Tagged: Athletics

Angels Lose Two in Rule 5 Draft

Bobby Cassevah

David Herndon


The Angels lost two minor league pitchers in today’s Rule 5 Draft. Both spent 2009 in the Arkansas Travelers bullpen.

The Oakland A’s claimed right-hander Bobby Cassevah with the ninth pick in the first round. Selected by the Angels in the 34th round of the June 2004 draft, Bobby was one of two “high-risk, high-reward” amateur pitchers selected that year. Cassevah and 14th rounder Nick Adenhart were both recovering from “Tommy John” elbow ligament surgery. Cassevah had a 3.68 ERA in 57 relief appearances with four saves. He had a 45/37 SO:BB ratio in 73 1/3 innings. After the All-Star Game, his ERA was 5.81.

With the 17th pick in the first round, the Philadelphia Phillies claimed David Herndon, who had a 3.03 ERA in 50 relief appearances with the Travs, notching 11 saves. He had a 35:14 SO:BB ratio in 65 1/3 innings. Herndon was selected by the Angels in the fifth round of the June 2006 draft.

It should come as no surprise that both pitchers were originally scouted and signed by Tom Kotchman.

As noted in yesterday’s blog, the claimant team must protect the drafted player on the 25-man roster all next year or offer him back to the Angels for half-price, i.e. half of $50,000.

The Phillies have made a habit of claiming Angels players in recent years.

In December 2006, they claimed catcher Ryan Budde, but returned him to the Angels in April 2007. He made his Angels debut later that year.

In December 2008, the Phils selected pitcher Robert Mosebach. “Moose” returned him to the Angels at the end of spring training, and he made his major league debut with the Halos on July 25.

By the way, Mosebach was another Tom Kotchman signing.

Former Major Leaguer Rips Billy Beane, “Moneyball”

I’ve made it clear over the years what a joke I think Moneyball is, both the book and the philosophy.

The book, because it pretends like the Oakland A’s have come up with something unique and brilliant, when in fact a lot of what they do is also done by other organizations. Some parts of the book have proven to be fictional, confirmed by A’s GM Billy Beane himself. And the more extreme among the stathead movement have deified Beane as some sort of baseball god, with Moneyball the bible of their religion.

The philosophy, because it doesn’t work.

The latest example of that is in a column by Long Beach Press-Telegram columnist Doug Krikorian. He quotes at length former major leaguer Ed Crosby, the father of A’s shortstop Bobby Crosby.

You can click on the above link and read the article yourself. This part I found particularly noteworthy:

“The A’s take the bats out of their players’ hands from the time they’re in the minor leagues,” he says. “Bobby was taught always to take the first pitch. They take all the aggressiveness out of their players. Look how much better guys like Eric Burns and Nick Swisher and Marco Scutaro have become once they got out of Oakland. …

“I love the way Mike Scioscia has the Angels playing. They’re so aggressive both with their bats and with their baserunning. They’re always attacking. That’s not the case with the A’s.” …

It reminded me of a rookie Arizona League game I saw a few years ago between the Angels and A’s. It was clear that no A’s batter would be allowed to swing at the first pitch, so the Angels’ starter that day simply threw Strike One after Strike One after Strike One. The A’s were shut out that day.

Rookie games against A’s teams have seemed different in the last couple years. I’ve noticed they seem more aggressive than they used to be. They’re bunting, they’re stealing bases, they’re even swinging at the first pitch.

So maybe Moneyball has been tossed into some green-and-gold trash can in the Oakland front office.

And as of this writing, the Angels are 19½ games ahead of the A’s in the standings.

Which is the only stat that matters.