A brief snapshot on new divisional opponent, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Manager: Mike Scioscia (14th season, 1,155-951)
Hitting coach: Jim Eppard
Pitching coach: Mike Butcher
C: Chris Ianetta
1B: Albert Pujols
2B: Howie Kendrick
SS: Erik Aybar
3B: Alberto Callaspo
LF: Mike Trout
CF: Peter Bourjos
RF: Josh Hamilton
DH: Mark Trumbo
1. Jered Weaver
2. C.J. Wilson
3. Jason Vargas
4. Tommy Hanson
5. Joe Blanton
Closer: Ryan Madsen
Projected Win Total
SP Jo-Jo Reyes
OF J.B. Shuck
CL Ryan Madson
SP Joe Blanton
RP Sean Burnett
OF Josh Hamilton
SP Zach Greinke (Free agent, signed with Dodgers)
OF Torii Hunter (Free agent, signed with )
RP LaTroy Hawkins (Free agent, signed with )
SP Dan Haren (Free agent, signed with Nats)
The reason the Angels felt so disappointed is because they landed the biggest prize on the 2011 free agent market in Albert Pujols and had the breakout season to end all breakout seasons from Mike Trout. Add in a very impressive sophomore campaign by Mark Trumbo and LA/Anaheim should have felt very secure.
What did they do to get over this soul-crushing disappointment? Just signed the best free agent hitter on the market yet again.
With Josh Hamilton as part of a lineup that features Trout, Pujols and Trumbo, the Angels have a middle of the order that can play with anyone. As long as age doesn't catch up to Pujols and injuries or dipping don't derail Hamilton, the Angels offense should be one of the most potent in the league.
However, it's the pitching that may cause the Angels the most trouble. After struggling with a rotation fronted by Ervin Santana, Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson last season, the Angels traded for Zack Greinke at the deadline. But, Greinke didn't move the needle much on LA's season and he signed with crosstown rival, the Dodgers, last winter.
LA then retooled the rotation behind Wilson and Weaver, trading Santana to the Royals and picking up Tommy Hanson in a trade with the Braves and signing Joe Blanton. To get Hanson, they had to trade away young closer Jordan Walden, so they also signed Ryan Madsen to fill that void.
Basically, if there was a problem, money could fix if for these Angels.
Right now, PECOTA ranks the Angels at the top of the American League West. With that offense and decent pitching, it's hard not to see why. But, there are also enough questions about whether this team can hold up over the course of an entire season to wonder if they wont' leave 2013 disappointed again.