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2013 Fantasy outlooks: L.A. Angels of Anaheim

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A year ago, the Angels paved their road to contention by signing Albert Pujols to add a spark to a humdrum offense, while adding C.J. Wilson to an already-potent rotation.

While Pujols struggled out of the gate, his midseason rebound, along with surprising seasons from Mark Trumbo and Torii Hunter, helped to turn the Halos into an offensive powerhouse. Meanwhile, the pitching staff underachieved, and the Angels missed the playoffs entirely. They finished third in the American League West and four games behind the leagues' two wild card teams, the Rangers and Orioles.

2013 Fantasy Outlooks
A.L. East N.L. East
Orioles Braves
Red Sox Marlins
Yankees Mets
Rays Phillies
Blue Jays Nationals
A.L. Central N.L. Central
White Sox Cubs
Indians Reds
Tigers Brewers
Royals Pirates
Twins Cardinals
A.L. West N.L. West
Astros Diamondbacks
Angels Rockies
Athletics Dodgers
Mariners Padres
Rangers Giants

This offseason, the Angels further bolstered their lineup by signing Josh Hamilton to replace Hunter (who departed for Detroit via free agency) in right field. Peter Bourjos may not be new to Anaheim, but he is a relatively unfamiliar face in the lineup, as he served primarily as a backup last season. With Kendrys Morales having been dealt to the Mariners for starting pitcher Jason Vargas, Trumbo will move from the outfield to the Morales' old designated hitter slot, creating an opening for Bourjos to get regular play.

Meanwhile, the Angels turned over three-fifths of their rotation, as free agents Zack Greinke and Dan Haren headed back to the National League and fifth starter Ervin Santana was traded to the Royals for minor league reliever Brandon Sisk. Their replacements, Vargas, Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton, don't have the same level of star appeal, but each has had success at some point in his career. The bullpen got a minor makeover, as the Angels dealt one-time closer Jordan Walden to the Braves to acquire Hanson, and free agents Ryan Madson and Sean Burnett were signed. As soon as he is fully recovered from Tommy John surgery, Madson will take over closer duties from Ernesto Frieri, while Burnett will take on a setup role.

2013 projected lineup
Player Name Position
1. Mike Trout LF
2. Howard Kendrick 2B
3. Albert Pujols 1B
4. Josh Hamilton RF
5. Mark Trumbo DH
6. Erick Aybar SS
7. Alberto Callaspo 3B
8. Chris Iannetta C
9. Peter Bourjos CF
Bench Vernon Wells OF
Bench Andrew Romine SS

With the Angels falling short of the postseason in 2012, they will need the injury-prone Hamilton to stay healthy, the rotation to perform better than expected and for Madson to be a stable and effective closer. Though overlooked among the higher-profile moves, Madson's presence allows Frieri, Burnett and Scott Downs to provide bullpen depth that the team lacked last year. If everything falls into place, the Angels could deliver the championship run that they missed out on a year ago.

Sleeper ... Jason Vargas, starting pitcher

While Vargas was probably the less recoginzable name in the trade that sent Morales to Seattle, he will be more important to the Angels than Morales would have been this season. Whereas Morales would have had to fight for playing time in a crowded 1B/OF/DH mix, Vargas gives the Angels a much-needed reliable arm for their rotation. The seven-year veteran doesn't have electric stuff, but he walks few batters, pitches to contact and tends to allow flyballs. That's a perfect fit for homer-squelching Angel Stadium and the Angels' defensively-gifted outfield. He may not be a top 40 starter like he was last season, but as a late-round pick in standard mixed leagues, he could wind up providing tremendous value.

Bust ... Mark Trumbo, outfield/designated hitter

With 61 home runs over the last two seasons, there is no disputing that Trumbo can wallop a baseball. He can also drive in runs, but that just may be the extent of what Trumbo can do to help your Fantasy lineup. He's not especially prolific as a doubles or triples hitter, strikes out frequently, doesn't walk much and isn't much of a threat to steal. If Trumbo could strike out less often like he did in the minors, he could maintain or raise his batting average, but as last season wore on, he had more -- not less -- trouble making contact. Only a fluky-looking .299 batting average on grounders kept his overall average in the .260s. Trumbo may be more of a liability in the batting average and runs categories than you think, so don't reach for him prior to the middle rounds.

2013 rotation/bullpen
Player Name Throws
1. Jered Weaver RHP
2. C.J. Wilson LHP
3. Tommy Hanson RHP
4. Jason Vargas LHP
5. Joe Blanton RHP
ALT Garrett Richards RHP
Bullpen Breakdown
1. Ryan Madson RHP
2. Ernesto Frieri RHP
3. Sean Burnett LHP
4. Scott Downs LHP
5. Kevin Jepsen RHP

Rotisserie gem ... Peter Bourjos, outfield

Bourjos was a major stolen base threat as a prospect, so it's a bit odd that he has swiped only 35 bags in 299 career major league games. It's not as if Angels manager Mike Scioscia is shy about giving runners the green light, so perhaps 2013 is the year that Bourjos lets loose on the basepaths. His minor league track record also suggests potential for a higher batting average, so Bourjos could be a surprisingly useful player in Rotisserie formats. He doesn't walk much, though, and the probability of a low spot in the batting order will cost him at-bats. Both of these things will hurt his value in Head-to-Head.

Prospects Report

The Angels have few prospects who are close to making an impact in the majors, but Nick Maronde could be an exception. The 23-year-old lefty made 12 appearances out of the Angels' bullpen last year, and he could fill that role again or serve as a starter if someone in the rotation needs replacing. ... Kaleb Cowart is at least a year away, but he is the Angels' top prospect among position players and can bring some power and on-base potential to the third base pool. ... First baseman C.J. Cron and outfielder Randal Grichuk also have a shot to arrive in 2014, but both are riskier options in long-term keeper leagues. Both players have to work on their plate discipline and need to prove they can hit for power outside of the California League.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Al Melchior at @almelccbs . You can also send us an e- mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Rays first baseman James Loney hopes to rejoin team this weekend
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:53 pm ET) Rays first baseman James Loney is very close to a return to the majors, according to the Tampa Tribune. Loney is expecting to play in one minor league game this week and rejoin the Rays this weekend. 

Loney, who is currently on the 15-day DL with an oblique injury, has been out since the first game of the season with the injury.


Blue Jays' Jose Reyes leading off Tuesday, Devon Travis out
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3:51 pm ET) Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes is batting leadoff in Tuesday's matchup against the Orioles, while second baseman Devon Travis is out of the lineup.

Reyes was diagnosed with a small rib fracture last week after feeling a jolt of pain during an at-bat Thursday. He was ruled out through the weekend but is able to return to action Tuesday.

Travis left Sunday's game after getting hit with a pitch. He escaped serious injury after the team announced he was not dealing with a rib fracture, but he'll take a seat Tuesday. Ryan Goins will draw the start at second base.

The Blue Jays are favorites (-121) against the Orioles Tuesday.


Reds C Mesoraco unexpectedly sidelined again Tuesday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:49 pm ET) It was anticipated that Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco (hip) would be back in the lineup Tuesday in Milwaukee, but he remains out. Mesoraco is not only dealing with the ailment, but had been away from the team on personal business.

Injuries have prevented Mesoraco from playing much this season. And when he has played he hasn't hit - he has just two hits in 21 at-bats.


Rays' Jeff Beliveau has shoulder impingement
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3:45 pm ET) Rays pitcher Jeff Beliveau said Tuesday that he has an impingement in his left shoulder, the Tampa Tribune reports.

Beliveau underwent an MRI Saturday, and he's scheduled to undergo more testing Wednesday. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday due to shoulder soreness.


Braves' Philip Gosselin gets start at short over Jace Peterson
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3:45 pm ET) Braves infielder Philip Gosselin will start at shortstop in Tuesday's game at the Mets, in place of regular starter Jace Peterson. He'll hit eighth in the lineup.

It's just Gosselin's second start at short this season. He's also started one game at third. 

Gosselin is hitting .100 this season, with a stolen base and two RBI. 

The Braves are +135 underdogs at the Mets. 


Orioles' Steve Pearce, Ryan Flaherty back in the lineup Tuesday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:45 pm ET) Orioles' Steve Pearce and catcher Ryan Flaherty are back in the starting lineup Tuesday after getting the day off Monday, per MASN Sports.

Pearce will bat second and play first base after not playing since Saturday. He is hitting .250 in eight career at-bats against Mark Buehrle with two doubles and a strike out. Flaherty is hitting .333 with two home runs and three RBI in 24 at-bats this season.

The Orioles are currently the underdogs (+125) against Toronto.


Phillies' Sizemore draws first start in six games with Haren on mound
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:42 pm ET) Phillies outfielder Grady Sizemore drew his first start in six games Tuesday against the Marlins. Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg might have made the move given Sizemore's history against Marlins starting pitcher Dan Haren.

Sizemore is batting .550 (11 for 20) with two doubles, three home runs, four RBI, three walks and three strikeouts in his career against the veteran right-hander.


3B Yunel Escobar back in the lineup Tuesday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:41 pm ET) Nationals third baseman Yunel Escobar has returned to the lineup for the Tuesday game against St. Louis after being sidelined since Saturday with a groin injury. He is batting sixth.

Escobar returns having sit safely in all but two games this year. He boasts a slash line of .286/.362/.405.


Braves start Chris Johnson at third over Alberto Callaspo
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3:40 pm ET) Braves third baseman Chris Johnson will start Tuesday's game against the Mets, over Alberto Callaspo. Johnson will hit fifth in the order.

With Tuesday's game, Johnson and Callaspo each have made six starts at third base this season. Neither player has started more than two games in a row. Johnson is hitting .320 with three RBI. 

The Braves are +135 underdogs at the Mets. 


Red Sox DH David Ortiz suspended one game, will appeal
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3:39 pm ET) Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz has been suspended one game for bumping an umpire in Sunday's game against the Orioles, the league announced. He has elected to appeal the suspension.

Ortiz was ejected from Sunday's game for arguing balls and strikes, and his contact with the umpire during the confrontation has drawn a one-game suspension. The designated hitter has hit .220/.340/.390 with two home runs and four RBI in 41 at-bats.


 
 
 
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