5 Bold Predictions For The Angels In 2014

1. Mike Trout Wins MVP

Mike Trout has started his career off as well as or better than any other player that has come before him. What has he got to show for it? Two second place finishes in the MVP race. This year should be the year for Trout.

After signing a 6-year extension that will keep Trout an Angel through 2020, expect Trout to prove that he is worth the money the Angels paid.  He should improve in every aspect of the game as he becomes more and more attune to what pitchers are doing to get him out. It wouldn't be surprising to see Trout break a few records this season, on top of making a few more spectacular catches in the outfield as he switches back to his more natural center field position.

Look for Trout to hit close to .350 with 35 home runs, 100 RBI, 120 runs scored, 35 stolen bases and over 100 walks. He should also lead the league in WAR again this season. All these numbers should make him the 2014 AL MVP.

2. Albert Pujols Wins Comback Player Of The Year

Albert Pujols has been the biggest disappointment in baseball over the past two seasons. Some people claim that they knew he was in for a major slump when he signed with the Angels. Production was sure to drop off, but could anybody have predicted this kind of collapse? I doubt it.

Injuries have marred his time with the Angels and now it appears that he is as healthy as he has been since he signed that insane contract two years ago. Pujols is sure to hit around .300 with 30 or so home runs and 100 RBI, if healthy. The real test will be his ability to draw walks and run the bases. When Albert was at his best, he led the league in walks and could go first to third with relative ease.

3. The Angels Will Make The World Series

It's hard to predict how this team will play this season. The past two seasons have been filled with optimism to start and quickly dwindled into disappointments. This season the expectations are lower and the optimism is leveled. Now is the time for the Angels to show that they can win games.

Pitching will continue to be the biggest issue for the Angels. The starting pitching got a boost when the Angels traded Mark Trumbo for Tyler Skaggs. Skaggs is a quality lefty who should shore up the back end of the rotation. The relief pitching is also improved by the signing of Hector Santiago and having a healthy Sean Burnett. The Angels will only go as far as the pitching can take them. That pitching should get stronger in the second half of the season, just in time for the Angels to make a run at a World Series.

4. Jered Weaver Will Finish Second In AL Cy Young Voting

Jered Weaver has been the backbone of the Angels pitching staff for what seems like forever. He has been the one pitcher who always gets it done for the Halos. Last year he got injured early on and by the time he came back it seemed that the Angels had already given up on the season. Don't expect to see that this season.

Weaver continues to be effective in the later stages of his career because of his deceptive pitching motion. He has never been one to overpower hitters with fastballs. He is most effective when his off-speed pitches are breaking hard and his fastball is moving side to side. A 20-win season and an ERA just below 2.00 should earn him the Cy Young.


5. The Angels Will Not Win Their Division

The AL West could be the toughest division in baseball. Sorry, NL Central and AL East, but with four teams with serious playoff talent, the AL West will be the most difficult. The Rangers and A's have won the past four division crowns and don't expect that to change. The Rangers probably have the slight edge at this point.

The Angels will struggle at times this season to keep up with the A's and Rangers. A late season surge should put them into second place in the division and get them into to the playoffs, but don't expect the Angels to lead the division outright after the second week of the regular season. The Angels will surprise many folks with their play this season. Hopefully the surprise is in the strength of their play.  Go Angels!

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