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Los Angeles Angels

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Projected Team

  • 3B Yunel Escobar
  • RF Kole Calhoun
  • CF Mike Trout
  • DH Albert Pujols
  • 1B C.J. Cron
  • LF Cameron Maybin
  • 2B Danny Espinosa
  • C Martin Maldonado
  • SS Andrelton Simmons
  • RHP Garrett Richards
  • RHP Matt Shoemaker
  • LHP Tyler Skaggs
  • RHP Ricky Nolasco
  • RHP Jesse Chavez
Mike Scioscia

The Angels are the easiest fourth-place pick in baseball, but they could win, too! They have Mike Trout, and the other 29 teams are sitting there, looking stupid because they don't have Mike Trout. The Angels' offseason was a slurry of resigned pragmatism, and that was just about the only thing they could do. It would have been a lot cooler if they could have picked up one more starting pitcher, but they’re very close to fielding a contender already.

Don’t believe me? Talk to the computers. FanGraphs and ZiPS have them neck and neck with the Rangers and Mariners (and way behind the Astros) in their projected standings, a perfectly normal team. Most of it has to do with Trout, but there’s a quiet competence surrounding him, too, from Kole Calhoun to Jesse Chavez. The Angels have specialized in getting players who belong on major league rosters but will never make an All-Star Game. It’s not the best way to build a 95-win guarantee, but it’s a pretty good way to sneak into a divisional race when nobody is looking.

If you think they should have already started the rebuilding process by now, ask yourself a simple question: Would you rather watch Yoan Moncada for the next three years, or would you rather watch Mike Trout? Not that Moncada is part of an actual rumor, but that’s something like a best-case scenario. No matter what the Angels get for Trout, it won’t ever be as good as Trout.

Which means they’re in a holding pattern, but not entirely devoid of hope. Beats some of the alternatives.

— Grant Brisbee

Key Addition

The Angels spent much of their offseason making moves no one outside of Los Angeles of Anaheim noticed, but they did manage to make a few that count. Luis Valbuena might be a bench player, but he's only who plays regularly who has slugged .442 with an above-average on-base percentage over the last three years, and is coming off the strongest of those seasons.

All additions: Luis Valbuena, Cameron Maybin, Bud Norris, Danny Espinosa, Dustin Ackley

Key Departure

The Angels lost like, an entire rotation. Jered Weaver is off in San Diego, and so is Jhoulys Chacin. Tim Lincecum made nine starts, and he's out. C.J. Wilson's contract is over, and he's retired. Here's the good news! None of them were any good! Oh, sorry about that, San Diego. You had to find out some time.

All departures: Jered Weaver, Tim Lincecum, C.J. Wilson, Geovany Soto, Jhoulys Chacin

Best Case

The Angels' lineup could be pretty good! Mike Trout is in it, for one, but they also added the likes of Cameron Maybin and Luis Valbuena to a group that already had successes like Kole Calhoun, C.J. Cron, Yunel Escobar, and the still-producing Albert Pujols. If excising the worst of their rotation pays off like it should, by giving more innings to better pitchers, the Angels could actually contend in the AL West despite winning just 74 games in 2016.

Worst Case

[extremely Ted Turner in the 90s voice] Gentlemen, we have the only Mike Trout in the country and we're fucking it up.