Friday, March 10, 2006

Moving on

The Pearly Gates have done it, League of Angels has done it and the Halo Herald did it, too. Now I'll do the same. :)

As I hinted in my last post, this blog will move to a different location. And it will also get a way cooler less stupid name in the process.

My analysis of the Jeff Weaver signing got me an invitation to join the At Homeplate community. So for the future, my blog's URL will be (at least until they decide I don't satisfy their quality standards. :) )

My first post is an analysis of the Angels' lineup in 2006 and there will be a preview of the Angels season shortly.

It would be great if those of you who have a link to my blog on their site could update it. Thanks!!!

So, see you at homeplate!


Monday, February 27, 2006

Favorite Spring Training Quote

Not from an Angel though, but from the Big Unit:
"I'm throwing everything that I throw right now"

I guess that makes sense.

Not much else to write for me at the moment, I'm still busy with my thesis. But once I've finished that, it looks like my blog will move to another location and even get a real name in the process.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Got Weaver!

Now that Jeff Weaver finally is a Halo, I digged a little deeper into his stats to see how he'll do next year. This is what I found out:

Much will depend on how Weaver fares at home. During his career, he played in seven games in Angels stadium, starting six. This is his line:
Pretty good, actually. I was very surprised that he gave up only one homerun. Although the sample size is small, this might be a good omen after all.

So how about our division rivals?
Not really that encouraging. It's strange that he allowed that many homeruns in Oakland, but none in Texas, but all this is probably due to small sample size as well.

The one thing everybody agrees on is that Weaver can eat innings. Well, maybe he ate a little to much of them. From 2003 to 2005, his OPS against when throwing 106-120 pitches rose to .948. Also, his OPS against in inning 7-9 is .871, while it is .733 from inning 1-3 and .755 from 4-6.
Other stats that indicate that Jeff shouldn't be trusted in the clutch (all stats 2003-2005):
.971 OPS against with bases loaded
1.242 OPS against with first and third
1.091 OPS against in situations close and late

It has been said that Jeff sometimes has problems controlling his nerves and these stats certainly support that statement. But some of his other stats are really good (see my last post) and now he has a great bullpen behind him. So if Scioscia pulls him early enough, i.e. after 100 pitches, in close situation and with a lefty at bat, and lets the pen finish the game, Jeff Weaver might actually have a chance to hold his ERA under 4. I'd rather see him do that and pitch 30 innings less than have 220 IP with an 4.50+ ERA at the end of the season.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Want Weaver?

Not much happening in Angels Country right now except some ridiculous trade proposals from the Red Sox and rumors that Jeff Weaver will come to town to warm up a seat in the Halos' bullpen for his brother.
When I first heard about the Weaver rumor, I was excited and thought that this would be a very good signing. It would push Carrasco back to pen where he probably belongs (although I have the feeling that he might surprise us) and give us very solid starters from 1-5.
But Weaver has the reputation of a guy who just can't get his act together, so I checked some numbers to see what his problem was.
Some of stats are pretty good. He strikes batters out at a decent clip, doesn't walk many, his 3.65 K/B rating was 7th in the NL last year and oppents just bat .256 against him. But Jeff's problem was, that when they hit him, they hit him hard. 35 HR allowed (T-2nd behind Milton), .435 slugging against. That's right in the neighbourhood of guys like Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano and Tom Ohka. Not the company you want to keep as a pitcher, at least not statistically.
Weaver's problems obviously are lefthanders, who managed to hit .297/.356/.511 and 22 HR against him in 2005 compared to .208/.241/.345 and 13 HR from righties. Maybe he should become a ROOGY in the pen? At least this would make the decision when to pull him easy for Scioscia. Just wait for the next lefty masher.
On the plus side, he pitched much better after the break going 7-3 with a 3.97 ERA after 7-8 with a 4.44 ERA in the first half. While his slugging against stayed about the same, he increased his Ks a little while also lowering the walks. But that's not necessarily a sign that he starts getting a grip on himself as he showed the same improvement in the second half of 2oo4 (while he totally collapsed in the second half of 2003).
He actually benefitted from playing in Dodgers Stadium and from his defense, as his stats are better at home and his defense independent ERA is a little higher than is actual ERA (4.55 to 4.22). Also, his groundball to flyball ration last year was close to 1, which explains the high number of homeruns.
All in all, in my opinion, he's not a really good fit for Angels Stadium and $9 million / year are way too much for him, so Mr. Stoneman might be better off saving the money to possibly take some contract in a deal later (at the deadline, maybe).
Sorry Jeff, but I'd rather wait for your brother.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

That hurts!

So the A's signed Frank "Big Hurt" Thomas for just $500.000. This figure might go up to $2.6 million, but that's still pretty cheap for a guy who will most likely put up an OPS of .900+ if he stays healthy. If you look up "low risk, high reward" in wikipedia, I'm sure this deal is already cited there.
I keep asking myself: why couldn't the Angels make this deal? They have the money, they have a DH spot just as comfortable as that one in Oakland and they even have better weather, which is always nice for an oldtimer like Thomas. Why didn't anybody in the organisation seriously think of it when the team so clearly lacks power?
Well, there's always old mafioso Mike Piazza, some might say. While he's probably as cheap as Thomas at this point and a little more likely to stay healthy, the last two years he put up an OPS around .800. While this is still above average for the Angels, it is much less than what Thomas might and, I believe, Juan Rivera or McPherson should provide. So signing Piazza doesn't make much sense for the Angels, but Thomas might have. But, he's with Oakland now and it doesn't take a genius like Billy Beane to know this was a good move for them and it might hurt the Angels in the end, when (better: if) Oakland edges away with the division.