Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 2011 Preview

2010 Record: 80-82

2011 Projected Roster

  • Catchers: Jeff Mathis, Bobby Wilson
  • Infielders: Macier Izturis, Kendry Morales, Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar, Alberto Callaspo
  • Outfielders: Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, Vernon Wells, Peter Bourjos, Reggie Willits, Mark Trumbo
  • Starters: Dan Haren, Jered Weaver, Ervin Santana, Scott Kazmir, Joel Piniero
  • Bullpen: Fernando Rodney, Scott Downs, Kevin Jepsen, Hisanori Takahashi, Jason Bulger, Jordan Walden, Bobby Cassevah

Notable Signings

  1. Vernon Wells: traded for 2 players
  2. Hisanori Takahashi: 2 years, $8MM
  3. Scott Downs: 3 years, $15MM

Notable Losses

  1. Mike Napoli
  2. Juan Rivera
  3. Hideki Matsui
  4. Scot Shields

Top Prospects

  1. Mike Trout: OF
  2. Hank Conger: C
  3. Jordan Walden: RHP
  4. Jean Segura: SS
  5. Tyler Chatwood: RHP

Key Position Battles

  • Catcher: Jeff Mathis vs. Bobby Wilson vs. Hank Conger – Conger has all the potential in the world and is certainly the catcher of the future for Anaheim but he has struggled this spring and may not be ready for the big show. This position battle will come down to Mathis and Wilson with Mike Napoli being shipped off in the Vernon Wells deal. Mike Scioscia absolutely loves Jeff Mathis even though he is has a light bat(career .199 hitter.) Bobby Wilson has made a good showing this spring going 11 for 19 thus far. Catcher Pick: Jeff Mathis
  • Third Base: Macier Izturis vs. Alberto Callaspo vs. Brandon Wood – None of the above are particularly good options to be a major league starter but it has to be one of them, I suppose. Izturis and Callaspo had decent years in 2010 while Wood continued to be one of the biggest busts in recent history. Wood will get a look in spring training but it may be time for the Angels to just cut their ties with this guy. Izturis will bring some speed to the table and a solid OBP that should be good enough to edge out Callaspo, who will act as a utility man. Third Base Pick: Macier Izturis
  • Closer: Fernando Rodney vs. Scott Downs vs. Hisanori Takahashi – This is not much of a position battle as Rodney will certainly be first in line for saves. Downs and Takahashi may give him a decent run for his money if Rodney falters at all. Rodney saved 37 games two years ago for the Tigers but may struggle with command during the year. However, out of the gate he will be the guy. Closer Pick: Fernando Rodney

19 Days until Opening Day 2011

In what promises to be a very competitive AL West this season the Angels may be able to sneak up and surprise some people. Many do not quite see it and prefer the Rangers offense or the Athletics pitching but I love the all around quality of the Angels in 2011; plus any team managed by Mike Scioscia always has a very good chance to go to the playoffs. Their offense will be infused with the return of power hitting first baseman Kendry Morales, who went down with a freak injury last season during a celebration after a walk off home run and the addition of Vernon Wells, who bounced back nicely in the power department last season. Seasoned veterans like Bobby Abreu and Torii Hunter may start showing their age but I believe they will have enough left in the tank to contribute plenty this year. The infusion(and potential infusion) of young bats including speedster Peter Bourjos, who will start in CF, Hank Conger, who should take over behind the dish eventually, and Mike Trout, the top prospect in baseball who has drawn comparisons to Mickey Mantle, will add an extra edge to the offense. The top third of this rotation is absolutely nasty. Dan Haren, Jered Weaver, and Ervin Santana could all win 15 games a piece and pitch to a sub-3.50 ERA when all is said and done. Joel Piniero and Scott Kazmir are not too shabby on the back end either. The bullpen is the one glaring concern for this team. Fernando Rodney is a serviceable closer but not dominant. They do, however, have two of the best left handed relievers in the game in Hisanori Takahashi and Scott Downs but the rest of the ‘pen is a bit weak. They should be able to hold their own and win this division.

WTP Projected 2011 Record: 88-74

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About jacarfagno

Live, Breathe, and Bleed Baseball
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