The Angels are once again ready to be a title contender in the AL. Last year was a rough reminder that no matter how much talent you have there is no guarantee that you will win games. If the Angels don't want to duplicate the ups and downs of last season it all starts right now in Spring training.
Josh Hamilton, the Angels new superstar must have a big season and not get off to the start that Albert Pujols got off to last season. The real question is what is the bigger concern for the Angels, his off field issue or his constant injury concerns? I am gonna say that the injuries are going to affect Hamilton more so than the off field issues will. Last season, Hamilton was killing the ball and had a small injury that derailed him quite a bit. However, Hamilton played more games last season than he had in the previous 3 or 4.
The Angels starting rotation looks a lot different than it did last season at this time. Gone are Zack Greinke, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana who have been replaced by Jason Vargas, Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton. Haren had a rough year and Santana had an even rougher year. I think if the Angels would have been in the playoffs challenging for a title this team would have looked a lot like last seasons, but here we are with a very new lineup and rotation.
Mike Trout has been moved to Left Field to make room for Peter Bourjos and give the outfield even more speed and coverage. With Trout and Bourjos, the Angels might have the fastest outfield in baseball. Then in right field there is a good, but aging outfielder in Hamilton. He still can cover his fair share of the outfield, but he doesn't have the speed he had two or three years ago. The Angels opted to keep Mark Trumbo out of the outfield so far. He is somewhat of a liability out there, but he will be a good substitute when those guys need a rest.
Albert Pujols is bound to have a better year than he did last year. That said, his numbers by the end of the season would have been great for about 95% of other players, but Pujols is in another class of player. He needs to get off to a better start and that confidence should lead him into a MVP type season. He is going to have big bats in front and behind him. There is going to be no way to pitch around anybody in this lineup. The lineup was not so much the problem last year however.
The Bullpen is much improved from last season. Adding guys like Ryan Madson and Sean Burnett were huge additions. The Angels bullpen could be a strong point for the team this year if those guys live up to expectations and Ernesto Frieri continues his solid pitching from last season. Also, Garrett Richards will probably start the season in the bullpen. He has a big arm and could do some damage there and if he continues to improve I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the starting rotation by mid-season.
The Angels need wins this season from the get-go. If the beginning of the season is anything like last years who knows what will happen. The talent on this team is undeniable, but talent doesn't always bring wins. That being said I expect a World Series from this team. Anything less than that and another failed season it will be. I know one thing is for sure. This team is going to be fun to watch. Go Angels!Back to the Los Angeles Angels Newsfeed