Sunday, February 24, 2008

Getting to Know a Rival: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California

Time for the first team in this new series/feature. The LA Angels appear to be the Mariners biggest threat for the AL West. As I go through the rest of the AL, the urgancy for the Mariners to win the division versus the Wild Card becomes more prominent. To start thing off the LA Angels.
Manager: Mike Scioscia
2007: 94-68 1st in AL West
Coming In: P Jon Garland, OF Torri Hunter
Packed Their Bags: RHP Bartolo Colon, RHP Greg Jones, RHP Chris Resop, INF Dallas McPherson, SS Orlando Cabrera, OF Tommy Murphy, Of Nick Gorneault

Projected Lineup:

C: Mike Napoli
1B: Casey Kotchman
2B: Howie Kendrick
SS: Caeser Izturis
3B: Chone Figgins
OF: Gary Matthews Jr.
OF/DH: Garret Anderson
CF: Torri Hunter
OF/DH: Vladimir Guerrero

Offensive Outlook: The Angels offense is in no way 'bad', but every year as I look at it, it just doesn't seem to be improving much. With Guerrero, who I think is one of the best pure power hitters out there, and has an amazing arm, and Anderson, all that I see is two guys with abilities to do very well, are a year older, a year more injured, and needing the DH spot even more often. Garret Anderson is pretty much the Mariners Raul Ibanez. Solid offensive player, but is older, and his defence is falling fast, but he's still a solid offensive help, in the DH spot. I think that Vlady has a bit left in the tank before he permantly needs the DH spot, but both are going to be there often. Torri Hunter was brought in on a massive deal, isn't really here for his defence, but rather giveing Guerrero some protection in the lineup. I like Hunter, but his offence isn't Guerrero level, but is still a decent power threat. Other than those three I don't see much other threat in the form of homeruns. Casey Kotchman looks like he could be a 20-30 HR guy in the future, but probably won't do that this season.

The top of the Angels order looks solid. Chone Figgans is one of the best leadoff hitters in the game, and his ability to run, and get on base is amazing. Howie Kendrick and Caesar Izturis can be dependable number two hitters, with speed, and qestion marks. After that go down to Guerrero, Hunter and Anderson. That looks pretty solid.

The bottom of the order is a mess. Mike Napoli, Casey Kotchman, and Gary Mathews Jr. are question marks. They all can do something, but not much. The Top-mid of the order looks ok, but the rest is a mess, as I said. If something can come out of the last few guys, this could turn out ok. Whatever happened to Juan Rivera? This guy went from solid LF to DH to riding the pine. I feel bad for this guy, but the Angels screwed it up. All of their outfielders except for Rivera have massive, nasty contracts. I'd like to see what comes out of this. Hopefully on the wrong side.

Rotation Outlook: One of the things that they Angels can credit theirselved with, is having a solid young core of pitchers. They are six deep in their starters, but with Kelvim Escobar having some kind of injury, that may turn into five pretty fast. Other than him, John Lackey, Jered Weaver, Jon Garland, Ervin Santana, and Joe Saunders make up the rest. This is a solid rotation, and is likely one of the main reasons that the Mariners beafed up their rotation to compete. Lackey is a potential 20 game winner, that would be the Mariners' Erik Bedard. Jered Weaver is an exciting young pitcher with a ton of promise, Felix Hernendez. A guy who can eat up innings, Carlos Silva. Jon Garland, a decent pitcher that has had an up and down career, Miguel Batista. Joe Saunders and Jarrod Washburn aren't that comparable, but both are lefties, and that's the biggest comparison that I can find, but I think that you get the point. Solid rotation, with a ton of skill. Angels/Mariners, best rotations? The Mets would enter that conversation as well, and the Red Sox probably could too.

Bullpen Outlook: The Angels have one of the best closers in baseball in Francisco Rodriguez, which I think overvalues their bullpen. Scott Shields is an excellent eighth inning guy, and also a solid reliever, but the rest? Justin Speier is a good pitcher, a fifty inning guy who can keep his ERA under three, but isn't necessarily All-Star material. The rest as I said is, well, Darin Oliver, Chris Bootchek, Jason Bulger, and Dustin Mosely speak for theirselves. I'm not saying that they are bad pitchers, but they aren't great.

Prognosis: I'm not going to lie, the Angels are a heckuva team, and if they would've acquired Miguel Cabrera they would almost have the division locked. I don't want to know what would happen if they got Dontrelle Willis too. Health is a big issue. If Guerrero and Anderson can stay healthy, then the offence is fine. If Lackey and Escobar can stay healthy, then the rotation will be fine, in all likelihood. If K-Rod and Shields are healthy, you get the point. This will be the biggest pain in the Mariners' side in '08, unless a miracle happens in Oakland or Texas.

1 comment:

the_best836 said...

where's jeff mathis?