- The Story: The newest PECOTA standings have the Angels pegged for a last-place finish in the AL West. The Monkey Says: Not only does it project a last place finish for the Halos, but they would be amongst the worst in the majors overall largely due to a disastrous pitching staff. I think this shows just how retarded these projections can be sometimes. Any system that calls for the Washington Nationals to finish over .500 clearly needs to be recalibrated.
- The Story: No decision has been made yet on replacing Rory Markas. The Monkey Says: As callous as it sounds, the Angels do need to make a hire soon with Spring Training about to start. Personally, I hope they don’t make just a one year hire as it seems moderately disrespectful, but at the same time I realize having to make a hire at this time is very challenging.
- The Story: Scott Kazmir is hoping his off-season conditioning program leads to improved performance in 2010. The Monkey Says: Kaz believes strengthening his core will help him be able to repeat his delivery better and thus improve his command. Let’s hope it works because there is a lot riding on him this year and he really needs to prove himself after his subpar playoff performances.
- The Story: ESPN’s Keith Law has three Angels in his top 100 prospect list. The Monkey Says: Mike Trout is the highest ranked at #49 and Law likes his potential to climb the list, but Hank Conger is right behind Trout at #52. Trevor Reckling is the third Angel at #77, saying he is likely maxing out as a #3 starter, so maybe Angel fans might want to ease up on their expectations of Trevor.
- The Story: Rex Hudler is having a tough time. The Monkey Says: In addition to being let go by the Angels a few months ago, Hud’s mother passed away recently as well. Somehow I imagine that even in the face of all these hardships, Hudler is remaining as positive as ever.
- The Story: The Angels payroll is shaping up to check in around $119 million this season. The Monkey Says: That is a modest raise of about $5-7 million over least year’s payroll and the assertion made in the piece that the Angels are unlikely going to be able to take on significantly more payroll during the season is spot on. It also makes me wonder if the Halos might consider selling off expensive players at the deadline if it appears that they are out of contention like all the advanced statistical systems seem to believe is inevitable.
- The Story: There is something about Joe Saunders. The Monkey Says: Personally, I still don’t know what to make of Saunders. He always finds a way to win games and he looked awesome in the post-season, but everything about his stuff and peripheral stats suggests that he should be a middle of the road pitcher.
- The Story: A profile of prospect Ryan Chaffee. The Monkey Chaffee is still in the lower levels of the system but his big strikeout numbers really got the attention of many Angel prospect watchers and he is quickly developing a bit of a cult following. All the scouting profiles seem to think he is a boom-or-bust kind of guy though.