Los Angeles Angels Predictions
The Los Angeles Angels completely flopped in 2012 by failing to make the postseason despite spending huge money in free agency. They committed over $320 million to free agents Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson by signing the pair within hours on one day in December. Even with the emergence of Mike Trout, the Angels were out of the discussion come October.
This winter, the Angels have decided to keep spending big money on free agents. They gave Josh Hamilton a five-year, $123 million contract to play right field in Los Angeles. This team now has the best lineup in the league on paper, and the rotation isn’t too shabby, either. They have added Tommy Hanson, Jason Vargas and Joe Blanton to the mix this offseason.
Mike Trout (LF) – If not for Miguel Cabrera winning the Triple Crown, Trout would have run away with the AL MVP award. The rookie was sensational in hitting .326 with 30 homers, 83 RBIs, 129 runs scored and 49 steals.
Howard Kendrick (2B) – Torri Hunter thrived in this spot between Trout and Pujols last season. Kendrick, who hit .287 with eight homers and 14 steals last year, should as well.
Albert Pujols (1B) – Numbers have declined for three straight years. However, Pujols still reached the 30-homer, 100 RBI plateau in 2012 by finishing with 30 and 105, respectively.
Josh Hamilton (RF) – Struck out in 25.5 percent of at-bats in 2012 despite having a big year overall. Hamilton hit .285 with 43 homers, 128 RBIs and 103 runs scored.
Mark Trumbo (DH) – Was batting .311 with a .361 OBP and a league-leading .634 SLG with 26 homers in his first 91 games last year. Trumbo slumped down the stretch, posting a .213/.259/.294 line with only six homers in the final month-and-a-half.
Alberto Callaspo (3B) – The combined .664 OPS of Angels’ third basemen in 2012 ranked 28th in the majors. Callaspo hit .252 with 10 homers and 53 RBIs over 457 at-bats.
Erick Aybar (SS) – Hit .326 with 111 hits in his final 91 games after a very poor first half. Aybar also stole 20 bases in 2012.
Chris Ianetta (C) – A wrist injury and a forearm strain caused Ianetta to miss 70 games in his debut with Los Angeles last season. He hit .240 with nine homers in 79 games in 2012.
Peter Bourjos (CF) – The Gold Glove-caliber Bourjos slumped last season offensively with a .220 average. He needs to return to his 2011 form in which he hit .271 over 552 at-bats.
Jered Waver (RHP) – Has pitched at a Cy Young level for three straight seasons without winning the award. Weaver went 20-5 with a 2.81 ERA over 30 starts in 2012.
C.J. Wilson (LHP) – Slumped in the second half last year by going 4-5 with a 5.54 ERA over his final 16 starts. The bone chips in his elbow likely contributed to his poor finish.
Tommy Hanson (RHP) – Opened the 2009 season by going 10-4 with a 2.44 ERA with a .199 average against. In 36 starts since, Hanson is 14-13 with a 4.96 ERA and .277 average against.
Jason Vargas (LHP) – Certainly benefited inside Safeco Field last season while going 14-11 with a 3.85 ERA. Vargas posted a 2.74 ERA in home starts last year for Seattle, and a .4.78 ERA on the road.
Joe Blanton (RHP) – This inning-eater earned a two-year deal in the offseason. Blanton won 10 games last year in his time between the Phillies and Dodgers. He’ll have to fend off Garrett Richards for the 5th spot in this rotation.
Ryan Madson (RHP) – During his 32-save campaign in 2011, Madson struck out 62 batters, only had eight unintentional walks, and allowed just two homers in 62 appearances. Setting him up will be Scott Downs (1-1, 3.15 ERA), Kevin Jepsen (3-2, 3.02 ERA) and Ernesto Frieri (98 K’s in 66 innings).
1st Place AL West & OVER 89.5 Wins – There’s absolutely no doubt that the Angels have the best lineup in baseball from top to bottom. Provided everyone stays healthy, they should score more runs than any other team in the league. Weaver remains one of the best starters in the game, and I look for Wilson to rebound from his poor second half last year, which was clearly due to bone chips in his elbow. I also like the additions of the underrated duo of Vargas and Blanton. Hanson may very well be the key to how far the Angels can go this season. If he returns to his 2009 form, this team has the potential to win 100 games in 2013.
|2013 Los Angeles Angels Odds|
|Total Regular Season Wins||O89.5 (-120)|