OBP=Increase in Runs Scored

     The Angels just don’t get it.  How does one score runs?  They get on base and hit for power, right?  Manufacturing runs is great, but it should be in addition to a foundation of the aforementioned strategies, if the personnel is there.  It is not a difficult philosophy.  The more runners that reach base, the more runners that will score, over a long period of time.  And of course, bettering the rate at which one makes an out, is a simple way to look at it too. 

     Mike Scioscia, we know that your style of ball won a World Series for the Angels back in 2002.  We understand that, we all watched it happen.  Not so much because of the Angels, mostly because Barry Bonds was there (And that is no disrespect to the Angels team, I watched that series because the greatest hitter I have ever seen was making his first appearance, whether one loved or hated him, they were intrigued by his dominance).  But in 2002 there are a few things worth mentioning:  One is that the Angels were fourth in the AL in OBP.  They reached base (4th) and they scored runs (also 4th).  The other is that the Angels finished 6th in slugging.  4th and 6th in the two most important categories translated into 4th in runs scored (3rd on the road).  The Angels may have manufactured runs back then, but they also reached base with a greater frequency (much greater) and they actually displayed some power.  These, I believe, are more important then hitting with runners on the move and such. 

     But in 2008, the Angels were 10th in runs scored.  The Angels were 11th in OBP.  And they were 9th in slugging.  They had exactly five players with OBP’s greater than the league average (.333).  Chone Figgins, who does not hit for any power.  Mike Napoli, whom played a limited role, which should be expanded.  Vlad Guerrero, who posts respectable OBP’s, but doesn’t exactly work the count.  Torii Hunter, another free swinger with a OBP not too much better than league average.  And the final qualifier…?

     Why, Mark Teixiera of course, who inspired this blog.  The Angels have decided to withdraw from the Teixiera race, or so they say.  And it is not simply this decision that baffles me.  It is the reluctance to sign guys that get on base.  They could go another direction.  The Angels could try and acquire two of the Burrell/Dunn/Abreu trio (preferably the first two names).  The corner outfielding defense would be simply atrocious, but the offense would definitely improve.  Dunn could DH, Burrell in right (or even first possibly, and Vlad could play right).  Although at this point, Guerrero should really be the one filling the DH role.  But they could move them around and have Vlad DH some of the time too.  Gary Matthews isn’t a starting OF, so he would be sitting on the bench as a sunk cost.  There are a bunch of different options for the Angels, none of them “defensively friendly,” but vast improvements on the offensvie side of the ball. 

     What is most likely not the solution?  Juan Rivera.  More specifically, Juan Rivera for THREE years.  There is always the possibility that Rivera learns how to play at the age of 29, like that of Carlos Pena.  If a team were to give him AB’s, maybe Rivera becomes productive.  But how productive?  Productive enough to score the fourth or fifth amount of runs in the AL?  No.  Rivera for one year may have been an ok move, but they need other hitters.  The window to win is now.  The team has some young components, so the window may expand to later as well.  But now is known, later is not.

     John Lackey is an ace.  Ervin Santana has ace-like stuff.  Jered Weaver is roughly league average (which is disappointing based on expectations, but still has value, and he is only 25).  Joe Saunders may have overachieved some, but he should be quality.  Kelvim Escobar may serve some purpose again (haven’t heard much about him).  There are still two good options in the pen as of now.  And of course their star position player (Vlad) is aging and probably only has a few good seasons left, unless he makes a permanent move to DH.  There is a window to win right NOW.  But the philosophy must be changed as much as anything.  Because if the philosophy is changed, then high OBP players will be brought in to help the offense produce more runs. 

     The Angels don’t need to bring in defensively challenged players such as Burrell, etc.  But if they don’t do that, then Mark Teixeira almost has to be brought back.  Maybe Tex and if they want to spend the money, then one of those outfielders that were mentioned.  The Angels make the most sense of any team for Mark Teixeira, more sense than anyone.  And that is why I am confused that they would take their names out of the running.  Get on base, score runs.  Anaheim Angels.  Are you listening to that?   

6 Comments

You very conveniently omit that they won 100 games this year, Joe.
What’s so baffling about the decision to withdraw the offer? That they don’t want to sit around and play Scott Boras’s game as he tries to wring every single penny out of his client’s free agency and “connections” to just about all 50 States? For better or worse, the Angels make their decisions rapidly and don’t look back; given that they’ve been in the playoffs five times since 2002 indicates that they’re doing something right. Why’s it okay for the playoffs to be referred to as a “crapshoot” for the Moneyball teams, and not the Angels, who go about their business differently?
When they acquired Teixeira, they SHOULD’VE adjusted their philosophy, but that’s beside the point. Their main focus is on pitching and considering their consistent contention year-after-year, they have an argument for that strategy whether you agree with it or not.
And the same team that you referred to as the “Los Angeles Annihilators of Anaheim” in August suddenly needs to be told how to play the game? How to run their team?
http://paullebowitz.mlblogs.com/

Watching the Angels in the playoffs this year made me wonder what’s happened to Vlad. He’s aged badly, it seems. You’d know better than I about his stats. He was flailing at the ball, looked bad running the bases and has slowed considerably in right. He’s a DH now.

- http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Paul, I believe in OBP. I believed it then and I believed it now. That Angels team was incredibly hot when I wrote that blog, and I still referred to them being hotter than they will ever be again. I have been saying for a few years now they need to add another bat. Because they need one. If they were in the AL East, well, maybe they wouldn’t have been in five postseasons since 2002. I also don’t think the playoffs are necessarily a crapshoot all the time. I don’t know that the BEST team always wins, but I don’t think it is like putting all the teams names in a hat and pulling out the winner either. They were 1oth in runs scored, Paul. What Scioscia was doing was not scoring runs, so I will not defend what that offense as a whole was doing. If they gave Scioscia better offensive players, then they will have more success scoring runs. The point is, get on base more, they can still steal bases and call for the hit and run, but increasing their OBP is important. I still don’t know why people don’t believe in on base percentage, even though they have proven it is the most important offensive number. When one looks at team stats, the teams that get on base more, often score more. The only way finishing tenth in runs scored and being good offensively would make sense is if they intentionally play close games so that they can manufacture a run and win. That obviously isn’t what happened.

Jane, I don’t know healthy Vlad was, but he is in the decline now, although still a pretty good hitter.

By the way, I believe in addressing BOTH sides of the ball.

The Padres and Blue Jays believe in OBP as well. And who said I don’t believe in OBP? I’m just not obsessed with it at the expense of every other aspect of winning. It’s very easy to adjust one’s argument to be “right” if the Angels were in a different division. I could sit here and lament how many championships the 80s Mets would’ve won had there been a Wild Card then; they would’ve been in the playoffs every year from 1984-1990 and with their pitching would’ve probably busted through to the World Series at least five times. What difference does that make? The Angels don’t make the schedule; they play who’s in front of them and last year, won 100 times.
http://paullebowitz.mlblogs.com/

But were 10th in runs. No matter the way you look at it, that needs to be improved, right?

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