2012 Los Angeles Angels Preview: Angels in the Outfield


This is the fourth of a seven part series previewing the Los Angeles Angels for the 2012 season. We started with the catchers and corner infielders, then went up the middle with the middle infielders, but let’s hit the outfield:

Peter Bourjos
Fleet Pete(right) will patrol centerfield in his second full major league season. The most exciting player in the outfield is set to build on a promising 2011 campaign. If he could cut down on the strikeouts he would be lethal at the top of the order. Even still, he’s a legit run producer that plays elite defense at a premium position. Expect Bourjos to produce along the same lines he did in 2011 (.271/.327/.438) with 15 homers and 25 stolen bases very much within reach.

Torii Hunter
Anaheim fan-favorite Torii Hunter is in his last year under contract with the Halos and could very well be staring at his last chance to win a World Series ring. The 36-year old has seen a steady decline in his numbers for three straight seasons but he can still be a valuable run producer in the middle of the order. As long as fans are content with 20 homers, 80 runs, and 80 runs driven in, Hunter shouldn’t disappoint as the everyday right fielder

Vernon Wells
Out in left field Vernon Well is coming off one of the worst offensive seasons for an outfielder in major league history. The good news is we have seen the worst of it. He is going to be better in 2012. The bad news is Wells’ skills have seemingly eroded. He should rebound some from his miserable 12% line drive rate and 4% walk rate, but not enough to remotely justify his albatross of a contract. Fortunately, Mike Trout is only a phone call and a two hour flight away. If Wells struggles like he did in 2011, Trout will be up sooner than later.

Mike Trout
Mike Trout is clearly the best option as an everyday left fielder – we can only hope he gets that opportunity as quickly as possible. He’ll start the season in AAA and remain there until 1) Likely 4th outfielder Bobby Abreu is traded 2) Vernon Wells flops, or 3) one of the regulars makes a trip to the disabled list. When he gets his chance to shine, he will, but there are a few roadblocks in his way.

Bobby Abreu
Bobby Abreu looks to open the season as the fourth outfielder for the Angels in 2012. Abreu has gone on record expressing his discontent for playing in a bench role, but there is really no room to fit him into the lineup on a nightly basis. Abreu still has a great eye at the plate which should allow him to reach base at a healthy .350 clip. Unfortunately for Abreu, his power has all but disappeared, and while he shows nice speed on the base paths, he can’t run down a fly ball to save his life. In reality, Abreu is nothing more than a bench player in the twilight of his career. Scioscia and DiPoto have claimed they have plan to find 400 plate appearances for the veteran in 2012, but I think that was merely an attempt to defuse the situation and salvage any potential trade value he might have left. I wouldn’t be surprised if Abreu is dealt before April 6th, even if the Halos only net a low-level prospect in the process.

There are a lot of factors that play into the outfield mix in 2012, but for the time being I project it’ll look something like this…

Peter Bourjos610.27080156525.775
Torii Hunter585.2657522805.775
Vernon Wells510.26060227510.740
Mike Trout200.285298238.835
Bobby Abreu175.255203155.750