Here's Thursday's edition of Saber-Links:
Marc Normandin of Baseball Nation discusses how the Angels' big offseason moves have been little to no help: New Roster, New Rules, Same Angels - Baseball Nation
Sometimes, new faces isn't enough -- the Angels wouldn't be the first team to load up and then fail to deliver on off-season promise. But what's odd about this with regard to the Angels is where they stood after 143 games last year: the 2011 Angels were 78-65, 2-½ back in the division, and 7-½ back of the only wild card. That's just one game difference, albeit with wild card and division distances swapped, from where they are today. That, despite all of the good they did over the winter to improve on that
Dave Cameron and the guys over at FanGraphs gave us another useful tool. This time, it's a 2012 Free Agent Custom Leaderboard: 2012 Free Agent Custom Leaderboard | FanGraphs Baseball
With the regular season just a few weeks away, we know many of you have turned your attention towards the off-season, and are coming up with potential scenarios you’d like to see your favorite team pursue this winter. So, to assist with comparisons and plans, we’ve created a custom leaderboard with all of the free agents expected to hit the market this winter.
Kyle Boddy of The Hardball Times takes a look at Tim Lincecum's velocity decline: Tim Lincecum’s velocity—a lost cause?--THT
My hypothesis is that Lincecum is focusing a lot on rotational momentum around the upper trunk and trying to leverage the muscles in the back (latissimus dorsi, mainly) to produce velocity, but has lost his "line to the plate." Movement is being wasted and improperly sequenced, possibly as a result of reduced lean body mass, loss of stability in the shoulder, or just altered mechanics for whatever reason.
Ben Lindbergh of Baseball Prospectus says there's still hope for Pirates' fans, just probably not this season: Baseball Prospectus | Overthinking It: Chicken Soup for the Pirates Fan's Soul
Whether the Pirates end the losing-season streak a few weeks from now or not, their season is already a success. If they finish with 81 wins, we can snark about the streak a little longer. But that would still be nine wins better than they were before.
The postseason race continues to heat up. I hope everyone is enjoying it.