The Angels made one of the biggest trades this offseason by acquiring the defensive wizard Andrelton Simmons from the Atlanta Braves. The move that was quite unexpected, but they needed to do something bold to keep up with the young Astros.
As long as the Angels have Mike Trout, they will be in the conversation for the AL Central crown. The division has gotten stronger over the last few years with both Houston and Seattle making moves to contend. The Angels will need to battle if they want to make it to the postseason this year.
The Angels need a corner outfielder, will they make a move or keep a weak platoon in left field?
Here is the 2016 MLB season preview for the Los Angels Angels.
2015 Win/Loss Record: 85-77
Key Additions: SS Andrelton Simmons, 3B Yunel Escobar, SS Cliff Pennington, OF Craig Gentry, OF Daniel Nava, RP Al Alburquerque, OF Todd Cunningham, C Geovany Soto, 3B Jefry Marte, SP Deolis Guerra, OF Quintin Berry, RP Javy Guerra & 2B Gregorio Petit
Key Losses: SS Erick Aybar, 3B David Freese, C Chris Iannetta, OF Matt Joyce, OF Collin Cowgill, RP Cesar Ramos, RP Trevor Gott, RP Vinnie Pestano, SS Taylor Featherston, OF David Murphy, OF Shane Victorino, 1B Efren Navarro, OF Dan Robertson & OF David DeJesus
Interleague Schedule: NL Central
Projected Starters: Carlos Perez, Albert Pujols, Johnny Giavotella, Yunel Escobar, Andrelton Simmons, Daniel Nava, Mike Trout, Kole Calhoun & C.J. Cron
Projected Starting Rotation: Garrett Richards, C.J. Wilson, Andrew Heaney, Jered Weaver & Matt Shoemaker
Closer: Huston Street
Fantasy Sleeper: SP Matt Shoemaker – Shoemaker was a ‘sexy’ name this time last season after he came in 2nd place for AL Rookie of the Year in 2013. He gave up too many homers last season and his ERA exploded. If he keeps the ball down, especially against the Astros and Rangers, he should have a much better year. He’s worth either a late-round pick or a spot in your streaming rotation.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: None – The Angels farm system is one of the worst in the Majors. They don’t have any blue chip prospect ready to jump to the Majors anytime soon.
Team Analysis: The Angels are a product of their own success. They paid crazy money to Albert Pujols and others, traded away prospects for players like Andrelton Simmons and others and now find themselves thin on cap space and prospects.
The Angels do have one thing going their way, they still have Mike Trout on their team. He alone is worth nearly ten wins a season…but you can’t win the AL West with only ten wins. Don’t get me wrong, the Angels have some really good players, but their championship window is closing fast. Albert Pujols might have another year or two in him and I think Kole Calhoun is a potential future All-Star. They just desperately need another corner outfielder to contend in the AL West. I don’t think a Daniel Nava/Craig Gentry platoon will get them the success they need. The overall lineup doesn’t have the same power from #1 to #9 as Angels teams of the past.
I believe they will get another corner outfielder at some point in the year. They will contend for most of the year, but the Rangers and Astros are just too stacked this year. The Angels will fall short of the postseason once again.
2016 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 81 (Prediction: OVER)
2016 Projected Win/Loss Record: 83-79 (3rd 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.