After their lost 2013 season, the Angels may want a re-do and avoid signing Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. Both deals look horrible after one season. They still have many more seasons with both players, so there’s still hope they can turn it around.
Mike Trout had arguably the best two full seasons to start a career. He’s not expected to slow down and most still think his best days are ahead of him, which is scary. He could end up being baseball’s first $300 million dollar man.
Oakland is coming off a playoff appearance and Texas came up a game short of a Wild Card spot. Both come into this season with improved rosters. Can the Angels bounce back and compete for the AL West division title?
Here is the 2014 MLB season preview for the Los Angels Angels.
2013 Win/Loss Record: 78-84
Key Additions: 3B David Freese, DH/OF Raul Ibanez, SP Tyler Skaggs, RP Joe Smith, SP Hector Santiago, RP Fernando Salas, C Yorvit Torrealba, 1B Carlos Pena, RP Brandon Lyon & RP Josh Wall
Key Losses: OF Peter Bourjos, SP Jerome Williams, SP Jason Vargas, SP Tommy Hanson & 2B Brendan Harris
Interleague Schedule: NL East + Los Angeles Dodgers
Projected Starters: Chris Iannetta, Albert Pujols, Howie Kendrick, David Freese, Erick Aybar, Kole Calhoun, Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton & Raul Ibanez
Projected Starting Rotation: Jared Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs & Hector Santiago
Closer: Ernesto Frieri
Fantasy Sleeper: OF Josh Hamilton – How the hell can a past first-round fantasy player be considered a fantasy sleeper? Well, the hate on him has gone too far. Fantasy owners have long-term memories and often shy away from players who have burned them in the past. Hamilton definitely burned many owners last season. He’s currently dealing with a calf strain and that will make him fall further in the draft. His current average draft position on ESPN.com is #95. That is 10th round in standard leagues and around the 8th round in 12-team leagues. I feel that is far too low. I don’t think he will put up the same numbers he had in Texas, but he is still a good player. His health issues can’t be ignored, but he’s being drafted as a #3 outfielder…he will out-play that position.
Prospects To Keep Your Eye On: 2B Taylor Lindsey & 1B C.J. Cron – Both of these players should start the season in Triple-A and are insurance policies in case an injury takes out Howard Kendrick or Albert Pujols. Lindsey has power (17 homers in 508 a-bats in Double-A) and Cron could eventually push Pujols to DH. I’m not sure how many at-bats either of these players will get in the Majors, but they are the most MLB-ready bats in the minors. SP Tyler Skaggs, who was once one of the best pitching prospects in baseball. He will start the season in the starting rotation. He’s worth an immediate look.
Team Analysis: 2013 was a lost season. The Angels had expectations of playing in the postseason. They made the two biggest offseason acquisitions last year by signing Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton to monster long-term contracts. Neither player played well and both suffered injuries that lingered the entire season. If Mike Trout didn’t have an insane season (27/97/.323 with 33 stolen bases), the Angels could have really had a stunk up the joint. They got that all out of their system and hopefully the injury bug doesn’t derail another season. They made some moves this offseason by adding bats David Freese and Raul Ibanez. They had a few holes in their rotation from players leaving, so they traded for both Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago in a three-team deal. The AL West has strong starting pitching and I feel the Angels are still another starter away from having a rotation to go with their offense. I feel a trade could be made this season to fix that. The Angels are a borderline playoff team. Texas should win the division, but the race for the AL Wild Card spots will be a lot of fun. Oakland, Tampa Bay, New York, Los Angeles and possibly even Kansas City could all be playing for two spots.
2014 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 87 (Prediction: OVER)
2014 Projected Win/Loss Record: 89-73 (2nd AL West)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.