| Tue 17/03/2015 - 00:47 EDT

      Los Angeles Angels 2015 Season Preview

      Los Angeles Angels 2015 Season Preview

      Futures

      Odds To Win Division: +160

      Odds To Win AL Pennant: 6/1

      Odds To Win World Series: 14/1

      Regular Season Win Total: 89.5

      Most Significant Offseason Changes

      Biggest Additions

      Matt Joyce, LF

      Cesar Ramos, RP

      Josh Rutledge, 2B

      Andrew Heaney, SP

      Biggest Losses

      Howie Kendrick, 2B

      Kevin Jepsen, RP

      Gordon Beckham, 2B

      Jason Grilli, RP

      They’ll Be Successful If…

      The Angels have the best player in Major League Baseball with Mike Trout, and he should have another MVP quality season leading one of the Majors highest scoring lineups. The pitching staff for the Angels is full of talent and youth. Entering the 2015 season at only 23 years old, the reigning American League MVP (36 home runs, 111 RBIs, .939 OPS), Mike Trout, currently is the best player in all of baseball. With outstanding power, speed and defensive range, Trout excels at every aspect of the game. With Albert Pujols rebounding after a mediocre 2013 season, the lineup  has the best 3/4 hitting combination in the MLB. The pitching staff for the Angels remains intact from their 2014 season. With 4 of the starters posting 13 wins or more in 2014, including Rookie of the Year runner-up, Matt Shoemaker (16 wins, ERA of 3.04) and the breakout season from Garrett Richards (13 Wins, ERA of 2.61)the Angels have no liabilities in their rotation. Headlined by ace Jered Weaver (18 wins, 3.59 ERA in 2014) and MVP Mike Trout, the Angels are well equipped for another successful season in 2015.     

      They’ll Be Unsuccessful If…

      With Josh Hamilton's baseball future in jeopardy, the Angels will need to find a replacement left fielder, sooner than later. Coming off another postseason failure, the Angels continue their trend of losing when it matters. Though his punishment has yet to be determined, Hamilton relapsed and could be facing a stiff suspension. Even though he has performed poorly after signing a massive deal (5 years/ $125 Million) two years ago, the Angels lack a suitable replacement, as offseason addition Matt Joyce is projected to be the designated hitter in 2015. Since winning the 2002 World Series, the Angels have struggled in the playoffs. Since their championship in 2002, the Angels have only won two playoff series  and have been swept three times. With all the talent on the roster, the Angels need to step it up when it matters most, to avoid being labeled as choke artists.   

      Fantasy Bargain: Matt Shoemaker, SP

      Posting 16 wins and an ERA of 3.04 in his rookie season, Shoemaker is a bright young star. Having only pitched 136 innings in 2014, Shoemaker's arm is well prepared for a heavier work load in 2015. Posting 8.2 strikeouts per 9 innings, and an excellent WHIP of 1.07, Shoemaker should mirror these numbers in 2015. With the potential to reach 175 innings pitched in 2015, look for Shoemaker to win 15 games and post over 150 strikeouts, while keeping his ERA below 4.00.   

      Outlook

      The Angels are a safe pick to make the playoffs in 2015, but will need to step their game up in the postseason. With Trout maturing, Pujols and Weaver providing veteran leadership, the Angels should end their recent streak of postseason futility.

      Prediction: 2nd In AL West

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