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Title: AL West
Description: Calling all Rangers,Halo's,A's and M's!


Tick - January 2, 2012 03:56 PM (GMT)
Will The Angels walk away with the AL west after capturing Pujols and CJ (that one really hurtzzzzz)?
Will the Rangers make it 3 in a row to the WS?
A's and M's? You happy to make up the numbers? Nope didn't think so...

Get it on..

;)

galraen - January 3, 2012 12:09 AM (GMT)
I don't think the Halos will walk away with it, but they are obviously red hot favourites at the moment with the Rangers left to fight for a Wild Card spot, which I think they should get. Having two weak teams in a four team division should be in their favour.

Mariners should have no trouble finishing third, but are likely to be sub .500. The only question for the A's is will they manage to avoid setting a new record for the number of losses in a season, right now I'm not hopeful.

Tijani - January 3, 2012 01:53 AM (GMT)
I think it will be a really good battle but at this moment I would have us as slight favourites over the Rangers. I think whatever team finishes second will have a great chance at winning the Wild Card. There are still a lot of things that could change with the Rangers potentially adding Fielder or the Angels adding Madson.

I have no idea what is going to happen with the Aís but we will probably split the season series with them and more than half the games will be decided by 2 or less runs.

The Mariners are an interesting team with King Felix and Pineda at the top of the rotation and potentially could call up some of their top pitching prospects. If they could add Fielder then the line-up would improve with him and a full year of Ackley. I still think Smoak can perform a lot better than he has which would help them a lot. They still wouldnít be contenders if they added Fielder but they would become a much better team.

Tick - January 3, 2012 10:18 PM (GMT)
Was just reading about the Fielder situation..

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20...ws_mlb&c_id=mlb

Smoak at the Mariners is a better fielder than he is..gotta admit havn't seen the stats for him last year so dunno if he was off colour last season..

With Texas it's a wait and see who the hell we go for..

But yeah the Halos are the favs.with me to...gonna be some great games between the 2...

Gal ya really think it's gonna be THAT bad for The A's????

galraen - January 3, 2012 11:44 PM (GMT)
Right now our lineup is:

Cowgill - Very unimpressive in a much better hitter environment in his rookie year
Reddick - Basically a straight swap for Sweeney, who couldn't gt regular playing time (either of them)
Taylor - who has failed to impress even at AAA since we traded for him
Allen/Barton/Carter/Ka'aihue - One will be at first, the other at DH, none of them inspire any confidence whatsoever.
Weeks - If he can continue at last year's pace our best player, just pray he doesn't have a sophomore slump
Pennington - poor defensively and far too streaky with the bat
Sizemore/Sogard/Rosales - none of them are genuine 3rd basemen, and only Sizemore belongs in the majors, and even then only as a utility bench player
Suzuki - Who has been in steady decline both offensively and defensively for two straight years

Our starting rotation at the start of the season is now:

McCarthy - if he doesn't get traded, which is far too likely
Moscoso - I really can't see last year as anything but a flash in the pan
Outman - if he's healthy
AN Other
AN Other

At some point we may get Bradeen and Anderson back, but if they show they have recovered their health and form figure them to be traded by the deadline

Pen

De Los Santos, Balfour, Fuentes, Blevins, J. Devine

In other words we've got worse at every facet, Offence, Defence, Rotation and bullpen, and we lost 88 games last year, how can se hope to not lose 100+ games this year? Remember also the trading hasn't finished yet either, I can't see Balfour Blevins, McCarthy and maybe Suzuki still being around come the end of March.

galraen - January 3, 2012 11:48 PM (GMT)
Addendum:

Basically the front office have given up, not just on 2012, but 2013 and 2014 also. They are basing everything on being able to move to San Josť in 2015/6, they are basically starting the building process for the new stadium now.

Tijani - January 6, 2012 01:13 AM (GMT)
It looks like there will be a lot more media attention on the AL West this season. Itís nice that they are paying more attention to the Angels-Rangers rivalry, especially after they basically ignored the most closely fought rivalry in baseball for years, but I do hope they do a better job than this article.

http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/i...ale-of-the-tape

Firstly, itís Jered Weaver in the picture and not Jeff Weaver and it is Hisanori Takahashi and not Hisanori Takayashi.

Secondly, Iím not sure how they can call it a tie between Washington and Scioscia. Mike is a much better manager and Washington made a lot more mistakes than Scioscia did over the course of last season.

Iím not really going to go into an argument about the individual player v player battles but a few things annoyed me. In general they got most things right about the Angels but they made a few mistakes with the team that has won the American League the last two seasons. Hamilton will be the Rangers left fielder next season and not the centre fielder that they claim he will be. Murphy will be the 4th outfielder and it looks like being a battle between Borbon and Gentry for the centre field job. I wouldnít have ordered the Rangers rotation in that way either but that can at least be debated. I like that they have included a pitcher that hasnít even signed for the Rangers yet while ignoring the fact that all being well Morales will be our DH next season.

I did like the comparison between Pujols and Moreland.

galraen - January 6, 2012 12:32 PM (GMT)
I'm not going to debate the article piecemeal but overall the Halos definitely have the edge, an much as I love Ron Washington, Sciosia's easily the better manager.

galraen - January 31, 2012 12:19 AM (GMT)
http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20...ws_mlb&c_id=mlb

Hamzen will be dancing with delight! :D

Tijani - February 1, 2012 11:15 PM (GMT)
Carlos Guillen has agreed a Minor League deal with the Mariners. Our games against the Mariners have just got a little bit more interesting, as long as he manages to make the 25 man roster.

galraen - February 2, 2012 03:42 AM (GMT)
He's the 26th free agent they've invited to ST, it's going to be a ridiculously difficult job sorting the wheat from the chaff.

galraen - February 6, 2012 08:42 PM (GMT)
QUOTE
Looking to further bolster their bullpen, the Mariners signed veteran free-agent relievers Shawn Camp and Hong-Chih Kuo to non-guaranteed one-year Major League contracts on Monday.


So the non-roster invitees now number 28, many more and they'll have to hire the local army barracks to house them all. I'm glad I don't have to try and figure out the line-ups for their ST games; and does any ST venue have a bench big enough to hold them? I suspect not, they'll have to buy tickets for most of them so they can sit behind the dugout! :rolleyes:

Ah well, no matter how crazy things get for the Athletics we can always rely on Seattle to look even crazier.

PS It seems one of the above is on the roster as they SFA'd Wislon to make room for him; still madness.

We at least have an excuse of a lousy stadium and crap attendance, what's Seattle's excuse for being consistently rubbish? Simple answer is a history of even more rubbish GMs of course.

Tijani - February 6, 2012 11:47 PM (GMT)
It probably explains why the Mariners pitchers and catchers are reporting a week before any other teams.

Here is when all the AL West teams are due to report for Spring Training

Organization Pitchers & Catchers First Workout Position Players First full workout

Angels Feb. 19 Feb. 20 Feb. 26 Feb. 27
Aís Feb. 18 Feb. 19 Feb. 24 Feb. 25
Mariners Feb. 11 Feb. 12 Feb. 17 Feb. 18
Rangers Feb. 22 Feb. 23 Feb. 25 Feb. 26

hamzen - February 13, 2012 11:56 PM (GMT)
I'm not quite sure why you all think the Angels are favouites, bearing in mind an 8-10 game margin of error I have the Rangers ahead by 2, and that's with a fairly conservative approach to Darvish's figures.

It really wouldn't surprize me if it came down to the final week.

Really good to see that at last the Angel's have got rid of their awful GM and replaced him with someone decent.

Galraen, what's your take on the A's surprize signing today. I really don't know how much hype he is, and how mych he's likely to be for real?


galraen - February 14, 2012 04:11 AM (GMT)
Great to see you back Hamzen, have you got over the extension you gave Wash yet? :D

The Halos have, IMO the better rotation, even if Darvish can adjust, they have improved their pen and top to bottom should have a better or at least equal line-up, especially if Hamilton regresses. They also have a better manager, and although Saber tries to play down a manager's impact I think that is a crucial edge when two teams are otherwise fairly even.

I don't think the Angels are going to walk away with it, but I doubt the race will still be alive come the last week-end, possibly even the last week.

As for Cespedes, I'm still trying to get my head around it; to say the A's have been sending out mixed messages this off-season is an understatement.

hamzen - February 16, 2012 12:47 PM (GMT)
Let's get Wash out the way first, ho hum, could do worse I guess. The one thing to say for him is that he is a very good motivator, of that there is no doubt. I'm not even gonna think about his in game decision making since I know I'll have apoplexy and rage a plenty in season ;)

Re Angels v Rangers, actually it isn't Hamilton I'm so worried about in terms of regression, after last year it's Napoli and Young, regression to the mean is almost certain to happen with those 2. To counterbalance Moreland was playing injured the last 3 months, if Cruz's hamstring holds out expect a small bounce back there too.

Certainly when I looked at the figures the Rangers offence was still better, although by a much smaller margin than last year. What will the Angels do with that logjam at first and DH?

Bullpen wise the figures are clear, the Rangers possibly have the best MLB bullpen now wih the possible addition of Ogando. The only real weakness at the moment is they lack a LHP, they need Gonzalez, and how much rein will they give Nathan if he struggles, that's my worry, since the replacements are there for closer,

Agree that the Angels rotation is better, but not by much, and Darvish could be the difference maker there.

Re managerial decision making re sabermetrics, actually you're wrong, the research is building on that bigtime re in game decision making, what it can't measure are the intangibles lie motivation. Take base running decisions, Sciosia is better, but not by a lot.
Sciosia I think makes bad in game decisions too, though just not as frequently as Wash, I'm still waiting for teams to install the first saber manager/ It's odd how so many org's are completely covered on that front in the backroom staff, yet at the crucial point of managing, nada.

Metheny at the Cards looks promising on that one, we'll see.

As for the A's, I suspect, and only because I'm as bemused as you, that originally they thought the move was a done deal, early winter, then it turned out they'd got it wrong/been stitched up by Mr Commisioner, and thought shit, we've got to keep the team half respectable for now, or attendance will slump, so started doing patchworking. It's the only way I can make any sense of it. Either that or Beanes getting schizophrenic in his old age.


hamzen - April 18, 2012 11:31 AM (GMT)
Well it has to be said the Rangers are looking a very good team at the mo, in all departments.

galraen - April 18, 2012 11:55 AM (GMT)
They sure are Hamzen, and meanwhile the Halos are looking bad. Early days maybe, but if the Angels don't extract the digit pretty soon they'll find it hard to overcome the defecit. If the lead gets up to ten games, then my prediction goes right out of the window.

Tha Halos need to light a fire under Pujols and get Trout up; Haren and Santana aren't exactly helping, the last thing Sciosa needs is to be using his pen as much as he's had to.

Tijani - April 19, 2012 02:47 AM (GMT)
The Rangers have been very impressive to start the season so far.

Iím that worried yet. Haren looked better in his last start and it always takes Ervin a while to get going. Albert will be fine and Kendrys has looked very good so far. Hopefully Trout will be called up soon but my biggest concern is getting the bullpen sorted. The starters going deeper into games will help a lot but some people need to get their acts sorted quickly. I also think Scioscia has made a couple of bad calls with how he has used certain pitchers but he does tend take the first couple of weeks to sort out how he wants to use the bullpen.

galraen - April 25, 2012 07:42 AM (GMT)
QUOTE
When Called Upon, Mike Trout Will Be Playing Everyday


user posted image


Mike Trout hit .326/.414/.544 with 33 stolen bases last year in Double-A and the best prospect in baseball is doing it again, hitting .400/.463/.600 (83 plate appearances) in Triple-A this year. He's only 20 years old, but could justify a roster spot at this very moment in time. So why didn't he make the team out of camp? More importantly, when can we expect Trout to be manning the outfield in Anaheim? Angels GM Jerry Dipoto spoke with Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times, and it doesn't sound like it will be anytime soon.

"I want it to be when Mike is ready to take an everyday position on our club," Dipoto said. "Whether that's sooner rather than later, I can't tell you. ... He's off to a great start. I think that's what we all expected. We know what Mike can deliver," Dipoto said. "When we get to the point where we feel like there's an everyday position for him to impact the club, that's when he'll be here."

The Angels currently have Vernon Wells, Peter Bourjos, Torii Hunter as their starters in the outfield. Kendrys Morales is holding down the designated hitter spot, Bobby Abreu is backing up all of the above and the team is putting Mark Trumbo wherever they can - even at third base!

A man named after a fish hasn't been this popular since the Tim Salmon days in Southern California, and for a good reason: he's really good. But at least the Angels won't bring him up just to see him get inconsistent playing time like some other prospect on a California team.


So how far behind do the Halos have to fall before the team acknowledges that Peter Bourjos and Wells couldn't his water if they fell out of a boat, and Abreu is so busy sulking he can't either?

Barney1975 - April 25, 2012 12:18 PM (GMT)
Tom Milone then Gal?

Nice to see a deal that is working out for both teams to date.

May I suggest Brad Peacock as a future closer perhaps?

galraen - April 25, 2012 02:07 PM (GMT)
I did say in a previous conbersation that Milone was the most likely pitcher of our winter acquisitions to make an impact this year, so far so good. He's not likely to overpower anyone with his sub 90 fast ball but his FB/Change up differential is excellent, throw in the occasional cutter and his fast ball can surprise hitters. Nice movement means he usually misses the label on the bat, so avoids being hi really hard.

I'm still not convinced by either Peacock or Parker, they are doing OK in AAA, but not blowing anyone away so far. Parker will get his first MLB start for the A's tonight, it'll be interesting to see how he goes.

RaysTheRoof - April 26, 2012 07:22 AM (GMT)
Anyone surprised how Albert Pujols is doing so far in Anaheim? I suppose it's down to adjusting to a new league and division and probably seeing a lot of pitchers he's unfamiliar with, but he's only hitting just over .200 and with no home runs yet in almost 20 games and over 70 at bats, hope he comes good soon.

galraen - April 27, 2012 03:05 PM (GMT)
Stunned, and somewhat amused, to say the least about Albert's start.

However, he will get going, the biggest worry has to be the bullpen. This has been an obvious Achilles heel for them for too long now. I thought they had enough in the back end to back any starter that could hold a lead through the 7th inning, but the back end just hasn't delivered in those situations.

Right now I imagine the Halos GM is wondering what it would take to get someone like Balfour!

If I was a Halo fan, right now I'd happily welcome Stoneman back; the GMs since him have been uselesss. Too much focus on headline grabbing signings of high profile superstars, far too little focus on getting the basics in place; primarilly on the bull pen.

Tijani - April 28, 2012 12:45 AM (GMT)
QUOTE (galraen @ Apr 27 2012, 03:05 PM)
Stunned, and somewhat amused, to say the least about Albert's start.

However, he will get going, the biggest worry has to be the bullpen. This has been an obvious Achilles heel for them for too long now. I thought they had enough in the back end to back any starter that could hold a lead through the 7th inning, but the back end just hasn't delivered in those situations.

Right now I imagine the Halos GM is wondering what it would take to get someone like Balfour!

If I was a Halo fan, right now I'd happily welcome Stoneman back; the GMs since him have been uselesss. Too much focus on headline grabbing signings of high profile superstars, far too little focus on getting the basics in place; primarilly on the bull pen.

Albert has struggled but a few good games and a couple of home runs and his numbers will look a lot better. He will be fine.

The bullpen has struggled but it hasnít had a lot of leads to protect. Downs and Hawkins have been fine but the concern is Walden who we need to get back on track. There are already rumours that we are looking to make a deal but that is hard thing to do. We have already got rid of Thompson who I believe the Aís claimed and everyone else needs to step-up. The starters have started to go deeper into games which will help the bullpen.

I think you are being harsh on DiPoto and at least he will look to make a deal. The biggest issue was sorting out the line-up which he did by adding Albert and trading for Iannetta. We then needed to add depth to the rotation which we did by adding Wilson. The first move we actually made was to add Hawkins who has been a solid enough addition to the bullpen. We did have offers in for other relievers but the bidding went too high and we couldnít fit them into the budget. He could be criticised for not trading the excess players we have but we did have injury concerns about both Morales and Trumbo. If we knew that they were both going to be healthy then I think someone would have been moved.

If we continue to play like this then Trout will need to be called up soon. Bourjos is needed at the moment because he is the only player we have who can play centre field to a high enough standard. I can see him Trout swapping places to allow Bourjos to get going offensively in the Minors.

StL Tim - April 28, 2012 02:03 PM (GMT)

galraen - April 28, 2012 02:48 PM (GMT)
QUOTE
Bourjos is needed at the moment because he is the only player we have who can play centre field to a high enough standard.


Sorry Tijani, but that's ridiculous! You have Torii Hunter, a (deservedly) 9 time gold glove winner and Vernon Wells a three time Gold glove winner. The latter is only 33 and even the 'Old man' is only 36.

galraen - April 29, 2012 08:47 PM (GMT)
As some of you may recall, I've never had time for Brandon Inge, I could never figure out why the Tigers persevered with such a useless hitter.

Now he's been released by Motown and evidently the A's are the favourites to sign him! The real tragedy here is that he's actually an upgrade for us! :rolleyes:

Tijani - May 1, 2012 03:05 AM (GMT)
QUOTE (galraen @ Apr 28 2012, 02:48 PM)
QUOTE
Bourjos is needed at the moment because he is the only player we have who can play centre field to a high enough standard.


Sorry Tijani, but that's ridiculous! You have Torii Hunter, a (deservedly) 9 time gold glove winner and Vernon Wells a three time Gold glove winner. The latter is only 33 and even the 'Old man' is only 36.

It might me more of a statement as to how good a fielder Bourjos is but there is a noticeable difference in defence compared to when Wells is playing there. Torii is still very good but we arenít messing about with him and he is basically only going to play right field. It probably didnít help that Abreu and Trumbo would be playing in left field which would mean Wells would have to cover more ground.

As StL_Tim has posted we now have Trout who looks very good defensively and he could get close to the level that Bourjos is at and that Torii once was at. I liked the comment from Abreu after he was released. He spoke highly about the team and players and didnít come across as bitter unlike a few other players who have left us over the years. I always liked Abreu but Iím not sure we will see him in the Majors again.

chuckles396 - May 1, 2012 12:28 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (galraen @ Apr 29 2012, 08:47 PM)
As some of you may recall, I've never had time for Brandon Inge, I could never figure out why the Tigers persevered with such a useless hitter.

Now he's been released by Motown and evidently the A's are the favourites to sign him! The real tragedy here is that he's actually an upgrade for us! :rolleyes:

I can't believe somebody signed him. I guess that just shows how desperate Oakland is. A couple weekends ago the ENTIRE Comerica Park crowd booed him when he popped up with the bases loaded against Texas. I've always been torn with Inge, but it was time to go. The Tigers tried him at second base. He had no business playing second at the Major League level.

Get ready for lots of check swings and strike outs. Those are his specialty. He is the Tigers ALL-TIME LEADER in strike outs.

galraen - May 1, 2012 09:00 PM (GMT)
Hi chuck, good to see you on here again; what are the Whitecaps looking like this year?

As I said, bad as he is, Inge is actually better than our other options; A's 3rd basemen this year have a mighty .360 OPS so far this year, even Brandon should be able to do better than that!

chuckles396 - May 1, 2012 09:37 PM (GMT)
Hey Gal, I see that the A's highest rated third base prospect B.A. Vollmuth is in Burlington, here in the Midwest League. Looks like help is quite a long way away.

The Whitecaps are okay I suppose. They're hovering around .500. Detroit sent us a team that is older this season. They're mostly college guys from last year's draft. There's only one teenager this season. Last season there was like five or six. We have four guys in the Tigers top 30 prospects on the team this season. Before the season started the local media was all over the fact that this team has players with the last name of Kaline, Avila, and Leyland on it.

galraen - May 2, 2012 01:33 AM (GMT)
QUOTE
Before the season started the local media was all over the fact that this team has players with the last name of Kaline, Avila, and Leyland on it.


Living up to Al Kaline is one hell of an ask! :D

galraen - May 27, 2012 12:24 PM (GMT)
About a week ago I asked if the A's line-up was the worst ever, the answer is yes, although in fact in many departments the Pirates are even worse. When it comes to team batting average though the A's are worse than any team than the 1910 Chicago White Sox, who also had a team BA of just .210. But heck we have plenty of time to get worse than them, just trading the only major league calibre player we have, Josh Reddick, would ensure that.

I guess the difference between us and the Pirates are that we are this bad by design, what's their excuse?

Everyone in and around Oakland are well aware that what is going on with the Athletics is a real life enactment of 'Major League' the movie. The only difference is no one wants a life size cutout of Lew Wolff in the club house, at least the fictitious Indians owner had looks on her side!

Right now A's fans are so desperate they are anxiuosly awaiting the return of Brandon Inge as a saviour. You know the Tiger's reject with a career slash line of .234/.304/.389/.693!!!

To make things even worse our three best pitchers are on the DL, and startiog for us tomorrow is Travis Blackley, a guy who hasn't started a major league game since 2007 and owns a career ERA of 8.08 and a career WHIP of 1.861.

Even so somehow we've managed to win 22 games (so coincidentally have the Pirates) but the smoke and mirrors are starting to fail. One thing's for sure, if I was an opposing manager and any of my pitchers gave Josh Reddick anything he could hit I'd fine them a weeks wages.

PS and to think, for sporting distraction I can always turn to my first love, Portsmouth, damn where did I put those sleeping pills?

ToffeeYankee - May 27, 2012 01:28 PM (GMT)
^Well you're in a series with us at the moment, and we also have major pitching problems :P. Although we're better at the plate.

galraen - May 28, 2012 10:36 AM (GMT)
After yesterdays stellar performance against Kuroda the A's have now moved 'ahead' of the dismal 1910 Chicago Whitesox in their attempt to have the worst line-up in the histiry of baseball, now the only target left is the .207 average of the 1888 Washington Nationals.

Our pursuit of the worst ever title might be in trouble however as next up we have the Minnesota twins, the team with the worst pitching in the majors. I have every confidence in our boys to overcome the obstacle though, heck, I'd even fancy my chances pitching against our line-up.

galraen - May 31, 2012 03:51 PM (GMT)
From Nico, on Athletics Nation hits the nail on the head:

QUOTE
Is There Evidence Of Poor Development Of Hitters?

by Nico on May 30

Or do the A's just keep running bad hitters out there who simply can't be turned into, or spun as, good hitters?

in regards to the draft, it's hard to say because there is disagreement over whether good hitters are the result of good scouting, good player development, or both.

In regards to players acquired from other teams, it's hard to say because often there are available "extenuating circumstances" -- if the player isn't pushing 40, he's coming from Coors Field or he's coming off a major injury.

It's actually far from easy to know whether the A's are a team with a scouting problem, a development problem, or a problem of the worst luck since the Donner Party said, "Are we supposed to go left or right? Let's flip a coin."

I don't profess to know any of the answers. What I do know is that when I think about the A's organizational hitting philosophy I keep coming back to the same troubling pattern...

The way the A's have handled the position of "hitting coach" strikes me as quite odd. I have no opinion, whatsoever, as to who is the best and worst hitting coach out of Chili Davis, Thad Bosley, Dave Hudgens, Gerald Perry, Jim Skaalan, or whomever I have forgotten by trying to name recent hitting coaches off the top of my head.

I don't know what the A's think a hitting coach does, or is for, but it seems odd that a team, at the major league level, would randomly hire a different hitting coach virtually every year, sometimes rehiring one from before, as if either a hitting coach didn't matter or as if every hitting coach was interchangeable. Consider what this means for a hitter...

They work with a hitting coach one year, perhaps one who preaches "zone hitting," or "all fields hitting," or "find a good timing mechanism," or whatever that coach's specialty or core belief might be. Every coach will tell you that in fact he differentiates, trying to customize his tutelage and support to each individual hitter, but in reality every coach or teacher has some core strengths, beliefs, or styles that he brings to the equation.

Next year the hitter has a brand new hitting coach, despite playing at the same level for the same organization. Then the guy leaves and a new guy comes. Then he leaves and one of the old guys comes back. Then he leaves...

Here's the thing that bothers me. Do the A's even have a philosophy they believe in? If you skimmed Moneyball but forgot to actually read it, you might say it's "work the count," but the A's have brought in plenty of hitters who have little plate discipline -- Jay Payton, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Eric Fox -- and haven't tried to change them. Heck, Kurt Suzuki would be a better hitter if someone got through to him the value of plate discipline but the A's seem happy to let him chase bad balls away on 3-1 counts and try to pull them. I don't think that's what the A's think is important. I don't have any idea what they think is important and I'm not sure the A's do either.

If you grew up in the Texas Rangers' organization, you knew that the Rangers believed in Rudy Jaramillo, that Jaramillo and the Rangers were in harmony with how they viewed the philosophy on hitting. With the A's, a player not only has no idea who will be offering their pearls of wisdom next, but more importantly you have no idea what the A's believe in -- or whether there's anything they do believe in so as to know who to hire.

Perhaps hitting coaches are utterly interchangeable and inconsequential and only the A's are at the forefront of understanding this little known truth. I'd be more open to that if the A's weren't also the team that can't seem to develop or create a good hitter to save their life.

I'll tell you some philosophical beliefs I hold in regards to hitting. I think hitters should "zone hit" as if the count were 3-1 until they have two strikes, looking for a pitch, or a location, or just a "very hittable pitch" and being "selectively aggressive". I also believe you should try to "hit the ball hard in the direction it's moving," meaning that a ball tailing away is one you should try to hit hard the other way while a ball on the inner half should be pulled hard. Rolling over on balls tailing away is a great way to slump. I'm also a fan of the "cobra" approach where you strike hard and quick with your swing, keeping it short but forceful.

These may or may not be the best hitting philosophies, but at the very least they are philosophies. I couldn't begin to tell you what the A's philosophy is. I find it hard to believe that Hudgens, Skaalan, Perry, Bosley, and Davis just happen to share all the same "basic, useful ideas about hitting" -- if they did, why did the A's let Perry go and if Perry wasn't the answer why did he return?

I'm not suggesting that hitting coaches are so vital to a team, or that they determine the success or failure of a group of hitters. What I'm suggesting is that the A's approach to hiring, firing, and replacing hitting coaches matches the same paradigm as the team's annual hitting stats suggest: That the organization really doesn't have much of an idea one way or the other when it comes to hitting and as a result will generally get the worst a hitter has to offer.


Although I think he should man up and stop saying "the organization really doesn't have much of an idea" and say Billy Beane really doesn't have much of an idea!

galraen - June 6, 2012 09:32 PM (GMT)
I'm starting to wonder if Billy Beane is reading my posts on here! No sooner do I write that Brandon Moss might get another shot at the majors than he gets called up! To make room for him Kila is DFA'd; tough on Kaíaihue, but since his hot start he has got colder and colder.

patch - June 16, 2012 08:32 PM (GMT)
As you know I'm new to this, still learning the basics and players so forgive me if I don't post much. Also I'm glad I chose the A's - love the unpredictability!

galraen - July 5, 2012 08:27 PM (GMT)
So with the season at or past the half-way point I thought I'd do a half term report on the A's.

Starting Pitchers:

Brandon McCarthy has been truly outstanding when he's been healthy, unfortunately that hasn't been often enough, and even now he's back on the DL with a recurring shoulder problem. Still a 2.54 ERA is pretty spectacular over 12 starts. He's indicated he'd like to sign an extension, even if it's loaded with performance related incentives. I say do it!

Tommy Milone. I thought back in the winter he'd be the most likely to shine this year out of the pitchers we brought in, and at home he hasn't disappointed, on the road though he's been a major disappointment. His home/road ERA splits 0.99/5.98. His problem is he's a fly ball pitcher, and balls that die at the warning track in the Coliseum tend to go over the wall in other parks. Hence his HR home/road split of 1/14. Surprise, surprise he got lit up in Colorado to the tune of 8 earned runs in four innings. He needs to sort that differential out, but for a rookie he's doing fine.

Bartolo Colon has been inconsistent but with an ERA of 4.05 over 16 games, he's done OK. Not much of a future anywhere, but a likely trade candidate before the deadline, which was always on the cards if he performed well. He could be a decent pickup for a contending team short of a back of the rotation starter.

Jarrod Parker has done better than I expected, a lot better. His 2.46 ERA (1.54 at home, 3.74 on the road) speaks for itself, another rookie doing outstandingly well. How long he (or Milone) can sustain it is debatable, they'll probably both be on innings counts come September.

Tyson Ross has been woeful, coming back from TJ surgery it shouldn't be too surprising I guess. He's back in AAA right now, which is where he needs to be. Far too early to write him off though.

Travis Blackley has been a real surprise package. To be honest when we picked him up off waivers I couldn't see the point, and his first few appearances out of the pen didn't offer much encouragement. However when desperation forced the management to throw him into a starting role he rose to the occasion in unbelievable fashion. His ERA currently stands at 2.79 and his WHIP at a team best (among starters) is a measly 1.01

How are these pitchers over performing so much? Maybe Curt Young has something to do with it, I imagine he had a smile on his face after this week's sweep of the Redsox!

Catcher:

Kurt Suzuki has lost the outright starting job, and rightfully so. His catching hasn't been up to his former level, possibly influenced by his terrible performance with the bat. The A's have reportedly been shopping him, but not surprisingly there have been no takers.

Anthony Recker started the year as back up but his batting was even worse than Kurts, although he did have the excuse of not having consistent at bats. Eventually he was sent down to get more playing time and Josh Donaldson briefly was the back-up catcher. As he also was even worse with the bat than Suzuki Derek Norris was eventually called up and has been sharing time evenly with Suzuki. It's a small sample size, but in the eight games he's played he's out performed Suzuki in both D and O. In fact his offence has been outstanding, but it's just a very small sample size, time will tell how well he can adjust to the opponents adjustments.

First base has been a revolving door all year. Recently Brandon Moss has staked his claim to the full time starting role, and he's been doing it very well indeed as a slash line of .282/.349/.718 with an OPS of 1.067 and 10 home runs in 78 ABs will testify. Still that is a small sample size, and he needs to sustain that, or close to it, for the rest of the year to ensure he keeps the job. He is still a work in progress with the glove too as he's really still learning the position.

Second base is becoming a problem. After a stellar rookie year Jemile Weeks has struggled big time with the bat, isn't the best fielder and runs like a chicken with it's head cut off. He's not the sharpest tool in the draw and it shows. He seems to think he's a power hitter, which he definitely isn't, but as long as he swings out of his shoes and almost screws himself into the batter's box he'll continue to struggle. Even when he gets on base his base running is bad; sure he very fast, but his judgement is awful. If he doesn't extract the digit and get the uppercut out of his swing, and shortens it he'll be back in Sacramento before too much longer.

Third Base was effectively vacant when we started the season, and until we acquired Brandon Inge, we didn't have anyone who looked good enough for even AAA. Inge isn't really good enough with the bat to be a full time MLB player, but at least he's effective with the glove, and he can occasionally put a hitting streak together. He isn't the long term answer, but he'll certainly do for the rest of this year; unless we trade him of course, which wouldn't surprise me. I'd like to make him an apology at this poitn, I hadn't rated his glove when he was with the Tigers, but he has shown a very good glove so far with us.

Short Stop. Oh dear, I wish we had one who was good enough for the majors, but we don't. Pennington has the job simply because we don't have a decent calibre SS in the system. He can occasionally make a spectacular play, but he's just as likely to boot a routine play, and his batting is atrocious. He's another one who can sometimes get hot, certainly he has done in previous years, and he could boost his BA & OBP with another late burst against September call ups to disguise how bad he really is.

Outfielders:

Josh Reddick started like a house on fire but has cooled off over the last month. He still leads the team in Home Runs but his BA has slipped a lot recently. Hopefully it's just a phase and he'll get back into the groove for the second half; he's certainly made the trade with Boston last winter look good.

Seth Smith and Jonny Gomes have become a platoon in the outfield, and they've done quite well between them after a very shaky start. Neither is capable of being a full time starter and it seems once they accepted that they have adjusted well.

Yoenis Cespedes has done very well when he's been healthy. Unfortunately I have sever doubts he'll ever be consistently healthy. He's far too bulked up and muscular for his frame (do they have PED laws in Cuba?), which means his sinews, and in particular his hamstrings are too taught, and therefore very prone to strains, pulls and I fear even tears. With the bat he's been good .270/.329/.481 with .810 OPS will do nicely, but his fielding is an adventure; his routes are more a long and winding road, and his reads aren't exactly good; his speed usually gets him out of trouble, but every time he turns on the afterburners I wince.

Coco Crisp got off to a bad start, went on the DL and then refused to go on a rehab assignment when he came off it. As a consequence he was absolutely dreadful for about three weeks after coming off the DL, but over the last three weeks has been one of our more productive players. He's still a good centre fielder, but still let doen by having a very weak arm that even I would run on!

Colin Cowgill (currently on the DL) can hit for a decent average, gets on base OK but has no power whatsoever, not even warning track power. It's early days though so maybe he'll develop gap power, but I don't see him ever becoming a home run threat. Looked decent in the field and runs well, so I still have hopes for him

Relief pitchers:

At the start of the season our closer was Grant Balfour, but after a very good start he fell apart, lost the closer role but has bounced back to be a good set up man. He's another candidate to become trade bait, and he certainly could do a very good job for a contender. Detroit take note!

Brian Fuentes. To quote my least favourite announcer, "He gone", and thank the gods he has. For some reason Bob Melvin had a massive brain fart and gave him the closer job after Balfour lost it, and was even worse than Grant, which any A's fan could, and many did, predict. When Melvin put the crack pipe down and gave the job to Cook, Fuentes continued to suck as a middle reliever and has thankfully been Designated For Assignment. The problem is that unless there's a GM out there who picked up Melvin's crack pipe he won't get picked up and our main hope is he'll refuse to accept an assignment to AAA.

Ryan Cook isn't yet a game over closer, he walks far too many batters, but if/when he overcomes that he looks like the real deal. I hope he enjoys the All Star game.

Jerry Blevins has looked good for the most part, and has earned his way into the alternative set up role, as things stand right now he, Balfour and Cook look like a good back end relief crew.

Bob Melvin has had some bad moments (see above for his worst), is a bit too much of a modern day Robot manager, but has managed to instil a fighting spirit in the team. Not the best manager we've had maybe, but far better than the idiot he succeeded.







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