Hello, Angels fans. Welcome to the weekly mailbag. That was not a good week for the Angels, who lost five straight games, including a series sweep in Kansas City. Additionally, the status of their top starter, right-hander Garrett Richards, remains uncertain. Let’s get to some questions.
The Angels just didn’t hit last week. In the long term, they will hit. They have too many talented, proven hitters to not hit at least around a league-average level. We’re almost at that point in the season where a player’s strikeout rate has stabilized, and the Angels are better than the average in that category. That’s a good sign.
I have been surprised by the limited chances the Angels have taken on the bases, particularly with steals. Perhaps that will change.
I later clarified with Aaron. He meant the rotation. So, let’s try to make direct comparisons.
Without Richards, it’s hard to find many teams the Angels’ rotation bests. Definitely San Diego and Cincinnati, who seem to be trying to lose and are starting the likes of Jered Weaver and Bronson Arroyo. Maybe Oakland or Milwaukee or Minnesota, or the Chicago White Sox. That is about it.
With a healthy Richards, it appears more middle-of-the-pack. The addition of one pitcher with ace potential vaults them above all of those teams and into the territory of, say, Miami, Philadelphia, Baltimore, maybe Atlanta, maybe even Kansas City.
Because there’s no real reason to expect any of their triple-A starters to be better than JC Ramirez, their in-house replacement. Their No. 1 starter in Salt Lake, 27-year-old right-hander Alex Meyer, was not at all good in spring training, convincing several scouts I spoke to that he’s best suited for the bullpen. In triple-A, he seems to be doing better, with 18 strikeouts and five walks in 15 innings — and 19 hits and eight runs.
Ramirez’s stuff is as good as Meyer’s, maybe better. He’s never pitched consistently for a full season, but neither has Meyer. The two are actually not that different. They’re a year apart in age, huge humans and naturally throw hard. Meyer has just been given longer opportunities to start than Ramirez was while coming up through the minors.
I received several questions along these lines, several specifically about Meyer. There’s not much more to say about him unless he puts together a longer stretch of strikeout-laden starts at Salt Lake. Left-hander Nate Smith has not pitched yet because of a forearm strain. It’s unclear how long he’s expected out.
It depends on how large an opportunity qualifies as a real shot. I’m of the belief that the MLB playoffs are mostly random, and no team has more than a 60% or so chance to win a given round. So, given those parameters, any wild-card team would have at least, like, a 3% chance to win the World Series. (Conversely, even a no-doubt division winner’s World Series chances would max out at about 20%.)
People who work within the sport do not expect the current Angels to win a wild-card spot, and I do not either, but I can think of stranger things that have happened. And, yes, the industry expects them to be better a year from now, when some money’s off the books, and pitchers Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano should be back from Tommy John surgery. They should have a chance at the playoffs next year.
I do not think he’s done, but, obviously, his start to the 2017 season is not what he or the team had hoped for or planned. It’s hard to say much more at this point, without knowing the cause of the lack of strength he’s experiencing in his biceps.
That is a common comparison. Having been to both, I don’t really think it is apt. Coachella has become much more of a cultural touchstone than Warped Tour ever was — or is. I guess it’s still around. Also, there is no theme to the acts picked to perform at Coachella. They essentially just gather as many musicians who will attract large crowds as they can while still turning a sizable profit. That makes it sound bad, but I’ve enjoyed my experiences there.
I thought this recent New Yorker feature about the history of Coachella and other music festivals was wonderfully informative.
They are staying there for the next decade and beyond. The owner of the team, Arte Moreno, said so in spring training.
Yes, definitely. If they are in contention, they will entertain the possibility of acquiring all sorts of players. And if they are out of contention, they will entertain the possibility of trading their players on expiring or shorter-term contracts. That’s pretty much standard practice for any modern front office.
We’ll have plenty of time to get into further specifics over the next three-plus months.
I’d caution against drawing any conclusions about the results of 12 or 13 games that you haven’t watched a lick of. Those can flip so quickly. So, I’m not sure there’s anything to be said about Texas, Seattle or Oakland that couldn’t be said a couple weeks ago. Also Houston, although the Angels will get a four-game look at them this week.
I don’t think any team is going to really contend against Houston. The Astros have so much talent on their roster and in their organization. But at season’s start, I thought Texas was the division’s second-best team, and so I still think that.
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