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Los Angeles Angels Ready For 2014 Season

Los Angeles Angels Tickets

Angels 2014

It’s been a disappointing couple of years for the Los Angeles Angels. After a ten-year stretch that saw them average ninety wins a season the Angels have suffered through back-to-back difficult seasons. In 2013, after entering the season as division favorites, the Angels struggled most of the season before a late run gave them a respectable record. While the Angels have struggled the Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers have competed for top spot in the division. In the past two winters the Angels have opted for big free agent signings like Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, spending over $400 million combined on the two players who both had difficult seasons in 2013. This past winter Los Angeles went in a different direction, making less high profile moves designed to build the overall talent level and depth of the club, especially the pitching staff. With several good offseason moves and health from Albert Pujols expectations are up again in Anaheim.

Here’s why the Angels will make the playoffs in 2014:

Trout and Calhoun: During his first two major league seasons Mike Trout has produced numbers that rival Hall of Famers such as Willie Mays. The twenty-two year-old sensation is the best overall player in the game at an age that many top level talents are still playing double AA ball. He’s a once in a generation talent who’ll now occupy centerfield after the Peter Bourjos trade. Joining Trout in the outfield is the talented Kole Calhoun. With Bourjos in St. Louis the 26-year-old Calhoun will have an everyday role and look for the lefthander to put together a solid season. He put together solid numbers in 222 plate appearances last season, a performance that should continue since the young outfielder has produced at every level he’s played at.

A Healthy Pujols: Albert Pujols tried to gut it out and play with severe pain from Plantar Fasciitis last season, but the severe pain greatly limited the former five-time MVP and eventually ended his season. His inability to run and play the field greatly impacted his performance and impact on the team. After season ending surgery Pujols looks healthy this spring and should have a big season. If Pujols can rebound with a big season the Angels offense will be extremely dangerous.

Offseason Trades: The Angels used two big assets, Peter Bourjos and Mark Trumbo, to acquire help and fill a couple of glaring needs, third base and the pitching staff. The Angels acquired third baseman David Freese and pitchers Tyler Skaggs, Hector Santiago and Fernando Salas in the Bourjos/Trumbo deals. While Freese, a former World Series MVP struggled last season, he’s a big improvement over what the Angels trotted out at third last season. Skaggs and Santiago are talented young starters that will give the Angels two very good arms behind Jered Weaver and CJ Wilson. In 23 starts for the White Sox last season Santiago had an excellent 3.56 ERA and 137 strikeouts in 149 innings pitched. The 6’5” Skaggs, a native of Santa Monica, is one of the top young lefthanders in the game. Although they are young both players give the Angels and upgrade n the starting pitching department. Salas is a dependable reliever who saved 24 games for the Cardinals in 2011. He’ll join another former Cardinals reliever, Joe Smith, in a revamped bullpen.

Even with the offseason moves the Angels still enter the season with a few question marks. Behind the top five starters there is very little rotation depth, so an injury to a starting pitcher or some tough outings from Skaggs and Santiago could force the Angels to rely on a player like Joe Blanton in the lineup. Offensively the big question mark will continue to be what type of production the Angels can get from Josh Hamilton. The former Ranger had a brutal first half and a somewhat better second half last season, but still well below his career standards. If Hamilton continues to struggle the Angels may miss the big bat of Mark Trumbo in the lineup. Additionally although the acquisitions of Smith and Salas will help the bullpen the Angels relief crew hasn’t been the same since Bud Black left to manage the Padres several seasons ago. They have the depth and several good arms in the pen. If they can find consistency and closer Ernesto Frieri can avoid his bouts of wildness the Angels bullpen should be in good shape.

PECOTA, the advanced statistical system invented by Nate Silver for Baseball Prospectus projects the Angels to be a playoff team in 2014. PECOTA projects a wild card finish for the Angels based on having the second ranked offense in the American League for 2014, based on improved seasons from David Freese, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.

The Angels Start off the 2014 Season on March 31 against the Seattle Mariners. Opening Day Angels Tickets run from $55 to $355 per seat. Of course the biggest series for the Angels this season is going to the the Yankees who will be on the Derek Jeter fair well tour. The first meet up is May 5th – 7th at Angels Stadium. Angels Vs Yankees Tickets from from $95 to $300 per ticket for right behind the dugout seats. By: Chris Cabrera

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Look at the 2013 Los Angeles Angels

LA Angels Tickets

Los Angeles Angels Tickets

With another big offseason splash in Anaheim and the mega-moves made in Chavez Ravine, Southern California just may be the new center of the baseball universe. The baseball arms race has left the Northeast and shifted west. A year removed from the massive Albert Pujols contract the Angels surprised many by doling out another massive contract, this time to the mega-talented but sometime troubled Josh Hamilton. By replacing Torii Hunter with Hamilton the Angels have gotten younger and scarier from an opposing pitcher perspective, with an outfield that now boasts two of the most naturally gifted players in the last twenty years in Mike Trout and Hamilton.

The move to sign Hamilton was coupled with the cost cutting dumping of Dan Haren, Ervin Santana and Hunter. It’s no question the Angels have gotten flashier, but have they gotten better? Here’s a rundown with some analysis of their offseason moves.

Josh Hamilton: There’s no question that if Josh Hamilton is healthy the Angels probably boast three of the top ten hitters in the game. From an outsiders perspective the gut reaction to the deal is that the Angels clearly upgraded over Torii Hunter. Although they clearly got younger, the performance of Hamilton from an advanced metrics perspective was comparable to Hunter’s performance last year. As David Schoenfeld at ESPN has pointed out via Baseball-Reference Hunter actually had a higher Wins Above Replacement (5.5) than Hamilton (3.4) last year. Hamilton clearly outpaced Hunter from a traditional baseball statistical perspective (HR’s, RBI’s, etc) but did so with a higher number of plate appearances and in a much more hitter friendly ballpark. Of course Hunter is an aging player and likely would not have repeated his performance of the previous year. Hamilton should also benefit from the presence of Albert Pujols in the lineup. Of course signing Josh Hamilton to such a big and lengthy contract is not without risk. Although he’s performed pretty consistently in Texas there is the always present risk of addiction, as well as a history of nagging injuries. From a win-now perspective it’s probably a good move.

Questionable back-end of the rotation: The Angels went after Zack Grienke but lost out to the cross-town Dodgers. Instead of using the Grienke money on pitching they used in on Hamilton. This combined with Dan Haren now being in a Nationals uniform has left some question marks in the rotation. Haren clearly regressed last year and it was probably wise to move him based on the sheer number of innings he’s pitched over the past decade. With Haren out as well as rotation fixture Ervin Santana the Angels rotation will have a different look. The big question is who’s the number three behind established aces Jered Weaver and CJ Wilson? They went out and added Joe Blanton and Tommy Hansen who both had ERA’s in the high fours in the National League. It’s questionable how those moves will transfer to the AL. Blanton is an innings eater but in most rotations is typically your fourth or fifth starter. Hansen has respectable career numbers but has a history of injuries. The bottom of the Angels rotation is a big question mark.

The Lineup: The starting pitching question marks may not be that important since the lineup is going to be ridiculous. What can you say about Mike Trout that hasn’t been already said, other than the fact he had one of the greatest seasons in baseball history as a rookie. The projected top six of Trout, Aybar, Pujols, Hamilton, Trumbo and Kendrick may be the top lineup in baseball. It’s difficult to find any weak spots and its likely Trumbo surpasses power numbers from last season.

Burnett and Madson: A traditional strength under Mike Scioscia the bullpen was a bit of a disaster last season and clearly in need of an upgrade. In Sean Burnett and Ryan Madson the Angels made a couple of nice moves, especially with the pickup of the underrated Burnett. Over the past few years in Pittsburgh and Washington Burnett has quietly been one of the more effective left set up men in the National League, pitching a solid number of innings with an ERA under three. Just thirty he’s still in his prime and the Angels were able to get him at a premium, just 8 million over 2 years. Even though Madson is coming off Tommy John surgery and may not be ready for opening day, he’s a compelling pickup who could provide some depth at the back of the pen. Madson and Burnett should provide depth, but there are still some question marks with closer Ernesto Frieri. Last season was a tale of two halves for Frieri, with his numbers regressing after the all-star break, contributing to the Angels total of 23 blown saves last season which tied Boston for first in the AL.

It’s hard to get a feel on what these moves will mean in the end. Although Hamilton brings a big bat to the lineup they signed him in lieu of going after pitching. With Haren gone and Grienke with the Dodgers the starting rotation really has some question marks. The bullpen has added depth and Frieri is a year older. Will the Angels simply outscore teams? With one of the best managers in the game they’re always going to be a contender, but it’s hard to see the Angels running away with things in a pretty competitive division. .

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Barry’s Ticket Service
675 Paularino Ave. Suite #6, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(Just off Bristol & 405)
9am – 5:30pm Mon-Fri
10am – 4pm Sat
Closed Sundays(unless its an event day)
(714)751-9800