Wednesday, March 2, 2011

5 Reasons to Look Forward to the Angels in 2011

I know that at times this offseason, things looked bleak. Carl Crawford signed in Boston for more money, Napoli and Rivera were traded for an enormous contract and our biggest Free Agent signing was Scott Downs. However, things aren't all bad in Anaheim. Although we couldn't finalize any deals for big-time players, at the same time, we didn't give up any future either. This team is still built to win some now, but if things pan out the way they should, we are built to win like crazy in the near future. Young stars like Hank Conger, Jordan Walden and Mark Trumbo have already shown on a major league level that they are going to be valuable pieces to the Angels future, and we still have even younger guys like Mike Trout, Trevor Reckling and Tyler Chatwood ready to show off in the Minors this year. For 2011, however, we have to look forward to what is here, right now.

1. A full season of Dan Haren and Jered Weaver at the top of our rotation - This one is pretty self-explanatory. The combination of Haren and Weaver has the potential to be the best 1-2 punch in the American League, and considering Weaver's arbitration status (and the fact that his Agent is Scott Boras) its likely we will only get to see this for a couple years. The problem is that Haren and Weaver get the lowest amount of run support on the team. Both Average just over 5 runs of support a game, opposed to Santana and Kazmir, who got almost 7 runs of support per game. It sure did feel like Haren never got any run support, its good to see the stats back me up on that. If the Angels can find a way to put runs on the board when Haren is on the mound, he could rack up 20 wins and be a Cy Young candidate, and Weaver could be right behind him.

2. Flashback Friday - Yeah, its totally cheesy and I'm totally buying into it. Every Friday Night home game, the Angels will wear a different jersey from their past. Personally, I can't wait for the Mid-90's California Angels. I just wish Vlad were still on the team, so I could see him in the Periwinkle Blue Jersey from the Late 90's.

3. To see if Vernon Wells will play like the MVP he is getting paid like - This is only a pipe dream, but in a perfect world, Vernon Wells will hit .310 with 40 Homers and 120 RBI's. Granted, that would still be under-performing, considering his pay rate. However, maybe in a situation where he isn't stuck behind the Rays, Red Sox and Yankees, he will be more apt to play with a bit more vigor, something he hasn't really shown since his huge contact was signed in Toronto.

4. We never win when we think we're going to - This one is a bit strange, but remember March 2002? The Angels were coming off a pretty bad year where they were something like 40 games out of first place (granted, this was because the Mariners won 116 games in 2001, but its bad, nonetheless), and then to make matters worse in April, the Angels got off to a 6-14 start. Then, some 170 games later, we are the Champions of Baseball. Fast-forward to 2003, or really any year since then. We were either coming off a world series win or a division victory, looking for that final piece to put us over the top and make us two-time champs. We were picked by various publications many times to either make or win the world series, but those predictions always fell apart when we played a superior team from the East, even in 2008, when we had that "power bat" in Mark Teixeira. Now, its present day. We are being picked to finish 3rd in the West by most experts. We are coming off a most disappointing winter, and to make matters worse, we were just rated the 24th best team in baseball by Sony (in their upcoming game, MLB 11: The Show). If we get off to a terrible start in April, I'm going to start looking into champagne and 2011 World Champion T-Shirts.

5. My fantastic writing will, once-again, appear everyday! - Again, self-explanatory. You're Welcome.

So, while most Angel fans will just be trying to cling to any highlights this season, or just closing their eyes until 2012/13, I'll be watching every game, just waiting for Vernon Wells to hit another Home Run (I'm pretty positive he is going to hit like, 80 this year), or for Dan Haren to inch closer and closer to a 25 win season. If not any of those, I'll at least be laughing at Erick Aybar is some ridiculous 1960's get-up.

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