First- Trade stuff. I don’t know. Neither do you. Obviously, I’m going to be a little bummed to lose a player I’ve been tracking, but as I’ve said on Twitter, you have to give up stuff to get stuff. Actually, I said a top of the rotation pitcher is like a panda bear- a zoo doesn’t just trade a panda for 2 chimps and a llama. Even an oldish panda’s gonna cost you a kimodo dragon, an albino alligator, and an baby hippo. Anyways, I’m kinda just ready for the deadline to pass. You know who the Rangers hold in highest esteem and they are a sharp front office. If they make a change and move some key prospects, I feel confident they’ll be getting a piece(s) they feel can help them fly a flag this year.
Second- Speaking of flying flags. If the Angels don’t fly a flag in the next 1-5 years, this could mark the beginning of a long period of futility for that club. They are incredibly stacked right now. Adding Greinke solidified a rotation already anchored by an ace. Pujols is Pujols, Trumbo is way better than I thought he’d be and Trout could simply be “generational”. If you don’t think the Angels are a legitimate championship contender you’re both delusional and kidding yourself, not to mention wrong. They’re good. Except when it comes to their farm system. I can’t recall a team going for it in the current sphere while sacrificing the long term future, more than this team is. Their system was not strong before the Greinke trade, it is baby-pool shallow now. I saw Segura, Hellweg, and Pena play on several occasions, and they are all quite good. I was behind homeplate when Hellweg hit Mike Olt on the hand a few weeks ago with a 95 mph heater that cost Olt a week on the shelf. (he hits a lot of batters) The system is now led by 20 year old Kaleb Cowart and 22 year old CJ Cron, both currently in High-A. Cowart is a stud and could be a first division star, Cron is a 6’4″ 235lb 1B/DH. Cron has huge power, but a quick roster check indicates at the big league level, the 1B/DH positions are currently taken by a guy with 9 years left on a guaranteed contract and another guy with realized MLB power and no real defensive home. The point is, the Angels are flat-out goin’ for it. I say good for them. It makes baseball more exciting and it damn sure makes the AL West more exciting. I know they have a huge TV contract ready to kick in and a fantastic team, but there is next to nothing coming down the pipes to help them, so the team you see now is the one they’re set to roll with for the next 5 years. That is unless they can’t sign Greinke at the end of this season, at which point, they’ll have some serious questions to answer.
-Engel Beltre. Getting a lot of questions about him lately, because he’s hitting like crazy. This is true. The hits are flying all over the place for him right now, including the long ball. He’s a plus runner, plus defender, plus arm centerfielder who hits from the left side. He is still not doing what the team wants him to do which is see more pitches and generally make pitchers work harder, but hey, he’s hitting the crap out of the ball, so, ok. Repeating a level is never really a good thing for any prospect and Beltre is in his second year in Frisco at age 22. He’s earned a chance to move to AAA next year assuming his quasi-doppleganger Julio Borbon has moved on. The kid has raised his season average by 20 points in the last 3 weeks, so he deserves some credit even is he is still swinging at damn near every flying pill coming his way. Also in the last month, he dropped his head and jogged on a pop-up to left field which was dropped- he barely made it a single, and in another game he was doubled off of first on a pop-up to second, which is both stupid and actually kinda hard to do. At this point I’d project him as a 4th OF type, but only if he continues to have a poor approach. If he could improve that facet as well as becoming an overall more heady player, he could be an everyday MLB outfielder in a couple years.
And finally, I want to say a few words about Newberg Night at the Ballpark. I think I’ve been to all but one of these unique events. There really isn’t another way to phrase the night as anything other than the ultimate Rangers dork-out. It is the single greatest collection, in one room anyway, of well-versed and articulate Ranger fans. I know there are other events like Fan Fest or whatever, but not very many people at Fan Fest are worried about calling up Olt and costing him a year of team control. Very few people at other events are going to ask Coach Welke questions about Gobbles Gallo or Jorge Alfaro. I often call Jamey “The Godfather” and the term was also used by JD to describe Welke yesterday. Newberg has built an online army of fans seeking more information than the traditional media outlets provide. He is an unabashed fan and I’m proud to say he is my friend. Every year I make new friends at Newberg Night. That is, at times, hard for me-as it is for anyone, but somehow easy at this event. I have a tacit enough understanding of how the machinations are working right now to understand JD’s decision to bring the entire brain trust up from the war room was nothing more than a quick break given to these guys by their boss during a stressful time. Nonetheless it was absolutely fantastic to see him lead in the troops. I surmise it was an opportunity for many in the room to put a face to names like Thad Levine, Josh Boyd, and Tim Purpura. Hell, even Director of International Scouting, Mike Daly was there. Until yesterday I’d never seen Daly, primarily because I don’t live in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Colombia, Honduras, or Curacao. So yeah, it’s a pretty remarkable night. I hope you were there. If not, next year, don’t hesitate, just go. Duh.
This concludes my brain dump, you may now resume your regularly scheduled activities.
Thanks for reading and, as always, Enjoy Baseball! Love Ya!