As Yakov Smirnov would say, "What. A. Country!" in which a mag like Sports Illustrated can collect the Blue Books from 30 General Managers, red-pen the essays, and tape the 1.3s, 2.7s and 3.8s to the glass office door for public review. Since when did SI know baseball from Aussie Rools Football? But that's what's makes it so great.
Here's what dey got on us out in the AL West boondocks, and Dr. D's reaction to their reaction. Below, you can react to my reacting to SI reacting to the most data-intense sports franchises on the planet.
SI on the Angels: F. "All they had to do was get a few runs. They failed even that easy task." (That's a grok, not a quote.) Most people mooooaaaannnnn that the Angels are "wasting Mike Trout's best years" by not dumping another $25M past the $189M tax threshhold.
Mainframe Pravda, comrade: "Wasting Mike Trout's Best Years" as opposed to ... wasting the years of Felix and Iwakuma? Wasting the years in which you have Bill James? Wasting the years in which the Sonics are in Seattle? Wasting Dr. D's time as he sits in the 341 perch for another summer? Get that weak slop outta the paint. Why is it okay to waste everything else, as the Mariners have done for 10-15 years, but not okay to waste Mike Trout?
It's true the Angels were inert this winter, or looked like it. They all got a year older, and their Big Move was to add a glove shortstop. Maybe they ARE incoherent now in the post-Jedi era. They had a minus runs diff last year, despite 85 wins. We've got every reason to hope that the game has passed Sosh by and he will, left free to roam, run 'em into the ground.
SI on the Orcs: B-. "Their 3rd-order winning percentage was .540 and they plowed all their system resources into the bullpen." Third order, huh. This means that Dr. D will have to unsay that crack about Aussie Rools, then?
PRAVDA: They lost 94 games and then coughed up Evan Scribner. There went the foundations of their dynasty, slowly crumbling. Their #2 and #3 SP's and starting 3B were soon to follow Scribner out the door.
But yeah. They added Hendriks, Madson, and Axford, besides getting Doolittle back. Hendriks, for example, was #8 in the majors for Fielding-Independent Pitching last year. When you deal a TOR for a relief pitcher, you want to win the late innings. (So what does that make DiPoto, who did the very opposite?)
Whichever mug wrote the Orcs piece is a good furlong ahead of the office curve over there at SI. And sho nuff Beane's approach looks sensible.
:: shrug :: Who can ever tell whether the A's are going to win 95 or lose 95. But they've still got Billy Butler hitting cleanup and their depth chart deteriorates from there. Angels-Orcs looks uncomfortably like a Sanders-Trump showdown to Dr. D. Winter "grades" (HA!) aside, it's still Oakland and it's still Arte Moreno.
SI on the Astros: C+. "They arrived in 2015, but one big move for a Closer ain't enough." Also the Astros got Doogie on a make-good deal. Gainsay the element of Karma at your peril, babe.
PRAVDA: Looks to Dr. D like Sports Illustrated, to everyone's surprise, misses the point. The Astros shed a big hatful of ML-ready talent for a name closer and --- > in so doing, slapped it up onto the marquee just how happy they are with their team.
With that young TOR, that middle infield, and club-controls talent everywhere, who's to say them nay. The Astros are starting to get depressing. For us, that is.
SI on the Rangers: B-. "Yet another AL West team that did hardly anything this winter." Does everybody at SI and ESPN work in Manhattan or Boston? Don't answer that!
PRAVDA: it's true the Rangers stood pat, except that for their scary-fast pounce on Tom Wilhelmsen, of course.
Last year's ballclub ran a 98 OPS+ and a 100 ERA+ last year, but they hauled in Cole Hamels and get Yu Darvish back in May. If the M's had won 88 games and added two Cy Young contenders, we'd probably be okay with our chances too.
Never saw a division with three 100-game winners before. Wonder how Billy Beane plans to survive the first six innings.