Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Pettis in the Gap: The Revenge of the 1986 Angels. Today appears to be the first day for this new blog.

I don't know if any of you caught Garret getting interviewed by Phys and Hud on the FSN postgame. I don't have the video in front of me, so here's a paraphrase:

PHYSIOC: When you're in pressure situations, do you think relaxing thoughts so as to blah blah blah?

GARRET ANDERSON, BADASS: It's not pressure; it's fun. I've driven in runs before. It's my job, I'm paid to drive in runs.

As he seems to do everything, Garret said this calmly with just a hint of a smile, as if to say, "I'm playing a game, and I've been at it's highest level for a decade. I drove in the runs that won the World Series. You think I poop my pants over facing Brian Shouse?"

Garret is a smooth guy, and fans often accuse him of a lackadaisical attitude. I've never really bought into that, even when I was highly critical of his play in the late 90's. I guess there have been a couple of times this season when it didn't seem like he was hustling (not counting the time I ripped him and he turned out to have twisted his ankle on the play), but nothing major.

People used to get on him about not diving, but he was probably the best defensive left fielder in the league for a few years there. STATS, Inc. used to publish an annual book called the Scoreboard, and they had all kinds of fancy defensive stats like zone rating to rate fielders. Garret always ranked near the top of left fielders, and the authors would award him their "Gold Glove" for the position (they broke the outfield down instead of giving it to three center fielders).

But Garret has really had one of the strangest careers you'll see. After a knockout 1995 debut, he basically sucked through 2001. Okay, "sucked" is too strong ... but he was basically a league-average hitter the whole time. Check out his player card at Baseball Prospectus. The league-average Equivalent Average is .260, and Garret's from 1996 through 2001 were .252, .259, .260, .259, and .261. And this is from a corner outfielder, who's expected to put up production well above the league average!

Nonetheless, the typical media line on Garret at this time was that he was perennially underrated. This is because his offensive performance was superficially good. He would hit close to .300, have decent power, and rack up RBI.

1996 and 1997 were particularly vexing years. After the fine 1995 perf, Anderson came out with a 285/314/405 line, and hit 12 homers in 607 at-bats after hitting 16 in 374 the year before. 1997 brought us 303/334/409 and 92 RBI, but it also only brought us eight home runs -- all against right-handed pitchers. That's right: Garret Anderson hit more home runs against left-handed pitchers on June 28, 2005 than he did over all of 1997.

But though the .300 average and 90 RBI looked good, Garret never walked, so he was making tons of outs, and he had almost no power. The power started to gradually increase, with his slugging percentage creeping up to .455, .469, then hitting the .519 mark in the year 2000.

2000 was kind of a breakout year for Garret, in that it's the first time he notched over 100 RBI, and marked the one time (so far) that he has exceeded 30 HR. Still, his lowly .308 OBP really dragged down his value.

There are those that say that OBP isn't really all that important for a middle-of-the-lineup hitter. Remember, as Garret said last night in my paraphrase, his job is to drive in runs. Swinging at a pitch outside of the strike zone to get an RBI groundout is considered heroic; taking it and drawing a walk to set up even more runs for the next batter is considered selfish.

My objection to that line of thinking is that it's no one's job, on the whole, to just drive in runs. A large part of any batter's job is to avoid outs and set up RBI situations for others. More than half of Garret's at-bats in 2000 came with no one on base: he hit 259/278/496 with 21 HR in those at-bats. A .278 OBP with no one on base! Who is that helping?

With runners in scoring position, Garret got his game all the way up to 291/306/542. So the power was definitely a terrific thing. But here's something interesting from that year:
April 235 250 422 5 19 14
May 246 265 518 8 19 11
June 240 252 558 9 19 10
July 337 377 615 8 19 11
I think that demonstrates how much RBI is dependent on the batters ahead of you in the lineup. By any standard, July was Garret's best month out of the four, but his RBI were the same, and he drove in other people less than he had hitting .235 in April.

But look at what he had hitting in front of him in 2000: Darin Erstad had a .409 OBP. Tim Salmon was at .404. Mo Vaughn: .365. Orlando Palmeiro had a .374 OBP while hitting out of the top three spots in the lineup. There were a ton of RBI opportunities for Garret that season.

Anyway, after a similar campaign in 2001 (.261 EqA, 117 RBI), something funny happened in 2002.

Garret Anderson became exactly the player the media kept saying he was.
2001 289 314 478
2002 306 332 539
2003 315 345 541
Basically, what happened between 2001 and 2002 is that Garret raised his average by 17 points, while also making more of his hits go for extra bases. He hit an outlandish 56 doubles in 2002, 17 more than in 2001.

The fact that Garret was able to sustain this in 2003 is pretty unique. I looked at it after he signed his extension last year, and there just aren't a lot of guys who can pull off a late-career surge like that.

So far this season, Garret has a .272 EqA, somewhere between his nadir and his peak. Whether he can hold up at this age remains to be seen, but the fact is he became a very productive player at a time when a lot of people (or, at least, me) had given up on him. Through it all he's been a classy and likeable guy, and I'm happy to be rooting for him -- even if I was a bit late to the party.

(All of the splits I reference above come from the wondrous Retrosheet.)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Remember when we were all worried about our DH situation? With Father Time shelved, Jeff DaVanon and Juan Rivera are finally starting to get some semblance of regular playing time, and finally starting to do something with it:
Player       June        Season
DaVanon 303/425/394 254/348/306
Rivera 407/429/815 276/306/474
Jeff really needs to find his power, and a little patience wouldn't hurt Rivera, but that's a combo I can live with. It might not look impressive, but these two guys are up to a combined 264/328/384 on the season and Angel DH's (including contributions from Garret and others) are up to 257/311/333 -- I wish had posted the numbers somewhere, but I'm almost certain this is a step up from where we were not long ago. Continued improvement would be most welcome.

While we're on the subject of bench players and depth, how 'bout that Maicer Izturis? "Stu," as he's called (as Vin Scully repeated ad infinitum during the exhibition Freeway Series before the season, it comes from his last name, and I will hereafter be spelling it "Ztu"), has come back from the DL to get his line up to 318/348/477. That's still only 44 AB, and I have serious doubts that he's actually that good, but I'm not complaining in the least.

It is a universal truth of sports that teams are never as good as they look when they win or as bad as they look when they lose. It's easy to point out that the Angels have been beating up on two realing teams of late in the Rangers and the Chavez Ravine club, but the fact that the Angels have been able to withstand injuries to key players and still dish out punishments is a testament to one of the club's biggest strengths entering the season: its depth.

Look up and down our bench and you see a bunch of guys that could start for many teams. Juan Rivera, of course, was a starter last season, and played very well. DaVanon is a very capable fourth outfielder, but it's not hard to imagine a team for which he could start -- hell, just look at the Other Los Angeles' outfield right now. And Ztu, though young and unproven, would be exactly the kind of young player a noncompetitive team would be well-served to give a starting job to. I don't know what Mike Matheny has that Jose Molina doesn't.

And need we mention the vast irreplaceable skills of The Indispensable Josh Paul?

This is a very valuable set of guys for a team to have in reserve. Sure, none of them are spectacular, or stars-in-the-making. But having competent major league players ready to go at a moment's notice is not always easy for teams to accomplish, as our recent opponents underscore. I am often critical of Bill Stoneman, but this is an aspect of the game in which he has really shone for a couple of years, and we are much better off for it.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Rob links to this account of Jim Abbott receiving a standing ovation on his first trip to Yankee Stadium.

I was fortunate enough to be in attendance for Abbott's major league debut on April 8, 1989. Abbott was of course a national story by that game, having been an Olympic hero, skipping the minors and making his professional debut in the majors, and, of course, doing so with what most of us would term a "handicap" -- though Abbott had a way of making that an afterthought.

It wasn't a great night for Jim, in terms of his actual performance. He allowed a basehit to his first batter faced -- future Angel and ESPN "analyst" Harold Reynolds -- and allowed two earned runs in the first inning. His first one-two-three inning came in the second, and even two of those outs were lineouts.

Omar Vizquel -- yes, Virginia, Vizquel is that old -- led off the third with a grounder to Dick Schofield, who made a rare error (he would make only six more that season) by throwing wide to first. Reynolds scratched out an infield single, but Abbott threw some groundballs to get out of the jam.

The fourth was uneventful, but Abbott ran into some trouble in the fifth. With one out and Vizquel on first, Reynolds reached on a error yet again: this time it was Mark McLemore's turn and it was of the two-base variety, posting runners at second and third with one out. An intentional walk loaded the bases, but then everything went wrong: a two-run single, a run-scoring groundout, a stolen base, another RBI single ... Abbott was pulled with two outs in the inning.

I booed when Doug Rader marched on to the field to remove Abbott from the game. Actually, I'm guessing Rader came out himself and didn't send Marcel Lachemann out to do his dirty work. But anyway, Abbott received a stirring standing ovation on his way out the field. It was thrilling, and one of the best and most memorable experiences I've had at a ballgame.

The Angels ended up losing the game 7-0, but Jim Abbott would provide many more highlights for the Angels over the years. He was about a league-average pitcher in 1989 -- as a 21-year-old rookie who had never pitched in the minors -- and a bit worse in 1990. But he broke out with two tremendous seasons in 1991 and '92, posting ERA+'s of 142 and 144. He had an 18-11 record in '91, but the Angels were so pathetic in 1992 that his 2.77 ERA only netted him a 7-15 record. And we complained of Kelvim Escobar's run support last year!

Abbott was traded after the 1992 season in a trade of which I will not speak. He came back to the Angels in 1995, about which I've written before. 1996 was an absoulte nightmare for Abbott fans, however. He did manage to throw a triple play against the Twins, the only highlight of his 2-18 season. For all intents and purposes, Jim Abbott's major league career was over. He was only 28.

This whole thing has been apropos of nothing, really, but as there was another remembrance out there, I'd figure I'd join in.

Friday, June 24, 2005

The rosters for the 2005 Futures Game have been announced. Two Angels -- the max any organization is allowed to produce for the game is two -- are involved: Brandon Wood for Team USA and Kendry Morales for Team Rest of Earth. One former Angel farmhand is also playing: Bobby Jenks.

This might sound ridiculous, but I had nearly forgotten Jenks existed, and hadn't looked up his numbers at all this season. So here's Jenks at AA Birmingham in the White Sox organization:
W   L   SV   G  GS    IP    H   HR   SO   BB   ERA
1 2 16 31 0 35.7 31 1 40 18 2.78
The Sox, as you can see, have gone ahead and converted the 25-year-old Jenks to the bullpen, which is a place where wild hard-throwers with a history of arm trouble often find themselves. He's still wild, as 18 walks in nearly 36 innings will attest, but still has his strikeout power and is keeping home runs to a minimum. Not bad -- though he has allowed 4 unearned runs in addition to his 11 earned runs.

The Angels lost Jenks because they wanted to keep, amongst others, Tim Bittner on the 40-man roster. Bittner is nine months older than Jenks, and is also at AA:
W   L   SV   G  GS    IP    H   HR   SO   BB   ERA
1 6 0 12 12 49.3 65 4 37 24 6.75
There were rumors, while he was in the Halo fold, of Jenks having a detrimental attitude, though I know nothing about that. I raised an eyebrow when we lost Jenks this winter, concluding that the Angels didn't have any confidence in his coming back from injury. That was a guess; I suppose off-the-field issues might have also been involved, but I don't know.

On a performance/potential basis, the move still mystifies me. I don't want to hate on Tim Bittner, who has had some solid production in prior minor league seasons. But the Angels are already his second organization (he started, ironically enough, as a White Sox farmhand), and it doesn't seem like he needed to be protected in order to be kept around.

Chris Bootcheck was also kept around, who is older than the other two and has settled into a groove of unexceptionality at AAA Salt Lake. He has pitched nine scoreless innings with the big club, but his 4.73 ERA in over 50 AAA innings, along with some mediocre peripherals, doesn't really inspire confidence.

It will be quite interesting to see how Jenks continues to develop. His set of skills and weaknesses are such that he could dominate or be a catastrophe. Did you ever see The Apprentice when it started? In the first season, there was this contestant named Sam, who was a little nuts. "Sam is a wild man," Donald Trump constantly intoned. "He'll either bring a company up to heights it never imagined, or he'll run it into the ground." Trump would offer a variation of this every episode, as well as whenever he made a late-night TV appearance. "Sam is a wild man; he'll either raise a company to the biggest heights or bring it down to the gutter." However, after a few weeks, Trump & Co. tired of Sam, and he was fired.

Bobby Jenks is the Sam of pitching prospects.

Maybe the Angels were just sick of the headache. I wish him well, while simultaneously hoping that letting him go doesn't come back to bite us.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Mike DiGiovanna today in the Times:
[Steve] Finley, who has 39 strikeouts and 19 walks in 240 at-bats, has been a frequent target on message boards, with fans ripping the Angels for making a two-year, $14-million investment in the 40-year-old outfielder, but knowing he was hurt didn't make the criticism any harder to swallow.

"I'll take my punishment, it's well-deserved," Finley said. "I won't use this as an excuse."
"Frequent target on message boards" -- the horror! Though this is a subtle use, and I'm probably reading too much into the reference, anonymous fans on message boards have begun to replace callers to radio talkshows as the Designated Id of Fandom for beat reporters. Though the blogs of the Halosphere aren't strictly part of the message board world, there is some overlap, and maybe it's better to be the Id than to be nothing at all.

As you know, this came in a story about Finley having been fighting a right shoulder injury since the second game of the season. This should probably make me feel bad for being critical of the Finley signing, but honestly, the possibility of a 40-year old breaking down due to injury was one of the key reasons I opposed the signing in the first place. I feel for Finley and wish him well, but it's hard to say that what's happening has been a big surprise. Hopefully his recent cortisone shot will help get him back to being the solid hitter tha Angels need.


Over at BTF, LA Seitz linked to an account of a wacky Jered Weaver event from last night:
And a day after making his professional debut, Weaver also played a part in Tuesday's game, though it was hardly as commendable as his one-run, three-inning outing Monday night.

In the sixth inning, Weaver was ejected from the dugout by plate umpire Lance Barrett for alleged taunting and making gestures toward the officiating crew.

"Somebody said something that he was acting like he was flipping a coin (at the umpires)," Quakes manager Ty Boykin said. "Somebody also said something about him holding up two bats and making bunny ears --- I don't know."
What the hell? I don't know anything about this bizarre event except for what you just read, and the web's resident Angel farm system groupie (where Seitz spotted the article in the first place) is with the Orem Owls now and has no further insight on the situation.

It is taunting someone to flip a coin at them? Did Geroge Raft know this?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I've been silent of late; sorry about that. Here are the reasons:

1. I've been busy at work.
2. The work internet connection has been up and down.
3. I've been busy at work dealing with the internet connection going up and down, despite the fact that I am not any kind of tech support personnel.

(Because of the sketchy online situation, I won't be linking like I normally do in my posts. C'est la vie.)

So, let's catch up, shall we?

- Listened to the second and third innings of Jered Weaver's minor league debut last night. He sounded a bit wild, if that makes any sense, and the annoying Lake Elsinore Storm announcer (no Quakes broadcast was available for streaming through minorleaguebaseball.com) complained a bit of Weaver getting a wide strike zone.

Regardless, he threw 53 pitches, of which 32 were strikes. He was 10 strikes and 10 balls in the first, so he was better than two-to-one strikes-to-balls in his second two innings. He did allow two walks and three hits -- all of the hits were in the second -- one of which was a broken-bat blooper to Fernando Valenzuela, Jr.

Weaver seemed to improve as his outing progressed, which would be expected from someone pitching for the first time in a year. In his last inning of work he K'd two guys and retired the other on a broken-bat comebacker.

So, basically, so far, so good.

- It was nice to take the series from the Marlins, especially because our team did not seem at its best, leaving runners all over the place and leaving it all to Vlad to score the runs. Sunday was particularly vexing, not because Ervin Santana had such a bad outing (it's bound to happen once in awhile), but because of some sloppy defense and questionable basestealing tactics.

Bengie Molina completely ole'd a low fastball into a wild pitch, allowing Juan Pierre to score in the first. Since Pierre would have scored at some point, anyway, it's hard to say that Molina cost the team a run, but it was bad defense nonetheless. The day before, Jose Molina was behind the plate for two John Lackey wild pitches, each of which was the direct opposite of Santana's: they were breaking pitches that bounced, and Jose's perfect execution was not enough to prevent the balls from bounding the wrong way off his body.

Dallas McPherson also made a bad defensive play, sending an errant throw to first, with Santana on the mound. McPherson's range seems good, but his throwing still suffers lapses. I'm still up on his defense, overall, and it's important to remember that he's still a very raw player.

As for the basestealing, Mike Scioscia has grown inexplicably enamored with sending runners from first while Vlad is at bat. On Sunday, down 7-5 with two outs in the eighth, Darin Erstad was on first, Adam Kennedy was on third, and Vlad was up. Erstad stole second, leaving first base open for Vlad to be walked and for the Marlins to take their chances with Garret Anderson. Yes, Garret's been hitting well, but Vlad is Vlad, and taking the bat out of his hands is never a good idea.

It's also a bad idea with two outs, since an extra-base hit can likely score Erstad from first, anyway, and the cost of Erstad being thrown out is huge. I see what the Angels were thinking, though: get the tying run in scoring position, whether or not Vlad or Garret is the one at the bat. But I'm not a big fan of the strategy.

I also disapproved of a similar instance last night. Up 5-1 in the eighth with 1st-and-3rd with one out, Figgins on first, Vlad up, Figgins went for second. He was thrown out, but the only thing a successful steal does there is take away the double play. The Rangers could have counteracted that by walking Vlad, which we don't want. What's more, with a four-run lead, it's not like getting Figgins from first to second has a big impact. He's fast enough where he might be able to score from first on a double, even with one out, and, once again, you want to keep the bat in Vlad's hands. As it was, he flew out to the track to end the inning -- an out that would have been a sac fly had Figgins not been thrown out in his attempt to gain a very marginal advantage.

Anyway, it looks like our connection is getting kooky again, so I better post this while I have the chance.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

I last did this on May 24.

Erick Aybar
SS, AA Arkansas

When?  AB   H   2B   3B   HR   BB   SO   AVG  OBP  SLG
Now 247 70 13 4 4 13 27 283 342 417
Then 158 39 9 1 1 9 18 247 315 335
Aybar has turned things around, and even discovered a little power.

Alberto Callaspo
2B, AA Arkansas

When?  AB   H   2B   3B   HR   BB   SO   AVG  OBP  SLG
Now 252 83 7 0 7 24 13 329 386 440
Then 172 51 5 0 5 17 10 297 356 413
He's been hot, and has been a wonder of bat control thus far.

Nick Gorneault
OF, AAA Salt Lake

When?  AB   H   2B   3B   HR   BB   SO   AVG  OBP  SLG
Now 209 64 14 6 9 22 53 306 368 560
Then 129 40 9 3 6 10 29 310 355 566
The (relative) minor-league veteran has appeared to settle into a pretty good groove.

Howie Kendrick
2B, A Rancho Cucamonga

When?  AB   H   2B   3B   HR   BB   SO   AVG  OBP  SLG
Now 177 66 11 4 9 9 30 373 406 633
Then 177 66 11 4 9 9 30 373 406 633
Disabled with a strained left oblique, Kendrick as been on the DL since May 21.

Baltasar Lopez
1B, A Rancho Cucamonga

When?  AB   H   2B   3B   HR   BB   SO   AVG  OBP  SLG
Now 151 38 9 0 0 16 44 252 320 311
Then 92 17 3 0 0 10 29 185 262 217
The relative longshot prospect is creeping toward respectable numbers, though with no power to speak of.

Warner Madrigal
OF, A Cedar Rapids

When?  AB   H   2B   3B   HR   BB   SO   AVG  OBP  SLG
Now 186 41 8 0 9 9 45 220 261 409
Then 129 28 4 0 6 1 33 217 227 388
Occam's Razor says he just doesn't have it, but he is coming off a missed year due to injury. The walk explosion is kind of nice, and there's a bit more power, too.

Jeff Mathis
C, AAA Salt Lake

When?  AB   H   2B   3B   HR   BB   SO   AVG  OBP  SLG
Now 178 48 13 2 8 19 36 270 340 500
Then 106 29 8 1 7 11 23 274 342 566
After a torrid start, Mathis has been fighting some injuries and been regressing bit by bit for the last two months.

Kendry Morales
1B, AA Arkansas

When?  AB   H   2B   3B   HR   BB   SO   AVG  OBP  SLG
Now 11 0 0 0 0 1 3 000 083 000
Now 90 31 3 0 5 6 11 344 400 544 A Final
Then 13 5 1 0 1 1 2 385 429 692
Before we get too excited, remember that his perf at Rancho is not quite as good, offensively, as either Kendrick's or Wood's. He's within a month of Kendrick's age, but is older than Wood. Still searching for his first Texas League hit, it will be interesting to see if he can starting punishing pitchers in that league as much as he did in California.

Mike Napoli
C/1B, AA Arkansas

When?  AB   H   2B   3B   HR   BB   SO   AVG  OBP  SLG
Now 206 61 16 1 11 44 64 296 427 544
Then 135 37 11 0 4 30 44 274 414 444
As Mathis cools, Napoli ignites, re-finding the power that fueled his breakthrough 2004 campaign at Rancho.

Sean Rodriguez
SS, A Cedar Rapids

When?  AB   H   2B   3B   HR   BB   SO   AVG  OBP  SLG
Now 213 57 13 3 3 42 35 268 402 399
Then 150 38 9 2 2 26 22 253 381 380
His average has been climbing bit by bit, and his walks-to-strikeouts evoke Albert Callaspo. It would be nice to see some power come along, but he is only twenty, and the plate discipline is very encouraging.

Andrew Toussaint
2B, A Cedar Rapids

When?  AB   H   2B   3B   HR   BB   SO   AVG  OBP  SLG
Now 155 44 13 1 7 21 46 284 376 516
Then 84 23 7 0 1 16 27 274 404 393
The strikeouts are the only concern here, but it is Toussaint's first full pro season. Nice little power surge, to boot. Did you know that a man named Toussaint L'Ouverture led a slave revolt in eighteenth-century Haiti?

Reggie Willits
OF, AA Arkansas

When?  AB   H   2B   3B   HR   BB   SO   AVG  OBP  SLG
Now 209 66 11 4 0 28 28 316 391 407
Then 169 56 10 4 0 23 23 331 408 438
Another guy who's been gradually receding from a hot start, Willits stays firmly on the Prieto/Rich Becker career path.

Brandon Wood
SS, A Rancho Cucamonga

When?  AB   H   2B   3B   HR   BB   SO   AVG  OBP  SLG
Now 261 82 23 2 21 20 59 314 365 659
Then 171 52 11 2 15 11 43 304 342 655
Let's see ... he's raised his average, drawn more walks, cut down his strikeouts, and maintained great power. Should we complain?

Steve Andrade
RP, AA New Hampshire (Blue Jays org)

When?   W   L   SV   G  GS    IP    H   HR   SO   BB   ERA
Now 1 2 1 13 0 19.0 6 0 22 7 1.89
Then 0 2 1 12 0 17.0 4 0 20 7 1.59
The Chronicles poster boy went on the DL on May 29 with soreness in his right (throwing) shoulder. Let's hope he turns out okay.

Daniel Davidson
SP, AA Arkansas

When?   W   L   SV   G  GS    IP    H   HR   SO   BB   ERA
Now 5 3 0 13 12 71.3 44 7 51 22 4.54
Then 4 1 0 8 7 42.3 51 4 28 11 4.04
A rough five starts for the finesse lefty, knocking his ERA up half-a-run.

Abel Moreno
Has not played.

Ervin Santana
SP, AA Arkansas

I'm removing him from this list for his MLB duration. I think you all pretty much know what's been going on.

Steve Shell
SP, AA Arkansas

When?   W   L   SV   G  GS    IP    H   HR   SO   BB   ERA
Now 3 4 0 13 13 70.7 81 12 54 30 4.84
Then 1 4 0 9 9 50.0 55 9 45 21 4.68
The twenty-two-year-old's struggles continue.

Von Stertzbach
RP, AA Arkansas

When?  W   L   SV   G  GS    IP    H   HR   SO   BB   ERA
Now 3 3 8 28 0 31.3 36 4 27 16 4.60
Then 1 2 5 19 0 22.7 26 3 21 10 4.37
Inconsistent control, as you can see from his six walks proffered in the last 8 2/3 innings, have contributed to another ERA bump for the Traveler closer.

Bob Zimmerman
RP, A Rancho Cucamonga

When?  W   L   SV   G  GS    IP    H   HR   SO   BB   ERA
Now 3 6 6 23 0 26.0 27 2 32 16 4.50
Then 1 4 6 18 0 18.3 20 1 22 12 4.42
This has not been a banner year so far for the heralded lower-level Angel minor league closers -- but it has only been two months, y'know.

-Okay, I'll retract that thing from yesterday about our Lads being suspicious in taking balls out of play at the end of innings. I know that most teams do this, but it always seemed to me, watching on TV, that the Angels were more adamant than others. There have been enough comments here and elsewhere to convince me that my suspicions were a product of a limited point-of-view (I am lucky to make it to one game a year) and a conspiratorial mind.

-Missed last night's game as I went to see Batman Begins (which was very good). I intended to go home and watch the game on tape, but no sooner had the movie ended than a good friend of mine from DC called to gloat. Seeing that it was only 9:30, I quickly assumed that we lost 1-0, and I let my friend fill me in on the tragic (for me, anyway) goings-on. I still intended to watch, but then I decided that doing so would just make me sad and angry.

As a result, I have no idea how Ryan Drese managed to flummox us so, though I suspect that if I had watched it would still remain a mystery to me. I've never thought Drese was very good, even though he had a good year in 2004, but now in his career against the Angels he is 5-3 with a 3.48 ERA in 51 2/3 innings. He's exactly the kind of lousy pitcher that tends to give the Angels fits for reasons beyond my understanding.

-Anyway, it's been about three weeks since I last did a Watch List Update, so hopefully I'll have one up this afternoon.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

1. I have no idea what to make of Mike Scioscia's claim that pitchers using pine tar for grip is common practice.

2. Given the way he's pitched of late, if Brendan Donnelly's been cheating, he doesn't really grasp the concept.

3. I have no idea what to make of Frank Robinson's claim that Donnelly's shenanigans were spotted on video and not tipped off by Jose Guillen.

3A. Per Bill MacDonald on the FSN show after the game, the feeling in the Angel dugout was that Guillen had been the tipster. You know what that means, right? That Donnelly used pine tar in his glove going back to last season at the least. Otherwise, Guillen would not be in a position to know about it.

4. The fact that the ExpoNational pitcher actually did have an illegal glove that needed to be addressed was quite hilarious and appropriate, and Mike Scioscia is a hero.

5. I don't know if you've noticed this before, but Angel infielders, Darin Erstad in particular (as he's most often the one to catch the last out of an inning) make a point of removing the ball from play at the end of an inning. Ersty will wave the ball at the ump as if to say, "I'm removing this ball" and will take it to the dugout with him. Dallas McPherson did the same on a popup recently. I don't really notice other teams doing this, but that might just be because the Angel TV coverage focuses on the Angel players on the field. It always struck me as a little suspicious.

6. Honestly, how is it not Shields? How can a fastball move like that?

7. Frank Robinson further claims that Donnelly had sandpaper in his hand that he either put in his pocket or gave to Adam Kennedy. Once the umpires started huddling, Donnelly did walk over toward Kennedy, though the FSN coverage did not show if he actually walked up to Kennedy to exchange something or if he was just stumbling around. It seems like a specious claim, unless Donnelly has the power of teleportation. If he does have that power, it would seem that it is an underutilized part of his game.

8. The great thing about this is that a suspension of Donnelly will force Scioscia to use Peralta in Donnelly situations, and the Angels might well win more game because of that switch.

9. This all drowned out a very good start by Ervin Santana. The only real stain were the four walks, but almost all of those came late in the game as he clearly began to tire. The Nats did not make solid contact against him for almost the entire game, and seven strikeouts in six-and-a-third speak for themselves.

10. Will Bartolo plunk Guillen tonight just for fun? Colon is not against hitting batters in the back to make a point -- in fact, he did so last year against Tampa Bay in retaliation for Vlad having been hit, an instance conveniently omitted from Jose Guillen's memory when he went on his ill-advised and ill-informed rant last season about Angel pitchers not protecting their hitters.

Monday, June 13, 2005

A lot of Halosphere types came along to rip my most recent post (the one before this one), so I just wanted to point out that I address their valid points in the comment section.

I had this almost ready to go this morning, but then we had massive computer problems at work so it never got posted. So all the numbers here are through Sunday's game, the game I'm watching right now isn't included. Anyway ...

So we survived the longest road trip of the year, going up against good teams without our best player for 75% of the journey, and we managed to go 6-6 and come back home with a two-and-a-half game lead on Texas. All in all, not bad.

Yesterday was a welcome win after kicking away the game on Saturday. For all the Halosphere rumbling about Steve Finley's bending it like Beckham, we have to remember that we seized the lead after that mishap, only to see Brendan Donnelly offer himself up to Mr. Met. Donnelly's ERA is now up to 4.34, not-so-hot for a short reliever, and he's now allowed five home runs in 29 innings.

Donnelly has been quite streaky this season. Breaking it down:
Dates       IP   BF   SO/BF   BB/BF   HR/BF   H/BF    ERA
4/6-4/12 5.7 27 .222 .037 .074 .333 7.94
4/16-5/29 16.3 62 .145 .048 .000 .161 0.55
5/31-6/11 7.0 30 .233 .100 .100 .200 10.29
He's basically been lights-out for half the year, and been cannon fodder for the other half. It seems odd that his bad periods coincide with tons of strikeouts; I don't really have an explanation for that. Maybe when he's going bad, he plays fast-and-loose in the strike zone, playing a high-risk, high-reward game? In his bad periods, almost one batter in three he faces either strikes out or hits a home run. But maybe there's no real explanation, and it's just a fluke. Who knows.

Either way, it's time for Brendan to receive another call from Troy Percival.


Interesting note from the esteemed Halofan today: "The only thing that has calmed me down about the team's lousiest player, Steve Finley, is that his stats are very much in line with what Troy Glaus has produced this season."

Oh, that's odd, I thought. I know Glaus started off as hot as Finley started off cold, but it is June, and thus time for the Annual Troy Glaus Summer Slump (we're at 250/353/318 so far this month). But can it be that Finley and Glaus are hitting as well as each other?

Well, Glaus' AVG/OBP/SLG line is 258/354/511 and Finley's is 233/301/433. Well, the BoB is a good hitters' park ... so I went to Baseball Prospectus to check out their advanced park-adjusted figures.

Steve Finley has a .254 Equivalent Average (.260 is average, and it's scaled like batting average), has created 27 runs, two below average. Glaus has a .282 EqA, has created 36 runs, six above average. So the offensive difference between them, per BPro, is eight runs, pretty close to one win.

If you trust BPro's defensive numbers, which I do not, Finley gains some ground there, but I think it's a big stretch to pretend Finley has been as productive as Glaus so far this year.

How have Bill Stoneman's machinations worked out so far this season? Here are BPro's figures (BRAA is Batting Runs Above Average).
Player EqA BRAA Player EqA BRAA
Cabrera .233 -7 Eckstein .268 2
Finley .254 -2 Guillen .282 6
Rivera .209 -12 Glaus .282 6
That last comparison may be unfair; maybe Glaus should be compared to McPherson, who has a .252 EqA and -2 BRAA. But no matter how you cut it, the players the Angels have let go have performed quite well with the bats, and depending on how you make the comparison, the difference is one of 25 to 35 runs; that's around three wins in offense we are without.

Of course, gloves matter, as well. There's no easy way to measure that, but I doubt that the defensive difference between the new and old guys is quite enough to make up 25-35 runs. I've come up with a little something here just to make a guess, though a boulder of salt should be taken with it. I'll explain after the chart.
ACQUIRED/RETAINED                    LET GO
Cabrera .861 .016 3.09 5.34 Eckstein .782 -.038 -9.38 -6.50
Finley .814 -.048 -6.90 -5.70 Guillen .926 .039 5.10 4.45
McPhrsn .841 .050 3.80 3.93 Glaus .746 -.026 -4.22 -3.95
TOTAL -0.01 3.57 -8.50 -6.00
What the hell is FRAM? It's Fielding Runs Above Median, and it's my attempt to convert plain ol' zone rating (available at ESPN to runs).

First, you take the median zone rating at the position for all qualifiers (for instance, third basemen are ranked here). You can than use that figure along with the same figures from the old Chris Dial post I used in converting PMR to runs to figure how many runs the median performer prevented per ball in play. I then estimate balls-in-play by dividing an infielder's assists (or, for an outfielder, putouts) by his zone rating. For instance, McPherson has a ZR of .841 and 64 assists, so we assume he has had about 76 balls in play through his zone. This is a big assumption, but we are limited in what data is available.

So McPherson, by ZR, is .050 runs above the median per ball in play, and has had 76 balls in play, so that comes out to 3.80 Fielding Runs Above Median.

The final figure is the positional adjustment. I put this in to put Guillen and Finley on equal footing, under the assumption that the average CF is a more valuable defender than an average RF. I used Tango Tiger's positional adjustments, which are based on 600 BIP (about 150 games). Per Tango's research, there is about an eight-run difference between the average CF and average RF over that stretch, which I adjusted down based on how many BIP I estimated for each player.

There is a lot of guesswork involved here, and also a lot of reliance on zone rating. But this estimate shows that Stoneman's acquisitions/retentions get about a win back on defense. Combining that with the offense, that means we've missed about two wins so far.

I understand if you don't trust my defensive estimates, as there are a lot of assumptions and small sample sizes involved. But I just don't see how Stoneman's machinations over the offseason have made the team better, and just about all of this was predictable.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Do you think we could package Steve Finley and Brendan Donnelly in a trade? Maybe we could get Miguel Olivo for them; there's no way Olivo could play a worse CF.

Because what I love is being out for two days and coming back to watch games on tape until 4:15 AM just to see the game get blown on a ball that would have been either an out or a double for twenty-nine major league teams, and probably more than a few minor league ones.

It's tons of fun rooting for that thirtieth team sometimes, ain't it?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Yesterday and today, the Angels select a number of young men you and I have never heard of to fill out minor league rosters and one day star in Los Angeles of Anaheim.

If you go to MLB.com and click on their "DraftCaster" you can see scouting summaries and video clips of many draftees. For instance, this is what we are told about our first pick, Trevor Bell:

"Strong, well-built. Quick, live, loose arm. Two consistent major league pitches. FB usually 90-92 w/ occasional plus velocity. Hard late-breaking curve. Good motion on seldom-used changeup."

And so forth. Then you can watch six minutes of Bell throwing his 92 MPH FB and "hard late-breaking curve." Of course, now that he's in the Angel organization (he seems eager to sign), they'll start calling that pitch a slider. If Mike Witt was coming up through the organization today, they'd be calling his curve a slider, but, anyway ...

... Bell has solid stuff, in that six-minute clip. The fastball appears to be a four-seamer that hits 91-93, and the curve comes in from 76-80, usually at 79. Bell's motion takes toward first as he releases the ball, and he tends to leave his fastball up in the zone or about a foot outside to right-handed batters (from this clip only, of course), getting grounders on the curve. It looks like he might throw one change during his warm-ups, which comes in at 81.

Ryan Mount, the Lads' second pick, is a 6-1/180 shorstop who bats lefty (oddly, the Angels took a lot of middle infielders, which is an organizational strength right now; I know a lot of guys get drafted as SS and move off the position, but it was a bit of a surprise to me, given our relative lack of depth at outfield in the system) and reminds scouts of Steve Finley. In his clip, you only get to see him take all of about three or four swings, but the MLB scouts say he has a short stroke. You get to see him run defensive drills for almost two-and-a-half minutes. His hands seem good, but he never gets to air one out from the hole, so who knows if he has the arm for short.

Brandon Phillips' brother Patrick, a 6-3/170 shorstop was also drafted. His clip shows him making two throws from the hole; he bounces one and gets the other there chest-high. From this way-small sample he appears to be a better bet to stay at SS than Mount, but who knows. He has a bit of a longer swing than Mount; he holds the bat high, cocking it around his ear in a way not dissimlar to Tim Salmon or Gary Sheffield, though less extreme. In the style of Jim Edmonds, he doesn't stride when he swings, though his feet are not far apart like Edmonds'. When he gets around, he appears to generate some good torque on the ball. But as he's coming down at the ball, you see grounders and line drives -- he grounds out in the two game situations included by the clip.

The Angels' next pick wa sa stocky high school pitcher named Sean O'Sullivan. The MLB scouts compare his body type to Kevin Appier, and in the clip that seems about right. His "heavy" fastball (a two-seamer?) can hit as high as 91 (93 on one occcasion), and his curve is in the mid-70s. Honestly, the first camera angle for his clip isn't all that helpful to a layman like me. You get a much better view of the umpire's totally sick ponytail than you get on the movement of O'Sullivan's pitches. When they switch to the better angle, he starts getting drilled, though he makes a nice sliding catch on a popped-up bunt. His opponents also help him out by running the stupid contact play on a weak chopper to third.

Anyway, there's a lot of that stuff you can check out for yourself. I really have no idea who, if any, of these guys are legit prospects, but there you go.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


"Everybody says that — football instinct. I was a punter. It wasn't like I was an actual football player."
-Darin Erstad, quoted in the LA Times

My two-part reaction to the collision:

1. I hope Johnny Estrada is okay and returns to the field soonest.
2. Julio Franco, Brian Jordan, and Eddie Perez can kiss my white ass.

Here's Julio Franco (if Steve Finley is Father Time, Franco is Grandfather Time) on the collision: "I don't mind the hit, I mind the location of the hit. Hitting a guy in the face like that could cause a lot of major damage."

This might be compelling to me if Erstad had, you know, actually hit Estrada in the face.

It's pretty clear from the replay that Erstad's going in low, but it's important to note that his trajectory is pretty much set before Estrada turns around with the ball; it just so happens that Estrada's movement takes him right into Erstad's shoulder. It sure looks to me like Erstad's shoulder hits right below Estrada's face, and it's when Estrada's head/helmet hit the ground when the real pain ensues.

Anyway, it was a clean hit, and it's part of the game, and hopefully Estrada will be in good shape. I think most major league catchers are aware of the risks of blocking the plate; they have to know that on occasion you're gonna get your bell rung. Mike Scioscia was once rendered unconscious blocking the plate, for God's sakes (and held on to the ball).

The real question: after Horacio Ramirez parks a ball in Erstad's ear in the first inning today, does The Wyrd retaliate against his former teammates? And if so, against whom? Maybe Jordan and Franco for mouthing off (Eddie Perez is on the DL right now), or maybe Erstad's best analogue on the Braves (I would say Andruw Jones). Hopefully no one will get hurt, but I have to say that I find 99% of all baseball fights to be pretty amusing. It's always a bunch of guys trying to wrestle, with maybe two or three meaningless punches thrown, and it just looks ridiculous.


Anyway, it was a good win last night. But let me tell you about this dream I had.

I dreamt that Jered Weaver was pitching for the Angels, only his name was Jered Lourdlow and the Angels were wearing their late 1970s uniforms. I forgot who he was pitching against. He was pretty decent, but the other team strung some hits together and we were losing 6-3. Then the telecast showed highlights of Weaver pitching against the Angels when he was in college. Rex identified some guy in the highlight clip as Ramon Santiago; he wore number 11, but the players didn't have their names on their back.

Weaver won the game against the Angels. The last out was a guy that looked a hell of a lot like Steve Finley, but in this game, the Angels were wearing the late 80s uniforms. Finley grounded out to Weaver to end the game.

The only rational extrapolation of the meaning of this dream is: Weaver right now could beat the Angels, but would lost against a major league offense.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Peter Gammons says that the Angels are interested in the Phils' Placido Polanco, and has even said the Angels are more interested in him than in Mike Sweeney. Gammo isn't so much on the explanations, however, and there is zero argument for the Angels acquiring Polanco.

Don't get me wrong, Polanco is a fine player. He's a league-average or better hitter who also happens to be a defensive star at second and third, who can also cover short in an emergency. But it's hard to imagine him finding a real role with the Angels. I'm guessing that any interest the Angels might have would be because of the injury to Maicer Izturis, but even so, it doesn't seem like Polanco would provide anything to the roster that Chone Figgins can't. Sure, Polanco's a better defensive player at the positions they share, but it doesn't seem in character for the organization to move Figgy down on the depth chart at this point.

Basically, it seems like the point of Polanco would be to provide insurance in case both Cabrera and Kennedy go down at the same time, but giving up value to acquire a good player for that elaborate scenario seems a bit silly.

For now, I'm going to dispatch this to the same Gammons category that had him plugging for Rich Harden: Closer a year ago.

But speaking of middle infielders, here is Adam Kennedy since May 28:
23 13 3 4 3 2 0 565 630 615
He's reclaimed the touch, if not the power, and was clearly our top hitter in the Boston series. Is it time to give him a shot at the leadoff role? Managers are hesitant to mess with success, and Scioscia might fear that moving Kennedy to the leadoff spot would mess with his approach. Also, though he worked counts earlier this year, Kennedy has become more free-swinging as he's heated up:
Player    OBP   Pitches/PA
Kennedy .347 3.60
Figgins .328 4.00
Erstad .332 4.03
But here are the same numbers going back to 2003, when Chone first started getting real playing time:
Player    OBP   Pitches/PA
Kennedy .348 3.84
Figgins .344 4.00
Erstad .333 3.91
So why exactly is Darin Erstad the number two hitter?

And in case you were wondering, Erstad's SLG going back to 2003 is .379; Kennedy's is .400. Maybe I'm being a bit unfair to Erstad, in that 2003 was a down year for him, even by his standards. However, note that Adam's OPS was 10 points higher than Erstad's last year, too, and 1B are expected to hit a fair amount better than 2B.

But the guy we're reportedly looking at picking up is Placido Polanco, not Mike Sweeney.

Sounds about right.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Like Richard and Rob before me, I got one of those favicon things, too. Yes, I'm that original ...

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Hey, how's the Angel defense doing?

Let's go through position-by-position ... I'll be using Zone Ratings as a guide, but remember that (1) defensive stats are unreliable relative to offensive stats and (2) two months is an exceptionally small sample size for anything.

CATCHER: To sum up:
Catcher  SB  CS   CS%  PB/9Inn  
BMolina 7 2 22.2 .193
JMolina 9 12 57.1 .000
Josh Paul 3 1 25.0 .000
The defensive fall of Bengie continues unabated, and this time there aren't that many Kelvim Escobar innings in the mix to cloud the picture.

FIRST BASE: The Punter is excellent, as always. His .931 zone rating thus far ranks second in the majors to Todd Helton (.939), and he is one of only two qualified MLB 1B to not make an error (take a bow, Mark Teixeira).

SECOND BASE: Adam Kennedy just got back, but after some opening-game jitters seems to have settled back into excellence. His .847 ZR is in the upper middle of MLB 2B, but it's early so that doesn't mean much; his .847 a year ago was good enough to give him the AL lead. He started a double play in the last game of the Chicago series that was nothing short of magical, and his defensive play is a pretty big improvement over The Legs at the keystone -- who had an .818 ZR in his time there this year, just up a bit from the .808 he had at 2B last season.

THIRD BASE: Here's something unexpected I just noticed today:
Player      EqA   ZR   FPct
McPherson .257 .836 .934
Er. Chavez .204 .756 .934
EqA is the Baseball Prospectus hitting measure, and FPct is good ol' fielding percentage. So, yeah, Dallas can be error-prone with his throws; aside from occasional lapses, I think he's looked good with the glove. And that .836 ZR leads the AL, and is only two off of the MLB lead (Sean Burroughs at .838). I think we'll see some regression to the mean on his numbers, but I think he's looked good, and I don't see any reason why continued work with Alfredo Griffin shouldn't keep him sharp.

SHORTSTOP: Once again, my eyes agree with ZR here. The OC 8th out of the 26 MLB qualifiers at short in ZR, which is very good, though not amazing. That's how I'd describe Orlando's defense at this poing. He's solid fundamentally, a little flashy, and makes most of the plays: he's only made two errors all year. David Eckstein, however, seems to have struggled defensively; his ZR ranks third from the bottom, and he's already made 9 errors, which is just six short of his career high and already his third-hightest career error total. Of course, he's outhitting Cabrera pretty easily (.269-.235 in EqA, or by about 8 runs per BPro) to this point, but this post is about defense ...

LEFT FIELD: Garret looks much more at home in left than he did in center, but I am very surprised to see his high ZR of .910, which ranks 5th in the majors. I'm probably focusing a bit much on his four errors; he made only three in his last two seasons in LF combined. Is he turning into his one-time mentor Chili Davis as he ages? Probably not ... Chili fell apart as a defender at the age of 28 when he made 19 errors as the Angel right fielder. How the hell can a RF make 19 errors in a season? Chili found a way. But, no, I'm being glib ... Garret, despite the occasional ugly misplay and a bit of a weakness on balls hit over his head, is a solid defender on the corner.

CENTER FIELD: My visual impressions of Father Time: he is slow on balls hit in front of him and slow to the gaps. It sure seems like the middle infielders get deep for some of those popups, and Finley is never in the picture. Now maybe the man just plays deeper than most, making a trade-off; maybe he's the opposite of Jim Edmonds in that regard. Perhaps he knows he's lost a step, and would rather have a better angle at cutting off gappers before they get to the wall, and let the middle infielders deal with the tweeners. Can anyone who's been to games comment on his positioning? At any rate, his poor ZR (.828, ranking 19th of 21 in the majors) does not surprise me. Vex? Yes. Surprise? No.

RIGHT FIELD: Vlad was a pretty average defender last season, but to my eyes he's gimpily lost a step or two since then. His .859 ZR is closer to the bottom than to the top, and even his great arm doesn't always seem like it's put to the best use, though he does have three Baserunner Kills. The putative defensive replacement, Juan Rivera, hasn't looked all that great to me, either, and The Legs is completely lost out there -- which is no condemnation, he just has never been a RF, and it shows.

The only real surprise is Dallas McPherson. Otherwise, the Lads enjoy an excellent infield and an aging and progressively slower outfield. Jarrod Washburn: keep honing that two-seamer.

What the hell is going on with Casey Kotchman?

After he hit .371 at two minor league levels last season, I lamented the fact that there was no place on the major league roster for Kotchman. Sure, he struggled in his time in the majors last season, but lots of guys struggle when they first meet major league pitching.

In Spring Training, Kotch made me look smart, hitting 358/394/433 in 67 at-bats. But when the bell run and the Salt Lake season commenced, Casey went hitless for his first 17 AB, and at the time of his call-up had amassed a mere 268/352/333 line.

There are a few things particularly disturbing about this recent performances:

1. The utter lack of power. Though Kotchman was never a big power guy, he looked like someone who would develop power as he got older, and at the very least would be able to spray some liners into gaps for doubles. Here's his isolated power (extra bases per at-bat) by hear and level:
Year  Level  ISO
2002 Low-A 163
2003 R 260
2003 Hi-A 175
2004 AA 175
2004 AAA 186
Okay, now all of that is acceptable. But then:
Year  Level  ISO
2004 AL 052
2005 ST 075
2005 AAA 066
That amounts to 366 AB at the major league and AAA levels, including Spring Training. In those AB, Kotch has only 21 extra-base hits: 20 doubles and one home run.

2. Deteriorating plate discipline. Casey's walks per at-bat and walks per strikeout at each year and level:
Year  Level  BB/AB  BB/K
2002 Low-A .167 1.30
2003 R .074 .67
2003 Hi-A .146 1.88
2004 AA .088 1.43
2004 AAA .070 .56
2004 AL .060 .64
2005 ST .060 .36
2005 AAA .126 1.21
You don't need a roadmap to pick out the trends there; Kotch gradually lost control of the strike zone as he moved up the ladder (which can be expected to some degree), though he seems to have gotten back on track in AAA this year.

You certainly remember how long it took Kotchman to strike out upon reaching the majors last season; what people (read: the media) didn't seem to notice is that he was grounding out early in the count, making it hard to strike out later. He saw only 3.38 pitches per plate appearance in the AL last year -- that was less than Garret Anderson (3.57), not exactly known for his patient ways. And Kotch's first nine plate appearances this season have seen only 26 pitches in total.

Does this mean I'm down on Kotchman? No; he's only 22 years old, for God's sake. He's only a month younger than Francisco Rodriguez! And what's more, I salute the Angels for calling him up even though he began the season struggling, as it demonstrates an intuitive understanding of sample size.

It's clear that he's up to throw his hat into the DH ring, alongside Juan Rivera and Legs Figgins. (And while we're at it, can the Figgins-in-right madness go away?) With Vlad's return still possibly a couple of weeks away, Kotchman will likely have enough opportunity to get hot and prove he belongs, thereby keeping Figgins in his super-utility role and staving off the need for the Angels to go out and acquire a bona fide hitter to fill the DH slot. But unless Kotchman reacquires his plate discipline and starts packing enough punch so that Scioscia is not consigned to sacrifice bunt with the guy who hits so you don't have to make the pitcher go up and bunt, Bill Stoneman's phone will start ringing sooner than later.

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