2014 is here. The New Year was rung in, celebrated, and toasted at parties as 2013 faded. Many of us have made our resolutions. We’ve determined what we should do to better ourselves in the coming year and make our lists how to accomplish these goals. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to get Mike Trout’s autograph. Somehow, some way, I’m determined to make this a reality.
I began thinking about the upcoming baseball season. Pitchers and catchers report on February 13, 2014, 38 days from this posting. It seems so close, but so far away. To pass the time, I thought about New Year’s resolutions and what the Angels’ should be for the upcoming year. So, without further ado, here are the top five New Year’s resolutions for the Angels 2014 season.
Resolution 1: Focus on pitching.
The Angels greatest problem has been pitching. The struggles for both the starting rotation and bullpen have been well-documented, so it stands to reason that it would be the first area they would both need and want to focus on most. As I pointed out in another post, Angels pitchers were in the bottom third of all MLB teams in most major categories last year.
Starters pitching deeper into games would put less pressure on the bullpen to pitch more innings. Fewer innings from the bullpen would mean much less nail-biting, yelling at the TV, and throwing things in frustration when another lead is blown. The relievers themselves should work on keeping leads, no matter how small. Doing so would also help with keeping nails, and prevent violence against inanimate objects.
Resolution 2: Ensure Mike Trout gets paid.
We all know who the best player on the Angels has been. Mike Trout. It makes sense that the best player should be compensated for what he does. Our editor here at Halo Hangout has proposed starting a Kickstarter campaign. I would happily contribute to it!
In all seriousness, though, the goal is to sign Mike Trout to a long-term deal. But if that’s not possible with the current salary constraints, then the next best thing would be to give him a raise that’s enough to make sure he knows how grateful the team is for all his contributions, assure he’s happy to be an Angel, and establish a reason for him to consider a long-term offer from the Angels when one able to be extended.
Resolution 3: Improve fielding.
Just as pitching has been a plague for the Angels, so has fielding percentage. Last year, they ranked 27 of 30 teams in errors. Only 3 teams committed more errors than the Angels in the field: the Milwaukee Brewers, the Chicago White Sox, and the Houston Astros. Many of those errors lead to runs, so obviously, fewer errors means fewer runs allowed to score, which means that profanity levels across the board for Angels fans are reduced.
Resolution 4: Find ways to not be LOBsters.
LOB (left on base) has been another issue for the Angels. I lost track of how many times last year I saw the bases loaded or runners on (sometimes with no one out or only one out), and the Angels couldn’t capitalize on the prime scoring opportunity that presented itself, so I looked it up. Turns out, it happened 1,144 times.
Now, it’s not like that was the worst in the league, in fact it was 22nd, so eight teams left more men on base, the World Series Champion Boston Red Sox included. They came in at 29th with 1,212, (the Detroit Tigers had 1,250, which was the most). Clearly, there’s no direct correlation between, runners LOB and going to the postseason, but it would certainly help fans’ blood pressure and all-around happiness levels if fewer runs were stranded.
Resolution 5: Rebuild the farm system.
The Angels’ depleted minor league system is a problem of their own making. The Angels were in “win now” mode and traded away top talent in the minors. The Zack Greinke deal was one such trade, the Angels got a proven commodity in Greinke for the final months of 2012, but they had to give up three prospects, including Jean Segura, in order to acquire his services for the short time he was here.
Since part of the Angels’ current problem is salary restrictions, it would help if young talent from the minors were taking some of the pressure off by coming up to the majors and performing well, especially pitchers. But because pitchers are always top priority, the Angels have traded many pitching prospects and are now left decimated. To prevent this problem from recurring, the system has to be restocked.
These are the five resolutions the Angels should make their priority. Addressing them is the best way to reach their potential in 2014 and beyond. Returning to the postseason, winning another World Series, is the goal. To get there, the Angels must correct the major problems they face and each of these resolutions is targeted to focus on the issues everyone is aware of. And with any luck, along with some effort devoted to these areas, Angles fans will throw fewer things around in frustration, have better blood pressure levels, have nails that are healthy lengths, and be all around happier. Can you think of any resolutions the Angels should make? Let me know! For now, happy New Year! Cheers to 2014!