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By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
Hands up.. How many people would have thought that the Oakland Athletics would start the 2013 season with the best record in the Major Leagues so far?
Of course this website is not surprised at all. Jonathan Hacohen (Website Founder and current Oakland A’s Correspondent) wrote a brilliant piece in the 1st week of July/2012 – breaking down Billy Beane‘s new MoneyBall Philosophy here.
I have to admit something right now.. I had not seen the movie “MoneyBall” even by this time. Yes…brutal and I was kicking myself for not seeing it before hand.
After the movie, I did some digging and was extremely flabbergasted with what I found about Beane’s magic. I wrote a Roster Tree for the Hitters and Pitchers in the organization. I studied every single transaction to back track how each of the current member of the team had arrived in an Oakland uniform. You can find that 2 part series here.
Can the Oakland A’s Do it Again in 2013 Preview:
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Sunday March 24th, 2013
The success of the Oakland Athletics was the surprise of the year in 2012. No one expected them to win the AL West after the Angels signed Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson and with the Rangers coming off of their second straight World Series Appearance. The A’s completely came out of nowhere with players stepping up that no one had heard of.
Josh Reddick proved to be a great acquisition from the Red Sox, hitting 32 bombs and driving in 85 runs. Cuban import Yoenis Cespedes also exceeded expectations after he was signed in the offseason, hitting 23 Homers and driving in 82. These two hard-hitting Outfielders served as mini Bash Brothers.
But, seeing Reddick and Cespedes both have good hitting seasons could have reminded longtime A’s fans of the greatness that happened in 1987, Canseco’s second year and when McGwire was a rookie. Cespedes and Reddick, along with the rest of the Oakland Athletics’ cast brought excitement to the Oakland Coliseum for the first time in a few years. But, the big question is: was last year a fluke?
The Swinging A’s in 2013 – Mature Lyrics So Parental Guidance Is Advised:
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Tuesday December 18, 2012
Kyle Holland (MLB Reports Intern): Follow @TheKHolland13.
2012 was a year to remember for Los Angeles fans. Even though neither team made a playoff appearance, both showed they will be a contender in years to come. The Angels signed Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson before the season started. The club possibly had the best player in the league with Mike Trout. The Dodgers already had Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and 2011 Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw. In late August ,the Dodgers traded for slugger Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett.
The 2012-13 offseason has been in no way different for Los Angeles. The Angels and Dodgers have clearly made the most impact so far heading into the 2013 campaign.
First let’s look at the Dodgers. They started their spending spree with a bang when they signed Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Dodgers won the right to sign him from his Korean League team (Hanwha Eagles), initially on November 9 for a $25,737,737.33 bid. He ended up signing for 6 Years/$36 Million on December 9. He has been reported to have a 90 MPH fastball that can top out at 95. He has a very impressive changeup-that has been said to be a very effective putout pitch. He also has a slider and a decent curveball. He pitched in the 2009 World Baseball Classic but has yet to announce if he’s pitching in the 2013 WBC. This is doubtful due to the fact the Dodgers probably want to preserve his arm during Spring Training and save the innings for the regular season.
The Dodgers have also made another huge acquisition in ace Zack Greinke. The guy started last year in Milwaukee as a member of the Brewers, before being traded halfway through the year to the Angels. He finished 2012 with a 15-5 Record, and a 3.48 ERA in 121.1 Innings Pitched. Greinke decided to sign with the cross town rivals for 6 years/$147 Million, the largest contract ever for a Right-handed pitcher. With Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu, the Dodgers may arguably have the best starting rotation in the National League.
Now that we know what the Dodgers have to offer in 2013, a plus lineup and a stellar pitching rotation. Across the city, the Angels have a situation that is not much different.
2012 was one of their best years in recent memory whether they made the postseason or not. The way they see it is the Billy Beane way: No one cares if you don’t win the last game of the season. So what do they do? They sign more absurd people so they can get the job done. The club went 81-57 with Trout in the lineup and only what could of have been if Pujols hadn’t started out so slow.
After signing the top Free Agent last year in Albert Pujols, they took the same approach again signing Josh Hamilton. It was almost identical in the events leading up to both signings. They didn’t even seem to be a contender in the Hamilton sweepstakes and yet they ended up landing the slugger. The contract awaiting the Outfielder in LA, is for 5 years/$125 Million. This is also key because they were able to weaken the Rangers. LA is basically the one team Texas did not want Hamilton to sign with and he did. Talk about frustration in the Rangers organization from pillar to post.
This Hamilton signing gives the Angels probably the best outfield in all of baseball. Mike Trout in Center just makes it fantastic alone. He probably should have won a Gold Glove and probably would have sewn up the MVP had he played in the 1st month. Hamilton will be in left and he has range and a cannon for an arm . Trumbo will round off the outfield in right. These are all fantastic outfielders, with the ability to make solid contact with the ball and hit it over the fence on a regular basis.
So exactly who wins the battle of LA right now? Judging by player ability and experience combined, I’d say the Dodgers. The better overall team? Probably the Angels. The Dodgers hitting will win them games, but defense wins championships. The Angels have power, defense, and pitching in C.J.Wilson, Jared Weaver, and Jerome Williams. The Dodgers have a stellar lineup and an absurd rotation, but the defense behind the staff lacks compared to the Angels.
Only time will be able to tell between these two teams. Games between them will certainly be highly awaited by every baseball fan in LA. You better be ready to dish out large amounts of cash if you’re looking attend any of these games between the two clubs for the foreseeable future… Or at least cue up the CD of Rage Against the Machine’s: “Battle of Los Angeles.”
(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com*)
Welcome to our newest Baseball Intern: Kyle Holland:
Kyle is a life long baseball fan outside of Boston. He is a sophomore in high school has played baseball since he was 5. Although growing up in one of the best baseball towns in the major leagues, he has been a Giants fan since 2009. He credits his aunt with the Giants being his favorite team as she lives in San Francisco. Some of his favorite players include Buster Posey, Stephen Drew, Trevor Bauer, Stephen Strasburg, and minor leaguer Danny Hultzen. You can find Kyle on Twitter Follow @TheKHolland13.
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