MLB Team-By-Team Previews 2009: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

MLB Team-By-Team Previews 2009: Can The Halos fly away with the division in '09?

4/3/09 in MLB   |   Raider_Dave   |   47 respect

With very little competition in the division following the trade deadline, the Angels were able to run away with the AL West, setting the record for earliest date to clinch the Al West, by doing so on September 10th.  The 2009 season won't be as easy for the team that can't seem to figure out which city it wants to be linked to.   With some superstars and franchise legends moving onto greener pastures, the Angels will have a difficult task in filling the voids created with the losses of Mark Teixera, Francisco Rodriguez, Jon Garland, and Garrett Anderson.  With a strong farm system, the Halos can definitely get it done, but will this season feature growing pains, or the plugging of many holes with maturing talent? 

Only time will tell, but let us take a look at the potential challenges and likely solutions the Angels will face in the upcoming season.

Key Additions:
Bobby Abreu (OF), Brian Fuentes (CL)

 

Key Subtractions:

Mark Teixera (1B), Garrett Anderson (OF), Francisco Rodriguez (CL), Jon Garland (SP)

 

 

Projected Lineup

1. 3B Chone Figgins
2. 2B Howie Kendrick
3. DH Vladimir Guerrero
4. CF Torii Hunter
5. LF Bobby Abreu
6. 1B Kendry Morales
7. RF Gary Matthews Jr.
8. C Mike Napoli
9. SS Erick Aybar
 



Rotation

1. RH John Lackey (out until late April)
2. LH Joe Saunders
3. RH Ervin Santana (out until May)
4. RH Jered Weaver
5. RH Dustin Moseley

Strengths:
While the Angels continue to have many strengths, recent free agent departures make the obvious positive for the team going into 2009 as pitching.  Despite many minor injuries, the Halos boast one of the best and youngest 5 man rotations in all of the Major Leagues.  Once John Lackey comes back in late April (elbow strain) and Ervin Santana returns in early May (also an elbow strain) the Angels should be good to go, barring any chance that the injuries haven't dug them in any holes.

In addition to pitching, the Angels can also boast power throughout the lineup with the likes of Vlad Guerrero, Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu, Gary Matthews Jr., and Mike Napoli, all guys with 25-30 Home Run power.  The Angels can also play small ball, utilizing Howie Kendrick and Chone Figgins on the basepaths.  The dangerous combination of power and speed are two tools that many teams could only dream to have.

Weaknesses:

At this point in time, the biggest weaknesses on the Angels are a top heavy lineup, and the injury bug.  Can the young talent fill in for the departed stars?  Will the age and talent gap between the stars in the lineup and the fill-ins mesh well in the clubhouse?  With Mike Scioscia running the show down in Anaheim (not Los Angeles), these are minor problems that will be of little consequence, but they are things to look at.  If the Angels can escape the injury bug around the trade deadline, they will continue to move forward with what they, but any injury and they are capable of making a big move, as shown last season when they traded for Mike Teixera for a group of prospects.  Only time will tell, but the Angels should at least be in contention for much, if not all, of the season.


Players to Watch:
Kendry Morales (First base): Morales will finally get his chance to show his stuff in the Big Leagues after spending four years tuning up his game in the Minors.  At 25 years of age, Morales is among the younger players on the team, but should be able to seamlessly make the transition to the Majors with a good combination of patience and the ability to make contact with the ball.  While his power numbers may not be stellar, Morales has enough pop to change some games, and if he can build off of his very strong Spring campaign, he will allow the Angels to forget about Teixera a lot more sooner than later.

Jose Arredondo (Relief Pitcher): While attempting to replace 62 saves is a pretty impossible task left for newly acquired Closer Brian Fuentes, Arredondo will have the chance to solidify the usually strong bullpen down in Anaheim.  Arredondo possesses great closer stuff, but has been relegated to the setup man role with the signing of Brian Fuentes.  With Fuentes being more of a quick fix, Arredondo may get some save opportunities over the course of the season just to give the team a chance to see what exactly they have.  With Troy Percival closing games early in the decade, the Angels had Francisco Rodriguez (K-Rod) waiting in the wings, so the potential repeat of that scenario with Fuentes and Arredondo is nothing out of the ordinary.  With definite strikeout ability and very solid peripherals, Arredondo will have the opportunity to wow some people while he grows into a solid role in the bullpen.

Projected Finish:
With the AL West being deeper than it has been in the least ten years, the Angels will have a tougher time in the division, let alone in running away with it again.  It would be safe to say 92-96 wins would take the Al West in '09, but the Angels will begin the season with many key pitchers injured or recovering from injury.  On paper, the Angels have lost a lot of talent and the A's have added a lot of stop gaps to make a push this season.  While the game isn't played on paper, the Angels could falter down the stretch as the A's did a year ago and lost the division in the final series with Oakland.  Worst case scenario, the Halos finish in 2nd place in an increasingly deep and talented division.

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10/7/09   |   Raider_Dave   |   47 respect

MarkTheShark wrote:
GREAT writeup Dave....can't wait til next year!

Thanks a lot Mark, I really appreciate it.  And at least I was right about Kendry Morales...

10/7/09   |   MarkTheShark   |   590 respect

GREAT writeup Dave....can't wait til next year!

4/3/09   |   Brendanc8504

WhoDat12 wrote:
I didn't know any of the Angels cried in defense of their pitchers, claimed a horrible team practiced and played harder than they did, told opposing teams to "get their popcorn ready", or MADE IT RAIN.

And which one is it who is dating Ashley Simpson.....Jessica's younger sister?

4/3/09   |   WhoDat12   |   2252 respect

Brendanc8504 wrote:
Why does it even matter? The Angels are the MLB's version of the Dallas Cowboys. They cant make it out of the first round of the playoffs, they fail at it EVERY year. What makes you think that the team WITH Mark Texiera is going to be able to do it with Mark Texiera's replacement?

I didn't know any of the Angels cried in defense of their pitchers, claimed a horrible team practiced and played harder than they did, told opposing teams to "get their popcorn ready", or MADE IT RAIN.

4/3/09   |   Raider_Dave   |   47 respect

adrisoto86 wrote:
You can blame the dumb ass who gave A-Roid a $252 million contract which is still hurting the club to this day.  And don't forget Chan Ho Park's contract either.

That is definitely a start.  Tom Hicks and John Hart really screwed the team up by making a miscalculated jump into investing so much into one player.  Good teams are built on pitching FIRST, and the Rangers have never seemed to grasp that thought.

4/3/09   |   taylordanley   |   6 respect

adrisoto86 wrote:
You can blame the dumb ass who gave A-Roid a $252 million contract which is still hurting the club to this day.  And don't forget Chan Ho Park's contract either.

No doubt, couldn't agree more. Daniels knows very little about being a major league GM.

Considering the Rangers haven't been a team nearly half as long the rest of em, I'd say their in great shape. The hitting around here has always been a given. Now we finally have the number one farm system in the game and some outstanding pitching prospects. BEGIN QUIVERING IN YOUR BOOTS AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST

4/3/09   |   adrisoto86   |   117 respect

Raider_Dave wrote:
(Sorry to Rob), but to you, when the heck was the last time the Rangers won ANYTHING, let alone the AL West?  What was it, ten, ELEVEN years ago?

You can blame the dumb ass who gave A-Roid a $252 million contract which is still hurting the club to this day.  And don't forget Chan Ho Park's contract either.

4/3/09   |   adrisoto86   |   117 respect

I know I'll probably get a bunch of crap for this but my Rangers have the best chance to knock the Angels off the top.  They still have the best offense in baseball they just need to keep their pitchers healthy and play better defensively.  Bringing up Andrus to play SS and moving MY to 3rd is going to fix the defense problems and Nolan and new pitching coach Mike Maddux are working with the pitchers on their conditioning.  So far they've looked good in Spring Training and they need to carry that over into the regular season.  If the Rangers have a better April than they did last year (they lost 16 of their first 23 games) the Angels better watch out.

4/3/09   |   CMor25

Brendanc8504 wrote:
My point was more so that they won all those games by that small a margin of victory.

The statement I responded to stated that they would barely even need a closer this year. Well they needed a closer last year, they needed a closer a record number of times, so I don't see there being much validity to the statement

Ah, ok, I understand where you're going with that...I agree with what you're saying...I was commenting more on how K-Rod is replaceable...my mistake

4/3/09   |   Brendanc8504

CMor25 wrote:
The save stat is a tad overrated...probably 1/3 of those saves came against the 7, 8, 9 hitters...

My point was more so that they won all those games by that small a margin of victory.

The statement I responded to stated that they would barely even need a closer this year. Well they needed a closer last year, they needed a closer a record number of times, so I don't see there being much validity to the statement

4/3/09   |   Raider_Dave   |   47 respect

taylordanley wrote:
man you give Texas fans a terrible name, you should move.. I love how Texas wasn't mentioned in this article once but OAKLAND of all teams was cited to have the power to overthrow LA. Oakland will once again fall to the bottom half of the AL West

(Sorry to Rob), but to you, when the heck was the last time the Rangers won ANYTHING, let alone the AL West?  What was it, ten, ELEVEN years ago?

4/3/09   |   taylordanley   |   6 respect

drn0iswatr wrote:
 they do get to play the Rangers a lot....that has to help..

man you give Texas fans a terrible name, you should move.. I love how Texas wasn't mentioned in this article once but OAKLAND of all teams was cited to have the power to overthrow LA. Oakland will once again fall to the bottom half of the AL West

4/3/09   |   Boski93   |   375 respect

This race will be closer than expected. It comes down to the Halos and the A's. The biggest questions facing the Angles will be:

1. Can the they survive the early injuries
2. Will Fuentes be a suitable replacement as the closer
3. Will Abreu be the protection Vlady has been looking for.
4. Will this be the year Kendrick and Morales reach their potential.

Great write up.

4/3/09   |   larasnowboard

 yea this might be true.. I just wish my home town could win! Go Twins!

4/3/09   |   Raider_Dave   |   47 respect

snbslugger wrote:
I didn't realize Lackey and Santana were out for so long.  The start of the season will be important for the Angels.  If they put themselves in too deep of a hole before they get those two arms back, it might be too much to crawl out of.  I guess the good thing is they should both be back by mid-May, so there will be plenty of season left.

Yeah, arguably their two most important guys.  Lackey is their workhorse and Santana is the flashier guy, and as an A's fan, I can only hope it puts them into a hole.  they are a very strong team, but one has to wonder just how much their losses at the moment, and whomever replaces them, hurts them.  Pitching injuries are usually lingering ones, and if these guys feel pressured into coming back too soon, this could be a season-long thing.

4/3/09   |   drn0iswatr   |   731 respect

Brendanc8504 wrote:
Why does it even matter? The Angels are the MLB's version of the Dallas Cowboys. They cant make it out of the first round of the playoffs, they fail at it EVERY year. What makes you think that the team WITH Mark Texiera is going to be able to do it with Mark Texiera's replacement?

 they do get to play the Rangers a lot....that has to help..

4/3/09   |   primo   |   1 respect

snbslugger wrote:
I didn't realize Lackey and Santana were out for so long.  The start of the season will be important for the Angels.  If they put themselves in too deep of a hole before they get those two arms back, it might be too much to crawl out of.  I guess the good thing is they should both be back by mid-May, so there will be plenty of season left.

but the angels have a solid enough team to get through those injuries. they did have the best record in the american league last year. scioscia is a modern day miracle worker

4/3/09   |   snbslugger

I didn't realize Lackey and Santana were out for so long.  The start of the season will be important for the Angels.  If they put themselves in too deep of a hole before they get those two arms back, it might be too much to crawl out of.  I guess the good thing is they should both be back by mid-May, so there will be plenty of season left.

4/3/09   |   CMor25

Brendanc8504 wrote:
Yeah, cause they couldn't possibly need the closer anymore. Did I imagine that or did Krod break the all time single season record for saves in a season?

The save stat is a tad overrated...probably 1/3 of those saves came against the 7, 8, 9 hitters...

4/3/09   |   primo   |   1 respect

WhoDat12 wrote:
Their lineup is loaded. They wont even need the closer as much this year. This team is scary good.  No one else in the AL West is even close to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of the Golden State of Californa in the Pacific Time Zone next to the Pacific Ocean.

the line-up was loaded last year too but injuries hurt them for the entire season

4/3/09   |   Brendanc8504

WhoDat12 wrote:
Their lineup is loaded. They wont even need the closer as much this year. This team is scary good.  No one else in the AL West is even close to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of the Golden State of Californa in the Pacific Time Zone next to the Pacific Ocean.

Yeah, cause they couldn't possibly need the closer anymore. Did I imagine that or did Krod break the all time single season record for saves in a season?

4/3/09   |   primo   |   1 respect

CMor25 wrote:
Fuentes will make people forget about K-Rod because K-Rod's extremely overrated, in my opinion

and fuentes will give me less gray hair than k-rod

4/3/09   |   Brendanc8504

Raider_Dave wrote:
Except that the Angels have actually won something in the last 15 years.  Ohhh.......burn!

Yes, World Series 02......I remember. That season is the reason they cant go anywhere further then round 1 now.....Opposing teams know its up to them to save the rest of the world from "Rally Monkey"

4/3/09   |   Raider_Dave   |   47 respect

Brendanc8504 wrote:
Why does it even matter? The Angels are the MLB's version of the Dallas Cowboys. They cant make it out of the first round of the playoffs, they fail at it EVERY year. What makes you think that the team WITH Mark Texiera is going to be able to do it with Mark Texiera's replacement?

Except that the Angels have actually won something in the last 15 years.  Ohhh.......burn!

4/3/09   |   Brendanc8504

Why does it even matter? The Angels are the MLB's version of the Dallas Cowboys. They cant make it out of the first round of the playoffs, they fail at it EVERY year. What makes you think that the team WITH Mark Texiera is going to be able to do it with Mark Texiera's replacement?

4/3/09   |   CMor25

primo wrote:
taking the west by a landslide. abreau will return to his philly talent and fuentes will make people forget about k-rod

Fuentes will make people forget about K-Rod because K-Rod's extremely overrated, in my opinion

4/3/09   |   WhoDat12   |   2252 respect

primo wrote:
taking the west by a landslide. abreau will return to his philly talent and fuentes will make people forget about k-rod

Their lineup is loaded. They wont even need the closer as much this year. This team is scary good.  No one else in the AL West is even close to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of the Golden State of Californa in the Pacific Time Zone next to the Pacific Ocean.

4/3/09   |   primo   |   1 respect

taking the west by a landslide. abreau will return to his philly talent and fuentes will make people forget about k-rod

4/3/09   |   Brendanc8504

going to be a down year for the Angels