Spring Training is in full bloom; the equivalent of three weeks of Christmas for the baseball fan. We get to look at all the shiny new toys and wonder how they’ll play when the real games start. Baseball is played during the day time like in the old days. And the fans at games are genuine baseball fans.
It is my favorite time of year. And I’m enjoying it as you read this. In fact, I’ll be taking Dad to the Rockies at Cubs game which means we’ll have hit every Cactus League ballpark together.
Tomorrow I’ll catch the Angels at the White Sox and just happen to catch this:
Enough about me, let’s move on to the stuff that really matters.
Shohei Ohtani is awesome.
He’s so awesome MLB changed a rule so he can keep batting in a game even after he’s done pitching. This makes manager Joe Maddon’s job a lot easier. Something he says is “wonderful.”
It’s been awhile since we’ve seen it, but a healthy Anthony Rendon is also awesome. And he’s looking healthy right now.
Rendon took some time to talk about the last couple of years, his injuries, and how it feels to finally be healthy.
And who can forget about the supreme awesomeness of Mike Trout? For all the story lines around the Angels, Trout is getting somewhat overlooked. He’s so great people just expect him to continue being great. And people still do think he’ll be great.
What does all this mean for the Angels?
I’ll take the over on Trout’s WAR. It won’t start with a 6. Probably an 8, maybe a 9, but he’s not declined to the point of a 6 yet.
Just how awesome the team will be will come down to the play of the supporting cast. The Angels were reportedly in the market for right handed hitters, but now that they signed Ryan Tepera they are no longer in that market.
For the last several years Angels fans have expected Brandon Marsh and/or Jo Adell to come up and excel. So far they’ve taken their lumps but also shown flashes of promise. This is a great read on the two and how the close friends are approaching this pivotal season.
For years the off season mantra has been the Angels need to sign an ace. This year they took a gamble on Noah “Thor” Syndergaard. After two injury plagued seasons he says he’s fully healthy and felt satisfied after three innings of a b game.
Around the league, MLB and the MLBPA reached an agreement to keep the ghost runner in extra innings. This rule is getting a strong reaction from baseball fans and writers, one writer saying “we’ve officially lost our minds.”
I know I’m supposed to immediately hate any changes to baseball, but I have to say the ghost runner brings immediate drama to an extra inning game; makes it must watch TV, and gets games over quickly. Drama, excitement, action, quicker games…not bad IMO.
And yes, if you want to go back I hated the rule when it came into place. But after watching it in action a few times it has grown on me.
FanGraphs took a look at which hitters are lucky and which aren’t. Max Stassi made one of those lists.
No longform reading this week, although that Adell/Marsh piece is long enough to enjoy over coffee. Have a great weekend watching Spring Training and March Madness.