The Angels had a fantastic regular season in 2014. Mike Trout won league MVP and Albert Pujols bounced back from a below average 2013 season. The Angels postseason wasn’t as spectacular. They were swept in the ALDS by Kansas City.
As long as the Angels have Mike Trout, they will be a World Series contender. He does need help and their current roster is more than suitable for the job.
Pitching is a strong area for the Angels. Their rotation has established All-Stars and young talent that could eventually become top-of-the-rotation starters.
Josh Hamilton is expected to miss some time this season due to a drug relapse. How many games will he miss?
Here is the 2015 MLB season preview for the Los Angels Angels.
2014 Win/Loss Record: 98-64
Key Additions: SP Andrew Heaney, 2B Josh Rutledge, OF Matt Joyce, RP Cesar Ramos, SP Nick Tropeano, C Drew Butera, 2B Johnny Giavotella, OF Daniel Robertson & RP Matt Lindstrom
Key Losses: 2B Howie Kendrick, RP Kevin Jepsen, RP Jason Grilli, C Hank Conger, RP Michael Kohn, RP Joe Thatcher, OF Brennan Boesch & 3B Ian Stewart
Interleague Schedule: NL West
Projected Starters: Chris Iannetta, Albert Pujols, Josh Rutledge, David Freese, Erick Aybar, Kole Calhoun, Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton & C.J. Cron
Projected Starting Rotation: Jered Weaver, Garrett Richards, C.J. Wilson, Matt Shoemaker & Andrew Heaney
Closer: Huston Street
Fantasy Sleeper: OF Matt Joyce – We know Josh Hamilton will face punishment for admitting to a drug relapse, but we haven’t heard how long he will be out. Collin Cowgill and Matt Joyce are the two outfielders expected to fill-in. Cowgill doesn’t have much fantasy value, but Joyce does intrigue me. He had success in Tampa Bay and could do very well surrounded by other talented hitters.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: SP Nick Tropeano – The Angels have a stacked rotation and nearly every top prospect in their farm system is a pitcher. Los Angeles received Nick Tropeano in a trade that sent catcher Hank Conger to Houston. Tropeano had some success in Houston’s farm system (9-5 with 3.03 ERA in Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2014). He also made four starts for Houston at the end of last season. He will start the season in Triple-A and could join the Angels if a starter suffers a long-term injury.
Team Analysis: The Angels ran away with the AL West once Oakland hit a wall. Mike Trout was unanimously named 2014 AL MVP. They looked like the eventual World Series champs. Well, Kansas City ended up sweeping them in the ALDS. It doesn’t look as embarrassing since the Royals was only one win away from winning the World Series.
Los Angeles didn’t stand pat with their roster. They replaced Howie Kendrick with Josh Rutledge and added outfield depth with Matt Joyce. They even gained youth in a trade by adding a highly-touted prospect pitcher Andrew Heaney. The Angels always seem focus on youth while also re-stocking veterans for their roster.
The AL West is expected to be one of the best divisions in baseball. Oakland doesn’t appear to be playing for the division this season, but Texas and Seattle both improved their teams this offseason.
The Angels have a murder’s row of a starting rotation. Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson have contributed at a high level in the Majors while Matt Shoemaker and Andrew Heaney have bright futures. Garrett Richards was the best pitcher on last year’s team before suffering a knee injury late in the season. He is expected to be ready to start the season in late-April.
Los Angeles is the cream of the crop in the AL West. Mike Trout will have a Mike Trout-like season and I expect Albert Pujols to have a few more seasons left playing at a high level. The Angels will win the AL West and get will advance past the ALDS in 2015.
2015 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 88.5 (Prediction: OVER)
2015 Projected Win/Loss Record: 91-71 (1st 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.