Tuesday, March 5, 2013

MAKING THE PITCH: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

What can we expect from the Halos this season?
Felipe M

We take a look at the projected starting rotations and closer situations of every MLB team.  Of course, this will come from a fantasy perspective.  All cited stats are based on 2013 projections.

We'll take a look at the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

PROBABLE STARTING ROTATION

  1. Jered Weaver
    • Good: Work-horse type of pitcher.  Nasty stuff.  Great control.  Meets all elite, pitching criteria.
    • Bad: Seems like his K/9 has been dropping in the last 3 seasons.  However, he's projected to reach a good, K/9 of 7.79. 
  2. C.J. Wilson
    • Good: Arm is strong enough to reach 200+ innings this season.  Great command, good strikeout artist, and does a good job keeping ball in the park.
    • Bad: Needs to control his walks.  He's currently projected to hit a BB/9 of 3.73.  By comparison, less-established pitchers like Jeff Samardzija, Lucas Harrell, and Felix Doubront are projected to give up similar walk rates.  
  3. Tommy Hanson
    • Good: Was able to pitch through 2012 despite shoulder issues.  High K/9 of 8.67 shows potential dominance of hitters.  8.20 H/9 is pretty decent as well.
    • Bad: Projected WHIP of 1.29 is due to a disappointingly high BB/9 of 3.40.  His HR/9 is supposed to hit 1.10 (1.20+ HR/9 is considered terribly bad).  
  4. Jason Vargas
    • Good: Another strong, horse-like starting pitcher, Vargas is projected to reach close to 200 innings.  BB/9 of 2.47 is 3rd best on the team.  
    • Bad: Has the 2nd highest, projected H/9 on the team at 9.04, which helps raise his WHIP to 1.28.  Worse of all, he's due to give up a HR/9 of 1.19.
  5. Joe Blanton
    • Good: Great understanding of the strikezone.  K/BB is supposed to be a high 4.30 and a K/9 of 7.39.  
    • Bad: WHIP is raised to 1.26 due to a H/9 of 9.04.  Just like Vargas, Blanton is expected to give up a lot of homeruns at a rate of 1.20 HR/9.
CLOSERS
  1. Ernesto Frieri
    • Good: K/9 of 13.10 is impressive and stuff can prove to be unhittable.  Think Carlos Marmol, but with lesser walks.
    • Bad: 4.10 BB/9 is still high, even for a closser, but not too bad where it affects his K/BB (3.19).  Closers with similar BB/9 are Steve Cishek and John Axford.
  2. Ryan Madson
    • Good: Been a big fan of Madson since he was in Philly.  K/BB of 4.64 and a HR/9 of .67 are the credentials of a really good closer.
    • Bad: He is still struggling through elbow problems and the Angels are more than willing to take it cautiously slow with him.  Might not be ready for the start of the season.
FANTASY ADVICE
The Angels have a nice assortment of starting pitchers, but all come with holes to their game.  Weaver is the most reliable and even Wilson, with his control problems, can still prove to be dependable.  The other three can prove to be useful in fantasy, especially if you get lots of points for innings pitched in Points leagues, but can go into stretches where opposing batters can take hitting practice on them.  In other words, do not reach for Vargas, Hanson, and Blanton.

Personally, until I hear otherwise, I'm staying away from their closer situation.  You can try to handcuff Madson with Frieri or another closer and hope he comes back 100% healthy, but knowing what we know about closers, nowadays, your best bet is to draft more healthy and reliable options.

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