Angels: Underdogs in the AL West

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Updated: March 28, 2016

In the year of 2014 The Los Angeles Angels had one of the best records in baseball only to be swept by the Royals in the ALDS. Then finished last year with an 85-77 record, upsetting fans by missing the final wild card spot by a landslide. The off season soon came upon the Angels, and fans were reluctant in finding a GM in Billy Eppler. Leaving Angel fans hoping to require a high quality free agents, but the offseason came and only speculation tricked the minds of Angel fans and were left with a platoon consisting of Daniel Nava and Craig Gentry.

Most are worried that this season looks even more bleak than last season, but the Angels are poised for a comeback season. Yes, it may seem impossible the way the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers are stacking their teams, but this spring training has proven that the Angels are capable of being the comeback kids in the AL West.

The Angels have Mike Trout. Arguably one of the best players in baseball at the moment carried the Angels last year up until the bitter end. Trout having a .299 batting average and a best in slugging .590 and OPS .991. Both being a best so far for him. With Trout putting up Mvp numbers year round we can already infer that we’re going to get everything out of him. Plus, during spring training we are seeing vintage Albert Pujols through spring training and it’s about time.

His injury limited his play late of last year but it forced him to now take the helm at designated hitter and be the run producer the Angels need. From what we’ve seen is he is taken his role to the utmost importance, with a batting average of .281, 3 homers, 9 RBI’s, and OPS .866 Pujols means business and ready to strike back this year. Also, they found out last year that C.J. Cron can also hit too! With a full season under his belt he will do major damage for the Angels and be a great addition at first base this year.

The Angels platoonconsist of Daniel Nava and Craig Gentry, actually works! Who knew that this could be such a success. These free agents have a one year contract with Angels and coming off the worse year of their careers. Daniel Nava’s life has been like a movie. Coming from independent baseball, to being signed by the Red Sox in 2007, flew through the minors within 2 years to having a historical Mlb debut. Now has a .565 batting average and an OPS of 1.406. As for Gentry a respected veteran who has been consistent through his career seeking redemption after a disappointing 2015 season is on fire through spring training batting .923. The platoon has shimmers of hope.

The Angels starting rotation is booming with talent. Jered Weaver is not the dominating ace he once was, and in his first outing against the Dodgers his first pitch clocked at 79 and averaged 79 throughout his outing. What we can rely on Weaver is that he will compete. He will always go out on the mound to fight his way to the end. We can admire his determination but we’re glad he is willing to pass the torch to Garrett Richards. Who has been extremely impressive, even after his surgery last year. He is now set to be the ace for the Angels and nothing but excitement is surrounding the hard throwing righthander. Then the emergence of lefty Andrew Heaney, had a great rookie season putting up an impressive 3.49 era for a rookie. We can’t wait how he will blossom into a dominating pitcher for the Angels. What was even more surprising was the turnaround for the American League All-Star, Hector Santiago believing he would be traded in the off season was surprisingly not.

He’ll continue to contribute even more to the Angels rotation as long as he can avoid leaving early in the ball games . Now the last four: Nick Tropeano, who proved he is a big league starting picture is fighting for a spot, Shoemaker trying to make the comeback and be the dominating pitcher he was in his rookie season, and C.J. Wilson the veteran has been struggling with tendinitis and has yet to make a spring training debut, but recent news he won’t ne ready until may. Wilson may be out but the reemergence of Tyler Skaggs brings back hopes. Skaggs allowed an unearned in run in two innings against the White Socks. He’ll start the season on the disabled list but should miss less thank a month of the regular season.

The Angels have had the luxury of having amazing infielders and this year is no slouch. After a trade in November the Angels acquired Andrelton Simmons the greatest defensive shortstop in the game, but found a power bat in Yunel Escobar. Speculation about Simmon’s bat causes concern for the Angels who had one of the worst offenses in the American League, but the Angels can make him a better since he is a full contact hitter and him having not to worry about being a big bat in the lineup should make it easier for the shortstop. Plus they’re hit and run play style should eases his approach.

Remember Angel fans had the same concerns with Johnny Giavotella, he turned out to be the Angels biggest clutch hitter and in his first full season hit .282 with a .318 on-base percentage in 2015. Plus, the mix of Cliff Pennington, Rey Navarro, and Ji-man Choi only bring even more confidence to the Angels. With Carlos Perez who has great talent and can be an impact player for the Angels behind the plate and Gary Soto backing him up, we can infer another great defense from the Angels.

Baseball is a very technical sport. What we tend to forget is the magic it posses. The way we feel and how these big leaguers make us feel, that one day we can be apart of that magic. Each Angel player has magic, that little spark in them whether you rob a home run or put one over the fence for your 500th career big fly. We can see that. They will put on a show, that show is around the corner and who knows what could happen, all we can do is watch.

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