“When stuff starts hitting the fan and we’re in the dog days and you need that veteran leadership, we’ll find out,” Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun said. “We’ll find out. Because those are two tough people to replace. It’s going to have to be some guys stepping up, it’s going to have to be some guys who came in.”
This was my primary concern when Aybar was traded away — it was clear that he brought something special to the clubhouse and dugout alike. (The game last year where he was yanking bats around to wake them up comes to mind.) Who will be the guys that bring not just an example, but a strong voice, to the clubhouse. They need to show up tomorrow after those first two games against the Cubs.
I know the Trout vs Harper narrative is tired, but it also seems silly to write an article about Harper being the best without mention of Trout. But upon a read, the article isn’t really about Harper being the best, just confident. Even the ESPN URL betrays that the original title was probably “Washington Nationals Bryce Harper Wants to Change Baseball Forever” before the web editors got to it. I guess it worked, because I read it based on the new title.
To confirm his confidence, Scioscia compared the current roster to those of several years past. The small-ball style of the 2002 World Series-winning team went unmentioned but understood. He guaranteed that his team will make more contact on offense than in 2015, and predicted more depth.
“We will have a more versatile, deeper look than we had last year. There is no doubt,” he said. “I think we’re retooled in a little different way than we’ve seen the last couple years. I think we’ll resemble a lot of the things that we did well for a long time, not relying so much on four guys hitting the ball out of the park.”
I’ve often felt the Angels’ roster had strayed away from Scioscia’s style the last few years, bringing in more power in a tough park for the longball. Maybe this is standard March optimism from Scioscia, but I’d welcome seeing more manufactured runs if that is what he thinks they can do better this year.
Whaddaya know, he’s hovering around the American League lead in runs scored. And if that sounds familiar, it’s because he led the league last year. And the year before that. And the year before that.So if you added up all those “year before thats” properly, you already know that the Troutster is now well within reach of leading his league in runs scored in four straight seasons. And who else has done that, you ask? No one else has done that, we reply. Yes, you read that correctly. No one.
Yes, another weekly Trout tout. But what I appreciate about this one is my recall of Trout’s own comments a few years ago about how he considers runs the most important stat. They are what win games and require contributions from his teammates as well to get him across the plate. (Well, at this rate he’s going to drive himself in for about 40% of his runs.)
“Those last four innings were money,” Weaver said. “I was able to keep my weight back and not try to rush the ball to the plate. Just stayed within myself, and everything mechanically felt good after that.”
Weaver’s fastball was slower than he’d hoped — it started at around 84-85 mph and dropped into the low 80s toward the end of his outing — but his command was solid, as he mixed and matched his fastball and secondary pitches effectively. That’s much more important, anyway, for a pitcher who hasn’t hit 90 mph in a long time.
I don’t know whether to consider this promising or not. Having good command is critical to Weaver’s success more than any other pitcher. But we also haven’t seen any sustained success for him the last few years when his fastball wasn’t consistently in the mid 80s.