Category Archives: Anaheim Angels

Going to sleep on Mike Trout was a bad idea

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I had the Angels game somewhat queued up last night when I passed out on the couch with my bulldog – Garrett Richards was doing everything he could to hand the game back to the A’s despite those darling Angels doing everything they could do to get him the win in the face of his own futility.

And I fell asleep on Michael Nelson Trout. And wouldn’t you know it that he did something that I very much would have liked to have been awake for. He hit a majestic two-run home run off the A’s closer Du Jour Sean Doolittle. It sent the game into extra innings. And that’s what Mike Trout does – he takes something and makes it beautiful. Trout’s gift to the world on Jackie Robinson Day was bonus baseball. As M.J. Lloyd would say, he isn’t real.

The Angels would lose the damn game 10-9 in 11 innings, making all those handicappers who said Oakland would win last night correct and my very gut feeling that the Angels would steal one so very wrong (I am picking stuff at around a 75% clip this season on the money line, giddeup).

Mike Trout has five home runs and just may have learned a new trick: how to lead the American League circuit in homers. Don’t worry about what the A’s players did because they’re boring.

Anaheim Angels sign Mike Trout to six-year Contract Extension

Trout

On the eve of the opening weekend of the baseball season, baseball’s brightest star signs his contract extension a day after baseball’s best hitter of the generation signs his own.

This is great for baseball: the Angels keep their homegrown star for six more years, and $144.5 million was all it took to do it. Trout could have conceivably signed a deal worth $30 million dollars per year, instead this contract checks in at an AAV of just over $24-millon per.

The fact that it comes on the start of Opening Day weekend just makes it all that much sweeter and easier to smile about. Mike Trout will be an Angel for a long, long time. We tip our cap to all Anaheim fans out there like M.J. Lloyd and Mike Hllywa on this day of rejoice.

Mike Trout hit a Grand Slam today

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This is probably a signal that there will be no lettting up in Mike Trout’s game this season. When you think back across time, a player like Trout comes along every 30 to 50 years. You better take a step back this year and enjoy the kid, because he’s probably the most amazing thing to enter the game of baseball since early 90′s Ken Griffey Jr. – and that Griffey was nothing short of hypnotizing. Can this season get underway already so we can just see what insane things Mike Trout has in store for fans of this great game?

Today, Mike Trout took a piece of James McDonald he can never have back. Of course it was a grand slam bomb to left field.

Click through the jump for the video.
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Mike Trout breaks the non-arbitration eligible record

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I will stop short of calling my colleague M.J. Lloyd a Nostradamus on this one, but something he has been saying for years came to fruition today.

Mike Trout signed a $1 million dollar one-year contract today, breaking the record $900,000 pre-arbitration deals earned previously by Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard.

This deal figures to be a minor-carrot in the large scheme of things, and it allows the Angels a nice bridge to begin negotiating on a much larger contract. Current talks that have been tossed around through the press discuss a six or seven year pact that settles around the $150 million mark.

And being that we all know the things Mike Trout can do and figures to do over that span, that will be a bargain.

The Angels are thinking it’s time for a Mike Trout extension

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Here’s something that’s good for all of baseball: Mike Trout extension talks with the Anaheim Angels are heating up.

It was just a short blurb today in the LA Times, so you might have missed it entirely. We’ll post it here for your viewing pleasure.

There’s a good chance the Angels will renew Trout’s contract again in March, but it won’t have the sting of last spring’s renewal because it will be done amid negotiations for a multiple-year extension that is expected to make Trout one of baseball’s highest-paid players.

The sides hope to reach a deal after the season starts. Any disappointment over a renewal should be erased by the prospect of what could be a record-setting contract likely to include a signing bonus far exceeding Trout’s 2014 salary.

We hope that this is the big one. The 12-year, $300+ million big deal that everyone has been talking about for a while (the Mike Trout Sign-o-meter is holding steady at 12 years and $337 million).

And if you’re a baseball fan, this news should make you happy. Trout is going to end up an all-time great. He should retire in that Angels uniform he broke into the big leagues with. If you’re someone that for some reason finds yourself wanting Mike Trout to sign elsewhere at some point in time, you’re an awful, awful person and we hope you get a cold sore on your tongue.

Mike Trout hits for the Cycle

Troutcycle

Last night in Anaheim, Mike Trout became the youngest player to ever hit for the cycle (21 years, 288 days). Trout stepped to the plate in the 8th inning for his final at-bat needing a home run, and a home run is exactly what he did against Lucas Luetge.

My good friend and Mike Trout enthusiast (he’s also an Angels fan) remarked via text that this is what it must of been like to watch Mickey Mantle. Player steps to the plate in his final at bat needing to go deep to reach his historic feat. He sees a few pitches and then just goes ahead and makes it happen.

The Angels routed the Mariners 12-0 – and while this is just another chapter in Trout’s young and historic career – it also provides a nice highlight moment in the middle of what has been an 18-27 season for the Angels. In the wake of Miguel Cabrera’s three home run game on Sunday Night Baseball it’s a nice encore act.

I also want to say something I might change my mind on in a few weeks; but it’s not likely. I think Mike Trout is the best young talent in baseball, with Bryce Harper a close second. I might enjoy the ebb and flow of a Harper season a bit more because Trout is so good that he’s almost boring. With Harper, there is more chaos; in every way. Pound for pound, right now Mike Trout is on another wavelength.

Here’s a Peter Bourjos Scouting report from 2010

The Angels played 19 innings last night, and Peter Bourjos earned a trip to the disabled list after hurting his hamstring. Sometimes we come across random things in our many walks of life and now is as good of a time as any to show one-show all on this.

Here is a Peter Bourjos scouting report from 2010:
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A couple interesting things to note here:

  • At the time, Bourjos’ MLB comp was none other than Coco Crisp.
  • ‘Fleet Pete’ went home to first in 4.11 seconds.
  • Peter ‘leaves it all on the field’ according to this scout.
  • Peter didn’t wear any eyewear at this time.

I could read these all day. We’ll see what else we can dig up in the near future.

Scout: “Albert Pujols’ Legs are Done”

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Anytime we can get quotes from anonymous scouts on the blog, we make sure to do it.

Today, they’re talking about the lower-half of Albert Pujols. As much as I love to read random quotes from a scout about any player, you take it with a grain of salt because:

a. Scouts refuse to attach their name to the quote, always

b. A lot of times, scouts don’t know shit. They’ve always got a strong opinion on something that makes for a good story or interesting read, but a lot of the time it’s worthless opinion. For instance, there were plenty of scouts who said Mike Trout would never develop power or that Bryce Harper was a “bad kid”.

Here’s the quote on Pujols courtesy of the NY Daily News Baseball Insider blog:

He’s got bad wheels,” said one American League evaluator who has seen Pujols many times this year, both in spring training and the regular season. “I bet he doesn’t play more than 50 games at first this year.”

The article goes on to talk about Ryan Howard a little bit and how another anonymous scout says that ‘every time he sees Howard run, he thinks that ankle is going to snap again’. Pleasant.

I can just imagine an old piece of bacon grissel scout sitting there, spitting his dip into his coffee cup in the stands saying that. It’s the most scouty quote there ever was.

The Angels better hope that Pujols’ legs hold up, because he’s still on the books for $228 million dollars.

The Watch Report: Cincinnati Reds Opening Day

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Who had Chris Iannetta in the Opening Day hero pool?

[Angels 3, Reds 1]

This was actually my first Opening Day that I haven’t been in the stands in Cincinnati since Joe Randa and Adam Dunn went back to back to walk off the Mets back in 2005. That’s a lot of Opening Days that I strung together. I doubt I ever make it back to that many consecutive Opening Days. I’m satisfied with the streak I put together. I’ve seen some unbelievable openers in the Queen City. From Randa’s walk-off, to Ramon Hernandez’s walk-off grand slam, to last year’s Cueto masterpiece with Bruce’s moonshot to seal it shut.

Here’s some notes from today’s ballgame, which was a long one.

  • The Reds really didn’t hit all spring long, and they didn’t hit today. Jay Bruce wore a golden sombrero in the middle of the order. Joey Votto went 0 for 4 but at least drew a few walks.
  • Shin-Soo Choo had two hits and Todd Frazier had one. And that’s all the Reds offense tallied. There weren’t even any hard hit balls.
  • Of the Angels fearsome three, Mike Trout was the only one with a hit. Trout went 1 for 6, Pujols and Hamilton went 0 for 4.
  • Chris Iannetta was the hero in this one, hitting a solo home run and doubling in the top of the 13th inning with two outs off J.J. Hoover.
  • The Angels pen just earned this game, though I would give it to the lack of Reds hitting. After Jered Weaver exited, six Angels relievers combined for seven scoreless innings. Ernesto Frieri was the final one and he earned the save.
  • I’m not too upset with this game. The Angels are a World Series contender, and the Reds are going to hit at some point. It hurts that they’ll miss Ryan Ludwick for the better part of a month with separated shoulder.
  • How could I forget Johnny Cueto. I feel like for the last year and a half, if you’ve seen Cueto throw once you’ve seen the same solid, dependable game. I love the effort this guy always brings to the mound with him.

Here’s some running total stats from today’s game, and from my most recent watched game:

Home Runs: 1 (Chris Iannetta 1)
Strikeouts: 30
Runs: 4
Hits: 9
Errors: 4
Stolen bases: none
Official time watching baseball: 4 hours, 45 minutes
Times taking the dog out to pee: 2
Chores my wife asked me to do during (unofficial): one half

EDIT: I watched about two innings out of the Rockies Brewers game today, I watched Chris Sale’s entire start on and off, and I watched about five innings out of the Phillies-Braves game today. I’m not going to count it, because my totals aren’t exact. And I’m honestly ready to abandon the 2000-Inning Quest after just a night and a day. It’s too damn tedious. But still I press onward to go where no idiot has ever gone before.

STATS during the 2000-Inning Quest:

Home Runs: 4
Bryce Harper home runs: 2
Strikeouts: 59
Runs: 16
Hits: 31
Errors: 5
Stolen bases: NONE
Official time watching baseball: 9 hours, 55 minutes
Times taking the dog out to pee: 6
Chores my wife asked me to do during (unofficial): .5
Innings left to go: 1,969

10 Bold Predictions for 2013: The Angels or Tigers Represent the AL in the World Series

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As part of our preview for the upcoming 2013 season, we’ll be doing a 10 Bold Predictions for 2013 series that will be featured between now and Opening Day. Our fourth prediction: the Anaheim Angels or Detroit Tigers represent the American League in the 2013 World Series.

You should be at that point where you’ve picked about four teams in your head that you could see squaring off for a trip to the World Series. There can be other teams that you feel good about, but no more than a maximum of four should be included in your small circle of trust that you know will play for the Pantheon in October in front of the world.

There are some loaded teams in the American League this year. I think the Red Sox will be better than anyone is expecting (expectations haven’t been lower in Boston since I hit puberty). The Toronto Blue Jays might set a record for home runs hit and runs scored. The Yankees will still be the Yankees, they’ll be relevant at some point though probably not at the end when it matters most. The Tampa Rays are going to be really strong too I think.

At the end of the day there are only two logical teams that I see playing for the ultimate prize.

Last year we dubbed the Anaheim Angels as the Miami Heat of baseball. They won 89 ballgames and that was good enough for third place in the American League West; and it resulted in them getting a trip back to their respective homes when the postseason began.

As loaded as they appeared, there were glaring holes we just didn’t see. I mean, you can’t hide a Vernon Wells. And when Peter Bourjos hit just .220 it didn’t matter how Albert Pujols rebounded to be just as Pujolsian as ever before after April and it didn’t matter how nuts Mike Trout went all year. There were things that the Angels couldn’t rebound from.

And even the Miami Heat fell short in their first season together before winning a title.

But the Angels really are the Heat of all of baseball now. After you wondered how much money they could have left they went out and signed Josh Hamilton to a monster deal. In many first innings this season you’ll see Trout, Pujols and Hamilton all bat. The Angels will play with more leads before their starter even takes the mound than any team in baseball this season because of it.

The Tigers won 88 games last season, one less than the Angels; yet they ended up in the World Series. The Tigers have baseball’s best hitter in their lineup in Miguel Cabrera and have a host of other players around him in the lineup aside from Prince Fielder and Austin Jackson.

While the Tigers won’t score as many runs as Anaheim, they have better starting pitching. I like about four of Detroit’s guys to be able to contend for the AL Cy Young, and only one of them is named Justin Verlander. Scherzer, Fister, Sanchez, hell even Drew Smyly if given the opportunity could jump off the page and win about 18 games on this team. The Tigers are also bolstered with the finest manager in the American League by my estimation.

When the dust settles, we’ll have a barn-burner of an ALCS to watch. It’s not going to be one of those that gets decided in four or five games like last year when the Yankees shouldn’t even have been there and got embarrassed by Detroit. You’re going to see two teams that shook out of a deep AL-field battling it out until the final strike. Expect high drama and a lot of memorable games that entertains anyone with an interest in the sport.

These two teams are absolutely loaded, and anything less than reaching this step would be a monumental disappointment. The difference between last year is whoever shakes out of this ALCS is likely to be crowned the World Series Champion, because the American League is a lot deeper than the National League this season.

Anaheim and Detroit, for all the marbles in 2013.

10 Bold Predictions for 2013: Harper bests Trout

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As part of our preview for the upcoming 2013 season, we’ll be doing a 10 Bold Predictions for 2013 series that will be featured between now and Opening Day. Our first prediction: Bryce Harper has a better statistical season then Mike Trout.

We’re already getting really tired of all the accusations that we’ve got some kind of weird man-crush on Bryce Harper. We really aren’t responsible for how we feel about the guy at this point. That’s on him. Last year he arrives on the scene right on cue to be closest thing to Mickey Mantle of my children’s era. He does exactly what he’s supposed to do in going out and straight balling. The only thing that didn’t go according to plan was Mike Trout posting that Mantle slash line of .399/.564/.963 to overshadow Harper and make everyone believe that the kid in Washington will be the second best player in this generation.

But not so fast my young padawan.

Harper was just 19 last season, and hasn’t had the opportunity to produce his own age 20 season as Trout did in 2012. When Mike Trout was 19 he was instilling doubt in a lot of people’s minds about just how good he would be.

These guys are both tremendous ballplayers and should entertain us on a nightly basis for the next twenty years if we’re lucky. But Harper is the better of the two and he’s going to start to prove that right now.

My friend M.J. Lloyd made the brilliant comparison shortly after both guys were setting the world on fire last summer that this debate was going to end up baseball’s version of Jordan versus Bird. I couldn’t agree more, and they’re both in for huge seasons in 2013 once again.

Here’s what I see for Trout:

.290, 28 HR, .880 OPS, 50 stolen bases, 130 runs, 85 RBI for good measure.

These are all numbers that will have Trout in line for the MVP award that he should have had last season. But they won’t be good enough to best Harper in 2013. Rumor has it that Harper’s goals for this year include a 40/40 season and hitting .300 on the campaign.

Before you start doubting Harper; before you insist that the guy is human, you need to read this book and come back to me. He will do things in this game that are not human and you can remember where you read those words first.

Here’s Harper’s 2013 numbers:

.285, 35 HR, .900 OPS, 35 stolen bases, 110 runs, 110 RBI

A lot of people are saying those numbers aren’t better so we will need something that will give us apples to apples. Thank God for WAR. At season’s end, Bryce Harper will have a higher WAR than Mike Trout. And he’ll do it in his age 20 season, still putting him on schedule to be the best player of this generation.

And if you want me to sign on for something crazy like predictions Harper’s 2013 WAR tops Trout’s 8.6 WAR from 2012, I simply won’t do that. For anyone feeling like I’m slighting the mighty Trout here, please don’t go away angry. The guy is unbelievable in his own right as he proved last season and without someone as insane as him there wouldn’t even be a close debate for Harper to go ‘up against’ for this generation’s next great player.

These predictions are the gospel though; and you can count on this one being the first of ten we’ll nail in 2013 just as we did in 2012.

2013 Los Angeles Angels Team Preview

I feel like this year’s preview could be copied almost straight from last year with a few name changes.  The Angels went out and signed a big stud hitter for big bucks.  This year – Josh Hamilton, last year – Albert Pujols.  They changed up their pitching staff.  This year – Tommy Hanson and Jason Vargas, last year – CJ Wilson.  So what did it get them last year?  Jack shit.  3rd place in a pretty good division – even though they were playing much better towards the end of the season.  One thing they do have this year, that they didn’t last year: a full season of Mike Trout.

Let’s take a closer look at the Angels.

Major Off-Season Moves:

  • Signed Josh Hamilton to a 5 yr/$125M contract.
  • Acquired SP Jason Vargas from the Mariners.
  • Acquired SP Tommy Hanson from the Braves.
  • Signed SP Joe Blanton.
  • Signed RP Ryan Madson.

The Angles certainly weren’t quiet this off season and pulled another sneak attack when they signed Josh hamilton from rival Texas.  It was seemingly likely the Mariners or Rangers for Hamilton and then the Angels swooped it and gave him exactly what he wanted.  When Arte Moreno sees a shiny toy he wants, he steps up big. They also need to reload their rotation after Zach Greinke left and they jettisoned Ervin Santana.  They grabbed 3 new starting pitchers so they at least got some bodies in there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now on to who is going to take the field this year.

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ESPN The Magazine Examines How Mike Trout Will Age

A phenomenal read about Mike Trout (the Justin Upton piece is great too) brought to us by ESPN the Magazine today, and a nice reference to a decent movie that my wife made me attend.

Everybody’s writing about him and trying to find that good new angle,” said one of the beat writers in the Angels’ press box in early July. “Kid’s 20. What sort of interesting story could he have at 20?” But there it is, on the field, every day — the most interesting story in baseball. And so one year into his career, baseball reckons with how good Mike Trout really is, how good he will be and what could stop him. And that’s when our resolve breaks down and we give. Mickey Mantle? Okay. We hate ourselves. But it’s not the worst place to start.

The Phenom [ESPN the Magazine]

“Happy Birthday, Dear Trouty….”

Mike Trout turns 21 years young today.

Aaron Gleeman of HardballTalk makes a point to say that Trout is “the American League’s best player”, and he’s wrong.

I fall more in like with the thinking of my dear friend M.J. Lloyd, who has reminded me via text all season long that Trout is baseball’s top player.

Look at this snippet from the HBT link, and then try and disagree with us:

He leads the league in batting average (.348), steals (36), and runs (86), ranks second in slugging percentage (.598) and OPS (1.009), and rates third in on-base percentage (.411). And course he’s also an excellent defensive center fielder, which is part of how Trout leads all of baseball in Wins Above Replacement (7.4).

What this tells us is that Mike Trout is indeed the best player in all of baseball. There’s no guarantee that it stays that way for the next five years or anything; but at this moment in time if you hit the ‘pause’ button on the world of baseball (that would be kind of cool), Trout is on the top of the pyramid.

I think the best part about it all is at age 21, he could continue to climb in feats. As I watch the highlights every night of Trout taking a home run away from an opponent, jumping around the basepaths like a gymnast and generally sliding around the infield like he’s on a waterpark slide; the guy is just damn fun to watch.

I would also be prepared for much lengthier birthday card to Trout from M.J. Lloyd over at Halo Hangout at some point, in which he asks Trout to marry him or take him to prom.