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Home » Baseball

Out With The Crowd: "The team leads the world in runs scored"

Submitted by on April 2, 2013 – 5:14 PM4 Comments

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Evan Jordan's confident the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California, Estados Unidos, Earth can win the AL West — but he's less confident than some, primarily thanks to pitching. We spoke late last week about Vernon Wells, bad contracts, and the new kids in town.

Sarah D. Bunting: Who's your favorite acquisition for the 2013 season?

Evan Jordan: I'm going to cheat a little on this one and say Peter Bourjos. I basically consider him a new acquisition since he played so little last year. The Josh Hamilton acquisition raised questions about his future, but I was glad to see the team make the decision to stick with him and trade Kendrys Morales for pitching depth instead of trading Bourjos.

So you like him better than J. Ham?

Only because I feel like nothing Hamilton will do will surprise me. Bourjos represents a wildcard, and that's exciting for me.

And who's your least favorite new Halo?

I'd say Joe Blanton. Not necessarily because I think it was terrible direction to take, but because I didn't like the contract. I think the team overpaid on a two-year deal.

Anyone you were happy to see go over the winter?

That's the easiest question so far now that Vernon Wells is a Yankee.

HA! Seriously.

It was a mistake to let [Mike] Napoli go, and it was a mistake to bring on Wells. Double whammy! And then Bill Stoneman lost his job. Coincidence? Probably not.

Anyone who's gone that you'll miss?

Definitely Torii Hunter. He was so much fun to watch and so easy to root for, it's hard to think of games without him. As a fan, I always felt he was giving it his best and really trying to make the fans happy. I'm going to miss that. In fact, I may even be cheering for the Tigers a little bit just because he's there.

I like that guy a lot. Most genuine smile in MLB.

He'll be missed. That's for sure. I agree with the decision, but that doesn't mean I won't miss him. I think management felt the same way.

A lot of peeps are picking the Angels as winning the West, but do you have any worries about them this season?

I understand the danger of trusting spring-training stats, but going 9-19 doesn't instill confidence.

I'm worried about the bullpen. Last year, the Angels finished fourth out of the West. The bullpen blew 22 saves. That's an issue, especially with guys like [Ernesto] Frieri and [Scott] Downs in for some regression on last year's performance. They made some good additions in [Ryan] Madson and [Sean] Burnett, but there are obvious Tommy John issues with Madson and Burnett hasn't pitched much this spring.

Where do you see the Angels finishing in the standings?

I see them at the top of the West. Mainly because of the steps Texas has taken backwards and the fact that Oakland is relying on one of the most unpredictable assets in baseball — young pitching. I think the offense covers the pitching woes, and the Angels come out atop the division.

[Astros joke]

That's a good story line too! I remember people claiming the AL West was a weaker division because there were only four teams. Well, this proves it's more about quality than quantity, right? A few extra games against Houston only helps the Angels' chances of at least nabbing a WC berth.

Word. That's going to be some St. Louis Browns-style foolishness this year. (Says the Mets fan…sigh.)

Hey — at least your fences are closer, right?!

Any surprises during spring training? Pleasant or unpleasant.

Unpleasant has been the performance of the pitching staff. The team leads the world in runs scored and is last in the Cactus League in the most important stat, W-L.

A pleasant surprise has been watching Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton hit in the same lineup. That's so much fun!

Any hope that the pitching is just getting kinks out? Or do you think it's indicative? I mean, Mets fans can tell ourselves it's "just" spring training, but…the pitching will still suck come April. And May. And August.

The saving grace is that Madson and Burnett haven't pitched much. The problem is that is that Madson is coming off major surgery. The hope is that Burnett adds depth and the starting pitching eats enough innings to limit bullpen use. Along those lines, the Angels starting five can eat innings, so there's hope!

And that's not a bad segue to my next question: If you could tell your manager one thing, what would it be?

That's a tough question, because I think [Mike] Scioscia's strategy is pretty solid. If the starters are pitching well, he'll ride them. My only thought would be get some bullpen roles worked out fast! I don't know what those roles should be, but the Angels need someone to step up. Even if it's Mark Lowe, who they just acquired. They're trying pieces, but nothing's really standing out right now.

Anything else bugging you? Other teams? Ongoing stories? Mine is how the whole ESPN staff is berating themselves for picking the Yanks last in the AL East.

Ugh, yes. Well, for me, I'm sick of hearing the whole "attendance is down and baseball is dying" story.

Is that even true?

Attendance is low in some cities (see: Miami), but Forbes just came out with their annual franchise valuation and guess what, the Marlins were up year over year!

People compare MLB to the NBA in attendance. Well, here's a fun stat: attendance for MLB games in Detroit averaged 37,383 in the 2012 season, and you’ll remember they had a very disappointing season until the end of the year. Average attendance so far in 2013 for the Detroit Pistons: 12,262.

And given that's, like, the total population of Detroit at this point…

The other issue I have with the story is baseball makes more money off the field than it does on the field. In today's baseball, it's almost more about eyes on a screen than butts in a seat.

Especially in this market. The YES network is like the Vatican.

Jumping on TV revenue first is what made the Yankees the Yankees in my opinion.

There's a masters thesis in that.

Hmm, comparing investments of the Yankees to those of the Mets…sorry, couldn't resist.

Yeah, way ahead of you. #FreeBonilla

Evan Jordan was born in the shadows of Angels Stadium and has followed the Angels both from up close and from afar ever since then. He's currently following from afar in New York, where he works in public relations by day and follows baseball by night with his wife and two sons.

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4 Comments »

  • Melerin says:

    "The YES Network is like the Vatican." Needs to be on a t-shirt.

    Aw, talk a Twins fan about Torii Hunter! He was my favorite player his entire time in Minny, even while they had Joe Mauer at his peak and the previous Johan Santana. Torii is awesome. His mouth will lead him off a cliff every couple of months like clockwork, but I believe he plays for the fans as much as anyone ever has. And now I get to see him hit against our "pitching staff" 18 times a year with Los Tigres! Haha! Ha! *sob*

    That said, I'm curious whether the Halos live up to expectations this year. It's interesting to get the perspective of someone who follows them closely! Do you see Trout taking a step back, staying the same, or (God help us) getting better?

  • Drew says:

    We Tigers fans are enjoying Hunter's potential this season. The guy's a bit on the aged side, considering the money they gave him, but he's a great clubhouse presence, and he produced consistently all Spring. The game I went to at Tigertown, he went 2-3 with an RBI double and made a wall-climbing, reach over the fence to rob the guy of a home run catch. Like my seat-mate said that day, "That's what happens when you pay a center fielder to play right."

  • attica says:

    That commercial where T-Hunt grins and says he likes stealing homers way more than hitting them is why he'll always be on my list of good guys. A man who appreciates the spitefulness in his athletics skill set is a man for me.

    Angels stadium is another one I've been to as a Visitor. (That's an excellent way to spend vacation, if you ask me.) It's a sturdy and workmanlike place. Hometeam fan quirk? Nobody but nobody stands when somebody has to get in or out of a row. And it's not like there's any extra leg room, so you're literally climbing over laps while trying to balance your bevs and dogs.

  • Evan says:

    Melerin – The most impressive thing about Torii Hunter may be how much fans of his former team still miss him!

    As far as Trout's sophomore season. I don't expect much regression in terms of batting average. People point at last year's .383 BABIP and say that should drop, but I just don't agree with that for two reasons:
    1- One of the fastest home to first players (timed at 3.9 seconds) should have an above average BABIP
    2 – Because he's so fast, infielders actually play more in on Trout than they do for other fast players like Aybar, who regularly leads the league in bunt hits. Combine that with a 25% line drive rate from last year, and I think that makes a .380 BABIP repeatable this year.

    Something people don't talk about enough with Trout is that he struck out a lot more than he had shown in the minors. This is likely also a reason that his HR numbers exploded to unimagined heights, but it also shows Trout actually has room to improve.

    Last year, he struck out in 22% of his plate appearances. League average was 20%. This spring, he struck out less and walked more. So, assuming there's no drop in BABIP based on the above, fewer strikeouts and more walks means his BA will actually improve on last year's .326.

    His HR number was a surprise last year. He never hit more than 20 in a year before last year, so I think that number is the most likely to drop.

    And in terms of stolen bases, I think he's as close to a lock as anyone can be for 50 this year.

    In summary, people who think Mike Trout should regress in his sophomore season because other players tend to regress in their sophomore seasons need to understand that Mike Trout just isn't like other players.

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