The Angels dominated the AL West for years, but have had two disappointing years in a row and have watched the Texas Rangers go to two straight World Series. So this off-season, the Angels angrily (I would like to imagine they were angry at least. “Sign this contract now Albert!”) signed the best free agent MLB pitcher (and the MLB’s best race car driver) and the best hitter in all of baseball. They also improved their catching position and added a decent middle reliever. This makes them the probable favorite to win the AL West, even though the Rangers will give them a run for their money.
Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson, Latroy Hawkins, Chris Iannetta
Tyler Chatwood, Joel Pinerio, Jeff Mathis, Russell Branyan, Fernando Rodney, Maicer Izturis
Peter Bourjos: 96 OPS +, 207th best in the Majors
Howie Kendrick: 104 OPS +, 114th
Albert Pujols: 158 OPS +, 1st
Torii Hunter: 107 OPS +, 96th
Mark Trumbo: 98 OPS +, 181st
Chris Iannetta: 103 OPS +, 124th
Vernon Wells: 95 OPS +, 219th
Bobby Abreu: 99 OPS +, 174th
Alberto Callaspo: 96 OPS +, 206th
Projected Rotation (according to ZIPS projections)
Jared Weaver: 128 ERA +, 36th best in the Majors
Dan Haren: 113 ERA +, 103rd
C.J. Wilson: 120 ERA +, 68th
Ervin Santana: 97 ERA +, 293rd
Trevor Bell: 86 ERA +, 539th/Jerome Williams: 81 ERA +, 698th
Jordan Walden: 115th, 93rd
Most Overrated Player:
Mark Trumbo. Trumbo has some pop (a .223 ISO in 2011, and Baseball Cube ranks his power at 83 out of 100), but his inability to get on base (just a .291 OBP, Carl Crawford was rightly considered downright awful at baseball in 2011 with a .289 OBP) is quite striking and it doesn’t appear that it will improve (his minor league OBP .330 and 33 patience rating). He is also moving to third base, where he will most likely be below average at defensively.
Most Underrated Player
While 5 million dollars is usually too much for a reliever, it is not too much for Scott Downs. Downs has averaged 2 wins above replacement in the last two years, despite throwing less than 120 innings. Unless Walden flames out, he won’t be the closer, but he is a very valuable reliever piece
Assuming that he gets over the illness he has now that is costing him spring training, Mike Trout is going to be awesome at baseball. He will probably start the year in the minors, but he won’t be there for long. He has super speed (rated at 91 by Baseball Cube), gets on base, and showcases a bit of power.