Bats, Bats, and more Bats. They can hit the long ball, run the bases, and play small ball. Last year the Angels were favorites to make it to the World Series after they signed Hall of Famer and 2 time World Series Champ Albert Pujols to a long term contract, along with the Rangers CJ Wilson. Since Opening Day last year, the Angels added 2 of the 3 best players in the American league—Josh Hamilton, and homegrown Mike Trout. I wouldn’t want to be an AL West pitcher any longer, unless I pitched in Anaheim. The Angels can score all the runs they want, but how the Angels revamped pitching staff performs will be the key to the season.
After Zack Greinke signed across town for 6 years and $147 million, the Angels starting rotation features some new faces, and 1 very familiar one. Perennial Cy Young candidate Jered Weaver is the Ace of the staff, and the division. And of course they return lefty CJ Wilson. But the new faces include Tommy Hanson from Atlanta and Jason Vargas from Seattle. The Angels shipped up Kendrys Morales within the division to get Vargas, who sported a 3.85 ERA and 14 wins on a bad team. Hanson has been injured for large parts of the past 2 seasons. But when healthy, he has strike out stuff at the number 3 spot in the rotation and at 26 years old, he warranted trading inconsistent flame thrower Jordan Walden to acquire Hanson.
What the Angels do with the fifth spot in the rotation will be determined by what happens over the course of Spring Training, and the health of their rotation. In line for that 5th spot is Jerome Williams who won 6 games at that spot last season. He’d be better served as a spot starter, and the acquired Joe Blanton who won 10 games last season, and won as many as 16 in his career, should be the 5th man for now. 24 year old Garrett Richards is also in line for the final spot. He has shown promise at times, but not the consistency to warrant the confidence from Angels management to just hand the 5th spot over. And lefty Brad Mills, who has never made more than 7 starts a season in his 3 professional seasons has an outside shot at being an impact starter for the Halos.
If Hamilton adjusts to his new surroundings (and temptations), and Mike Trout is anywhere close to the planet he was on last year the Angels will score enough runs. They don’t even need Vernon Wells to do anything, really. But the new Angels starters have expectations in their first season in Southern California. It can be hard to play tough-nosed baseball in a place of leisure like Orange County. But the staff better have their best stuff because pitching, not hitting, wins World Series.
Will the Angels New Staff Get the Job Done LA Sports Hubsters?