The Angels Getting Better Without Getting Better

A popular question in our FanGraphs chats is which team has had the best offseason in the league. The offseason, of course, isn’t close to over, and the answer is necessarily subjective to some extent, but the other day Dave suggested the Cardinals, and I’ve thought the same thing. I love what the Cardinals have done, improving without making future sacrifices, and there’s a reason they’re considered one of the best-run organizations in MLB. A team that hasn’t crossed my mind, when considering the same question, is the Angels. I don’t think the Angels have had a bad offseason, so much as an uninspiring one. The Mark Trumbo trade was neat.

Another popular question asks which bad team from 2013 is most likely to surprise and contend in 2014. There are, of course, a few candidates, and the team I always want to point to is the Angels, who finished short of .500. I hesitate, though, because I’m not sure how bad the Angels really were. Their numbers were a good deal better than their record. In any case, looking forward, it seems to me the Angels are ripe for a return to contention, and that’s despite an offseason that’s only served to shuffle modest talent around.

The easy summary of what the Angels have done, highlighting only significant players:

GONE

OPPOSITE OF GONE

Those five players leaving combined for 5.8 WAR last season, and they project for 10.3 WAR this season. Those five players coming combined for 2.3 WAR last season, and they project for 4.2 WAR this season. Skaggs and Santiago are pieces for both the present and the future, but the Angels clearly haven’t made a big splash, pending any developments concerning Masahiro Tanaka. Everyone they brought in could and should help, but talent is also on the way out.

If you take a cursory glance at the Angels, you see their 2013 record and you see their unimpressive offseason. Therefore it would be easy to assume they’ll again end up well behind the Athletics and the Rangers. Maybe they could even be passed by the Mariners, who’ve made the biggest splash of all.

But we’re not really much for cursory glances. What we have are updated depth charts and pretty good statistical projections. Right now, on our projected standings page, the Angels, Rangers, and A’s are even. On our projected team WAR page, the Angels, Rangers, and A’s are even. By WAR, the Angels look like one of the better teams in baseball. They’re not set up real well for the future, outside of Mike Trout, but they’d like to win soon, and it seems like they’re in position.

The team, as built, is kind of lopsided. They project to have one of baseball’s worst pitching staffs. But they project to get the most value out of their position players, with almost a third of that coming from Trout himself, at a projected 8.3 wins. For Trout, that would be a step back, but having a player like him is an incredible advantage. Put Trout in a lineup and it isn’t too hard to have at least a decent overall unit. It also becomes easier to make your overall unit legitimately great.

If you walk through the Angels’ projections position by position, nothing stands out as unreasonable. There’s something of a projected bounceback for Albert Pujols, but it’s modest, and Pujols also spent last season playing through miserable discomfort that no longer bothers him. Josh Hamilton is projected for a slightly lower WAR total than Kole Calhoun, and that isn’t because Calhoun projects to be amazing. Only Trout and Pujols project for more than 3 WAR, but everyone in the lineup is at least something like average. In the rotation, maybe FIP overrates Joe Blanton a little, but it also underrates Jered Weaver a little. C.J. Wilson leads the group with a projected 2.3 WAR. WAR doesn’t like the Angels irrationally. It likes the Angels rationally.

So what’s the relationship between team WAR and team wins? The relationship is good and super strong, which you could’ve guessed. Here’s a plot of all individual team seasons between 2002-2013:

warwinpercent

A good WAR team is a good team. A bad WAR team is a bad team. There are deviations, but most of the deviations are random and there’s little you can do to systematically beat or undershoot your WAR expectation. This is basically a slightly different version of the Pythagorean record argument.

Now, last year the Angels were 17th in baseball in winning percentage. They were 14th in WAR, and WAR would’ve expected them to win a little over 84 games, instead of 78. That made for one of the bigger negative differences in the league. The Tigers fell ten wins short of their WAR expectation, and then between them and the Angels were the Cubs, Red Sox, and Rockies, but still, the Angels didn’t win as often as they maybe “should’ve”, and 25 teams were better about that. So, is there some kind of sustainability when it comes to finishing above or below your WAR?

Here’s a plot of data from between 2002-2013. It compares the winning-percentage difference in Year X to the winning-percentage difference in Year X+1.

warwinpercentdeviation

There seems to be some kind of relationship, but it’s weak, with the take-home message being that you ought to regress heavily to the mean. The 2012 Orioles, for example, beat their WAR record by 16.6 wins. In 2011, they beat it by 2.7. In 2013, they undershot it by 0.8. The 2010 Diamondbacks, for another example, undershot their WAR record by 11.2 wins. In 2009, they undershot it by 8.8 — interesting! — but in 2011, they beat it by 3.5. These deviations are volatile, and while maybe sometimes they’re due to something particular about a team, it’s safer to chalk it up to randomness. You should expect a team to play more or less as well as its WAR, and the Angels’ WAR last year was fine, and the Angels’ projected WAR this year is better.

This is one of those cases where it can be deceptive trying to project forward using Pythagorean records or run differentials. Last year the Angels had a run differential of -4, and they’ve had the offseason shown above. Based on that, you might think the Angels are basically something like a .500 team. But what you actually have to do is evaluate the current roster as constructed, because single-season numbers contain a lot of both signal and noise, and players don’t just repeat what they did the year before. Mike Trout probably won’t be what he was, again. Pujols shouldn’t be either. Hamilton is a total wild card. Calhoun isn’t bad for a guy nobody knows anything about.

Right now, there’s an argument that the Angels are about as good as the Rangers and the A’s. Which means there’s an argument the Angels are contenders for both the division and the wild card. And some think the Angels are going to make a strong push for Tanaka, should he get posted, and that would significantly bolster a mediocre pitching staff. I don’t like how the Angels are positioned for the future. I don’t like many of the decisions that’ve been made by Jerry Dipoto and Arte Moreno. But for just this coming season, you should expect the Angels to make a lot of noise. Mike Trout is baseball’s biggest advantage, and there is enough talent that surrounds him.




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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

89 Responses to “The Angels Getting Better Without Getting Better”

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  1. john says:

    Mind=Blown

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    • B N says:

      Indeed. From henceforth, rather than use a cumbersome term like “regression to the mean” we will say “getting better without getting better” or “getting worse without getting worse.”

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  2. Tom B says:

    The Angels’ wins fell short of their WAR… which was also short of their projected WAR… They were “way better than the A’s and Ranger’s” on paper before last season.

    Isn’t them being projected “as good as those teams” now… not as good?

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    • Al Dimond says:

      Yes, their preseason projection this year is worse than it was last year. If they underperform their WAR projection and win less compared to their WAR than expected, to the same degree as last year, they’ll lose even more games than they did last year.

      That could happen, but there’s no good reason to expect it. Half this article is about demonstrating that.

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  3. spmccaul says:

    The Angels are screwed for the future, and I feel bad for Trout because of it. There’s no way they shed those contracts.

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    • Anon says:

      Don’t worry about Trout. 4 more years with the Angels before he signs a 12 year, $500M contract with the Yankees or Dodgers.

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    • silv3rbullet13 says:

      If it isn’t the angels, someone else is going to make him very rich. Plus, in arbitration he would break records.

      In terms of competitiveness, well yeah you are right

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    • I. P. Freely says:

      Yes, because the Angels don’t have four years to fix their future.

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    • Ryan W Krol says:

      Actually they’re not. Adding Santiago and Skaggs really helps that and they still have money to sign someone like Garza or Tanaka. They only have 2 free agents next offseason — most of their 40 man is still arb eligible with enough young talent to contend. Lots of money comes off the books the next 2 offseasons too with Wells and Kendrick’s contracts expiring. They have a lot of stability on their roster, which buys them time to rebuild their minor league system. They already started by drafting an insane amount of pitchers in the 2013 draft. The 2014 draft will be rich with pitching as well. Plenty of time for the Angels to win now and rebuild their future.

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  4. Price enforcer says:

    From your keyboard to God’s ears, please.

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  5. DNA+ says:

    I would be shocked if it is not possible to construct teams that consistently outperform their WAR. …whether any teams actually know how to do it is another matter.

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    • Scott says:

      Oaklands excessive use of platoons and great OF defense in that stadium coupled with its unique
      #1 rank of FB% batters and #1 rank of FB% pitchers has allowed them to outperform its WAR the last few years. They are at least one team that knows how to outperform based on construction.

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      • DNA+ says:

        I think the key for outperforming WAR is to recalculate the value of your players in the context that they actually find themselves in, rather than the neutral context of WAR. ….it should be easy to do, honestly. …just choose players that have a higher value when recalculated in their actual context…

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        • erik says:

          I think the two places to look first for this would be stadium dimensions and the R/L pitcher advantage. yankees need to focus on left handed hitters, pitcher friendly parks need to focus on high WAR pitching, defense, and speed. AL west added a lot of left handed bats this off season, so a high WAR left handed specialist ought to out perform.

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    • Ian R. says:

      Well, one way to do it is with a great bullpen. Concentrate more of that WAR in high-leverage innings, and you’ll probably scrape out a few extra wins.

      Of course, relief pitchers are so volatile that that’s a tricky proposition.

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    • Ryan W Krol says:

      I would be curious to see a study of how many championship teams, as well as surprise playoff teams, outperformed their WAR season-to-season.

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  6. TheGrandslamwich says:

    Holy Crap Mike Trout,

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  7. Tim A says:

    I think part of underperforming WAR is just how awful the pitching was.

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    • DNA+ says:

      I know this is sacrilegious here, but we have the following:

      1) The Angels underperformed their WAR
      2) Mike Trout accounted for a huge proportion of the Angel’s WAR.
      3) Mike Trout was a huge historical WAR outlier.

      …one simple possibility is that Trout’s WAR was vastly overestimated.

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      • ankle explosion hr celebration says:

        So you’re saying there’s a flaw in the calculation of WAR, but it only affects this one player and team?

        I think a more parsimonious explanation is that there are nonlinear effects of having multiple high-WAR players instead of one massive WAR player.

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        • DNA+ says:

          No, that’s not what I’m saying.

          There are lots of flaws in the calculation of WAR. I think probably most people accept this. In any case, there is error associated with the WAR estimates, and the error has some distribution. Even if WAR is not biased towards specific players (it probably is though), there will still be some players for whom the individual WAR estimates are much better or much worse than the true value. Given that Trout is a huge outlier, it is not unreasonable to think that some portion of his WAR is error, and that the amount of error in Trout’s case is actually itself an outlier.

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        • ankle explosion hr celebration says:

          OK, I get it. That’s a fair point.

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        • Matthias says:

          P(WAR overestimates | Team underachieved) > P(WAR overestimates)

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    • Ryan W Krol says:

      Especially in April and May when pitchers like Mark Lowe would come in and either blow a 1-run lead or let a 4-3 deficit turn into an 8-3 deficit. That happened a lot to them early in the season. One can argue that a large number of blowouts (coughing up lots of runs in short bursts) are a big factor as opposed to consistently allowing too many runs throughout the season, which they didn’t do. The Angels would win one game, get creamed the next game, and as a result their run differential was at time lobsided even when they were fighting their way close to .500. Very odd team the more I think about it.

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  8. JG says:

    There is no relationship in the second graph, even a weak one. It looks like someone fired a shotgun at your computer screen. You guys could be a little more rigorous with the statistics sometimes. r^2 is basically meaningless in a statistical sense. If you have a low r^2 with a lot of data points, the relation can be more significant than a high r^2 with not that many data points. The extreme is if you have only two points. You can draw a line between them, the r^2 is always one, yet you have no idea if there’s actually a trend. There is a test to see whether a regression is significant (i.e. whether there is a correlation). Null hypothesis, the slope of the regression is zero. A significant relationship means the null hypothesis is false, and there is a relationship between the two factors being tested.

    Sorry to rant, I love your web site, sometimes it drives me nuts how you handle the statistics though.

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    • ankle explosion hr celebration says:

      no–with around 300 data points, an r2 value of .06 is significant.

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      • AK7007 says:

        And, if JG had bothered to read the sentence right below the graph:

        “There seems to be some kind of relationship, but it’s weak, with the take-home message being that you ought to regress heavily to the mean.”

        He would see that the relationship is so weak that you might as well just regress to the mean. Which is a fancy way of saying that the deviation between WAR win% and actual Win% isn’t sustainable. I’m failing to see what about that would drive you nuts. It’s just saying that you should probably expect a team to play close to their WAR each year, but there is random variance. Random. As in, no strong correlation.

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        • Tim says:

          Looking at the graph, it looks to me like three quarters of it is random but the lower left is dragging down and creating the correlation. Basically what you’d expect if no one knew how to overperform but some teams were following strategies which led them to underperform.

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        • ankle explosion hr celebration says:

          AK7007, it’s specifically not random. It’s not a strong correlation, that’s true, but the significance of the correlation means that it’s not random either. It means that if the Angels underperformed this year, they are slightly more likely to underperform next year as well. Just not very much more likely.

          I agree with Tim; I wonder if the correlation isn’t stronger for extreme values of over- or underperformance. Eyeballing the outliers there are more in the lower left and upper right quadrants than the upper left and lower right quadrants.

          By the way, this is useful for interpreting Pearson correlation values:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Correlation_significance.svg

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        • AK7007 says:

          Ankle Explosion, I know that it’s not totally random – but it’s so weak that I don’t know it is that relevant for predicting team record once you consider all of the jillion of other random things there are. I don’t think at all that you will be able to look at predicted team WAR and say “those guys are going to under/over perform.” Those might average out if you are a Las Vegas bookie, but if you are just a fan like we are – doesn’t mean much.

          My comment to JG’s misunderstanding had some amount of hyperbole, but not anything extreme.

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        • Matthias says:

          So the r = 0.25, and a back-of-the-envelope estimate for the standard error of r is 1/sqrt(n) = 0.058. Thus this is a statistically significant relationship.

          The 0.25 basically means that if a team out/under performs its WAR by a full standard deviation (which looks like about 2 percentage points ish), then the next season it will do the same, but only by about 25% of a standard deviation (or about 0.5 percentage points).

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        • ankle explosion hr celebration says:

          thank you for addressing me as “Ankle Explosion”. Very gratifying. No offense intended in my comment, by the way. Just thought it worth clarification.

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  9. Barney Rubble says:

    So, pretty much, the Angels will win more games than projected, unless they don’t.

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  10. Erik says:

    There is no way that Blanton will be in the rotation next year.

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    • Matt says:

      Exactly. Addition by subtraction may be the easiest way to add a few more wins to just about any team.

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      • Ryan W Krol says:

        In that regard, I always point to 2011 when the Angels finally dropped Scott Kazmir from their rotation. His meltdown and Fernando Rodney’s inability to hold leads alone held their 2010 team down, and without either I would argue they’re an 85+ win team that year. Subtracting Kazmir added wins in ’11, as did slowly reducing Fernando Rodney’s outings.

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  11. goat says:

    Try regressing the residuals of Pythagorean wins or WAR (x) vs actual wins (y) to bullpen disparity (ie whether a team has a lot of similar relievers or a wide range of standards of relievers- can be defined in a range of different ways), and you should find a lot of the deviation explained. Makes complete sense too in terms of using your better relievers in higher leverage situations.

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    • Matthias says:

      A nearly equivalent tactic would be to include bullpen disparity in a multiple linear regression. The question would be, though, do you use last year’s bullpen disparity or this year’s? Using this year’s would seem like cheating for a prediction model, but could at least help explain the discrepancy.

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  12. gtb says:

    If the prior year’s WAR over/underachieving was 100% predictive of the current year, the line would slope 45% upwards. The indicates that the line still slopes upward suggesting some residual over/under performing tends to exist. In other words some reversion– but not complete reversion to the mean should be expected.

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  13. Sweet Brown says:

    What about how all the teams with the highest WAR win percentages underperforming in your first graph? That looks pretty interesting to look into.

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  14. Matt says:

    I’m curious how the win percentages change based on the portion of WAR that comes from the lineup versus the rotation. I feel like if most of your production comes from only hitting or pitching, your margin of error is so much smaller and the total WAR would be much more likely to underperform.

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  15. Chocoman says:

    History has shown the angels do no know how to make trades. (Jim Edmonds, Mo Vaughn, etc)

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  16. Carl LaFong says:

    I see a lot of problems with your analysis, as well as your taking both sides of the same question. How does Blanton figure into the equation when chances are he won’t be on the team, let alone in the rotation. Skaggs is 22, Santiago 25, Richards 24, Trout 22, Calhoun 24, Conger 25, Shuck 26, Aybar 29. The age balance seems excellent on this team. They also have the best player in baseball in Trout. You say the players leaving were important– really? 3 of the 5 missed most the season– Hanson, Vargas and Bourjos. Williams was primarily a mop up guy. Trumbo would’ve been the teams DH– look at the numbers of Ibanez replacing Trumbo and they are similar. Calhoun will play the whole year and is an energy/chemistry guy. Trout goes back to his natural position in center. Assuming Pujols is healthy, how can he not be a 30-100 guy? He was on pace for 27 HR and 90+ RBI playing on one leg. The moves by the Angels have been brilliant. If they can add one more starter I fail to see the weakness. Good bullpen, starting pitching and a big offense. Will they win? I don’t know, it’s baseball. But when you have Freese, Ibanez and Kendrick hitting 5,6,7– behind Pujols, Hamilton and Trout, you’re in good shape.

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  17. exxrox says:

    Can anybody tell me what the Blue Jays’ projected WAR total was this year and last year??

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  18. flailing says:

    The information in the first graph could be shown in a way that illustrates the correlation but shows that there is substantial variation around the trend line. The Angel’s outcome from last season fell well within that. Not a lot of data points at the far right but it looks like there is a barrier at just above a .600 winning percentage.

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  19. someone says:

    Steamer projects Jerome Williams to have a WAR of 1.9 next season, which would be his best season since 2003! To put that into perspective, in the 10 years since then, he has managed a WAR of 2.5. Somehow, I have a feeling that Steamer is wrong here.

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    • I. P. Freely says:

      Steamer may be looking at him as a starter — thing is, if you look at his stats as a SP Vs a RP, they get a lot uglier. Usage will be key for JW

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  20. Dont Be A Jurick, Son says:

    Interesting work, Jeff. Any chance outperforming a team’s war can be attributed to the manager? I believe we are still struggling to quantify the value of the manager. Do you see certain manager’s continuously falling above or below the line?

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    • Andre the Angels Fan says:

      Would love to see this. I think Scocia’s coaching and managing have been terrible and declining in recent years.

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  21. All stats aside at the possible end of this mournful thread, I dont need any numbers to see that Pujols is most likely done, or he’ll play with constant, aggravating pain for whatever’s left of his “ninty billion & ninty years to go” contract with no hope to trash it and sign heathy players. Plus, it looks like the farm is severly lacking in hopes of being a short term cheap remedy. Pujols’is already wealthy beyond his (wifes) dreams so he has no worries except adding to his stats, his primary concern. His ego is also larger than any MLB player I’ve ever interviewed and not having La Russa there to enable him is another possible negative situation yet to play out in Anaheim. It’ll be ugly if he gets his feelings hurt with no Uncle Tony to insulate him from criticism when and if his playing days continue to dwindle.

    Not signing him was the best “getting better w/o getting better” the Cardinals have ever done. Unless some miraculous cure for plantars comes along, he’s a DH at best and only then if he can transfer weight without going down on one knee (what to do with Ibanez if Pujols has to DH?)(yeah, I know the answer to that). Prednisone shots that helped in the past are reaching the point of diminishing returns, possibly doing more damage than good. In 07′ and off and on in 08′ we saw it at its worst in St Louis and it was’nt pretty now hes 7 years older which can’t help unless he can drop weight and maintain power.

    Again and numbers aside, Freese may be the best of Anaheim’s move’s up to this point, I hope David rebounds and has a stellar year in 14′. I can’t think of another player that deserves to pull it back together and regain his confidence than David Freese. He could also be valuable in a mid-season package trade to a team needing a little power and eperience for the second half or stretch run. Personally, I cant wait to see what Grichuk brings to St Louis in the trade involving Freese, Bourjos is interesting, but Grichuk was plain fun to watch this past summer visting Springfield MO with the AA Travelers. He may be THE key player in that deal. I hope so, he has the part that can’t be taught, desire.

    Sullivan, this segment of “fun with numbers” was kind of interesting. but you’d better spend more time analyzing Angels pitching and the old “pitching wins” axiom than looking to offense, because that may be all you’ve got to be hopeful in 14′. Trout is not immune to injury and Hamilton to emotional break down. Imagine the results of losing one of those players for a month or two with no solutions on the bench or the farm.

    In the words of Moonman Mike Shannon, using stats to project the future of a team is great…..until somebody breaks a leg! Funny and totally true. Anaheim may be less prepared for an injury to take out a key player/pitcher than any team in baseball. I’d hate to be an Angels fan for the next few years. In January, you can talk about the thrill of having Raul Ibanez in Anaheim as you statiscally evalute his performance/expectations for this coming summer.

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    • Spencer Dean says:

      You know that Oujols donates a majority of his earnings to charity?

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      • Spencer Dean says:

        Why is it bolting the names I chose?

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      • Travis L says:

        He donates over half his salary to charity? Or did you mean to say that he donates a lot of money. This is a pretty extraordinary claim, I’d like to see a source on it.

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        • Actual Value says:

          The latter with the intention of drawing attention to the fact that baseball players are not driven to earn money simply because they are greedy cretinous souls with athletic talent, but rather that they earn money for reasons that are sometimes moral in character.

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    • Ryan W Krol says:

      You probably do need stats because Pujols had 80 extra base hits in his first year with the Angels. Despite the terrible start he had, he produced his career averages from mid-April through the rest of the season. That was just a fluky freak baseball slump. Playing through pain hurt his 2013 season, but he actually maintained decent power numbers. On the day he went down for the rest of the season, Pujols had roughly the same HR/RBI as Adrian Gonzalez, whose BA was about 40 points higher on that day. Of course, Trout hitting in front of Pujols helped him maintain a 100 RBI pace, but that’s a team stat, and the team was benefitting from at least having an average power season out of Pujols for the current era. Even if Pujols as well as Josh Hamilton have 25 HR/90 RBI seasons for the rest of their time with the Angels, that’s fine. Mike Trout is the centerpiece. That fact has made me a bit defiant toward common trends in discussing what the Angels need to contend in 2014. The easy approach is to talk about how important good seasons from Pujols/Hamilton is. It’s not. Mike Trout is what’s important! The contracts of Pujols and Hamilton are still going to bring in good revenue on top of the annual $150 million they’re getting from their TV deal. You’re claiming the Cardinals not re-signing Pujols was the best decision in hindsight. They simply could not afford him. It’s easy to say that it was a good decision on their part now that they were in the World Series without him. Just like we wouldn’t be having this conversation if the Angels had made the playoffs the last 2 seasons. It’s all relative. These arguments are the reason we use advanced stats to provide context, instead of just resting on what’s on the surface.

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  22. Make that “eighty billion and eighty years to go” contract…. sorry, its hard to believe its been two full years since Albert left a lifetime of love and adulation in St. Louis behind to pad his hopeful HOF stats by DH’ing in California. The extra money, basically pennies to AP, offered by the Angels to an already abundantly wealthy superstar, does’nt look like the deciding factor in his leaving the Cards anymore. Does it?

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  23. John C says:

    Well, Mike Trout was baseball’s biggest advantage in 2012 and 2013, too, and it didn’t do the Angels a bit of good.

    Unless Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton get back to who they were a few years ago, or at least something close, the Angels are going nowhere.

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  24. Juan says:

    Mike Trout is over-hyped, and that is because he plays in Los Angeles.
    He is a great talent, an All-Star, I agree. However, when he was put
    in run producing spots of the batting order (the no. Three or Clean-up
    spots), he did not do too well. However, he appears to be the Angels’
    best hitter, so if and when he does master hitting from those spots,
    he will become the best talent since Mickey Mantle. If that should
    happen, the Angels would be stupid to let him get away. For now, they
    should get rid of the dead wood/large contract players that they have,
    and stockpile top prospect, borrowing the strategy that has turned the
    A’s into division champs. Rather than spending money on free agents,
    they need to trade Pujols and Hamilton (and maybe even Weaver) to
    acquire top prospects now, in order to build a solid team around Trout.
    Sure there’s sacrifice involved, but they must recognize that Seattle
    just got tougher. So, the Angels, with vitually little change, would be
    hard pressed to repeat the same won-loss record from last year.

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    • Clint says:

      Juan, Trout is not over-hyped. It has nothing to do with LA, and everything to do with him being the best position player in baseball since Barry Bonds.

      Do you have some research that shows hitting from a certain spot in the lineup is an acquired skill? I really think any difference in Trout’s stats between different spots in the order are likely random variance.

      In addition, Trout hits from the #2 spot which is very much a “run-producing” spot. Many argue that it is actually THE most important spot in the lineup, especially in the AL where you don’t have pitchers hitting a few spots ahead.

      Finally, Pujols and Hamilton are at an all-time low as far as trade value. Trading them now would not net the Angels anything of value, they would still have to pay much of their contracts after the trade, and they essentially would have punted their chance at taking the AL West, which really hinges on a bounceback from one of those two.

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      • Spencer Dean says:

        Exactly. Though I would add the fact that Trout doesn’t have elite power or really even plus power(282 hr+fb), though the quality of his contact means that isn’t the alpha and the omega.

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        • ValueArb says:

          62 HR in his first 339 games starting at age 19, isn’t even plus power? 30 HR per 162 games?

          Please subscribe me to your newsletter, fascinating.

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    • Ryan W Krol says:

      I think you need to look at the numbers again. His OBP for a time was over .500 in the 3 hole. Him hitting there was a big reason the Angels offense became more consistent in the final 2 months of the season.

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    • BJsworld says:

      This literally makes no sense.

      Trout is not hyped enough. Given what he has done the last 2 years he should be known by everyone in America. To date, he hasn’t generated buzz outside of baseball (compare that to Ken Griffey Jr / Mark McGwire / Sammy Sosa / Barry Bonds, etc – all guys that non-baseball fans knew who they were).

      The Angels could not trade Pujols or Hamilton away right now without throwing in millions upon millions of dollars. And that’s just to get rid of them. To get building block prospects as a return? The money they would need to contribute would be unthinkable.

      Finally, adding a bunch of young, unproven kids, around Trout is an awful idea. Who knows how long Trout will be this good? Maybe he’s the next Willie Mays or maybe he’s one of a hundred other guys who had amazing starts to their careers that peaked at 23-24 and was all downhill after that. Right now Mike Trout is very good. The Angels should be putting the best team possible around him. A healthy Pujols and productive Hamilton are just that.

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    • BJsworld says:

      Oh yeah … sorry. Forgot to mention your absurd theory about batting order.

      – Trout hitting lead-off – 917 OPS
      – Hitting 2nd – 1.015 OPS
      – Hitting 3rd – 963 OPS

      Despite your comment, Trout did not hit clean-up at any point during the season.

      Mike Trout’s offense at any spot in the order was amazing.

      +8 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • ValueArb says:

      20.1 bWAR in his first 2 seasons, despite losing 20 games to a late callup. The last player to put up 20 bWAR over 2 consecutive seasons was Barry Bonds, before him Joe Morgan, thenMantle, Mays, Williams.

      Over-hyped? He’s already the greatest player of the last decade, and hasn’t even played his age 22 season yet!

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  25. Ryan W Krol says:

    What I’m most curious about is what the Angels’ 2013 season would project to without Weaver missing 7 weeks; with a healthy Sean Burnett; and without Joe Blanton, Tommy Hanson, and Mark Lowe all together. The reason why is because the rotation the Angels had in the final 2 months (Weaver, Wilson, Richards, Vargas, Williams) actually held the fort enough for the Angels to plow through their August/September schedule until the final 4 game series vs the Rangers. I use that rotation as my frame of reference when evaluating the additions of Santiago and Skaggs. Lowe also was a suspect in letting leads and tight deficits get away; turning a 4-3 deficit into an 8-3 deficit. There were a lot of odd elements to this team that were just mind boggling at times. I said all season that the 2013 Angels would be a much better team with Weaver not missing 7 weeks, and at least without Blanton staying in the rotation as long as he did.

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  26. fromthemachine says:

    I foresee the Angels underperforming their WAR again more due to organizational structure rather than their current roster.

    During the course of a season, things go Wrong. Nimble organizations can fix them.

    You see the A’s, for instance, stashing away Jim Johnson and platoon players that they can offload in exchange for missing pieces late in the season.

    The Angels aren’t setting themselves up to have this ability. There is no one to call up when something goes Wrong, and they’re limited in the trades they can make. For instance, we can expect them to deal Kendrick during the season, but there’s not really a middle infielder waiting in the wings. That means they’ll have to ask for a Kendrick-lite to fill the hole and diminished returns on the piece they actually do need.

    Until the front office gives itself the ability to manipulate the roster, the Angels won’t be able to cope with in-season problems and will likely underperform their projections.

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  27. pft says:

    Sometimes I think the rumors of Albert being older than his stated age may be true. However, in any event, bounce-backs by Pujols and Hamilton and a better pen could see them around the 90 W mark. Not a big fan of Scioscia either. Managers have an expiry date and he is long past his IMO.

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  28. Krol and ValueArb, YOU make ME sad….I tried to live in LA for eight years and nowhere did I find more irritating people in my life, including the Dodgers fans(is it possible to be a baseball fan as a type of “vogue” pose?). I worked for the Dodgers for 7 years and spent many nights in Anaheim in a seat behind home plate. I actually became an Anaheim fan of sorts, especially while watching them supply St Louis with several players with good years left that helped get them to two WS (no need for stats again, Jimmy Baseball, DEck and even Troy whats-his-third-base-name that was made out of glass, Spezio became a clutch star in St Lou, of sorts). ValueArb, how many times did you hear that St Lou fans are the best in baseball during the WS 2013 and the 2012 post season while you were busy celebrating having Albert on your roster (Hey, as you say, it’s ALL relative)….at least 50-60 times.

    You act like I dont know what a stat is Mssr Krol?? Heres your stats! Pujols OPS+ and wRC+ for the last 5 years, no need to go back further, he was even better prior to 2009, as all irritating Angels fans know. Sorry I picked different stats to present than the less insightful to performance stats you chose IMHO. I am stats! Theres just really no need in this thread…but here you go.

    2009
    189*
    180*

    2010
    173*
    164

    2011
    148
    146

    2012
    138
    132

    2013
    112
    105

    Now hopefully, you wish you hadnt played the “I know stats card” in your case for Albert and the even worse choice of rolling them out for the ex-Red Ranger(theres a reason the Reds and Rangers passed on Hamilton) and it wasnt his stats. It was the tangible, real life, issues. Stuff I wish he did’nt have to suffer with. Hes a great kid.

    Anyway, best of luck when Sciosa gets put on the chopping block in late mid-season when Albert starts pointing fingers. Albert got Edmonds and Rolen run out of town in St Lou due to jealousy and La Russa sheltered him, even let him make out game rosters and ran off GOOD people Pujols did’nt want to talk to because they challenged him in the past. But…maybe he grown up some since his petulant days with Mother Tony, maybe his plantars will allow him to make a comeback….but hes still there on your roaster for seventy years and seventy billion dollars and that cant bode well. I meant roster! Trade’em all, for prospects now…..

    PS: Trout IS amazing, I didnt say a bad word about Trout, but Ill bet St Louis’ 22 year old Micheal Wacha will be as valuable to St Lou as Trout is to Anaheim…not to mention Taveras, Piscotty, Grichuk, Miller, Trevor Rosenthal, Siegrist, Kelly, Manesss, Wong, Garcia, etc etc…all young & under control for years. And Bourjos whose yet to mature on the healthy side.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Ryan W says:

      LOL Ranting and raving like an idiot will not win you your argument, which makes little sense anyways. I’ll pull the stats card every time. If you expect more video game numbers from Pujols, then you’re living in the wrong era. And if you really think the Angels will be strapped by his contract, then you’re not paying attention. You need to do more analyzing instead of covering up your argument with ranting like a reverend.

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  29. …oooops, that’s JOHNNY Bee…type-os kill me. I do have a very good positive to add for Alberts future, highest paid DH, ever! Ibanez will have to look for a job in left field…

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  30. Ryan, I’ll just feel sorry for you and call it a day. Please feel free to contact me when Pujols and the Angels finish 3-4 this year (hey look there two numbers for you to critisize 3rd or 4th LOL! I am a Reverend by the way, and prophesize that you will be disappointed in 2014.

    Oh I forgot Martinez flaming batters in the DR, Carpenter, Wong, Kelly, Adams…along with and not to mention Taveras, Piscotty, Grichuk, Miller, Trevor Rosenthal, Siegrist, Kelly, Manesss, Garcia coming back, etc etc…all young & under control for years. And Bourjos whose yet to mature on the healthy side. Is the above ranting Ryan, oh yeh, Mott will be coming back…forgot that. Need pitching, call me. Now you RANT! (in typical So Cal jealous demeaner)!

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  31. Darn type-os….criticize and theres ….darn. PS: About 7-8 prospects short on my list here and I mentioned a few Vets on the rebound, but it’ll do angel, it’ll do.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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