This ‘N That

Right about now, I’d intended to be on the road to Rancho Cucamonga to shoot photos and video at today’s Quakes game against Inland Empire.

But the fates have conspired against me.

The main culprit is the political project I’m mentioned in earlier posts. That’s eating up so much time that I don’t have spare time for much of anything else.

For example, it took me almost three months to complete processing the photos I shot last March at minor league spring training. They’re finally online now in the FutureAngels.com Digital Photo Gallery.

Of course, with gas now above $4/gallon and rising, it doesn’t take much to discourage long-distance driving.

The Quakes are home next Sunday, so I’ll try to make it out then. I want to see the newly arrived Hank Conger and Ryan Mount.

The Angels’ 2008 draft is over, and if you read posts on certain fan boards the front office staff should be fired because the Angels didn’t have a first-round draft pick. (Mind you, the pick was lost as compensation for signing Torii Hunter …)

The cluelessness of such rants aside, which round a player is selected in really doesn’t mean much any more.

Nick Adenhart was considered the top high school pitching prospect going into the 2004 draft, but blew out his elbow and underwent “Tommy John” surgery. The Angels took a chance on him in the 14th round, signed him for half of a first-round bonus, and at age 21 he made his major league debut this year.

Mark Trumbo had signed a letter of intent to go to USC, but the Angels selected him in the 18th round of the 2004 draft and paid him first-round bonus money to lure him away from SoCal. Having altered his hitting mechanics — a process duly noted in recent years by FutureAngels.com — Trumbo is now tearing up the California League. Today’s Inland Valley Daily Bulletin has a lengthy article on Mark. Trumbo’s current AVG/OBP/SLG are .308/.350/.583. He’s on a pace for over 30 homers.

Cedar Rapids pitcher Jordan Walden fell to the 12th round in the 2006 draft. His velocity dropped due to a groin injury, and there were signability issues. The Angels picked him anyway and waited while Jordan went to junior college. They signed him in May 2007 and now he’s on the fast track. In eleven starts (64.2 IP), Walden has a 2.78 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP, and a 53:19 SO:BB ratio.

Teammate and buddy Trevor Reckling was signed out of a tiny New Jersey prep school with a mediocre baseball program, but scout Greg Morhardt saw his potential and got the Angels to choose Trevor in the 8th round of the 2007 draft. “Reck” has now pitched 20 straight scoreless innings for the Kernels, dropping his ERA to 2.64 in 64.2 IP.

The Angels’ major league roster has plenty other guys who weren’t first-round picks. Mike Napoli’s name was called in the 17th round of the 2000 draft. Howie Kendrick was selected in the 10th round of the 2002 draft. Chone Figgins was a 4th round pick by the Colorado Rockies, acquired by the Angels in a minor league trade in 2002 for outfielder Kimera Bartee, and has become an elite leadoff hitter. Reggie Willits was a 7th round pick in 2003. Scot Shields was a 38th round pick in 1997.

And then there are players like Ervin Santana, Erick Aybar and Francisco Rodriguez, who are not subject to the draft and are therefore signed through good scouting.

I suspect the true motivation behind the mouths calling for Reagins et al to be fired are really just people looking for attention by posting stupid messages guaranteed to offend people. In any case, they’re not real Angels fans, just trolls.

By the way, the Angels are now tied with the Cubs for the best record in baseball.

Before I go, a recommendation to check out The Sporkball Journals, a new blog by BeesGal, a frequent supporter of FutureAngels.com and — as you may suspect — a Salt Lake Bees fan.

Back to politics …

1 Comment

Hi Stephen,
Thank you, thank you, thank you for the kind plug. I thank you, my dog thanks you and your referral fee check is in the mail. ;-) I’ve already had a visitor who immediately tested my statistical skills. I couldn’t actually answer the question, however I endeavored to be as entertainingly diffusive as possible—aka Casey Stengel. . . .BeesGal

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