I haven’t seen a line-up yet for today so not sure if Mike Trout is playing or Pujols (they better be). But, Tim Lincecum is. And I will be there. The Freak is in the building. Keep checking back. I’m going to try to get technology to work for me today and blog live from the game. No promises though. After all it is technology.
#### Trout DNP. No surprise there. Pretty much the rest of the Angels were in the lineup versus Lincecum, including Pujols, Howie Kendrick, Mark Trumbo, Erik Aybar, etc all. Both teams appear to be serious contenders in their division, with pitching and depth being the keys.
This was my first look at Albert Pujols in person and I’ve gotta say, I came away quite impressed. Dude just looks smooth out there, on defense and at the plate. Still not sure why the STL decided to give up on him.
Speaking of fun to watch, is there anyone more entertaining than Pablo Sandoval? I have no idea what he’s doing up there, but Kung Fu Panda just goes up to the batters area and starts kicking dirt around. Strange. Can’t argue with the results though.
A sad side note from today’s game came off the bat (literally) of Mark Trumbo. He broke his bat which went flying into the stands, just above the Angels dugout, about 5 rows away from where I was sitting. The lady it hit was clearly knocked out cold. I’m hoping she’s ok. Play was stopped and she was taken out on a stretcher. She did walk to the stretcher so that is a good sign. I’m certain she is in the thoughts and prayers of young #44 this evening.
The Machine, or El Hombre, as his friends like to call him, hit his 3rd Home Run of the Spring on Friday. Pujols is dispelling any rumors about his age or health being a factor. Dude can still ball and the Cardinals are going to regret letting him get away.
And just what the rest of MLB needs, another top notch, ace like pitcher for the Angels. Garrett Richards, the club’s top pitching prospect, is now 3-0 with an ERA of 2.00 in the Cactus League. Friday he went 4 shutout innings, striking out 6. Hmm, so let’s see, Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, C.J. Wilson, Ervin Santana, Garrett Richards. No thank you. I’d rather not have to face any of them.
Speaking of face, as in taking ground balls off of the face, can we all just admit the whole Mark Trumbo at 3rd base experiment is not going to work? And speaking of not working, Mike Trout anyone? Anyone? No? Yeah, I didn’t think so. God forbid he play. Not like anyone would want to see a top 5 prospect get on the field. Yes, that’s sarcasm. And yes I’m laying it on pretty thick.
I’ve heard Sir Albert really likes it when you call him El Hombre. I look forward to when he plays on the road and fans bust out large El Hombre signs. Actually that will probably just make him mad, something you definitely don’t want to do when he’s playing your team.
Mr. Pujols played his first Cactus League Spring Training game today and went 2/3 in the process. He had a double and RBI. The other Angels newcomer, CJ Wilson pitched 2 scoreless innings against the Oakland A’s.
Manny Ramirez still does not have a hit this spring and is 0/5 as an A. Josh Reddick and Brandon Allen continue to tear the cover off the ball. Yoenis Cespedes has not played yet, but is getting closer. Excited to see what he does. There could be something to this A’s squad. Plus, if they are terrible, there’s always my boy, Run BMC and his girl, Amanda McCarthy.
Elsewhere in WC Baseball (that’s West Coast abbreviated), the Mariners played my now hometown San Diego Padres. Carlos Quentin got his first Spring Training action this year with a 2/2, double, single, walk appearance. Just missed a home run and triple for the rich man’s cycle. I don’t know what that means, but I think it involved the walk part of the cycle. Speaking of rich men (that doesn’t sound good coming from me), the newest Millionaire, Cameron Maybin did not play today. I’d take the day off too if I just received $25M. Good signing for Los Friars and my man, JB.
I love me some Andy Van Slyke. This whole post has some rather gay overtones to it. Not sure what that’s all about. Anyway, the AVS produced a very talented ball player in Scott Van Slyke. That dude can flat out mash a baseball. I hope he makes the big league squad. He’ll be fun to watch. Van Slyke, the younger one, had a two run HR for the Dodgers today to help his case.
Los Giants are under the lights tonight in Scottsdale or as I like to call it, the mean streets of Scottsdale or just plain Scottsdiggity. Interesting the two places I’ve lived in my life both have SD. Lots of initials and abbreviations today, too. Not sure. Maybe it has to do with the Mayan calendar. WSC out.
Another development in the Cactus League… this is starting to become a circus. Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson in Angels camp, Yoenis Cespedes an A, Manny being Manny, Matt Kemp being Matt Kemp, Josh Hamilton aka The Relapse, If the Yu Fits Darvish, and now Brewergate.
Something in Milwaukee stinks, and it ain’t the cheddar. No, Prince Fielder has not suddenly shown up at Brewers camp, but Ryan Braun has. And yes he brought baggage. After all, he now has to pack for an extra 50 games this year. Congratulations, Ryan. Let’s show him what he’s won. A court case appeal on a technicality a full 162 game season. Yeah!
I’m honestly not hating on the guy. I could care less if he cheated. I just think it’s funny and all very convenient.
Let’s recap. The National League MVP tests positive for a elevated testosterone, which was 30x higher than normal. He plays for the team which is owned in part by the Commissioner of Major League Baseball. Suddenly his urine sample is carried home overnight by some random employee before being shipped to Montreal. Really? Montreal? MLB hasn’t had a team there for 8 years, but they do their drug testing there? That ish cray.
I am excited about both the NL West and AL West this season. Additions like Albert Pujols, Yoenis Cespedes, Manny Ramirez, Melky Cabrera, Carlos Quentin, Yu Darvish and many others, brings an increased focus to West Coast baseball. Plus there are some incredible prospects in both these divisions. Guys like Yonder Alonso (Padres), Jesus Montero (Mariners), Mike Trout (Angels), Jarrod Parker (A’s), Michael Choice (A’s), Jurickson Profar (Rangers), Trevor Bauer (D’Backs), Tyler Skaggs (D’Backs) and Nolan Arenado (Rockies) are all future big league All-Stars.
There is no doubt the top two teams in the AL West, Rangers and Angels, are going to dominate the headlines, but don’t count out the Oakland A’s. They have made some very interesting moves this off-season and refuse to just give up. While I don’t think they can win the division, I do think they will finish above .500, leaving the Mariners destined for last.
The NL West, like just about every year, is just going to beat up on each other, until one team, the Arizona Diamondbacks, pulls away from the pack. The Giants, Dodgers, Padres and Rockies have each improved, but I still believe AZ has the best team.
The East Coast seems to get 99% of the baseball coverage, with the Phillies, Red Sox, Yankees, Braves and Rays leading the way. That’s fine. I understand how major markets and advertising dollars work (I majored in Marketing). I have however, started to see a shift this year. It appears as though MLB.com, ESPN.com, Yahoo, etc have taken notice that there is some seriously good baseball about to be played on the West Coast. I’m seeing a lot of Angels, A’s, Rockies, Rangers, D’Backs, Dodgers and Giants headlines leading the homepages of the previously mentioned sites.
About time. Last time the West Coast got this much love, NWA ran the streets of Los Angeles. Now, it’s the Angels. Although technically they are in Anaheim.
Both the NL West and AL West continue to be the hotbeds of activity in baseball. The latest signing of Yoenis Cespedes only adds to the excitement of what will be an incredible year of baseball on the West Coast. Let’s take a look at WSC’s favorite free agent signings of the 2011-2012 off-season.
Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland A’s – He is going to be fun to watch. I haven’t seen much video, but what I have seen is a sweet swing with opposite field power. Reminds me of Sammy Sosa.
Albert Pujols, LA Angels – The Machine. Enough said.
CJ Wilson, LA Angels – Slots in very nicely to an absolutely dominating rotation. Weaver, Haren, Wilson, Santana. Nasty.
Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers – Hey, if the Yu fits, wear it. Can’t wait to see him pitch a full game versus big league talent. $60 Million. How many Yen is that?
Aaron Harang, LA Dodgers – The man born in San Diego, went to San Diego State and played last season for the Padres will head north up the I-5 to Hollywood. Kershaw and Harang will make a deadly 1-2 combo.
Melky Cabrera, SF Giants – The Milk Man delivers. I don’t know what that means. Giants will be a solid team this year. Last year they couldn’t score any runs. With a few lineup changes and Buster Posey back, how will they do this season?
We don’t have much longer to wait. Baseball is upon us. Who are you most looking forward to seeing play?
Arte Moreno continues to show off his deep pockets, successfully obtaining the two best free agents of the off-season, on the same day. On December 8th, Albert Pujols signed a 10-year, $240 million contract and C.J. Wilson inked a five-year, $77.5 million deal.
The Angels, with Dan Haren, Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Ervin Santana have arguably the league’s best pitching staff. Now, with Pujols, they might have MLB’s best hitter, too. Still, winning the AL West is far from a guarantee as the Texas Rangers have a rather large say in what happens in the division.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (I still dislike that name) feature an extremely talented team, stacked with prospects, stars and veteran role players. Look for Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter to rebound with the protection Pujols brings to the lineup for them. Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo are both up and coming stars. Howie Kendrick and Eric Aybar are both studs up the middle and Peter Bourjos had a great first season in the bigs last year. Plus, defensively in center field he can catch just about anything.
The pitching staff is top notch, domination waiting to happen, although a few questions do remain in the bullpen where the Angels may need to acquire some depth. Jordan Walden is a good, young closer, yet his 9 blown saves last season leave room for improvement.
Bottom line, there are only two things that can stop the Angels from winning the West. Their bullpen and the Texas Rangers.