Friday, June 29, 2007
What it does not tell you is how many times the Angels have tried to do this, and have been thrown out, or how valuable going from first-to-third is.
Let's look at that second part first. Baseball Prospectus has the run expectancy matrix for 2007. You've seen these things, right?
RUNNERS EXP_R_OUTS_0 EXP_R_OUTS_1 EXP_R_OUTS_2What this tells us is that an average team, with no one on and zero outs, will score .519 runs per inning. Two outs, make that .106 runs.
000 0.51922 0.27764 0.10591
003 1.42322 0.95287 0.42472
020 1.15109 0.70592 0.33828
023 2.04520 1.46536 0.57522
100 0.89761 0.52785 0.23109
103 1.83264 1.17478 0.50678
120 1.47430 0.85567 0.45846
123 2.31806 1.58758 0.82238
Now, this is for an average team, with average hitters and an average park, and against average pitchers. So it doesn't apply to every situation. But, it's a loose framework that can give us a guide.
Let's start by focusing on these situations:
RUNNERS EXP_R_OUTS_0 EXP_R_OUTS_1 EXP_R_OUTS_2No outs, a guy on first, you expect .898 runs. Make it first and second, you have 1.474 runs, a gain of .576. First and third, you've gained .935. But get thrown out going to third, and you lose .370 runs. Summarizing:
100 0.89761 0.52785 0.23109
120 1.47430 0.85567 0.45846
103 1.83264 1.17478 0.50678
No Outs:You can see that some conventional wisdom is backed up by the empirical data; making the final out at third base is, obviously, awful, and if you're gonna go, you gotta be sure you can make it.
Gain from going 1st to 3rd instead of 1st to 2nd: .358
Loss from being thrown out going 1st to 3rd: -.946
Breakeven Point: 72.5%
Gain from going 1st to 3rd instead of 1st to 2nd: .319
Loss from being thrown out going 1st to 3rd: -.944
Breakeven Point: 74.7%
Gain from going 1st to 3rd instead of 1st to 2nd: .048
Loss from being thrown out going 1st to 3rd: -.458
Breakeven Point: 90.5%
So far this season, the Angels have hit 121 singles with a runner on first base.
44 have been with no outs. 13 times, the runner has advanced to third base (I'm not including a time a bunt single and error led to such an advance); three of those times, the batter who hit the single ended up advancing to second on the throw. Only once has a runner been thrown out going for third.
So, 10 times 1st-and-3rd: 10 x .358
3 times 2nd-and-3rd: 3 x (2.045-1.474)
1 time 1st with 1 out: 1 x -.946
That's a total of 4.347 runs gained by trying to go 1st-to-3rd with no outs.
There are 43 singles with a guy on first and one out. Just skipping to the summary:
14 times 1st-and-3rd: 15 x .319
1 time 2nd-and-3rd: 1 x (1.456-.856)
1 time 1st with 2 outs: 1 x -.944
1 time 2nd with 2 outs: 1 x (.338-.856)
That's a total of 3.923 runs.
And with two outs, 34 singles:
10 times 1st-and-3rd: 10 x .048
A total of .48 runs.
So far, we've accounted for 39 first-to-thirds, and the team's up 8.75 runs. Let's look at other situations.
I'll spare you the details, but there's an additional 6 with 1st-and-3rd situations (4 with one out [4 x .319], 2 with two outs [2 x .048]) that add up to an additional 1.372 runs, getting us up to 10.122 runs; there are 8 with 1st-and-2nd, for which I'll assume the guy on second always either scores or tries to (2 with no outs [2 x .358, 2 with one out [2 x .319], 4 with two outs [4 x .048], 2 outs at third with one out [2 x -.944], 1 out at third with two outs [1 x -.458]) that add up to -.798 runs, getting us up to 9.324 runs; and 4 with the bases loaded (1 with no outs [1 x .358], 1 with one out [1 x .319], 2 with two outs [2 x .048]) that add up to an additional .773 runs, for a total of 10.097 runs.
So, there you go. Going first to third has added something close to a win to the Angels this year.
Now, there are things I'm missing; I didn't adjust for the quality of hitters on deck, I didn't look at the importance of the situation in the game (as I did for bunts this offseason a couple of times). But I think this is a good general approach. I think we'd have to look at other teams like this to see if the Angels are unique in this regard, but it does appear that aggressive baserunning, if executed efficiently, can really help out a team.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
But you know what? It doesn't mean all that much, in isolation, either. You really think we're going to have a lot of games where we get 10 hits and score no runs?
I don't really have anything to say about the games, though. I usually watch every game, and when I miss one live I embargo all information and watch it later on the DVR, but through various mishaps I became aware of the results of the last two games before having a chance to watch them, and I don't purposefully watch losses.
And as for Shea Hillenbrand being gone, good riddance. He was signed as a panic move, despite the fact that I don't really think there's anything he can do that Robb Quinlan can't do better, unless "Jackass Index" is a new official stat. That will give more playing time to Kendry Morales, who's not doing anything to indicate that he needs less of it, and clear out a roster spot for some reliever or reserve outfielder who can provide some depth. And with any luck at all, Juan Rivera will be back in two shakes, and then Hillenbrand would have become really unnecessary.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Anyway, Shea Hillenbrand whined about not playing enough, and now he's gone.
Good riddance, clownface.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
The BB-Ref organizational stats are linked in the POSITION and PITCHER headers.
Michael Collins, 1B, AA Arkansas, BR/TR
When AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS+The saving grace here for Collins is that he's only 22; the average Texas League batter is over 24 years old. He has managed to hit .265 for a month, so I guess if he can stay over the Mendoza Line by the next time I do this, I'll keep him on here.
Now 229 44 12 1 2 5 45 4 2 192 241 279
5/21 127 17 7 0 1 2 25 0 1 136 194 216
5/1 75 12 2 0 1 2 16 0 1 160 203 227
Hank Conger, C, A Cedar Rapids, BR/TR
When AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS+Ah, now this is the business. Conger has upped both his average and power, and only his plate discipline is lagging behind (in terms of his offensive game). Hank is young for the league, and the league is hitting 254/320/370. Cedar Rapids has played as a slight hitters' park in the past, dunno if that's still true, but at any rate, Conger is outperforming older competition at his same level.
Now 213 60 16 0 8 16 41 7 3 282 336 469
5/21 123 32 6 0 6 8 16 6 0 260 311 455
5/1 68 18 2 0 3 4 8 4 0 265 306 426
Terry Evans, OF, AAA Salt Lake, BR/TR
When AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS+He sure seems like a good kid, doesn't he? Still, he'll need to control the strike zone better.
Now 260 86 23 3 11 11 60 13 6 331 358 569
5/21 156 50 13 3 6 9 42 11 4 321 355 558
Nick Gorneault, OF, AAA Salt Lake, BR/TR
When AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS+Nick has come around a bit in the power department since we last checked in, but the average has taken a nosedive.
Now 276 60 12 0 9 35 63 11 3 217 310 359
5/21 151 36 10 0 3 18 34 8 2 238 327 364
5/1 81 15 4 0 3 9 17 5 2 185 283 346
This is a guy who I hope gets a September call-up. He's been at AAA forever, it seems, and has put up some good years there. This ain't one of 'em, but might as well let him get his name in the encyclopedia and ship him off to the NL Central.
Jeff Mathis, C, AAA Salt Lake, BR/TR
When AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS+We've possibly passed up the question of whether or not Mathis will ever have anything to offer at the major league level, and now must face the likelihood that he has just about no trade value left, either. For awhile I thought he could still develop into at least a solid major league regular, but he's not doing anything at AAA to make that seem possible. The shocking this is that he still has time -- he's only 24, and younger than the average PCLer, and catchers often develop a bit later with the bat than other position players. But with Mike Napoli establishing himself with the big club, it looks like the best Mathis can hope for is a back-up job in Los Angeles of Anaheim
Now 234 56 13 1 5 17 42 3 1 239 294 368
5/21 135 35 9 0 2 8 25 2 0 259 301 370
5/1 81 24 6 0 2 5 13 2 0 296 333 444
(I had Kendry here but took him off as he's in the majors now.)
Sean Rodriguez, SS, AA Arkansas, BR/TR
When AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS+After a hot start, Sraud's season has pretty much stagnated. The plate discipline that he exhibited at the lowest levels (and that vanished for much of his Cal League season) has gone AWOL over the last month, but he hasn't upped power or base-hit ability to counterbalance it.
Now 278 71 17 1 10 28 76 9 4 255 350 432
5/23 143 36 9 0 6 19 35 6 3 252 374 441
5/1 81 25 6 0 4 12 21 3 3 309 423 531
Like a lot of our top guys, Rodriguez (at 22) is young for his league; the only position player of a similar age at Arkansas is Michael Collins, and you can see how much better Sean is doing than he.
Mark Trumbo, 1B, A Cedar Rapids, BR/TR
When AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS+What's this? What's this? No sooner do I ponder whether or not Trumbo may be due for a return to the mound than does he go on an epic tear. That's a 328/382/520 line since I last did this, if anyone's counting, and by Trumbo's standards 11 walks against 23 strikeouts is miraculous. This is exciting to see, but recall that Trumbo did have a solid July last season (286/423/390), so let's see him sustain it for another month before we jump too high.
Now 242 68 16 1 7 16 53 3 4 281 327 442
5/23 117 27 6 0 3 5 30 1 2 231 266 359
5/1 49 10 1 0 1 2 16 0 2 204 245 286
Brandon Wood, SS, AAA Salt Lake, BR/TR
When AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS+Looks like someone's finally getting into it; Wood has a .593 slugging percentage over the last month or so of play, and is "only" striking out a quarter of the time (he was closer to 30% last season).
Now 254 68 18 1 13 34 69 8 1 268 355 500
5/23 131 31 8 0 5 18 38 3 0 237 331 412
5/1 84 22 6 0 3 11 28 2 0 262 351 440
Also worth noting is this observation by Rally Monkey that it's possible Salt Lake is playing as more of a pitchers' park this year than at any time in the past. This is something to bear in mind and keep our eye on.
Who Lvl AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS+Peter Bourjos has been injured and hasn't played. Clay Fuller's season has just begun. Ryan Mount has been on fire in June, hitting 429/484/536 -- but in only 28 AB. Can Norberto Ortiz improve on his first ten AB in Arizona? Aaron Peel is another guy who's enjoyed June: 322/352/506. Christopher Pettit is a doubles machine (he leads the organization in that category), and actually improved all three of his big rate stats over the last month at Cedar Rapids. As you can see, he's now up in the Cal League, where he belongs. A slow start in his first week there, but far too early to mention. Hopefully he'll make the necessary adjustments. That's not a typo in P.J. Phillips' strikeout column; he's whiffed in over a third of his AB this month. Luis Rivera has yet to play. Freddy Sandoval has earned a spot in the Futures Game; his average is sliding down, but he's maintaining great control of the zone, and has actually bumped his power up a bit Hainley Statia is struggling to get things going, and has really slumped this month in everything except batting average (291/322/384). Third baseman Matthew Sweeney is in skidsville in terms of average and walks, but has amped back up the power this month; hopefully the rest of his offensive game isn't far behind.
Bourjos A 91 25 3 2 1 9 22 12 3 275 346 385
ClyFuller Azl 11 1 0 0 0 1 4 1 1 091 267 091
Mount A 188 52 4 2 2 19 42 8 1 277 343 351
Ortiz Azl 10 7 3 0 0 1 1 1 1 700 727 1000
Peel AA 263 69 17 2 7 5 35 2 0 262 291 422
Pettit A 228 79 24 1 9 23 41 17 4 346 429 579
Pettit A+ 22 2 0 0 0 1 6 0 0 091 130 091
Phillips A 225 52 7 2 5 5 85 18 2 231 261 347
Rivera has not played
Sandoval AA 258 76 18 1 6 47 46 13 7 295 403 442
Statia A+ 302 81 17 3 1 26 42 17 3 268 330 354
Sweeney A 243 64 14 1 9 18 43 1 5 263 319 440
Nick Adenhart, RHSP, AA Arkansas
When W L SV G GS IP H HR SO BB ERANick Adenhart put up a couple bad starts right after I last did this, but has started to get it together once again. He's on the DL right now with shoulder soreness; hopefully that won't be a problem. What has been a problem is Adenhart's control -- he's just walking too many guys, though his last 40ish innings were better than his previous 15 in that regard. He's also started to allow home runs.
Now 6 2 0 14 14 83.7 87 4 61 37 3.46
5/23 3 2 0 8 8 47.3 43 0 35 21 2.68
5/1 3 1 0 5 5 33.7 24 0 27 10 0.80
Still, Adenhart is very young for the league, and has an ERA much better than league average (4.27) despite pitching in a tough park for moundsmen. His strikeout-per-inning and strikeout-to-walk ratios are lower than the league average, but given his youth, I am not concerned as of now.
Jose Arredondo, RHSP, AA Arkansas
When W L SV G GS IP H HR SO BB ERADemoted for a temper tantrum, Arredondo probably should get it together. That said, he was doing pretty well at AA -- walking a few more guys than you'd like, but whiffing enough to make up for it. I assume he'll be back.
Now 0 0 2 4 0 3.7 7 0 5 4 18.90 A+
Now 0 1 10 23 0 25.0 16 2 28 12 2.52 AA
5/23 0 1 6 16 0 19.0 12 2 22 10 3.32
5/1 0 1 2 8 0 11.0 8 1 14 5 1.64
Gustavo Espinoza, LHSP
Stephen Marek, RHSP, A Rancho Cucamonga
When W L SV G GS IP H HR SO BB ERAThe ERA is up (still better than the Cal League's 4.70, and Rancho is good to hitters), but the peripherals have improved. Marek's strikeouts and K:BB are still a bit worse than the league's, but he's not far from making that false.
Now 5 4 0 13 13 69.7 64 5 56 30 4.02
5/23 3 2 0 7 7 38.7 34 2 23 15 3.52
5/1 1 0 0 3 3 15.0 12 1 7 6 2.40
Tommy Mendoza, RHSP
Has not played.
Darren O'Day, RHRP, AA Arkansas and A+ Rancho Cucamonga
When W L SV G GS IP H HR SO BB ERAI was going to put him on my Watch List first, but Rob beat me to it!
Now 0 1 0 2 0 2.0 3 0 0 1 4.50
Now 4 0 0 24 0 24.0 10 1 26 6 0.75 A+ Final
O'Day, a sidearmer/submariner with a backup plan to go to med school, is another Tom Kotchman draftee. Out of the University of Florida, O'Day was a bit old for the California League, and proved it by dominating everyone. He's only had two outings for Arkansas, one in which he gave no runs, one in which he gave up one. Highly intriguing across the board, though we've seen other relief prospects (Von Stertzbach, Bob Zimmerman) fade out at the higher levels. At the very least, maybe this guy could be a Chad Bradford ROOGY type.
Sean O'Sullivan, RHSP, A Cedar Rapids
When W L SV G GS IP H HR SO BB ERAO'Sullivan is settling in nicely. Again, not many strikeouts, but reasonable control, and he keeps the ball in the park.
Now 4 5 0 12 12 70.3 76 3 53 19 2.96
5/23 2 3 0 8 8 48.0 56 2 36 13 3.00
5/1 1 2 0 4 4 23.0 26 2 13 6 3.52
Steve Shell, RHSP/RP, AAA Salt Lake
When W L SV G GS IP H HR SO BB ERAThe silliness of having this kid in AA appears a thing of the past. Just let him pitch and see what happens. He's 24. What's the worst that happens, he loses some games and become a reliever later?
Now 4 1 0 14 3 31.0 39 7 23 11 4.94
5/23 1 0 0 5 1 12.0 18 3 4 2 3.75
5/1 0 0 0 2 1 7.0 9 1 3 1 1.29
Rich Thompson, RHRP, AA Arkansas
When W L SV G GS IP H HR SO BB ERAAs you can see, I'm overdue on including the Aussie.
Now 1 3 0 19 3 44.3 32 5 46 12 2.25
Who Lvl W L SV G GS IP H HR SO BB ERATrevor Bell isn't strikeout out a lot of guys, but that control is phenomenal. Jason Bulger has been giving up some runs. Nick Green's ERA has been going the right way for two months, despite a few too many HR; the low walk total will help with that. Warner Madrigal has had some control problems of late, but he's very inexperienced from the mound. Rafael Rodriguez hasn't had any success in two months. We just signed Jordan Walden. Young Il-Jung is our Korean prep superstar, and had a good pro debut.
Bell A 2 2 0 9 9 44.7 58 0 33 4 4.26
Bulger AAA 3 1 0 27 0 29.7 29 3 48 17 4.60
Green AA 5 6 0 15 15 94.0 93 10 60 14 4.40
Madrigal A 3 3 2 29 0 32.7 31 3 35 17 3.34
Rodriguez AA 0 5 0 24 0 36.3 41 3 21 21 5.50
Walden R 0 0 0 1 1 3.0 1 0 5 2 0.00
Young R 0 0 0 1 1 5.0 5 1 5 1 1.80
A few random notes ... I'm waiting for Brok Butcher to up his K's before I put him on these lists ... Marcus Gwyn isn't really a prospect at age 29, but he's the closer at AAA and is doing a fine job, and if there are any more injuries in our bullpen, he could come up and do a Joel Peralta for a week or two ... we drafted Milan Dinga out of West Point, he at Orem and off to a good first few innings ...
Monday, June 25, 2007
These are obviously good things, and I love the way our team is playing. But to play wet towel for a second, is there any reason to believe that our guys are do for any sort of decline?
There are a couple of guys who are more likely to see a decline in performance than a sustenance of their current levels, and both of them reside at the top of the order. Both Reggie Willits and Orlando Cabrera are succeeding at levels heretofore unseen by human eyes.
I spoke of Willits over a month ago, and anticipated something of a decline. Well, believe it or not, he has declined since then; he's hit 324/432/410 since that post, when he was hitting 366/449/409. Not much of a decline, and one we can certainly live with, but the general point remains that he is unlikely to be as good over the next 85 games or so as he has been until now.
Orlando Cabrera is in the same boat. He's a 32-year-old who's hitting above the league average for what would be the first time in his life (his basestealing has led to him to having been better than the league average as an offensive player in the past); do you really think that Orlando Cabrera has turned into a .335 hitter? Odds are his production will decrease. Yes, flukes happen, and they last over a whole season (Brady Anderson hit 51 home runs one year, remember, and you can bet people were maintaining that power surge would abate for much of that year), but you can't expect that.
And while Casey Kotchman is having the kind of year many of us thought he had in him, the fact is he has yet to do this over a year, and stay reasonably healthy. I think the fact that Scioscia protects him against lefties will help (I do think Casey will have to learn to hit southpaws as his career progresses, but as long as Robb Quinlan earns playing time by bashing them, we don't need to press the issue).
On the pitching side of the ledge, I'm not convinced that Dustin Moseley and Chris Bootcheck can continue their success. Moseley only strikes out one out of every ten batters he faces, and Bootcheck is little better at 1 per 8.5. Both have achieved what they have by minimizing walks and keeping the ball from going over the fence, and this is what they'll have to keep doing.
Of course, there's a flipside to all of this, and these are the players that we can expect to improve. Howie Kendrick was going well before his injury, and after taking a few weeks to get back up to speed, has started producing once again. Over the last three weeks he's been hitting 375/400/528, and though he's unlikely to keep the average that high, I think we can certainly look forward to more production out him. And while Shea Hillenbrand is nothing special, over enough at-bats he's going to be roughly a league-average hitter, which he hasn't live up to so far this year.
We can also expect some improvement on the other side of the ball. Ervin Santana and Bartolo Colon have both been inconsistent, but, health permitting, should be able to be at least average for the rest of the year. I actually have more faith in Ervin on this point than in Bartolo, mostly due to health. I didn't really mention John Lackey or Kelvim Escobar as candidates for decline over the rest of the season, as I suppose they technically are, but even if we see some small decline from them, I think it will be counter-balanced by these two guys.
On top of all that, we have two guys on the DL who will be a big boost if they can come back healthy: Juan Rivera and Justin Speier. We don't need Rivera to be as good as last year or Speier to be as lights-out as he was in April to help the team.
All in all, while some decline from our lofty heights may be unavoidable, there no reason to believe any such fall would be fatal, and there is reason to believe that the fall of some may be met by the rebound and return of others. This team has a broad base of talent, and should be able to sustain a high level of play for the rest of the year.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
However, the most imminent and likely rumor has to do with dispatching someone; the Yankees, as has been reported all over the Halosphere, have expressed interest in Shea Hillenbrand. It's hard to argue that the Angels really need Shea at this point (or that they ever did, really), but, nonetheless, we are reportedly uneasy with trading him while Garret Anderson resides on the DL and Casey Kotchman's near future is uncertain due to his concussion.
Signing Hillenbrand was a panic move in light of Juan Rivera's injury, of course. An understandable panic move, but one that was likely unnecessary (as I argued before the season). Given that he is being out-produced by both Reggie Willits and Robb Quinlan, I hold to this position.
Still, I understand wanting to make sure Casey is okay before moving forward. But I have no reservations with moving him. Kendry Morales is a better use of the roster spot.
In addition to ridding ourselves of Hillenbrand, there is talk of the Angels going out to get Adam Dunn. This is far more complicated.
Dunn certainly is an intriguing player. He has a ton of power and draws a lot of walks, two things our offense could use. But he's also a poor defender and, most likely, an ordinary baserunner (at best), and he strikes out a lot. However, being in the AL would allow him to DH, removing the poor defense from consideration, and you can live with the strikeouts when he produces like he can (a career OPS+ of 128, 134 so far this season). Dunn is an elite hitter who has never played in late summer games of particular significance, so he might really shine in a spotlight.
But, even outside of pondering what we'd have to give up (Joe Saunders and Hainley Staitia and someone else, perhaps?), he would create something of a logjam once Garret and Rivera return from injury. Rivera is about to start taking batting practice, and if he can return, even at his career 115-OPS+ level, he still would help the team considerably at bat, and with his solid defense and outstanding arm would provide a great service by relieving our corner outfielders. Dunn might be able to give Vlad a break as a DH twice a month or something, but that's far from ideal.
Reggie Willits has proven he belongs in the lineup; the Angels aren't going to bench a healthy Garret Anderson (though assuming health from him may be a case of counting chickens before they hatch) and Juan Rivera has earned playing time, as well. Though I wouldn't be adverse to acquiring Dunn if the price were right, I don't see Stoneman making such a move that could disrupt our current "offensive continuity" until he knows more about the condition of Garret and Juan.
Now, if from a month from now, neither one of those guys is healthy enough to produce, then we can revisit it. But as of this moment, I don't see anything developing on that front, and that doesn't really bother me.
I'm actually far more concerned about our bullpen, which we can discuss later this week.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
I had a death in the family, so I've been out of town a few days. I'm still catching up with life, so hopefully will have some material tomorrow.
Someone commented on my Matt Harvey post below to say that "Whoever wrote this doesn't know what they're talkin [sic] about," saying that Harvey weighs "210lb. [sic] and is very strong". Well, it was MLB/MiLB's official website that claims he weighs 195, that's where I got that. I have no problem believing he is "very strong", I just don't think 195 pounds is a whole lot for someone who's 6'4'', that's all. And while the commenter says "you've obviously never seen his 12-6 curve [I have not] [and s]couts describe as sick and one of the best in the draft", the scouting report I link above says "Harvey has the chance to have a plus curve" (emphasis mine).
I don't know, I'm just summing up things I've heard about him. As I said, I'm excited about the pick and I hope we sign him.
Friday, June 08, 2007
Another day two draftee is West Virginia QB and Heisman candidate Patrick White, who the Angels also drafted in the fourth round in 2004.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
The scouting video at the above link shows him hitting 89-91 on his fastball, with the slider in the mid-70s.
Look, I hadn't heard of this kid before we picked him, and you probably haven't, either. But I trust our scouting department, especially the Florida contingent, so I'm pretty happy and intrigued with this pick.
Baseball America talks about the Angel scouts checking him out a bit here.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
But, as this week is the amateur draft, I thought it might be a good time to feature some draft-related material.
This is the first entry, and looks at the first five drafts the Angels made under Bill Stoneman. I didn't want to go past 2004, as it's far too early to say much of anything about the last two drafts. In fact, it's practically impossible to say anything about 2004, either, but it was the first draft with Eddie Bane in the organization and we got at least one major leaguer out of it, so we can take a cursory look.
There are various sources for draft info online, the two best of which (to my knowledge) are at Baseball Reference and The Baseball
I'm not really going to evaluate the drafts in a systematic way (the Baseball Cube has a rudimentary draft rating system based on the major league playing time of those drafted, which is a rough starting point I will reference despite its flaws and near uselessness for recent drafts; see it for 2000 here), just take a look at who we drafted, who we could have drafted, and how it all turned out. The list of "could haves" is far from inclusive, as I just went through the first twenty rounds each year and grabbed some recognizable names.
Also, I'm not going to link to every single player I mention, as I usually do, as life is short.
Here we go.
First Round: The Angels had two picks in the round; the 10th and 20th. Stoneman grabbed Joe Torres at 10 and Chris Bootcheck at 20.
Who Else Was Available: Most everyone picked between Torres and Bootcheck has been a disappointment, save one: Chase Utley, who may well be the best overall second baseman in the game right now. The Angels had just installed Adam Kennedy at second, so maybe Utley wasn't as high a priority because of that, but so far he's the pick of the round.
No one outrageously special was taken after Bootcheck; Boof Bonser went one pick later, but he has yet to pan out (though he still could, of course), and Adam Wainwright and Aaron Heilman (who didn't sign with the Twins) came later in the round. Dustin Moseley and Kelly Johnson were two intriguing later picks. The second round saw the Cubs select Bobby Hill (who the Angels had drafted but not signed out of high school) and the Pads take Xavier Nady.
Others Picked of Note: Tommy Murphy got picked in the third round, a pitcher/shortstop at the time. Matt Hensley in the 10th, but the rose so far has been Mike Napoli, somehow only the second- or third-best player taken in the 17th round (Josh Willingham, Rich Harden).
The Angels also grabbed Bobby Jenks in the fifth, and you all know how much good that did us.
Other Available Players of Note: Grady Sizemore (3rd), David DeJesus (4th), Dontrelle Willis (8), Brandon Webb (8), Edwin Encarnacion (9), Brad Hawpe (11), Freddy Sanchez (11), James Shields (16).
Baseball Cube Ranking:: 19th
Summary: Despite finding the gem in Napoli in the middle rounds, this draft would have to be considered a disappointment. The only other player to live up to expectations, to any degree, is Bobby Jenks, who has done it all for the White Sox. The world would be interesting if we had drafted Chase Utley, a local product out of Pasadena and UCLA (imagine Utley at second and Howie at third), and we are just one of 29 teams to have missed out on the likes of Sizemore, Willis, and Webb.
First Round: Once again, the Angels had two picks in the first round, and took Casey Kotchman at 13 and Jeff Mathis at 33.
Who Else Was Available: Gabe Gross went a couple of picks after Casey, as did Jason Bulger. The two most intriguing picks between Kotch and Mathis, though, were Oakland's back-to-back picks of Bobby Crosby and Jeremy Bonderman. The Angels had actually drafted Crosby out of high school, but didn't sign him. Noah Lowry went 30th.
After the Mathis pick, the best pick, and what may end up being the best pick of the first round, was David Wright.
The most notable player picked in between Mathis and the Angel second-round pick is JJ Hardy.
Others Picked of Note: The Angels got Dallas McPherson with that second-round choice, so, his back notwithstanding, they weren't really complaining. Steven Shell and Jake Woods were taken in the third, Nick Gorneault in the 19th, but the only other picks to make the majors (beyond Woods) were Steve Andrade, who did so as a Royal, and Matt Brown, who sipped coffee earlier this year.
Other Available Players of Note: Danny Haren (2), Edwin Jackson (6), Chad Tracy (7), Dan Johnson (7), Kevin Youkilis (8), Dan Uggla (11), Chris Young the Outfielder (16), Jonny Gomes (18), Zach Duke (19).
Baseball Cube Ranking:: 13th
Summary: This is the draft that put the Angels on the prospect map. Kotchman, Mathis, and McPherson toplined prospect lists for the next few years, and were the first three picks taken. Though the idea of having Bobby Crosby or Jeremy Bonderman is intriguing, I can't say the Angels were wrong to stay in the family and grab Casey Kotchman. In retrospect, David Wright would have been a much better pick than Jeff Mathis, but Mathis comes from the Tom Kotchman Florida Pipeline that also brought us Casey, Howie Kendrick, and Scot Shields.
However, this was a top-heavy draft, and it looks like only one guy will pan out. Steve Shell could end up in the bullpen, and maybe Matt Brown will become a new Robb Quinlan down the line, but that's not much booty relative to all the prospects we had lined up from this draft just a couple of years ago. Prospect attrition is harsh, and no matter what the BPro guys tell you, it happens to hitters as well as pitchers. You load up as much as you can and see who survives the gauntlet.
First Round: Joe Saunders with the 12th pick.
Who Else Was Available: The seven players taken right after Saunders: Khalil Greene, Russ Adams, Scott Kazmir, Nick Swisher, Cole Hamels, Royce Ring, and James Loney. Jeremy Guthrie, Jeff Francouer, Joe Blanton, Matt Cain, and Mark Teahen all went later in the round.
Others Picked of Note: The Angels got only one other major league player in this draft, but he may turn out to be a doozy: Howie Kendrick in the 10th.
Other Available Players of Note: Elijah Dukes (3), Curtis Granderson (3), Delwyn Young (4), John Maine (6), Scott Olsen (6), Pat Neshek (6), Joel Zumaya (11), Ryan Shealy (11), Brandon McCarthy (17), Russell Martin (17), Kameron Loe (20).
Baseball Cube Ranking:: 20th
Summary: Saunders is a credit to the organization now, but an injury not long after signing delayed his ascent. Scott Kazmir or Cole Hamels would have been very interesting first-round picks, and there was a lot of intruiguing talent taken at the bottom of the round.
Getting Howie was a coup, but the rest of the draft was completely devoid of prospects for the Angels; the only other name that pops out at all is Aaron Peel, who is stagnated at AA.
First Round: Brandon Wood, 23rd.
Who Else Was Available: Chad Billingsley, Daric Barton, Carlos Quentin. Some intriguing names, but none as intriguing as Wood.
Others Picked of Note: Sean Rodriguez in the third, Reggie Willits in the seventh.
Other Available Players of Note: Tom Gorzelanny (2), Andre Ethier (2), Chris Ray (3), Ryan Garko (3), Jonathan Papelbon (4), Kevin Kouzmanoff (6), Anthony Reyes (15), Ian Kinsler (17).
Baseball Cube Ranking:: 25th
Summary: Wood has justified his draft position to this point, even accounting for his early struggles at AAA. Sean Rodriguez and Willits appear to be good picks, but guys like Bob Zimmerman, Von Stertzbach, and Daniel Davidson have washed out a bit. No one else has emerged from the class.
In October, 2003, Eddie Bane took over as scouting director.
First Round: Jered Weaver's price dropped him to 12th, where the Angels caught him.
Who Else Was Available: Stephen Drew went three picks later. Other notable first-rounders were Josh Fields, Taylor Tankersley, and Huston Street.
Others Picked of Note: Weaver's the only one to make the majors out of this young class, but the Angels picked up a first-round talent in Nick Adenhart (14th round) and pilfered Mark Trumbo in the 18th. Hainley Statia was drafted in the ninth, Stephen Marek was grabbed in the 40th round. Nick Green went in the 35th.
Other Available Players of Note: Dustin Pedroia (2), Adam Lind (3), Chris Iannetta (4), Casey Janssen (4), Cla Meredith (6),
Baseball Cube Ranking:: 11th
Summary: Weaver was a gift, but the Angels picked up a lot of other intriguing names. It's far too early to say who the true finds were, but Adenhart and Marek may be real bargains, and in addition to Staitia, Freddy Sandoval has shown something. The Angels didn't have any picks between the first and fourth rounds, so this draft could end up being even more impressive once you see who was available.
Adding It All Up
What does this mean?
Well, by my count, Stoneman has drafted three-and-a-half regulars (Napoli, Kotchman, Kendrick, and Willits), one surefire rotation starter (Weaver), one swingman/potential rotation starter (Saunders), and one top position player prospect (Wood). A couple of back-of-the-bullpen types, too (Bootcheck, Woods) and a top starting prospect (Adenhart). Add in faded prospects like McPherson (injury) and Mathis (struggles), and that about rounds it up.
How did the Angels do in the five years prior?
I won't walk you through it year-by-year, but from 1995 through 1999, and looking at it from the perspective of the year 2002, the Angels drafted two regulars (Darin Erstad and Troy Glaus), one top starter (Jarrod Washburn), and one top pitching prospect/productive rookie (John Lackey). Robb Quinlan and Scot Shields were in the organization, both upcoming (Shields debuted briefly in 2001). Other notables that didn't add up to much, and who had mostly washed out by 2002, were Brian Cooper, Justin Baughman, Scot Schoeneweis, Matt Wise, and Alfredo Amezaga.
I'd say Stoneman's drafts compare pretty well to that group, especially considering that the highest pick Stoneman has had to work with was the 10th in his first year, and the previous regime had two top three picks that were close to no-brainers (Erstad at #1 and Glaus at #3).
The first five drafts under Stoneman haven't been particularly deep, but his draft legacy for these years is going to rest on Kotchman, Kendrick, and Weaver primarily, but with Napoli and Adenhart likely candidates to boost it up. Even if Mathis never amounts to anything or if McPherson's injuries keep him on the sidelines, the success of the above (and others) could be pretty impressive. Add in a formidable international scouting program, and you have the recipe for success that has kept and is likely to keep the Angels competitive for a pennant year in and year out.