Thursday, November 30, 2017
Alright, so here's the deal. It's been a long season. If I had been writing regularly, I would have most definitely made an ass out of myself as the conductor of the Justin Upton/Brandon Phillips Hype Train. On September 1, there wasn't anyone who could convince me that the Angels weren't winning the 2nd Wild Card, beating the Yanks in New York and steam rolling the Indians en route to an ALCS appearance.
But then the rag-tag bullpen finally started to regress to the mean, where they should have been all along. Average, maybe even a little below average.
We've still got Trout, Upton, Simmons... oh... right... the rest of our lineup is made up of Martin Maldonado (GREAT defensive catcher, well deserving Gold Glove Recipient, but like... kinda bad hitter?), A 58-Year-Old Brandon Phillips (I'm close enough), and some slow guy wearing Albert Pujols' jersey for some reason. Okay, so the offense has some holes, but this is still a better team than the Twins, right?! The Twins?!? I mean, Come ON!!
No, they weren't. It was a long and difficult September with spikes of hope mixed with droughts of reality.
The Angels finished 81-81. Pure Mediocrity. "Wasting" another year of the greatest player to lace up his sneakers in 50 years.
So, where do the Angels go for 2018? They've already locked up Justin Upton for 5 years. That's great. That's awesome. Left Field is solved and it's got a reliable All-Star who can actually hit at Angel Stadium. Love it.
Obviously, the highest highs of the baseball off season are right around the corner, and there are few big names that can solve some of the teams other issues, and I'll get to the boring ones over the next few days (Stanton, Gordon, Arrieta, etc), BUT, in a weird move with the Braves today, the Angels sent a minor league pitcher to Atlanta for Jim Johnson and their budget for International Players.
First off, I didn't even know that was something you could do?! What a weird trading piece, and the fact that the Braves even still had theirs to trade after their recent punishment from the league for violating International Player signing policies... that's a whole other wrinkle to this that I don't want to unpack. I'm just happy it happened.
It makes Anaheim an actual player in the race for Baseball's most exciting free agent: Shohei Otani.
Shohei Otani is like Baseball's Kazuchika Okada. Okada is probably the best professional wrestler in the world (Pro Wrestling, you know... WWE...). He has had more great matches over the last five years than anyone else in the world. BUT, to the North American wrestling fans, he is just a name. That guy who your super dorky friend who watches LITERALLY EVERY WRESTLING will tell you about whenever you try to bring up how good that AJ Styles match was ("Yeah man, AJ is great, but no one can hold a candle to Okada!" "Shut up, Brad! I'm not inviting you to my house anymore...)
I've seen about as much of Otani pitch (Last Year's World Baseball Classic) as I have Okada wrestle (His two matches with Kenny Omega and one with Cody in 2017). Otani is talked about over here like Okada is. We talk about Otani like he could walk onto any mound in any stadium in the world and be lights out. We talk about Okada like he could stand in any ring in any arena in the world and have a five star match with anyone. They are "unknown" excellence. Only unknown because they aren't on our television's in North America week after week.
Why do the Angels need Otani? Well, for obvious reasons (Our Rotation is more fragile than a glass museum of Faberge eggs; even if he doesn't hit often, he is still another resource for our spotty lineup), BUT, to stretch out the wrestling analogy... Trout needs his contemporary. The Angels have potentially one of the best 10 players of all time on their team right now, and no one else on the roster even comes close. Otani could be close. What would Hulk Hogan have been without "Macho Man" Randy Savage? What would Ric Flair have been without Sting? Bret without Shawn? Austin without Rock?
To be the best of all time you need another great by your side. Someone who brings out the best in you and you in them. Jordan had Pippen. Rice had Montana. Okada has Omega. Trout needs Otani.
Why not? What's stopping him? We are offering the chance to play alongside the best player in the world at what he does and show that you are his equal. To play in one of the most pleasant parts of Earth's atmosphere, with a relatively relaxed media, a relatively patient and accepting fan base and, oh yeah, Disneyland is right fucking there.
So yeah. Break the bank. Go get Trout his Macho Man.
Thursday, June 15, 2017
There have been a lot of hyperbolic things written about the Greatest Baseball Player of All Time, Michael Nelson Trout. What you are about to read is not that. It is 100% true fact backed up with statistics and science.
Mike Trout is a Magical Baseball Wizard who has the ability to bestow his amazing baseball prowess upon his teammates while he has extended stints on the Disabled List.
I know, seems unlikely. For one, Mike Trout didn't even attend Hogwarts. He went to Millville High. But for the 16 games he has missed since May 29th, Trout has transferred his baseball powers (magically) to one Eric Young Jr.
Below is a Table showing you just how eerily similar their stats are:
Now I'm sure you are thinking "Hey Josh, I don't know this Eric Young Jr. fella very well, what if he has put up similar stats his whole career?". That's where you'd be Pineapple-on-Pizza-levels of wrong, my friend.
Eric Young Jr. has played off and on for nine seasons. After fizzling out with the Mets and Yankees the last two seasons, it looked like EY's career was done. He got a chance with the Angels for Spring Training this year, impressed them enough to make the AAA Bees roster and has been waiting in the wings for a spot on the big league club.
Upon arrival from Salt Lake City, Young was greeted by Mike Trout, donned in his wizardry robes, who gave him powers previously thought unfathomable. Now, Eric Young has been able to keep the Angels at .500 while Mike Trout mends at Wolverine-like speeds.
But why Eric Young? Why not his pal Calhoun? Why not someone struggling like Espinoza or Pennington? That all comes down to the most magical state in the union: New Jersey.
Mike Trout and Eric Young Jr. both have the pleasure(?) of being born in New York's Little Brother. The most crowded and (allegedly) smelliest state in the union. People from New Jersey stick together. It could only be Eric Young. It HAD to be Eric Young. He was Trout's Horcrux.
Yesterday, Trout said he thinks he will be back before the All-Star break. Putting his recovery at an impressive 5 weeks (originally slated to be 6-8 weeks), at which time he will recover all his powers from Eric Young Jr and he will go back to a replacement level talent.
That's fine though. If the Angels can use this momentum for a playoff run, those Five Weeks where Eric Young