Is it Time to Start Looking Towards Next Year?
Hello Mr. Negativity, right? I understand that there are still 100 games left on the schedule, and that teams like the Rangers and Athletics have yet to really hit a lull this season. However, there are benchmark dates in the schedule, one of which is Memorial Day. And with that date being two weeks in the rear view mirror, and still no positive consistency from this team, maybe it is time that we start to give a little bit of attention to next season.
With the draft going off over the weekend, and watching as the Angels once again tried to make due without a first round draft pick, I decided to look up where the team stands in the MLB standings. You know, the standings that when put in reverse order, determine where the teams fall in the draft for the following year. Here’s how the “reverse order standings” currently shake out:
So, if the season were to end today, the Angels would have the eighth pick in the draft. The last time that the Angels had a pick in the top ten of the draft, it was 1997. They took Troy Glaus with that pick.
Every year, some team goes bananas, and plays out of it's shoes after the All-Star break. Rattling off wins and historic paces even. Becoming the masters of their own destinies, and riding that wave all the way to the playoffs, and sometimes, the World Series (See the 2007 Rockies). But at some point in time, fans lost faith. That doesn't mean they weren't there, it just means that they had lowered the expectation levels so much, that anything more than a loss was gravy.
The Angels offense, could force that issue. The offense ranks eighth in wRC+ with a 104 mark, and 10th in wOBA at .320. Bot of those rankings are MLB rankings, and both of those rankings have the Angels one step ahead of the first-place Athletics. Players like Mark Trumbo, Howie Kendrick and Mike Trout are driving this team, and keeping them out of the cellar. The pitching however, is one step forward and two steps back. The pitchg staff's collective ERA- of 110 (10% worse than the league average) ranks 24th in all of baseball. And it's not just one or two pitchers who are to blame here. Every pitcher has had stretches (some longer than others) of ineffectiveness.
it really is sad, and a little bit pathetic, that this season is turning out this way. This team's offense deserves a far better fate, and the blame for the rotation falls squarely on the shoulders of Jerry Dipoto. He built this rotation, and handed it over to Mike Scioscia. Injuries have been a factor, but when you invest two years in Joe Blanton, it's probably time to rethink your decision making paradigm.
This isn't a "stop rooting for the Angels this season" post. Never stop rooting for this team. However, personally, I'm going to temper my expectations. Large contracts have crippled this team. Trades and multiple seasons without a first round pick have gutted the farm system of top-shelf talent. The Angels will have to just play this season out, and we will have to watch it happen. As a big budget team, they don't have the luxury of going into a full fledged rebuilding stage, but they desperately need to reload their system. And a top ten pick in next year's first year player draft, is a good place to start.