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September 18, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels and designated hitter Albert Pujols (5) celebrate the 4-0 victory against Toronto Blue Jays at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

 

LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHEIM – 57th Season

First Season: 1961

2016 Record: 74-88, Fourth place in the American League West, 21 games behind the Texas Rangers

Manager: Mike Scioscia, 18th year

Who’s New:

Cameron Maybin, LF

Ben Revere, OF

Danny Espinosa, 2B

Luis Valbuena, 1B/3B

The Angels’ two best players, Albert Pujols (left) and someone who doesn’t need naming (right)

 

Key Position Players (2016 stats):

Mike Trout, CF – .315 average, 29 home runs, 100 RBI, 30 stolen bases

Albert Pujols, DH/1B – .268 average, 31 home runs, 119 RBI

Kole Calhoun, RF – .271 average, 18 home runs, 91 RBI

Andrelton Simmons, SS – .281 average, 4 home runs, 48 RBI, will be a key on defense

Key Pitchers (2016 stats):

Garrett Richards: 1-3, 2.34 ERA

Matt Shoemaker: 9-13, 3.85 ERA

Ricky Nolasco: 8-14, 4.42 ERA

 

August 18, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) reaches home to score a run in the eighth inning against Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

 

Thoughts/Predictions:

If you go by hitting and defense alone, these Halos from Orange County are just as good a team as anyone in “The Show”.

With the presence of Calhoun, newbie Danny Espinosa, a guy who’s a certain first ballot Hall of Famer (Pujols) who’s on the verge of hitting his 600th homer and another guy whom everyone agrees is not only the best baseball player on earth, but will continue to be for years to come as he’s barely in his mid-20s – and is a dead ringer for Mickey Mantle on top of everything else (Trout),

The Angels will be enjoying what is a very good core lineup.

And it’s good to see that they finally filled their hole in left field with Cameron Maybin – and Ben Revere should Maybin not work out.

However, that pitching…

 

GETTING CAUGHT UP: Highlights of the Angels’ 2016 season, courtesy of YouTube.

 

While it’s not Richards’ fault that his elbow ligament was torn, or Shoemaker’s fault that the Seattle Mariners’ Kyle Seager nearly killed him with that line drive to his head last September,

Even in the best case scenario only Richards could be remotely be considered a true #1 ace starter when he’s at the top of his game.

And don’t get me started on the bullpen.

Indeed, the guys who throw from the mound were a complete Achilles heel for Scioscia, the reason why 2016 was a lost season.

And considering the various body parts that fans are holding their breath and praying about, there’s no guarantee that 2017 will see a complete turnaround.

Having said that…

I don’t think these Angels will have as bad a season this year as last; they certainly have something to prove.

 

My Official Prediction:  They won’t be contenders in the American League West as the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers are the class of that division along with the up and coming Mariners, but will have a decent shot at third place if things go their way.

I’ve got these Angels winning anywhere between 80 and 85 games.

 

The uniforms that the Angels NEED to be wearing; I’d be more of a fan of theirs if they did.

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