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 AL West, Calling all Rangers,Halo's,A's and M's!
galraen
Posted: May 1 2012, 09:00 PM


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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!
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chuckles396
Posted: May 1 2012, 09:37 PM


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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.
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galraen
Posted: May 2 2012, 01:33 AM


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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! biggrin.gif
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galraen
Posted: May 27 2012, 12:24 PM


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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?
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ToffeeYankee
Posted: May 27 2012, 01:28 PM


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^Well you're in a series with us at the moment, and we also have major pitching problems tongue.gif. Although we're better at the plate.
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galraen
Posted: May 28 2012, 10:36 AM


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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.
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galraen
Posted: May 31 2012, 03:51 PM


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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!
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galraen
Posted: Jun 6 2012, 09:32 PM


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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 Kaaihue, but since his hot start he has got colder and colder.
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patch
Posted: Jun 16 2012, 08:32 PM


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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!
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galraen
Posted: Jul 5 2012, 08:27 PM


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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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Tijani
Posted: Jul 11 2012, 01:44 AM


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The All-Star break is here and this is how the AL West looks

W-L PCT GB WCGB
Texas Rangers 52-34 .605 --
LA Angels 48-38 .558 4.0 --
Oakland As 43-43 .500 9.0 2.5
Seattle Mariners 36-51 .414 16.5 10

The Wild Card games back is for the 2nd Wild Card position for both the As and Mariners. The Angels currently lead the race for the first Wild Card, which means homefield advantage for the playoff game, by 2.5 games.

It looks set to be a good battle between the Angels and Rangers. Both teams have some problems in the first half and I think there is a lot more to come from both teams. Im still confident that we can win the division but it looks like it will be a difficult battle with the Rangers. I think both teams make the playoffs and both will be battling with the Yankees for the best record in the AL.

The As have managed to get back to .500 and are still in the race for the 2nd Wild Card spot. While the Mariners look like battling for the number 1 draft pick. The Mariners should at least get some of their top pitching prospects up which will be exciting for them to see.

On to the players and there should be several AL West players battling for the Major awards. Trout and Hamilton look like the top two choices for AL MVP at the moment. Weaver leads AL starters in ERA and WHIP and should be in the battle for the AL CY Young. Wilson has had a good season and should also get some CY Young votes. At the moment Trout is the leading candidate for the AL Rookie of the Year award but both Darvish and Parker will get some votes.

How does everyone think the second half will go? Who wins the division? And can any of the other teams make the playoffs? Do you think any of the AL West players win the MVP, CY Young or RotY awards?
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galraen
Posted: Jul 16 2012, 10:35 AM


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Well it's been a fun ride the last month culminating in a sweep of the Twins, but how long will it last? Probably not much longer, our next 26 games are against teams with winning records, starting with two against the Rangers, then four against the Evil Empire.

Make hay when the sun shines as the saying goes, and it's been a gas watching our guys hit home runs for fun.
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hamzen
Posted: Aug 2 2012, 09:10 PM


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Hey Galraen, been thinking of you the last few weeks wondering how you're dealing with this new sluggeroonie team of yours, ha ha, I actually didn't pitch someone against your lot recently in one of my fantasy leagues which was a first smile.gif

AL West pretty much panning out the way I expected results wise except for the A's who have been a really pleasant surprize.

Interesting watching the Rangers management panicing a bit recently, serious offensive slump, and SP injuries.

Be interesting to see if Olt can be like a Trout lite. Trout has been something else, has he had any even half slumps? Can't see any holes in his swing in the games I've seen, very impressive
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galraen
Posted: Aug 3 2012, 09:54 AM


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As I've said before on here Hamzen I'm not sure how long we can sustain our form, we are so fragile that just one injury or loss of form and we're struggling, as the series against the Rays showed. Coco got injured (day to day), Reddick went on a 0-for 18 streak and we lost the series. Couple that with the fact that Parker, and especially Milone, struggle mightily away from home and we'll probably end up closer to .500 than we are at the moment. Still our performance has been mightily encouraging for the future, but the left side of the infield, catcher and Weeks' sophomore slump are cause for concern.

The Rangers are in a bit of a slump right now, but all teams go through them at some point of the season. My pre-season concerns about Darvish and Feliz have been born out, the former will I'm pretty sure will have a solid future as a top of the rotation starter, but I'm still doubtful that Feliz can ever sustain his health as a starter.

As for the Halos, well you were right about Santana and Haren has turned out to be more his form with the like 2010 D'Backs than his career form. Still all to play for between you and the Angels, I still don't think the last series of the year will matter, but now not sure which way it'll go.
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galraen
Posted: Aug 6 2012, 09:14 AM


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Pretty important series looming this week between the Angels and Athletics, I don't expect us to win the series, and given the pitching match-ups I'll be happy to just avoid a sweep. Much more important really for the Halos as no one who keeps their feet on the ground expects us to still be playing in October, whereas Anaheim can't afford many more set backs.
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