(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the 14th of 30 major league baseball previews leading up to the opening game on Sunday, April 3. On deck: Arizona Diamondbacks.
An unfavorable report on the 2016 season for the Los Angeles Angels claimed that money was running out and the starting pitching was in a world of hurt. That report came from the Oakland A’s beat writer on SB Nation.
That’s like Ted Cruz assessing Donald Trump. Still, there may be some truth inside the spin.
The Angels paid a ton of money to Mike Trout and Albert Pujols plus are still paying Josh Hamilton, who’s now with Texas when not in rehab.
The Angels won 85 games last year but are projected at Westgate SuperBook for only 81.5. And it is true that the starting pitching is in a world of hurt entering the season.
Tyler Skaggs and Jared Weaver are likely to open the season on the DL and C.J. Wilson could miss all of April. Garrett Richards won 15 games as the ace. He’s healthy but it’s going to be tough getting the ball to closer Huston Street with a lead.
Offensively Trout continues to put up huge numbers, belting 41 homers with a super on-base percentage of .402. Pujols had a terrible April and May but came alive to hit 40 homers and knock in 95. Still, that .244 batting average just won’t cut it.
The Angels have a new left side of the infield in 3B Yunel Escobar and SS Andrelton Simmons. Cliff Pennington could win the second base job off a spring training batting average of .393.
The Angels are 30-1 to win the World Series, which is far more than the calls for Mike Scioscia to be fired as the longtime manager. But then Scioscia is used to hearing that.
Where it goes right: That Trout has MVP stats and Pujols gets off to a good start. Also that the Angels’ staff survives April and doesn’t fall too far off the pace in the division.
Where it goes wrong: That everything the Oakland report said turns out to be true. If so, the Halos won’t come anywhere close to 85 victories.
Projection: Usually the truth lies somewhere in between, but unless somebody steps us and has a career year, Scioscia has reason to be concerned about returning for 2017.