Monthly Archives: May 2021

SUPPLEMENT: The Angels would be much better if they never tried to think

In the time before covid, in one especially long and terminally boring faculty meeting, I started musing about all the good players the Angels once had and have let go. I started to wonder what the team would be like if the front office never tried to do anything fancier than draft players and develop them. Here are the rules: Keep all the players you draft. If they’re good, match their free agent offers and keep them around. Don’t trade to get anyone and never sign a free agent. From what I can tell, had the Angels done this the pitching would have been much better, the hitting would have been notably better, and the payroll would have been considerably lower.

PITCHING

Here’s the pitching staff with year drafted, name, and 2019 stats. The rotation is Chatwood, Hendricks, Clevinger, Corbin, and Canning. Not quite sure what to do about Skaggs and Richards, but this group had a 3.70 ERA over 902 innings; the actual club was 5.12 and ranked 12th in the AL.

2008Tyler Chatwood5-3 3.76
2009Kyle Hendricks11-10 3.46
2009Tyler Skaggs
2009Garrent Richards
2009Patrick Corbin14-7 3.25
2010Cam Bedrosian3-3 3.23
2011Mike Clevinger13-4 2.71
2012Austin Adams2-2 3.79
2012Mike Morin1-3 4.62
2012Yency Almonte0-1 5.56
2013Keynan Middleton0-0 1.17
2014Justin Anderson3-0 5.55
2017Griffin Canning5-6 4.58

HITTING

For grins I’m adding 2019 OPS+ and Career OPS+. 2019 OPS+ average for these guys was 108 (109 for career, so these were pretty typical years). The actual team was 94.

PositionYr draftedName2019 OPS+Career OPS+
OF2009Randall Grichuk93105
OF2009Mike Trout185176
OF2010Cole Calhoun108105
1B2012CJ Cron103110
SS2015David Fletcher9794
2B2002Howie Kendrick142109
3B2002Sean Rodriguez8887
C2005Buster Posey84128
C2004Martin Maldonado7573

SALARY

And, of course, the punch line is that these 20 guys would have a payroll of $103m, using their actual 2019 salaries (which thus assumes that they could have been re-signed at their 2019 salary by the Angels, although they did that with Trout so Posey is the only real question mark). The actual Angel payroll was $177m.

By not signing free agents they would have missed out on Simmons and Ohtani, but they also wouldn’t have been saddled with this list of players all of whom had negative Wins-Abover-Average: Pujlos ($28m, -1.7 WAA), Upton ($18m, -1.9), Cozart ($12.6m, -1.6), Harvey ($11m, ugh), LuCroy ($3.5m, -1.7), Justin Bour ($2.5m, -1.2), and Trevor Cahill ($9m, -1.2). That’s about $85m in salary that’s making you worse than if you just used a AAA guy.

CAVEAT

OK, I know I’m only looking at the top 20 guys and there would be another 10-15 who shuffled in and out at various points (I’ve got 900 innings on this page and the actual Angels threw 1,440, so those additional 500 innings would have to come from somewhere). But those guys would also lower the average salary, and if you add to the mix mid-range free agents to plug holes that could be dumped if they don’t pan out, those AB/IP are pretty easily filled. But, no matter how you slice it, the 2019 team of drafted Angels would be much better than the 2019 team of actual Angels. Once we are all off of zoom for half our lives the next boring faculty meeting will bring an even more detailed analysis….

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Newsletter for games through 5-23-21

RHYMING UPDATE: I have written a script to immediately alert me if the Bader-Hader matchup ever occurs…it hasn’t happened yet…

NO-HITTER! Sonny Gray did what 6 actual pitchers have done on 5/19/2021 against San Francisco…struck out 16 in the process.

COMMENTS: Must have been the advent of the AAA players or the lunar eclipse, but 12 trades involving more than a third of the teams happened this week…Giolito and Judge were two of the big names involved…“Trader” Ben Leckie of the Dbacks made 3 of them…Danny’s Braves went 7-0 to move into a first-place tie with Steve Clemmons’ Marlins in the NL East…the teams combined for a 12-1 record…and Andy’s Nationals started to rumble with a 4-3 week…the Cubs produced the only winning record in the NL Central and faced back to relevance with a 6-1 mark, although Chris Zewiske’s Brewers still hold the top of the division…the Dbacks are +8 WOR and Al’s Padres have a 61% win percentage, but Rick is stomping his way through the NL with a 36-11 record…Johnny Mac’s Blue Jays held on at the top of the AL East, although Alan’s Rays are starting to head up…Jays, Rays, and Yankees are all within 2 games of each other…Leo’s trading frenzy paid off and he went 5-1 and gained ground in the central…which remains the most competitive division in the AL…Twins, Cleveland, and Chisox would all lead three other divisions…Jim Casey pulled forward in the AL West, and John’s Oakland ground quietly slid into second…Ben’s Rangers have the best defense in the ASFBL…Nationals are right behind…those figures come from active rosters only…Oakland has hit 79 ASFBL homers…DBacks are second at 77…Toronto leads MLB with 71…Pablo Lopez of the Marlins leads the ASFBL with 8 wins..his record in real life is 1-3…ERA is almost identical (2.73 vs. 2.79)…JA Happ pitched 16.33 scoreless innings for the Twins last week…Ohtani struck out 24 in 14 innings…

FEATS AND FAILURES

Tucker Barnhart (Cincinnati) struck out 4 times (on 5/17/2021 against San Francisco) 
Lance Lynn (Chicago (CWS)) struck out 11 batters (on 5/17/2021 against Minnesota) 
Max Scherzer (Washington) struck out 14 batters (on 5/17/2021 against Chicago (CC)) 
Buster Posey (San Francisco)  had 5 hits (on 5/18/2021 against Cincinnati) 
Ryan Mountcastle (Baltimore) struck out 4 times (on 5/18/2021 against Tampa Bay) 
Alex Kirilloff (Minnesota) hit 6 RBI (on 5/18/2021 against Chicago (CWS)) 
Dylan Carlson (St. Louis) struck out 4 times (on 5/18/2021 against Pittsburgh) 
Kyle Tucker (Houston) hit 8 RBI (on 5/18/2021 against Oakland) 
Mitch Garver (Minnesota) struck out 4 times (on 5/19/2021 against Chicago (CWS)) 
Yu Darvish (San Diego) struck out 11 batters (on 5/19/2021 against Colorado) 
Trevor Bauer (Los Angeles) struck out 11 batters (on 5/19/2021 against Arizona) 
Bryce Harper (Philadelphia) stole 4 bases (on 5/20/2021 against Miami) 
Guillermo Heredia (Atlanta)  had 5 hits (on 5/20/2021 against Pittsburgh) 
Alex Wood (San Francisco) struck out 12 batters (on 5/21/2021 against Los Angeles) 
Matt Chapman (Oakland) struck out 4 times (on 5/22/2021 against Anaheim) 
Seth Brown (Oakland) hit 7 RBI (on 5/22/2021 against Anaheim) 
James Kaprielian (Oakland) struck out 15 batters (on 5/22/2021 against Anaheim) 
Brock Holt (Texas) stole 3 bases (on 5/23/2021 against Houston) 

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Newsletter for games through 5-16-21

REMINDER: AAA players will be available next week! Also, remember that after you’ve made roster moves and adjusted pitcher roles you still need to set the rotation…click on that link to the right for a short video about how to do your lineups.

ANOTHER CYCLE! William Contreras (Atlanta) pulled it off on 5/15/2021 against Milwaukee!

COMMENTS: Alan’s Rays thumped my Mets by scoring 9 runs in the first game of the series…man, we really held them in check that game; they scored 14 and 12 in the next 2 matches..but it wasn’t just Met pitching that boosted Tampa and the team went 5-1…they are part of a logjam in the AL east where the Yanks and Orioles have positive WOR numbers, making everything a little more competitive…only Tim’s Twins had a winning record in the AL Central, although Leo’s Chisox are 7-3 over the last 10…but Tim’s +9.5 WOR is just gaudy…and I’d be remiss not to point out that Steve Skrovan has the Indians +2 WOR and ready go pounce if Leo stumbles…Jim’s Astros finally made it to the top of the AL West…John’s Oakland club creeps every closer to their actual performance…the actual Mariners have a team average that dipped below the Mendoza line…a fact that was tweeted by the beat writer the moment it happened…Adam’s Phillies made a move in the NL East…presuming Steve Clemmons can only use black magic to keep the fish afloat (yeah, that was intentional) the top of that division could go to the wire…Raph’s Reds made the most ground up in the NL Central, but Colby’s work with the Pirates is still the best in the division so far…best WOR in the division and 5-3 in interleague play…Rick has avoided the actual Dodger collapse and ran the table this week…but the rest of the division is a net +4 WOR so I don’t think anything is going to come easy…biggest CWS win was 8-5 this week and Mercedes only went 0-3, so no need for Leo to chew out his star hitter for not respecting the game…the Cubs’ Nico Hoerner has only 42 at-bats but is hitting .400 and would lead the league if we finished today…only guy in the league hitting over .400…the 14-17 hitters in overall batting average are all on the Angels or the Mets and are all headed to the DL (Nimmo, Trout, JD Davis)…best real team ERA goes to San Diego, but the Dodgers are second, so look for some low-scoring games there…the Yankees have the best real-HR percentage, but then again so do the actual Yankees and they’re 12th in the AL in scoring…we’ve had 3 trades a week every week for the last 3 weeks…consistency is the key to success in baseball…

FEATS AND FAILURES:
Tucker Barnhart (Cincinnati) struck out 4 times (on 5/10/2021 against Pittsburgh) 
Martin Maldonado (Houston) struck out 4 times (on 5/10/2021 against Anaheim) 
Will Craig (Pittsburgh) struck out 4 times (on 5/11/2021 against Cincinnati) 
Jean Segura (Philadelphia) hit 6 RBI (on 5/11/2021 against Washington) 
Robbie Grossman (Detroit)  had 5 hits (on 5/11/2021 against Kansas City) 
Cavan Biggio (Toronto) struck out 4 times (on 5/11/2021 against Atlanta) 
Teoscar Hernandez (Toronto) hit 7 RBI (on 5/11/2021 against Atlanta) 
Jackie Bradley Jr. (Milwaukee) struck out 4 times (on 5/11/2021 against St. Louis) 
Yasmani Grandal (Chicago (CWS)) struck out 4 times (on 5/11/2021 against Minnesota) 
Kyle Garlick (Minnesota) struck out 4 times (on 5/11/2021 against Chicago (CWS)) 
Trent Grisham (San Diego)  had 5 hits (on 5/11/2021 against Colorado) 
Jose Marmolejos (Seattle) struck out 5 times (on 5/11/2021 against Los Angeles) 
Kyle Seager (Seattle) struck out 4 times (on 5/11/2021 against Los Angeles) 
Jake Cronenworth (San Diego) hit 6 RBI (on 5/12/2021 against Colorado) 
Jameson Taillon (New York (NYY)) struck out 11 batters (on 5/13/2021 against Tampa Bay) 
Nicholas Castellanos (Cincinnati) hit 6 RBI (on 5/13/2021 against Colorado) 
Andrew Knapp (Philadelphia) struck out 4 times (on 5/14/2021 against Toronto) 
Ronald Acuna Jr. (Atlanta) hit 6 RBI (on 5/14/2021 against Milwaukee) 
Martin Maldonado (Houston) hit 6 RBI (on 5/14/2021 against Texas) 
Jose Marmolejos (Seattle) struck out 4 times (on 5/14/2021 against Cleveland) 
Trevor Bauer (Los Angeles) struck out 11 batters (on 5/14/2021 against Miami) 
Willy Adames (Tampa Bay) hit 4 homers (on 5/15/2021 against New York (NYM)) 
Willy Adames (Tampa Bay) hit 6 RBI (on 5/15/2021 against New York (NYM)) 
Mark Canha (Oakland) hit 3 homers (on 5/15/2021 against Minnesota) 
Mark Canha (Oakland) hit 6 RBI (on 5/15/2021 against Minnesota) 
Mitch Garver (Minnesota) struck out 4 times (on 5/15/2021 against Oakland) 
Gerrit Cole (New York (NYY)) struck out 13 batters (on 5/15/2021 against Baltimore) 
Austin Riley (Atlanta) struck out 4 times (on 5/15/2021 against Milwaukee) 
Andrew Knapp (Philadelphia) struck out 4 times (on 5/16/2021 against Toronto) 
Cavan Biggio (Toronto) struck out 4 times (on 5/16/2021 against Philadelphia) 
JaCoby Jones (Detroit) struck out 4 times (on 5/16/2021 against Chicago (CC)) 
Lance McCullers Jr. (Houston) struck out 15 batters (on 5/16/2021 against Texas)

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Newsletter for games through 5-9-21

MINOR LEAGUE UPDATE: We’ll have access to them on the May 24th update. I know that’s a little later than we’d like, but minor league uploads are the trickiest part of the process, we haven’t done them in over a year, and all the minors are now reorganized. There’s also never been a season when the minors started this much later than MLB so my internal clock is off on this one, and as a general rule minor league stats are more unstable anyway so we probably need more than 2 weeks before most of the pitchers can get over 10 innings.

ALL HITTING CEASED! Dylan Cease (Chicago (CWS)) threw a no-hitter on 5/4/2021 against Cincinnati!!!! Struck out 16 in the process…

ALL FOUR TYPES OF HITS; Jesse Winker (Cincinnati) hit for the cycle on 5/9/2021 against Cleveland….and out-hit his opponents 4-3…

COMMENTS: The karmic oeuvre of Adam Symonds haunted the NL this week…his current Phillies went 5-2 and were bested only by his prior team, Ben’s Diamondbacks, who went 5-1…Adam also lives in Arizona and frequents the DBack ballpark…only Hugh’s Rockies and Josh’s Cardinals had 4 wins in the NL…with Miami coming back down to earth a little bit Danny’s Atlanta club started making a move in the NL East…the top 4 teams in the AL East are within 2 games of each other but Alan’s Rays chalked up 4 wins and if they pull even with the regular club will be right in the mix…Kudos to Mark Yee and Mark Chen for having the Yankees and Orioles on overdrive…the AL central might be the best ASFBL division right now; Leo ran the table and has the Chisox atop the central, but Steve’s Clevelanders had 5 wins…they are followed by Tim’s Twins who lead the AL with 6.5 games over reality and Mike’s Royals, who are still +2.5 after a tough week…so you gotta feel for Pat’s Tigers, who aren’t the greatest actual club and have found themselves in a brutal division….Leo’s team has the best actual ERA in the ASFBL…Padres are second, and have a better WHIP…nobody in the AL west had a losing week, and although Greg kept the Angels in the top spot Jim‘s Astros inched closer and John and Ben had the A’s and Rangers burst through with 5-2 weeks…the division was 21-12 on the week…Hugh pointed out to me that going into the week his team had zero saves, which made me check, and sure enough the only win by fewer than 3 runs was a bottom-of-the-ninth walk-off win…this week he had 3 saves…The Dodgers and Oakland each have 15…only 2 of 30 runners inherited by the Dodger bullpen have scored…that’s 7%…The Orioles and Marlins have each only allowed 11% to score…league midpoint is about 30%…no team has more fantasy homers than the DBacks with 60…best fielding net goes to the Braves, who have robbed 2 more hits than they have allowed via bad plays or errors…Nationals have the most hit-saving plays overall…28 lineups turned in this week and 3 more trades!!!!

CODING NOTES: Thanks to Ben Brockreide, I found a bug in the way pitchers were being used in the “least used” option…bug has been squashed like a rat in the Citibank dugout area…

FEATS AND FAILURES

Chad Wallach (Miami) struck out 4 times (on 5/4/2021 against Arizona) 
Zac Gallen (Arizona) struck out 12 batters (on 5/4/2021 against Miami) 
Andrew Vaughn (Chicago (CWS)) struck out 4 times (on 5/4/2021 against Cincinnati) 
Wil Myers (San Diego) struck out 4 times (on 5/4/2021 against Pittsburgh) 
Carlos Rodon (Chicago (CWS)) struck out 11 batters (on 5/5/2021 against Cincinnati) 
Zack Wheeler (Philadelphia) struck out 12 batters (on 5/5/2021 against Milwaukee) 
Zack Wheeler (Philadelphia) struck out 4 times (on 5/5/2021 against Milwaukee) 
Travis Shaw (Milwaukee) struck out 4 times (on 5/5/2021 against Philadelphia) 
Joc Pederson (Chicago (CC)) struck out 4 times (on 5/5/2021 against Los Angeles) 
Shohei Ohtani (Anaheim) struck out 4 times (on 5/5/2021 against Tampa Bay) 
Mike Trout (Anaheim) struck out 4 times (on 5/5/2021 against Tampa Bay) 
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Toronto) struck out 4 times (on 5/5/2021 against Oakland) 
Max Scherzer (Washington) struck out 12 batters (on 5/7/2021 against New York (NYY)) 
Gerrit Cole (New York (NYY)) struck out 12 batters (on 5/7/2021 against Washington) 
Kevin Gausman (San Francisco) struck out 4 times (on 5/7/2021 against San Diego) 
Javier Baez (Chicago (CC)) struck out 4 times (on 5/8/2021 against Pittsburgh) 
Jose Berrios (Minnesota) struck out 11 batters (on 5/8/2021 against Detroit) 
Ryan Mountcastle (Baltimore) struck out 4 times (on 5/8/2021 against Boston) 
Franchy Cordero (Boston) struck out 4 times (on 5/8/2021 against Baltimore) 
Rafael Devers (Boston) struck out 4 times (on 5/8/2021 against Baltimore) 
Shohei Ohtani (Anaheim) struck out 16 batters (on 5/8/2021 against Los Angeles) 
Chris Taylor (Los Angeles) struck out 4 times (on 5/8/2021 against Anaheim) 

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Newsletter for games through 5-2-21

PROPS: If you are interested in ASFBL newcomer Josh Mitchell’s honor thesis on franchise building strategies analyzed through computer simulations, the link is here. It checks in at a pretty tight 11 minutes, or roughly the amount of time it takes A Mike Trout home run to land. It’s pretty good work and he had to overcome some pretty lame advising to finish, so congrats to Josh! Josh has also pulled off 2 trades so far… And, in case your email inbox looks like mine and you missed it, Leo Leckie has compiled a list of trades by owner…three new trades this week…

MUSINGS: Yesterday the Mets and Cardinals were scheduled and both Jacob deGrom and Blake Hicks came up with injuries…the game was rained out and nobody ever took the field…baseball is a dangerous tame.

COMMENTS: This is our first week on the regular 7-day schedule…four of five teams in the AL East had winning records last week…the Mark Yee’s Yankees went an impressive 6-1, no doubt bolstered by all the digital fans who bought tickets just to boo the Astros…but nobody booed Jim Casey and the Astros had a winning week themselves…Mike’s Royals and Leo’s Chisox are lockstep at the top of the AL central…and the division is super-competitive, with four of five teams 2.5 games ahead of the actual club, or even more…John’s Oakland club put together a winning week, and Greg’s Angels keep out-performing the real bunch and hung onto first for another week…the Angels have the only plus-WOR record in the division…I don’t know that’s I’ve seen this before, but on a per-division basis the AL central is ahead of the actual clubs, the AL west is generally behind them, and the AL east is almost dead even…the actual Dodgers are crashing, but not Rick Wynne’s group…as always, Rick’s club is constantly tweaked and upgraded…his bullpen has allowed only 2 of 27 inherited runners to score…Rob’s Pirates had the only winning week in the NL central…don’t overlook Al’s Padres in the west; the real team thinks they have a shot and Al’s club is taking the same approach…they were 4-1 this week…Danny Wildes‘ Braves are a sleeper in the NL; they’re +3 WOR, strong overall, and are ready to pounce if the Steve Clemmons’ fish falter…Ranger pitchers have issued the lowest percentage of actual walks…Angels actual batting average is .270, tops in the ASFBL…Mark Chen’s Orioles have only allowed 5 of 39 inherited runners to score…Philly and Dodger pitchers have left the fewest runners for others to deal with at 27…league high is 62

FEATS AND FAILURES

Gerrit Cole (New York (NYY)) struck out 12 batters (on 4/26/2021 against Baltimore) 
Tyler Glasnow (Tampa Bay) struck out 14 batters (on 4/26/2021 against Oakland) 
Ty France (Seattle) struck out 4 times (on 4/26/2021 against Houston) 
Lance McCullers Jr. (Houston) struck out 12 batters (on 4/26/2021 against Seattle) 
Kevin Gausman (San Francisco) struck out 12 batters (on 4/26/2021 against Colorado) 
Brandon Lowe (Tampa Bay) struck out 4 times (on 4/27/2021 against Oakland) 
Eli White (Texas) struck out 4 times (on 4/27/2021 against Anaheim) 
Adam Duvall (Miami) struck out 4 times (on 4/28/2021 against Milwaukee) 
Alec Bohm (Philadelphia) struck out 4 times (on 4/29/2021 against St. Louis) 
Javier Baez (Chicago (CC)) hit 6 RBI (on 4/29/2021 against Atlanta) 
Julio Urias (Los Angeles) struck out 12 batters (on 4/29/2021 against Milwaukee) 
Nick Heath (Arizona) struck out 4 times (on 4/29/2021 against Colorado) 
Nick Heath (Arizona) struck out 4 times (on 4/30/2021 against Colorado) 
Gerrit Cole (New York (NYY)) struck out 15 batters (on 5/1/2021 against Detroit) 
Freddy Galvis (Baltimore)  hit for the cycle! (on 5/1/2021 against Oakland) 
Nick Maton (Philadelphia) struck out 4 times (on 5/1/2021 against New York (NYM)) 
Jacob Nottingham (Milwaukee) struck out 4 times (on 5/2/2021 against Los Angeles) 
Sam Hilliard (Colorado) struck out 4 times (on 5/2/2021 against Arizona) 
Jacob deGrom (New York (NYM)) struck out 18 batters (on 5/2/2021 against Philadelphia) 
Jacob deGrom (New York (NYM))  threw a no-hitter! (on 5/2/2021 against Philadelphia) 
Pete Alonso (New York (NYM)) struck out 4 times (on 5/2/2021 against Philadelphia) 

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