2016 Record: 74-88 (4th AL West)
It’s time to take a look at the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. We’ll be joined shortly by Maria Guardado from MLB.com!
MIKE TROUT! That’s right my friends; we get to talk about Mike Trout!
So, in case you live under a rock, the Angels have the best player in the world patrolling center field for them which is obviously a decent advantage. However, they still finished 4th in the AL West last year even with Trout.
They made some good additions this offseason, and for relatively cheap, so they should have some more payroll flexibility in the coming years. I definitely think the Angels are looking up for the long term.
Offensively I’ve got the Angels as my fourth overall squad in the American League. Obviously, Trout has a lot to do with that and I think Cameron Maybin can be a bigger acquisition than people think. A Maybin, Trout, Calhoun outfield should do really well for them. The Angles project as my fifth best starting lineup and my sixth best bench in the AL, but that consistency is what has them fourth overall.
The pitching is a much different story. I’ve currently got the Angels slotted at 13th in my 2017 AL projections, although that could change for the better or worse depending on Garrett Richards’ arm. With the way things are now, they’re my 10th overall starting rotation in the American League. My projections weren’t quite as kind to their bullpen though as they slot in as my 13th ranked unit.
The Angels should be really good on defense this year though; I’ve got them second in the American League. Although some Angels fans might not agree with me right now, I still consider having Mike Scioscia on the bench a net positive.
Now let’s get to our conversation with Maria Guardado and see what she has to say about the 2017 Halos:
Who are the Angels counting on outside of Mike Trout to give them big offensive production in 2017?
"Albert Pujols is also expected to be a key contributor to the Angels' offense this year. Pujols is coming off December foot surgery, but he's already started to play in Cactus League games and is seemingly on track to be ready for the start of the season. Despite playing through foot pain for most of 2016, Pujols still led the Angels with 31 home runs and 119 RBI. Pujols is entering his age-37 season and is midway through his 10-year, $240 million contract, but he remains a dangerous hitter and should be a reliable source of power for the Angels. With 591 career home runs, Pujols is only nine homers shy of joining the exclusive 600 home run club. Mike Scioscia has already said that Pujols will be the Angels' cleanup hitter in 2017, so the veteran slugger should get plenty of opportunities to drive in runs and continue his pursuit of personal milestones."
Who are some of the younger guys or prospects the Angels are counting on this year?
"Right-hander Alex Meyer and left-hander Nate Smith are two guys who could see time in the Angels' rotation if any of the club's top starters get injured or are ineffective this season. Right-hander Keynan Middleton, whose fastball was reportedly clocked as high as 102 mph last year, also seems likely to join the Angels bullpen at some point in 2017."
Are the Angels expecting a full season from Garrett Richards after his stem cell injections, or are they going to be cautious?
"Garrett Richards hasn't faced any limitations this spring since undergoing stem-cell therapy to treat his damaged ulnar collateral ligament, but the Angels do plan on monitoring his workload during the regular season. Since he'll likely be capped at 100 pitches per outing, Richards has said he hopes to become more efficient in 2017."
How is the rest of the pitching staff looking heading into the year?
"Matt Shoemaker, who was hit on the head by a line drive in September, seems to have made a full recovery and should be another key cog in the Angels' rotation. Tyler Skaggs was scratched from his scheduled Cactus League start last week due to shoulder weakness, but he is slated to slide back into the rotation on Wednesday. Skaggs struggled with injuries and inconsistency over his career, but the Angels are hoping he'll be able to realize his potential in 2017. Ricky Nolasco should eat up a lot of innings and provide stability to the back end of the Halos rotation. The fifth-starter competition is still up for grabs, though Jesse Chavez is probably the frontrunner."
What are your overall expectations for the Halos this year?
"If the their pitching staff can stay healthy, the Angels have a chance to be a surprise contender in the American League West. They bolstered their defense and lengthened their lineup through the offseason additions of Cameron Maybin, Danny Espinosa, Martin Maldonado and Luis Valbuena, but they still don't have a lot of quality pitching depth, which could hurt them if they lose any of their top starters to injury. I think a more realistic outcome would probably be for the Angels to finish behind the Astros, Mariners and Rangers in the division."
I agree with Maria in that I think the Angels could make some noise this year. Whether it’s enough to get in the postseason though, I’m not quite sure.
I’ve got the Halos as my 7th overall American League club going into 2017. They finished 12th last year so I think they’d definitely be happy with that improvement. Last year’s 7th place club was the Mariners at 86-76.
Vegas has the Angels’ win totals floating around 79.5, so we’ll go with that number. Like I said, last year’s 7th place team finished 86-76 and I think that’s a realistic number for the Halos this year. I definitely like the Over of 79.5 wins for the Angels this season. I still don’t think it’s quite enough to make the postseaon but I see the Angels finishing the year at 83-79.