Monday, February 22, 2010

Getting back into baseball

The Olympics are in full swing, and after last night's epic victory over Canada, I'm pretty pumped for the medal round, but Spring Training is underway, and it's time to start thinking about baseball. The other day a friend asked me the following question:
Are you seeing tough times for the Angels this year? Seems like everyone else is improving and you guys are getting worse. I think you're potentially in the best division in baseball. Even better than the AL East.
And here's my response:
Health is the one thing I can’t account for. But if they’re healthy, their starting pitching is better, their relief is better, their offense should be better or just as good at every position except third base, where it actually may end up being better if Wood can settle into an everyday role instead of being jerked around. So no, I don’t see tough times. Now they may not win it, because the division is better, but I still think they’ll be very good.

They have Kazmir for a full season, and he was nails down the stretch last year. Weaver had an excellent year. Saunders was great other than the month and a half he tried to pitch though injury. When he finally went on the DL and came back healthy, he was lights out. Ervin Santana got messed up, got sent down, got his head together, and had a 3.09 ERA in the last two months. And Piniero is their fifth, which isn’t too bad for a fifth starter. They get Shields back in the pen, and add Rodney, who isn’t great, but should help.

Morales and Aybar had breakthrough years. I figure much of the same for Hunter, Rivera, and Abreu. Kendrick went the Ervin Santana route, came back up and put up a 351/387/532 line over the last three months, and had a solid post-season.

Figgins is a loss, but they might make that up. Lackey had an OK year, but it was nothing special. 118 ERA+, which doesn’t factor in the 60 or so innings that were replaced by guys like Shane Loux when he spent the first month and a half on the DL. I love his BR sponsor, by the way.

So I think rumors of their demise are a little pre-mature. PECOTA now has them at 80 wins (after they fixed all the things they screwed up). Based on how accurate PECOTA usually ends up in projecting the Angels, I figure that makes them good for about 135 wins.
Obviously the last comment is in jest, but I really have a quiet confidence about the Angels this season. I think they'll surprise people, and there's no reason a successful season should come as a surprise. This is a good baseball team.


Marcus said...

Phenomenal game last night. I won't lie and say I wasn't constantly yelling at Doughty to get rid of the puck so he wouldn't get hit, though. And the Brown-Doughty sequence was beautiful.

Your Lackey b-ref link is broken.

Seitz said...

Thanks. Fixed it.

That was an awesome game. Hockey at its absolute best. And I love that the top guy in ice time for the U.S. was a King, and the #2 guy for Canada was a King. I think I'm in love with Drew Doughty.

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