Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What do you get for $240 million?

To fire your hitting coach!

OK, I'm sure someone else has made that joke.  Lets look at the Angels' offense briefly while Foment continues his tour of each team's rotation.  Aside: I plan on doing similar things to team's lineups during the summer when we have more data and I have more time available.

The Angels, as I've talked about before, have an abysmal offense.  As of today, May 16, they are 12th out of 14 teams in the AL in OBP (301!!!), and 11th in slugging (379!!).  These are hilariously horrible offensive numbers, especially for a team that has a DH.  It's not all Pujols' fault, almost everyone seems to be pretty bad right now.  So, this firing isn't all that surprising.  However, before people blame AP for getting him fired, let's take a quick look back at the Angels' offense since their World Series win in 2002 (2003-2011).

2011- 313 OBP (11th)/ 402 SLG (8th), 86-76 (Pyth'd* 85-75)
2010- 311 (11th)/ 390 (10th), 80-82 (79-83)
2009- 350 (3rd)/ 441 (4th), 97-65 (92-70)
2008- 330 (11th)/ 413 (9th), 100-62 (88-74)
2007- 345 (3rd)/ 417 (9th), 94-68 (90-72)
2006- 334 (10th) / 425 (8th), 89-73 (84-78)
2005- 325 (9th) / (409) (9th), 95-67 (93-69)
2004- 341 (6th) / 429 (10th), 92-70 (91-71)
2003- 330 (8th) / 413 (9th), 77-85 (80-82)

*"Pyth" is short for "Pythagorean W-L", which is calculated based off of the number of runs you score against the number of runs you allow based on the Pythagorean theorem.  Used to tell if a team is overachieving or not.  Like that 08 Angels team that lost in 4 games to the Bosox in the ALDS, was really really lucky.

So, in those 9 seasons, the Angels have had an offense with an OBP above the median of 7th twice.  TWICE.  Slugging, they have been no higher than 4th, but usually around 8th or 9th.  They are worse than usual this season, pretty close to those 2010 numbers, but maybe they should have done this shakeup after last year when they OBP'd less than notables such as Juan Pierre and Darin Erstad.

I don't know how much effect firing the hitting coach is going to have on them, but rest assured if Pujols turns it around it's because of his new hitting coach (which he had at least 3 in St Louis and never really had much of an issue) and NOT because he is one of the best hitters of all time.  The same goes for all those other slumping below career level hitters.  Most of them will probably progress to the norm.  If they do, it will because they are major league hitters, not because of the hitting coach.  Bank on it.

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