyer hasn’t been slammed for it. I guess he’s got cred enough that people prefer to pretend that he didn’t.

TheGrandSlamwich
Guest
TheGrandSlamwich
4 years 2 months ago

The Domican Republic has openly stated that they have been looking into the age and identities of many of their international athletes over the past year. See Leo Nunez and Fausto Carmona as examples.

Stating that Pujols is not his proclaimed age is basically implying government conspiracy and a lack of research by the Angels.

JeffMathisCera
Member
JeffMathisCera
4 years 2 months ago

No mention of Bourjos or Kendrick and their reasonably-priced team controlled outlook?

BX
Guest
BX
4 years 2 months ago

Just because they weren’t explicitly named doesn’t mean they weren’t factored into the 2012 and 2013+ outlooks

CircleChange11
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CircleChange11
4 years 2 months ago

I give FG a lot of credit with this year’s rankings. If there’s a bias involved I’m not seeing much of it, and that includes TOR’s rating.

In the past I’ve felt that (understandably so) saber-friendly teams were ranked much higher than they should have been at a sabermetric website.

It’s also possible that bias isn;t the issue but that FG is getting better at measuring the factors involved and weighting them appropriately.

I think there are always teams that could be argued a ranking or two, but I don;t see any teams that I feel should be 5 spots higher or lower or any team that is not in its right “grouping” so to speak. Not that I’m the end-all authority or anything, just saying that from my perspective the methodology is working well based on the data inputs.

Angelsjunky
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Angelsjunky
4 years 2 months ago

Agreed, CircleChange11.

I’m also guessing that Rob Neyer is finally going to have to project the Angels ahead of the Mariners and Athletics. It seemed that throughout the Aughties he was ranking the Angels behind the Mariners and/or Athletics, consistently being proven wrong.

I’d like to see some brave sabermetric soul take on the question as to why Mike Scioscia’s Angels so consistently out-perform their Pythagorean Record.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
4 years 2 months ago

Each season, about half the teams out-perform their Pythagorean and about half under-perform.
Some teams outperform for 5 years in a row and some under-perform for 5 years in a row.
Hey! Doesn’t this sound sort of like a coin toss?

Ian
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Ian
4 years 2 months ago

As I mentioned on the Tigers thread, how on earth does Dombrowski end up ranked behind this front office crew? You state yourself that you know very little about them – this is the organization who traded Napoli for Wells, and then they bring in the guy who traded Haren for Saunders as an upgrade? If Dombrowski is available at the end of this season, Moreno cuts him a cheque and drop kicks Moreno off the top of the stadium.

Ian
Guest
Ian
4 years 2 months ago

*drop kicks Dipoto off the top of the stadium, in case some of you were picturing an evil Van Damme vs. a good Van Damme sequence.

Nate
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Nate
4 years 2 months ago

None of this organization did that, actually.

Franco
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Franco
4 years 2 months ago

To be fair, the Haren trade looks less and less stupid with time. It’s still not a good trade since Skaggs could blow out an arm and the Dbacks really could’ve used Haren last year in the post season.

Nelson
Guest
Nelson
4 years 2 months ago

It’s a never ending surprise how (from a communications standpoint) people tend to overreact to bad moves AND forget the good ones in the process. Scioscia might be the guy who benched Napoli (have you ever considered that a guy who sees another every single day have a bettter view of things aside his talents?) but is also the guy who gave the chance to others to show themselves in MLB and being stars of it (apologies for the writing, but though I’m a huge fan of FG, English is not my first laguage)

colin
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colin
4 years 2 months ago

It is odd, I started off reading the article without looking at the author, and within a sentence I said, “This must be a Cistulli article.” Well done Mr. Cistulli.

Daniel
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Daniel
4 years 2 months ago

the sad thing is that there really is no way for there to be a surprise in the top 3…

BX
Guest
BX
4 years 2 months ago

as well there shouldn’t be any surprises.

Financial resources DO still play the largest part in building perennially strong organizations.

(Yes, there are exceptions to the rule. But they are few and far between and often, not only in Tampa’s case but the early 2000 A’s as well, involve very high draft picks).

Keystone Heavy
Guest
Keystone Heavy
4 years 2 months ago

I really hoped the Rangers are going to be #1 tommorrow. I mean I think it will be the Yankees (financial resources, you see), but I hope its the Rangers. I really think there may be a chance the Rangers are top 5 in all 3 categories though.

Keystone Heavy
Guest
Keystone Heavy
4 years 2 months ago

err… 4 categories.

Franco
Guest
Franco
4 years 2 months ago

If you’re team is in the discussion of should they be ranked #1 or #3 franchise, you really have nothing to worry about. My team is in market #1 and is being outspent by the Marlins.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
4 years 2 months ago

I’d rather my team won the World Series than be ranked #1 in this series.

wahooo
Guest
wahooo
4 years 2 months ago

Why is every team except the Diamondbacks listed by their first name?

You got something against Arizona?

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
4 years 2 months ago

That’s an odd comment since the subject of this post, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, are also listed by their last name.

Keith Allen
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Keith Allen
4 years 2 months ago

I don’t understand why almost everyone assumes that the Angels pitching staff won’t regress. If Verlander was so lucky, how is Jered Weaver any different? Is this a gross oversight?

I think the Angels starting rotation might be due for the most regression of any team. Everyone on their current staff had an above average or career year last season.

I’m not ready to jump on this bandwagon yet. They have to beat the Rangers, Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, and Tigers 1st.

deadpool
Guest
deadpool
4 years 2 months ago

Well, in that career year they posted 17.8 or something WAR and after upgrading they’re only projected to beat that by around 0.2 WAR, so I’d say regression has been factored in.

Sleight of Hand Pro
Guest
Sleight of Hand Pro
4 years 2 months ago

lets assume you’re right and they’ll all regress, say, 1 WAR (even though WAR is FIP based and luck outside of HR/FB isnt really a factor). that leaves haren with 5.5 WAR, cj with 5 WAR, weaver with 4.5 WAR, and santana with 2 WAR. thats 17 WAR front the top 4 guys and 15 WAR from the top 3.

they could all regress and still be an awesome staff.

Keith Allen
Guest
Keith Allen
4 years 2 months ago

Even that seems optimistic due to that pitching is so volatile. Last season, those WAR projections didn’t work out so well for the Red Sox and Twins.

Sleight of Hand Pro
Guest
Sleight of Hand Pro
4 years 2 months ago

projecting a 1 WAR dropoff from every member of the staff “seems optimistic”? and your reasoning for it is taking 2 extreme examples from last year?

sounds like someone just doesn’t like the angels…

Keith Allen
Guest
Keith Allen
4 years 2 months ago

I’m just trying to be a voice of reason. I just don’t understand the overwhelming confidence that 99.9% of the people have in the Angels pitching staff. I’m really just fascinated by it. Seems like a perfect time for a survivor type blindside.

Sleight of Hand Pro
Guest
Sleight of Hand Pro
4 years 2 months ago

can we do something about the darryl philbin ad? its taken over my entire screen for the 6th time now.

Angelsjunky
Guest
Angelsjunky
4 years 2 months ago

I think the Angels farm system is perhaps a tad overly maligned, mainly because the bulk of its non-Troutian strength is in the low minors. I agree that right now it rates in the upper teens and that, once Trout graduates (not to mention Richards and Conger), it will jump five spots or so into the low 20s.

But what is not being said here is that the farm could actually rank HIGHER next year, even without those graduating prospects. As I said, the wealth of talent in the system is in the low minors, and we won’t have a sense of how good and advanced these players are until later this year. I’m talking about players like CJ Cron, Taylor Lindsey, Kaleb Cowart, Abel Baker, Jett Bandy, Chevez Clarke, Nick Maronde, and Eswarlin Jimenez.

Plus there are a group of sleeper and relatively under-the-radar prospects in the higher levels that could jump into peoples’ awareness this year: Jean Segura (who missed most of last year due to injury, and whom Kevin Goldstein gave five stars just a year ago), Luis Jimenez, Kole Calhoun, Carlos Jimenez, Ariel Pena, Fabio Martinez Mesa, Matt Shoemaker and Johnny Hellweg. Also, don’t forget about Randal Grichuk, who will (hopefully) be healthy for a full season for the first time.

Finally, the Angels have a wealth of middle relief prospects. I know, nothing is as underwhelming as the phrase “middle relief prospect” but it is a strength that could really benefit the team as soon as later this year. Look for Steve Geltz, David Carpenter, Dan Tillman, Donn Roach, AJ Schugel, Jeremy Berg, etc.

In summary, a year from now I could see the farm system ranking anywhere from around 15th (and moving up) to 25th (and moving down). This is a big year to see which direction it is going.

Jake
Guest
Jake
4 years 2 months ago

I don’t understand how baseball operations gets ranked so highly. The Angels have been terrible at developing in-house talent for a decade – Kotchman, McPherson, Wood, etc. They dumped Napoli and acquired Vernon Wells. They also signed Gary Matthews to a ridiculous contract. And when they finally win a trade by getting Haren, they go out and hire the guy they fleeced. Oh, and this off season they gave a five-year deal to a 31-year old pitcher with one good season under his belt.

Dennis
Guest
Dennis
4 years 2 months ago

Because in that same decade they have consistently been one of the better teams in baseball? And also in that same decade have developed Jered Weaver, Ervin Santana, Kendry Morales, Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar, the afore mentioned Napoli, Peter Bourjos, Jordan Walden, etc? The Haren trade was a money move by Dipoto and he was generally regarded as a top GM candidate before being hired by the Angels. He certainly hasn’t done anything so far to discredit that either. Every team signs players to bad contracts and every team makes bad trades, it’s the overall product that is evaluated. I don’t understand how you could rank baseball operations anywhere but right around this spot.

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