Baseball season will soon be here and we thought it’d be nice to bring to you, every Tuesday and Thursday, a preview from each team in the NL and AL West; culminating in a divisional breakdown and projected front-runners. So without any delay, here’s a look at the 2012 Los Angeles Angels. Oh and if you want NL and AL East projections, you’re on the wrong website, son. Turn to any sports TV to get that stuff.
In 2011, the Angels were a decent offensive team.
In 2012, they should be a great offensive team.
The addition of Albert Pujols is huge. If he stays healthy, he’s going to give the Angels a .300-plus average, 40 or so home runs and well over 100 RBI. The Angels haven’t had a hitter like Pujols since Vlad Guerrero was in his heyday.
There are no true superstars to be found elsewhere in the Angels’ lineup, but as a whole, it’s pretty deep. The Angels will have to live with low batting averages from Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells, but they’ll at least hit for power. Howie Kendrick is as solid as they come when he’s healthy, and Alberto Callaspo and Erick Aybar swing quality sticks as well.
The question is what are the Angels going to do about the logjam they have at the DH spot? The Angels are hoping Mark Trumbo will be able to transition over to third base, but he seems to be a much better fit at DH. The trouble is that they also have Kendrys Morales and Bobby Abreu to worry about. They’re going to need to get at-bats, so Mike Scioscia better get ready for some lineup juggling this season.
Honestly, who else could it be but Albert Pujols?
How good is Pujols? He hit .299 with 37 homers and 99 RBI in 2011, and that was his worst season of his career.
Vernon Wells was simply amazing in his first season after he came over in a trade from the Toronto Blue Jays. He hit 25 home runs, drove in 66 runs and he did it all despite only playing in 131 games. The Angels couldn’t have done it without him.
The top three in the rotation, Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana had a combined 2.99 era and 45 wins. The Angels found a nice surprise from Jerome Williams as he owned a 2.31 era as a starter and 3.68 era overall.
The Angels didn’t just make one splash on the hitters side, they balanced it out by adding the top MLB pitcher on the market in CJ Wilson. They signed Wilson to a five-year, $77.5M contract in December. Wilson was the ace of the Rangers the past two years going 31-15 3.15 era. The Angels will have a total of four top pitchers in their rotation, instantly catapulting them into discussion of who has the best pitching staff along with the Phillies and Giants.
The additions of Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson immediately has the Texas Rangers looking over their shoulder as the Angels look to overthrow the two-time defending AL West Champs. A playoff berth for the Angels should be in the cards. The combination of hitting and pitching could potentially bring the Angels back to the World Series, where they won it all a decade ago. The season would be branded unsuccessful if they fail to secure a spot in the playoffs resulting in the offseason spending spree of $331.5M being all for naught.
The Angels are a rock-solid team. There are better offenses and better fielding teams out there, but the Angels have one of the best rotations in the majors, and they have more than enough offense to support it. They’re going to win a lot of games this season.