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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
Diamondbacks' David Peralta hits key two-run triple on Thursday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(1:03 am ET) Diamondbacks left fielder David Peralta had a big hit on Thursday, as he hit a two-run triple in the sixth inning of Thursday's 8-1 win over the Rockies. Peralta's three-bagger came with the score tied 1-1, giving his club a lead they would not relinquish.

Peralta, who went 2 for 4 on Thursday, is batting .371 with a double, two triples and one home run over his last 10 games.


Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki extends hit streak to 15 games
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(1:00 am ET) Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki extended his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games with a ninth-inning single on Thursday.

The former All-Star is batting .373 with a homer and nine RBI over the 15-game streak. He has now reached base safely in 30 straight games, which also a career-best.


Mariners sign C Erik Kratz to minors deal
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:56 am ET) The Mariners have signed veteran catcher Erik Kratz to a minor league deal, according to the Tacoma News Tribune. Kratz became a free agent on Monday after being designated for assignment by the Red Sox on June 25. 

Kratz will provide catching depth to a team that already has Mike Zunino and Jesus Sucre on the big-league roster. 


Diamondbacks' A.J. Pollock slugs 10th home run in win Thursday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:53 am ET) Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock went 2 for 5 with his 10th home run of the year in Thursday's 8-1 win over the Rockies. Pollock, who also singled and scored later in the game, tied the score at 1-1 with his sixth-run solo blast.

Pollock cooled off a bit after a torrid three-week period. But he's starting to pick it back up again at the plate, as he is batting .282 with two longballs over his last 10 games.


Rockies SP Chris Rusin pitches well in loss on Thursday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:49 am ET) Rockies left-hander Chris Rusin was the victim of a pair of errors on Thursday night, leading to the Diamondbacks 8-1 victory. Rusin pitched six innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on six hits. He walked two and struck out six, as he lowered his ERA to 4.27.

Rusin (3-3) gave himself an early 1-0 lead when he drove home a run with a single in the fifth. But then he surrendered a solo home run to A.J. Pollock to leadoff the sixth inning.

Rusin then got the next two batters out, but walked Welington Castillo. Aaron Hill reached on an uncharacteristic error by Nolan Arenado. Then David Peralta cashed in with a two-run triple, accounting for the damage done to Rusin on the night. 

Still, this makes three consecutive starts of three earned runs or less for Rusin.


Athletics C Josh Phegley records double, two RBI in win
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(12:45 am ET) Athletics catcher Josh Phegley went 1 for 4 with a double and two RBI in Thurday's win over the Mariners.

Phegley got the scoring started on Thursday with a double in the bottom of the first inning that brought teammates Ben Zobrist and Billy Butler around to score.

Phegley is hitting .280 with five home runs and 17 RBI in 107 at-bats this season.


Diamondbacks' Jeremy Hellickson goes seven strong in victory
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:43 am ET) Diamondbacks right-hander Jeremy Hellickson pitched a season-high seven innings on Thursday, as Arizona defeated the Rockies 8-1. Hellickson allowed one run on three hits. He struck out six and did not walk a batter, as he had only four three-ball counts all evening.

The only run Hellickson allowed on Thursday came on an RBI single by the opposing pitcher. 

Hellickson (6-5, 5.06 ERA) needed only 87 pitches to get through his seven innings, and this was his seventh quality start in his last nine outings.


Athletics SS Marcus Semien slams seventh home run of year
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(12:41 am ET) Athletics shortstop Marcus Semien hit his seventh home run of the season against the Mariners on Thursday.

Semien hit a solo blast off Mariners starter Roenis Elias in the fifth inning to put his team up 3-0. He finished the game 1 for 3 with a RBI.

The home run was Semien's first in 158 at-bats.


Mariners SP Roenis Elias gives up three runs in loss to A's
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(12:37 am ET) Mariners starting pitcher Roenis Elias didn't have enough to pick up a win on Thursday against the Athletics, despite a very solid outing.

Elias allowed three runs on just three hits, but was outduled by A's starter Scott Kazmir, who threw eight scoreless inning. Elias struck out seven batters, but picked up his sixth loss of the season.

Elias (4-6) has a 4.27 ERA with 64 strikeouts and 25 walks in 78 innings this season.


Twins' Miguel Sano gets first career hit in debut on Thursday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:35 am ET) Twins rookie Miguel Sano recorded his first big-league hit in his Major League debut on Thursday. Sano went 1 for 4 on the evening, and his lone hit came in his final at-bat in the ninth inning. It was a slow tapper to third base that he beat out for an infield single. The Twins went on to beat the Royals 2-0.

"I feel really happy, not for the single, but for my team winning tonight," Sano said, per MLB.com. "It's my goal to try to win a lot of games this year."


 
 
 
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