Spring Training is an incredible experience. This was my 2nd time attending after attending in 2012 and the group I was with attended Spring Training for the first time. Luckily for our viewers, Nakai Green, my girlfriend and Maniac Ball photographer, was able to snap a ton of amazing pictures that I will share here. This is basically a cumulative review of the experience you get at Spring Training.
We attended with Halo Hooligans founder Mario Benitez and another Halo Hooligans supporter Daniel Green. Thanks to them, we were able to score some really good tickets from an Angels player and that allowed us to capture some of the pictures on here. In case you missed it, we are partnering with Halo Hooligans so being able to spend a weekend with some of their main people was a really good experience. We also have to thank AngelsWin who granted us access to the early morning batting practice on Sunday which allowed us to capture some of the pictures.
Here is our weekend in Tempe.
Keynan Middleton, the Angels 3rd round pick and 95th overall pick in the 2013 draft, was nice enough to meet up with me in Tempe this weekend for an interview. Keynan is one of the highest upside pitchers in the Angels system as he possesses a low to mid 90′s fastball along with a solid slider and developing off speed pitches. Middleton is one of the rare pitchers who was a 2 sport athlete in college as he played basketball as well as baseball. Keynan attended Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon.
Maniac Ball: Tell us what it’s like to be a minor leaguer. What are some of the fun aspects of it and what are the biggest struggles you face on an everyday basis?
Previous posts in this series: NL Central, NL East, AL East
Continuing our look at each division as we head into the start of the season, today we are taking a look at the AL Central. We will start at the top and work our way down:
Previous Posts in Series: AL East , NL East
Continuing our divisional preview series, we now move onto the NL Central.
Key Additions: Emilio Bonafacio, IF/OF. Chris Coghlan, OF. Jason Hammel, SP. Liam Hendriks, SP. George Kottaras, C. James McDonald, SP. Ryan Roberts, 3B. Jose Veras, RP. Casper Wells, OF. Wesley Wright, RP.
Key Losses: Scott Baker, SP. Brian Bogusevic, OF. Julio Borbon, OF. Kevin Gregg, RP. Matt Guerrier, RP. Dionner Navarro, C. Cody Ransom, 3B.
Previous Posts in Series: AL East
Continuing our divisional preview series, we now move on the the NL East.
Key Additions: Gavin Floyd, RHP.
Key Losses: Scott Downs, LHP. Tim Hudson, RHP. Paul Janish, SS. Reed Johnson, OF. Paul Maholm, LHP. Brian McCann, C. Eric O’Flaherty, LHP.
Jeff Gross, Getty Images
In my previous piece, I checked out some prominent hitters on the Angels and their ZIPS projections. For part 2 I was supposed to do the pitchers but that didn’t seem too interesting. What did seem interesting was seeing the ZIPS projections for not only the Angels rotation but the entire American League and comparing them to the Angels. What I focus on is the projected zWAR for each team, the amount of money allocated to the rotation (only counts towards pitchers that project to throw over 100 innings *and* will actually pitch in the rotation), and the $/zWAR to find out how much money teams are spending for wins from the rotation. Let’s get right into it.
Starting today, I will be previewing each division for the upcoming season, breaking down current rosters and how each team compares to one another. So here go, with the AL East batting leading off:
Key Additions: Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP. Nelson Cruz, OF. Alfredo Aceves, RHP. Delmon Young, OF. Quintin Berry, OF. Jemile Weeks, 2B. Francisco Peguero, OF. Ryan Webb, RHP.
Key Losses: Scott Feldman, RHP. Jason Hammel, RHP. Jim Johnson, RHP. Nate McLouth, OF. Michael Morse, OF. Brian Roberts, 2B. Francisco Rodriguez, RHP.
With the first weekend of Spring Training over, we can take a look back at some observations made by myself, who watched all 3 games on TV, and some of the Maniac Ball staff who were out in Tempe this weekend. Founder Anthony Emmerling made the trip for the weekend with writers Joe Gilleland and Sean Simons and were greeted with a 15-3 beat down of the Cubs by the Angels on Friday. Scott Stedman made the trip up Saturday and was able to catch the game at Peoria against the Mariners, which got rained out in the bottom of th 7th inning. All of the staff members were able to provide some input on players and some behind the scenes stuff while also catching some beautiful photos. Here are the observations from the first 3 days of Spring Training for the Angels.
Photo by Scott Stedman