After signing Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson last offseason, Angels’ fans expected a World Series ring last season. They struggled out of the gate and once they righted the ship, Oakland and Texas had a grip on the playoffs spots.
This offseason they upped the ante even more by adding Josh Hamilton, Ryan Madsen, Jason Vargas and Tommy Hanson. The Angels are built to win now and it’s hard not to pick them to win the AL West and represent the league in the World Series in October.
Can Mike Trout repeat his rookie campaign or will he fall victim to a sophomore slump?
Here is the 2013 MLB season preview for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
2012 Win/Loss Record: 89-73
Key Additions: OF Josh Hamilton, P Jason Vargas, P Tommy Hanson, P Joe Blanton, P Sean Burnett, P Ryan Madson, P Brandon Sisk, SS Tommy Field
Key Losses: P Ervin Santana, P Dan Haren, P Zack Greinke, P Jordan Walden, OF Kendrys Morales, SS Maicer Izturis, P Jason Isringhausen
Interleague Schedule: NL Central + Los Angeles Dodgers
Projected Starters: Chris Iannetta, Albert Pujols, Howard Kendrick, Alberto Callaspo, Erick Aybar, Mike Trout, Peter Bourjos, Josh Hamilton, Mark Trumbo
Projected Starting Rotation: Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Tommy Hanson, Joe Blanton, Jason Vargas
Closer: Ernesto Frier/Ryan Madsen
Fantasy Sleeper: SP Tommy Hanson – The Angels don’t have any true sleepers this season. None of their top prospects will be ready to bring up. Their starting nine aren’t sneaking up on anyone. Tommy Hanson would be better suited on a “bounce back year” list. He was acquired from Atlanta this offseason, which was a shock to me. At one time, he was one of the ten best prospects in the entire league. He’s had injury issues and the Braves lost patience. I usually don’t like a pitcher switching leagues, but if Hanson increases his fastball velocity and stays away from throwing sliders 29% of the time, he’ll put up numbers in L.A. He will get enough run support to earn wins and have a K/9 around 8. Baseball Prospectus agrees with my thinking and has him with a record of 8-8 with a 3.49 ERA. I think their prediction is safe, but I expect more wins.
Team Analysis: I’m not saying the 2013 Angels are the 1927 Yankees, but this team looks so good on paper. I would hate to be an AL West pitcher this season. The heart of the order will be Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, the best in the Majors. Miguel Cabrera’s Triple Crown was the only thing keeping Trout from winning the MVP in 2012. I expect Trout to have a great year, but he won’t repeat those insane numbers again. Hamilton and Pujols will have seasons we expect them to have. If those three players do that, the Angels will win the AL West. The starting rotation is much improved. They replaced Ervin Santana and Dan Haren with Jason Vargas and Tommy Hanson. Santana and Haren had mediocre years and at one point last season, Vargas was one of the hottest pitchers in the American League. The only question mark in the pitching staff is, who will close? Ryan Madsen was signed to be a closer, but he’s coming off Tommy John surgery. Ernesto Frieri closed some games last season, but he’s more suited to be a set-up man. The Angels should win the AL West, but the Rangers will be on their tail the entire season.
Sportsbook.ag’s 2013 Wins Over/Under Line: 92.5 (Prediction: OVER)
2013 Projected Win/Loss Record: 103-59 (1st in AL West)
…because people often find my site on Google by trying to find MLB players with their shirt off (I have zero idea how this started). Here is a picture of Mike Trout shirtless on the beach with his girlfriend, Jessica Tara Cox.