5 Reasons to be Optimistic about the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Next Year by Austin Smith
The 2013 season is certainly one that all Angels’ fans will want to forget. Despite the huge offensive signings of Albert Pujols, CJ Wilson, and Josh Hamilton over the last two off seasons, the Angels still failed to make the postseason. The team’s overall terrible health and awful chemistry led to a subpar season in which they lost 84 games. Fans had enormous expectations that unfortunately were never realized, and now many are left asking the question- is there any hope for the Angels next year?
There is. And here’s why:
5. A quiet, but productive offseason:
In 2011 and 2012, the Angels made huge offseason splashes by luring Albert Pujols, CJ Wilson, and Josh Hamilton to LA for over half a billion dollars. Because these deals have fallen short of expectations so far, the Angels decided to take a more conservative approach for the 2013 offseason.
By trading away established hitters Peter Bourjos and Mark Trumbo, the Angels were able to land top prospects in Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs, as well as third baseman David Freese. Santiago and Skaggs are quality left-handed starting pitchers who will add depth to a starting rotation that allowed 4.23 runs per game, 24th in the whole MLB.
Anyone remember David Freese? Freese was the World Series MVP for the Cardinals in 2011 and is known for his consistent hitting approach. Freese fills a large void at third base and adds postseason leadership.
Furthermore, the Halos have signed dynamic set-up man Joe Smith and the Ageless Raul Ibanez to fill their designated hitter position.
The added depth will be crucial for the Angels’ health during 2014, and the leadership may prove invaluable if they manage to make a postseason run.
4. A solid bullpen with depth:
With the added depth of Joe Smith, the return of Sean Burnett, and the emergence of Dane De La Rosa, the Angels have plenty of great options for relief.
Moreover, closer Ernesto Frieri looks to build on a solid 2013 season in which he recorded 37 saves.
This depth will be helpful because it will allow the Angels to hold onto and win more games next season.
3. A strong starting rotation:
Jered Weaver- the former Cy Young runner up- and CJ Wilson are a phenomenal 1-2 combo for any club.
Garrett Richards’s blazing fast ball and consistent pitching style gives Angels fans hope that he’ll fill the number 3 spot, while Santiago and Skaggs at 4/5 round out the Angels’ strong starting rotation.
2. Josh Hamilton (Breakout Candidate):
Yes, 2013 was not the best year for him. He did only bat .250 with 79 RBIs but Hamilton is the type of player that likes to be amazing one year and then bad the next. For example, in 2011 he won the AL MVP by batting .359, but then in the next year he only batted .298. Why is that good for Angel’s fans? Well, if the past is a good indicator of the future, he will now have a breakout year to compensate for his slump in 2013*.
In addition, Hamilton has told reporters he has something to prove after signing his huge contract and not producing last year, so Angels fans- let’s hope for the best.
1. MIKE TROUT:
The guy is a flat out stud and he’s only 22. I mean, how do you top off a 2012 season considered by many to be one of the best in MLB history? Well, you have an even better 2013 season. This is exactly what Mike Trout did.
In 2012, he came up second in MVP voting, led the league in Wins Above Replacement (WAR), won Rookie of the Year, won the Silver Slugger Award, and led the league in runs scored and stolen bases.
Then, in 2013, he led the league again in WAR, won his second Silver Slugger Award, increased his walk ratio, lowered his amount of strikeouts, and then came in second for the MVP again.
The fact that the Angels have arguably the best player in baseball should make any fan optimistic. The scariest part is he’s only 22 and still has lots of room to grow.
So, with great pitching, outstanding hitters, and superb leadership, the Angels’ prospects are looking up- and this is why all fans should be very optimistic about the upcoming Angels season.
* The Editor does not take responsibility for any statistical error in this statement.