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Home of the "Trade Mike Trout" article

Updated: 2018-01-22T10:08:23-08:00


Angels have FIVE prospects in Keith Law’s Top 100 rankings #100-#51


Keith Law once said the Angels’ farm system was the worst he’d ever seen. Billy Eppler has been boss for a couple years now, though, and the results are striking. It was almost two years ago, but in terms of how much Billy Eppler has changed the Angels organization, it seems much, much longer. Nearly two years...that’s how long it has been since Keith Law brutalized the Halos’ farm system by not only ranking it dead last in Major League Baseball, but he also added an extra knife twist by saying it was the worst farm club he’s ever seen. It stung, but it was true. We all knew it was true, long before Law put the org on blast, for all of the baseball world to see, but that article reached a whole lot of baseball fans who just hadn’t been paying attention, and the LOLANGELS takes soon followed. The next year, though, with Eppler having his transformation act underway, provided some minor relief when Law, in the 2017 farm system rankings, put the Halos up a few spots. They were out of the cellar, and in the #27 spot, and Angels fans proceeded to celebrate this rankings climb, not caring that it is indeed unintentionally hilarious to be so excited about such a minor improvement. But hey...when your team’s farm system is called “worst I’ve ever seen” by an esteemed prospect analyst, anything that ISN’T at the bottom of the barrel is considered a win. Well, Law’s team rankings are still a couple weeks away, but today he put out the first part of his Top 100 prospects list, and Angels fans have yet another reason to shake Mr. Law’s hand. It had been awhile since they had a guy in the Top 100 of ANY rankings, but last year, Jo Adell and Jahmai Jones began showing up on them, typically in the 90s somewhere. That’s why it’s so badass to see that the Halos have FIVE guys in the #100-#51 part of Law’s Top 100 Prospects. Yep. Keith Law likes five Angels farm hands for the first half of his Top 100, and we know there’s still at least one more Angels prospect that will make his list in the second part (well, at least there SHOULD be...I of course mean Shohei Ohtani, just to be clear, but Law does have a thing about not ranking players that were pros in Japan, Korea, etc.). Here’s where the Halos hopefuls landed: 55. Jo Adell OF 62. Jaime Barria RHP 75. Jahmai Jones OF 82. Chris Rodriguez RHP 88. Brandon Marsh OF Besides the Angels’ 2017 1st round pick, Jo Adell, there’s some highly recognizable names on there for fans of the club or anybody that follows minor league ball. Barria has been creating more and more chatter after every inning he throws; Jahmai Jones continues to impress, especially considering he’s still just 20 years old. Chris Rodriguez is another guy who, with last year’s performance from the mound, has practically demanded that the MLB world take notice of him; and then there’s Brandon Marsh at #88, the former 2nd-round pick who got a slow start due to some minor back issues, but then began to rip the Pioneer League to ribbons once he got on the field. But let’s see a bit of what Law liked in these youngsters, shall we? Law on Jo Adell: He didn’t play the field because of the arm issue, but if he’s recovered by spring, he should go out as a center fielder thanks to his plus speed and what was a plus throwing arm as well. Even if he has to move to left -- an absolute worst-case scenario -- his bat looks like it’s going to profile there with 80 raw power and huge exit velocities already in pro ball, as well as the aptitude to adjust to the challenges he’ll face when he sees better pitching in the Midwest League this year. Law on Jaime Barria: His ceiling is somewhat limited by the lack of a grade 60 pitch, but he’s still just 21 and has already succeeded through Triple-A, so there’s a good fourth starter floor here and some chance he finds another weapon to become more. Law on Jahmai Jones: Jones was the Angels’ second-round pick in 2015 as a high school outfielder from Georgia with a broad mix of tools -- including plus raw power -- an[...]

MondoLinks: Angels prospects get some love & Mike Trout is going to the Super Bowl


Hello, Halos Heaven. It’s your boy, Mayhem, and I’m here to drop a quick, emergency links post so ya’ll to hang out and dish the latest baseball (and otherwise) topics that are on your mind. Stirrups, your usual links ringleader, is having some technical difficulties getting on to the site, thanks to the ever-annoying (but necessary) two-factor authentication that SB Nation uses. So that’s why you’re seeing my name up there in the by-line. I’ll make this short and sweet, though, and then you guys can commence to dropping any links or stories that are on your mind down there in the comments section, to get some good, time-killing, Monday morning conversation going. Angels News Today, Baseball America drops their much-ballyhooed Top 100 Prospects list, and unlike some recent years, there are actually Angels prospects on there! THREE ANGELS PROSPECTS, in fact! Shohei Ohtani, Jo Adell and Jahmai Jones all get some love from BA, which is sure to ignite many takes from the Halosphere. Speaking of the BA Top 100, it seems that there was actually some heated debates going on in their offices about who would be #1. Our very own Ohtani was thought by some to be the overall #1 prospect, but he ultimately came out as the #2 ball player. Here’s a little piece (behind a paywall, though) on how they dealt with ranking amazing talents like Ohtani, the Braves’ Ronald Acuna and the Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero, JR. Keith Law released part of his own Top 100 Prospects list, which has even MORE Halos on it! We’ll have something up on this in a few hours, so don’t worry about that pay wall. Sad stuff here: Former Angels coach Moose Stubing passed away late on Friday night. RIP Moose Stubing. Only Angels manager to never get a W. 0-8 in the final 8 games of 1988. Paved the way for Doug Rader.— Rev Halofan (@RevHalofan) January 21, 2018 Just when you thought his fastball repertoire and slider were all he need, Richards also brings a knockout curveball. Though he doesn’t throw it all that often, he has a career .137 BAA with this pitch and over the past two season (58 pitches), hasn’t allowed a single hit. Like his slider, it generates a very high number of ground balls at 66.7% and a nearly identical out of zone swing rate of 43.5%. His over the top curveball has twice as much vertical drop as the league average and has been best in the league over the length of his career. src="" style="border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;" allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no"> What to expect in 2018 Like many Angels pitchers, Richards is hoping his injury years are behind him. Steamer predicts he’ll toss around 142 innings which is pretty realistic if he stays healthy. Along with Shohei Ohtani, Richards has the potential to be the ace of this staff in 2018 and a full healthy year from him would bode well for a playoff race. Steamer predictions seem a bit modest to me with a 3.67 ERA, 8.27 K/9 and a 2.6 WAR. Assuming he is healthy, he has the potential to top all 3 of those. Matt Shoemaker Age: 31 Throws: RDebut: Sept 20th, 2013Innings Pitched (MLB): 514 Pitch Repetoire: Fastball, Splitter, Slider, Curveball Summary Matt Shoemaker debuted just 3.5 years ago, yet his 514 IP are the second most on the team. He throws a lot of different pitches (including a 4 seam/2 seam combo like Richards) but rarely pulls out his curveball. Last season was pretty rough for Shoemaker who put up career worst number in ERA (4.52), FIP (5.13), WHIP (1.300), and BB/9 (3.2). It also didn’t help that he missed the entire second half of the season with a forearm injury that ultimately ended his season with surgery in early August. For some reason last year, Shoemaker dropped his splitter usage about 8%. The rise and fall of his success has appeared to be tied to his best pitch. Looking at 2017, he threw his splitter the most in April and May and had most success in those months. Given that he went down w[...]

A modest proposal


For preventing the continued decay of arms in the Angels’ rotation and ensuring a long, successful career in the MLB, in brief Distressed would be the man who would compile a list of all the pitchers who have gone under the knife throughout history. It is no secret that throwing a sphere in excess of 90, 95, even 100 miles per hour is the baseball equivalent of sipping at bleach for a young man’s arm. Injuries have found a way to survive even as medicine improves daily. The most cunning of these afflictions is the tearing of the UCL which often necessitates surgery of the elbow. Unfortunately, this team is not one of its great eluders. Countless Angel arms have needed the dreaded Tommy John Surgery, practically lining up to take their turn on the DL. Although it was swatted off earlier this offseason, Shohei Ohtani, the Angels’ newest superstar-in-the-making does have a small tear that must be monitored. This may be a minor issue, but so-called, mild “fatigue” and “soreness” has laid waste to its fair share of Anaheim pitchers. Prudence calls for preemptive action. And so I, with humility, do submit to William Eppler my own personal thoughts on how best to combat this tearing of tendons. Japanese robotics have become somewhat of a legend in the Americas and for good reason. Technology out of the Far East nation has only improved at an exponential pace and has culminated in androids that play baseball. If machines are now so advanced that they might have the precision and timing to hit a ball, they would be able to throw one with ease. Thus, it is time for Shohei Ohtani to take to the operating table and pioneer as the first cyborg in Major League Baseball. It goes without saying that a half-man, half-machine who needs to maintain both accuracy and power would not be cheap. Who better to lead the way in baseball robotics than not-so-thrifty billionaire Arte Moreno? Not only does he have the means, but the savings on hospital bills (think of all the DLs that he wouldn’t be put on!) would be tremendous. Further recuperating expenses on Cyborg Ohtani would be rather easy, as games would sell out, the fans turning out in droves for their Terminator representative. Nevertheless, the vital point is that Ohtani would not be able to suffer a UCL tear, the ligament being altogether removed in favor of cold, hard surgical-grade 316L stainless steel. It could be argued that cutting out the majority of the human element would be wise, as the meatbags are squishy and not particularly well-adapted to the harsh environs of baseball. Hopefully with time, more players will be mostly eviscerated and their feeble, emotion-ridden brains replaced with Central Processing Units. The future robot umps would then be a nice aesthetic complement to the mostly robotic players. There is a physical boost to the player too. Pathetic humans are supposedly subject to about 100 Newton-meters of torque on the arm when pitching at their max capacity. A mechanical arm, on the other hand, would be able to handle much more torque and the pitching speed would only benefit. Shohei Ohtani would be a lock for the Cy Borg Young! There are those who will object, as always, to such advancements in the state of the game. They will argue that mechanical arms count as “performance-enhancers,” that such gameplay is unnatural, and that the Andromechanical Master Race must be overthrown for their “oppression” and “genocide of humanity.” It is in the interest of baseball, though, that we must press on. It is not for my sake, nor for yours, but for the game’s. I receive no monetary compensation from my iron overseers, and the chances of the cybernetic half of the pitchers taking over the human side and rampaging through the city are slim to none. You are completely safe from this, especially if you assimilate: Something you certainly won’t be seeing. [...]

WeekEnd HaloLinks: Falling to Paces


25 Days until Pitchers and Catchers report! MLB wants to institute it’s new Pace Of Play rules by fiat......Of course, the Player’s Union is objecting, but there is little they can do about it if Rob Manfred is really determined to do something about not having enough time for advertising commercials in a 3-hour broadcast. It is probable that we could learn that MLB will go forward unilaterally after owners meetings end on February 1. Notice, though, that the rules changes were originally set to start on May 1, but because the union vetoed them, Manfred moved up the date to Opening Day. That’s Manfred needing to be The Boss. Sports Commissioners can be like that. Here are the important points: 20 second clock between pitches.....(I double dog dare an umpire to call this in a Game 7!)..... Clock resets if pitcher takes his foot off the rubber.....(How many times does a pitcher get to do this??)..... Batters have the first 5 seconds to get back into the box.....(You know, the box that they were not supposed to leave in the first place.)..... Any time a player goes to the mound, or if the pitcher leaves the mound to talk to any player, it counts as one mound visit.....(Watch for the sneaky little tricks that infielders figure out in order to get around this.)...... 30 second clock between batters......(Does this mean that the on-deck batter has 10 seconds to get into the box? Who gets penalized, how, if the blame is the batter?) But here, folks, we encourage you to roll at your own pace. Have some Take-All-The-Time-You-Need-Offseason-Links: A Little Bit of Angels News Guess who shall be the highest-paid player in Major League Baseball this year? Nope, it’s NOT Albert Pujols......... But what Albert Pujols IS, is a good deed doer. And it’s St. Louis where such good deed doing is given it’s proper spotlight........... Pujols is, then a very good guy. And he was once a very great baseball player. He is not a very great player anymore. Maybe he is still pretty good. He needs to be, because his recent years are taking some of the shine off of his overall career.......... Everywhere In Baseball The movement towards legalized sports betting continues with Minnesota in the forefront, but no longer with the clause that gifts NBA and MLB owners a part of the action.......... If the MSM wants to make a big deal out of defense for players now retired, when their names come up on a Hall of Fame ballot - see ESPN and this Omar Vizquel tribute - then why are they so reluctant to make the same big deal out of defense for a player conducting overwhelmingly brilliant defense while still active?.......... With this I agree. If you want to be pro-active and create a more equitable marketplace for baseball talent, the money needs to move faster in the direction of youth. On the tanking issue, I think that is one place that should correct itself. It may be necessary for MLB to impose a penalty on extreme behavior, but if enough teams tank then nobody gets an assurance of good draft slots and good trade returns........... More evidence that the MLB baseball is juiced...AND...evidence that the power translation from Minor League Ball to Major League Ball needs to add this into the factorizations.......... Yasmany Thomas feels a need for speed. All of which got him a cot in jail in the biggest of hurries........... One place where Jerry Dipoto does remain ahead of Billy Eppler, would be in the execution of equal opportunity Baseball career hiring. I hope she has a long career and, because she is the enemy, I hope she isn’t very good at it........... Hot Stove Buster Olney is learning or something. He is starting to tweet out things that make more sense than what he was writing a few weeks ago. He makes a point that one major market inhibitor are the numbers of teams choosing not to be competitive. Tanking, as it were.......... Does Eric Hosmer even have 1 offer yet? One has to wonder.......... Jeff Sullivan uses the Gerrit Cole trade to [...]

2018 Angels prospect rankings: 16-20


This installment of the prospect rollout includes a few intriguing recent signings, a quickly-advancing outfielder, and a pair of nearly ready big league pieces. Here is the introductory post to this series, explaining our methodology. If you’d like to view these prospect grades in greater detail, you can do so here. 20. Jose Suarez (SP) — 50 points Scouting Report [Video]: Stocky Jose Suarez threw his third pro season in 2017 at the age of 19 (he turned 20 on January 3rd) and it was an impressive one. Suarez combined for a 3.28 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and .236 BAA across rookie and A ball, while raking up 90 Ks in 68.2 innings. Suarez was arguably one of the best (if not the best) starter in Burlington last season with a number of impressive outings including back to back starts in July in which he struck out 19 over 9.2 innings while allowing 5 hits. Suarez allowed 3 hits or less in half of his 12 starts for Burlington. Suarez has an above average changeup that could be plus in the future. He locates his fastball exceptionally well, and although he only throws around 89-90, it’s effective thanks to good movement and placement. His fastball should see a few ticks of increased speed as he grows into his frame. Suarez’s third pitch is a curve with good 12-6 movement but he doesn’t command it well. It has room for refinement as he progresses in the system. Suarez generates a lot of weak contact and ground balls - mostly thanks to his command of the zone. Last year in Burlington he had an impressive overall GB rate of 46.5%. Thanks to being only 5’10”, a lot of teams passed on Suarez but the Angels took a chance - which so far has been paying off. Suarez will have time to mature and if all goes well for him, he could a solid back of rotation starter. —Jessica T-19. Trent Deveaux (OF) — 53 points Scouting Report: The Angels were restricted in their ability to sign top tier talent in the international market thanks to Jerry Dipoto and his ill fated signing of Robert Baldoquin. So their presence in the international market was basically non-existent due to their inability to sign a player to a bonus larger than $300K, that was all in the past this last summer when Billy Eppler got the wiggle room he desperately needed. So he went out and signed, per Baseball America, the number 19 international prospect out of the Bahamas: Trent Deveaux. The $1.7 million bonus Deveaux got was the largest since, well, you guessed it, Roberto Baldoquin. Deveaux didn’t play in 2017, but there’s plenty to get excited about in 2018. Originally a shortstop, the Angels are shifting Deveaux to center field where he can fully utilize his 80-grade speed. That’s the best grade you can get. He ran a 6.3-6.4 second 60-yard dashes during his showcases, allowing him to glide in center field to hunt down balls. He also has an arm that’s been clocked at 93 mph from the outfield. Overall, he’s an amazing athlete who shows his athleticism off the most on defense and on the bases. With more experience in center, he can easily be a plus in three areas already: defense, baserunning, and his arm. The bat taking a leap forward was always the biggest key in his development and progress through the minors. Per Ben Badler from Baseball America: Scouts highest on Deveaux said his hitting ability has taken a huge leap forward. Last year, Deveaux had an upright, open stance and a tendency to either slice or roll over too many balls. He closed off his stance, improved his balance and did a better job of staying through the ball and using the middle of the field. He also shows a solid understanding of the strike zone. Deveaux has the frame to add more power later on, though right now he’s mostly a line-drive hitter who can occasionally hit a ball out. Despite his youth and total inexperience in pro ball so far, Deveaux is expected to rise fast through the minors if the bat continues to [...]

Thor’sLinks: Searching for the O-Zone


26 Days until Pitchers and Catchers report! When watching home run highlights of Shohei Ohtani, it’s clear that he has power to all fields. His inside-out power swing in RH curveballs is particularly easy, driving balls deep over the right-field wall. With no spray chart easily found in the Internet, it’s tough to see where his power goes most often. Outside of a particular interest as an Angels fan for the chance to see many, many of those home runs wrecking the happiness of our opposing fans, why do I care? Well, we already have The Trout Farm, for RH-hitting Mike’s occasional hard pull down the RF line. So that section is taken. The question is therefore put to you: what outfield section should be declared The O-Zone? Yeah. I’m calling it. Halos Heaven has the distinction of being the place, and today is the day, when the genesis of the name for the Shohei Ohtani outfield fan support section is first made known: The O-Zone. Have Some Brawny-Ohtani-Offseason-Links: A Little Bit of Angels News Infielders have moved to 3B before. It’s not as if it’s never happened. A crafty and skilled IF such as Zach Cozart should have no real problem........... Umm, on the other hand, when is it news that a 1B needs to work on his 1B defense in order to make the switch to 1B, as appears to be the case of Albert Pujols?.......... Billy Eppler is now active doing that job he does so well, beefing up the inventory of pitching arms to minor league deals as we approach Spring Training. Welcome aboard Dylan Unsworth. Out of this we shall find a viable bullpen.......... On the other hand, too many catchers. Nice almost knowing you, Curt Casali.......... J.C. Ramirez still making progress on his healing process.......... Everywhere In Baseball I am on record as agreeing that player payroll has lost ground against MLB revenue growth. And I am also on record as believing that Tony Clark is a paper tiger unable to even realize this growing disparity. Being neither an owner nor player, and enjoying the reality of supporting one of the most affordable fan experiences in all of Baseball, I really don’t have a dog in this fight, either way. But I do have enough life experience to know about enough labor battles and realize that Craig Calcaterra is right. Tony Clark isn’t doing his constituency many favors.......... That said, I still don’t understand Caclaterra’s opening lament why the luxury tax threshold, which has existed for years now and has actually gone up, is now considered some form of ‘soft cap’ when it was not considered as such in past off-seasons?.............. Major League Baseball Question Of The Day! Thank you Andrew Baggarly........... Dioner Navarro deserves major props. Nothing, not even realizing a career dream, is more important than the loved ones in one’s life........... I have seen Prince Fielder. I have seen Prince Fielder try to run. It’s clear that Prince Fielder is world class when it comes to the ingestion of food products (and by-products). So this might actually be must-see TV........... What happens when there is so much information available to reasonably well-educated baseball players that they have all the ability to assess the market worth without needing an agent? We are close, are we not?.......... By the way, within that article about not needing an agent there is a link to ANOTHER Fan Graphs article which does a good job digging into the Player’s Union and their current bargaining deficit........... Hmmm. That Colin Moran that I once advocated snatching out of the Houston farm system (before Eppler solved 3B with Cozart), might turn out to be a pretty good ballplayer after all........... I suppose sports fans in Pittsburgh don’t have anything left to do. At least the baseball fans in that town have figured out what to do with their now-gross amount of idle time. Sit around and click e-petitions to send to Rob Manfred and get him to[...]

HumpLinks: Jonesing in January


27 Days until Pitchers and Catchers report! Januarys have become the oddest of times for me. As my friends and family can attest, I really indulge in a fantastic holiday season from late November through New Year’s Day. It takes me about a week or two to reset and normalize, which is where I am at. Even under normal circumstances I would start slowly amping up my excitement for LIVE BASEBALL!, but doing this gig has me so embedded into the swirling vortex of baseball news nearly every day that a lot of other things which would usually be some part of my January life have become almost meaningless. I realized just yesterday morning that I was pretty much booked up with life until Tempe, and that my personal calendar had become interlocked with that of MLB. I realized that that must be why I started doing the annual jersey number countdown this year targeting Pitchers and Catchers report, instead of first game of ST or Opening Day. So I am really getting excited for the season. Exceptionally so. I apologize in advance if things get out of hand by the time we get to March. It’s another buffet of Endless-Offseason-Links: A Little Bit of Angels News ZiPS projections for the Angels are posted. Hey, at least we were not last, or nearly so, this year. By nature these are extremely conservative so get your underwear in a bunch at your own risk. For me, I am left to wonder two things. First, how in the heck can anybody forecast an Ohtani? Do we truly have modeling tools for two-way players? And, second, is these are ultra-conservative and Mike Trout STILL comps out as Willie Mays, WTF are we actually gonna see out of out center-fielder this season??.............. Billy Eppler explains that the Angels are not necessarily committed to a 6-man rotation for Shohei Ohtani. They are open to it, and they are seeing the potential for workload management especially in those stretches of many consecutive days with games. Eppler also seems pretty confident in all the guys he has now for a rotation. So help a guy out. Sosh might need a season plan to lead LAA into figuring out how to flip between a 5-man and a 6-man rotation based on the actual schedule.......... A teensy bit of Simba Porn from BBR.......... Have a look at where we ARE with our bullpen, which is not necessarily where we WILL BE as of Opening Day.......... Food for thought: 2018 might be the last, or next to last, year we see Albert Pujols on a list of worst contracts. His contract ends one way or another after 2021, which is only 4 more seasons. And that is only if Albert and Arte don’t come to some reasonable conclusion earlier. Meanwhile, there is a wave of aging players with big contracts coming up behind Pujols (looking at you, David Price).......... Oh. Now YOU have to choose! What Fantasy league will you be playing in this year? The one that allows Ohtani to be drafted as 2 different guys, or the one that does not? Yahoo versus CBS explain their stances.......... Everywhere In Baseball A nice divergence from the main road, where there is to be found a chicken coop to surprise the sports enthusiast in us all.......... As these pages have been pointing out for months and months, Rob Manfred is going to go ahead with his ideas on pace of play. You are getting a pitch clock whether it has anything to do with game length or not.....and it is coming to Baseball whether the players want to have a say in it or not (the CBA has a minor clause that grant the Commissioner such power in off-seasons)..........So while the MLBPA might claim to be allowing Manfred to do as he pleases, they really have no choice in the matter.......... Track the arb season using the annual FanGraphs arb-o-meter.......... Once upon a time the Player’s Union made a big boo boo, and that boo boo has finally come home to roost. A lot of pre-1980 players are cut out from access to decent retirement benefits because the Union[...]