FG on Fox: Don’t Sleep on the Angels

After a disappointing second-place finish in 2011, the Los Angeles Angels decided to become New York Yankees West and attempted to buy their way back into the playoffs.

They gave $240 million to Albert Pujols and $78 million to C.J. Wilson. Toss in the promotion of a young star named Mike Trout, and no one added more talent to their 2012 roster than the Angels.

The result? A modest three-win improvement that resulted in finishing in third place in the AL West rather than second, and a second consecutive season without October baseball.

So they doubled down and threw more money at their problems: $123 million to Josh Hamilton, $15 million to Joe Blanton, $8 million to Sean Burnett and $3.5 million to Ryan Madson.

The returns were even worse, as Hamilton was an unmitigated disaster and Blanton was among the worst pitchers in baseball. Madson never even threw a pitch for the organization as the Angels finished third again. But this time they finished below .500 at 78-84.

Two winters of spending over $450 million in future commitments — during the same two years that Trout emerged as one of baseball’s best player — and the team managed back-to-back third-place finishes.

For the first month of 2014, it’s just more of the same, as LA stands 13-13 — following Tuesday’s 6-4 win over Cleveland — with a game to go in April. Except this year, it might actually be different. This Angels team is actually showing signs of being pretty good.

Read the rest on FoxSports.com.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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tz
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tz
2 years 3 months ago

Though it’s a crude metric, the Angels are 4th in BBref SRS rating system (basically average scoring margin adjusted for strength of schedule to date).

They are also 2nd in overall team WAR, behind the Braves. So the wOBA differential lines up with other metrics saying that the Angels have played a lot better than their current record.

Rubén Amaro, Jr.
Guest
Rubén Amaro, Jr.
2 years 3 months ago

The Angels are third in the majors in RBI, which is the stat you really should be talking about.

Colbert
Guest
2 years 3 months ago

Wish I made that amounts of money.
Sorry, all I saw where the dollar signs.

Lars
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Lars
2 years 3 months ago

Impressive considering Ibanez, Freese, and Shuck are all hitting under .200

t
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t
2 years 3 months ago

The lineup posted on Fox does not seem optimized in the least.

Leading off: Ken Rosenthal
Batting second: Jon Paul Morosi
Batting third: Rob Neyer
Cleanup hitter: Gabe Kapler
Batting fifth: Baseball Prospectus
Batting sixth: FanGraphs

Josh
Guest
Josh
2 years 3 months ago

“Evidently you don’t know that pitching is 80% to 90% of this game…”
Sigh…

2013 ALCS Tigers
Guest
2013 ALCS Tigers
2 years 3 months ago

That means hitting and defense are 10% to 20%.

Mr. Observant
Guest
Mr. Observant
2 years 3 months ago

Maybe. MAYBE. But given that math can’t solve such a complicated calculation without some giant computer we haven’t even built yet I guess we’ll just never know for certain.

Well-Beered Englishman
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Well-Beered Englishman
2 years 3 months ago

I do not know why I always check the comments over on Fox. Why, why, why. I’m a fool.

Mr. Observant
Guest
Mr. Observant
2 years 3 months ago

No, just a masochist… Reading the comments with an aluminum foil hat and underpants, while otherwise nude, does make them surprisingly more palatable and even sensical at times.

Steve-O
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Steve-O
2 years 3 months ago

” I doubt that last April’s stats for LA showed that they would be playing in Sept. or the Rockies of 07 to name 2 off the top of my head.”

I believe that fancy stat that tells you who’s playing in September is called a calendar. BTW,I’m too lazy to open a FOX account to troll.

Dreamin
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Dreamin
2 years 3 months ago

Because your predictions after 15% of the season may not have been perfect for 2 teams that went on historic tears late in the season in the last 7 years, it’s likely garbage. Science!

iSteve
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iSteve
2 years 3 months ago

Or everybody is playing in September.

Ken
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Ken
2 years 3 months ago

“Don’t ignore .500 Angels: Certain stats claim club will be tough to beat”

Are you saying that there exists a collection of stats, or at the very least two stats, which are extremely confident in their proclamation that the Angels will be a difficult team to win against?

Or are you saying that there are some stats, among a collection of stats, which indicate that the Angels are going to be pretty good this year?

Asking for a friend.

Tim A
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Tim A
2 years 3 months ago

Division is too tough, it sucks to be the losers with the highest payroll, best player in baseball, and consensus best player of the last decade. I guess u just cant buy wins huh Art.

Josh is a ****
Guest
Josh is a ****
2 years 3 months ago

The starting pitching is much better this year.

Wally
Guest
Wally
2 years 3 months ago

Sliding over the expected wins column in the playoff odds still shows the Angels with about 85 wins, the A’s with ~90 and the Rangers with 86. All of which leaves the Angels with a respectable 31% chance of making the ALDS, so clearly anyone paying attention on this site wouldn’t be surprised if the Angels manage 90 wins while the A’s and Rangers are more like 85-89.

As for the things that have changed with the Angels, a rebounding Pujols is probably still only with an extra win or so over the initial projections. Skaggs is hard to get too excited about since his FIP doesn’t suggest he’ll keep up a ERA in the low 3s. Richards is a solid talent and no one should really be surprised by him given his 2013 performance was quite good.

Though wants not discussed as far as the Angel’s playoff chances is that they have to beat the A’s to avoid the one game playoff, and the A’s almost across the board are proving to be better than the original projections. Gray, Kazmir and Chavez are all coming no being projected to be worth about 1 extra WAR than at the start of the season, and I’d probably take the over on even there current updated projections. Donaldson is continuing to prove he’s worth 4+ WAR projections, even Reddick is looking more like the 2012 version than the 2013 version. The bullpen is the only spot where things haven’t been as good as expected for the A’s, but they have a ton of talent there and it seems unlikely to not improve, especially how those small sample sizes in the bullpen while only a month into the season go.

So, I’d take the over on the A’s current 90 win projection, and while I might take the over on the 85 win projection for the Angels too, its harder seeing them getting much higher than 90. Granted this is coming from a trying-to-be-objective A’s fan…

brendan
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brendan
2 years 3 months ago

I’m an As fan (too?), but I don’t see them as clearly better than texas or LA. I think the As are solid, but the pitching has been better then expected, and I am looking for regression there. Also, the pitching depth has been ‘used’ already — it’s april. Another pitching injury would take a big toll. I think Texas/LA/Oakland are looking pretty even. My consolation is the A’s fast start gives them some cushion.

Wally
Guest
Wally
2 years 3 months ago

I’m not sure the starting pitching is going to regress. I think we’ve legitimately proven Sonny Gray deserves better projections than what was made at the beginning of the season. Through 100IPs in MLB so far, he’s got a 2.7 FIP. Kazmir’s issues have always been how many innings can he give you, the fact that he’s already posted 38 when ZiPs was originally giving him 88 and Streamer 136, means he’s much more likely to put in something close to a full season at this point and that’s why they both have upped their projections to 126 and 174, respectively. Chavez was stud last year in bullpen, often working multiple innings and posting a FIP of 3. Since moving to the rotation his FIP hasn’t gone down, in fact it stands at 2.93. Now this is only through some 90 IPs since joining the A’s last year, but its starting to get to the point that it has to be taken seriously.

LOL
Guest
LOL
2 years 3 months ago

“With Pujols showing some real power again — as noted a few weeks ago — no player as good as he has been had declined this quickly, so a rebound season shouldn’t come as a huge surprise.”

You didn’t note that at all in that article you linked to a few weeks ago. All you did was argue that Pujols has declined tremendously (and used SSS 2014 stats to “prove” it). You didn’t mention at all that since the “decline” was so drastic, you expect that a “rebound season wouldn’t come as a huge surprise” – so don’t claim credit a few weeks later for something you clearly didn’t predict or expect.

Oh by the way, how’s Brad Miller doing?

NS
Guest
NS
2 years 3 months ago

You are just confused by simple syntax. [As noted a few weeks ago, no player as good as he has been had declined this quickly], so a rebound season shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. A rebound season shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, since [no player as good as he has been had declined this quickly – as noted a few weeks ago]. This is in fact the subject of the article.

“[you] used SSS 2014 stats to “prove” it)”

This never happened. The article explicitly cites Pujols two first full seasons for the Angels, 2012 and 2013.

Fred
Guest
Fred
2 years 3 months ago

So, 90 losses for the Angels and Scioscia fired by midseason? Is that what I’m hearing here?

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