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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
Athletics hoping Coco Crisp (elbow) can play Opening Day
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:25 pm ET) The Athletics remain hopeful that outfielder Coco Crisp (elbow) will be healthy enough to play Opening Day, MLB.com reports.

"I think it depends on how he feels tomorrow," manager Bob Melvin said Wednesday. "I think it's going to be a pretty good indication on what we need to do."

Melvin said that Crisp was sore Wednesday, and the team will decide Thursday if he'll need to open the season on the disabled list. It's possible he'll play during the team's three-game Bay Bridge Series against the Giants, starting Thursday.

"He's really the one guy on our team that we're not worried too much about at-bats," Melvin said. "If he could play in the Bay Bridge Series, we'd be good with that. Whether he's not, I really don't know yet."

If Crisp does open the season on the disabled list, the Athletics will likely carry outfielder Billy Burns on the Opening Day roster.


Mets SP Bartolo Colon finishes spring 0-3 with 7.02 ERA
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:24 pm ET) Mets starting pitcher Bartolo Colon took the hill Wednesday against the Cardinals for one final spring outing before he starts in the season opener Monday against the Nationals. Colon allowed three runs on six hits and one walk in five innings. He struck out two in a 5-4 loss.

Colon finishes the spring with a 0-3 record and 7.02 ERA. He went 1-4 with a 4.50 ERA in five starts against the Nationals last season.


Tigers' Kyle Ryan coughs up three runs in two innings vs. Astros
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(5:23 pm ET) Tigers pitcher Kyle Ryan got the start and logged two innings of work Wednesday night against the Astros. Ryan, who is competing for a bullpen role, allowed three runs -- two earned -- on four hits and no walks while striking out two in a 3-2 defeat.

Ryan owns a 6.23 ERA this spring. If he fails to break camp with the club, he'll be inserted in the Triple-A rotation.

"I know there's a chance," Ryan said, per MLive.com. "All I can do is go out there and be myself and do what I do."


Blue Jays' Drew Hutchison tosses three scoreless innings
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:20 pm ET) Blue Jays pitcher Drew Hutchison allowed three hits and one walk in three scoreless innings while striking out one in his team's 9-7 win over the Red Sox Wednesday.

Hutchison's fine spring finale gives him a 1.50 ERA and 12:5 K:BB ratio in 18 spring innings. His next start will come against the Yankees Monday on Opening Day.


Cardinals' Carlos Martinez throws six scoreless in final spring start
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:17 pm ET) Cardinals starting pitcher Carlos Martinez threw very well in his final Grapefruit League start Wednesday against the Mets. The right-hander threw six scoreless innings, allowing three hits and one walk. He struck out five in a 5-4 win. 

Martinez allowed just three singles Wednesday. He finishes the spring with a 2.86 ERA in six outings (five starts). Martinez allowed just one run over his final three outings (14 innings).

Martinez will make his first start of the season April 11 against the Reds.


Red Sox SP Steven Wright struggles in spring finale
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:12 pm ET) Red Sox starting pitcher Steven Wright allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits and four walks in 3 2/3 innings while striking out four in his team's 9-7 loss to the Blue Jays.

Wright came into Wednesday's start with just two earned runs allowed in 13 2/3 innings though he had also surrendered six unearned runs. He ends the spring with a 2.60 ERA and 13:11 K:BB ratio in 17 1/3 innings. Wright seems on tap to serve as rotation depth this season.


Astros' Dallas Keuchel strikes out five in final spring outing
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(5:11 pm ET) Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel struck out five in his final outing of the spring on Wednesday against the Tigers. The left-hander permitted one run on seven hits and one walk over 5 2/3 innings of work in a 3-2 victory.

"There were a few things I was pretty pleased with," Keuchel said, per the Houston Chronicle. "I wasn't really too happy with the command first of all. Fastball command was kind of spotty, but I really found the slider as an out pitch.

"That's the one thing that I had been lacking all of spring training. That was nice to see the last start."

Keuchel finished the spring with a 1.80 ERA over 15 innings. He's slated to start on Opening Day against Cleveland.


Orioles OF David Lough to join team for first home series
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(5:00 pm ET) Orioles outfielder David Lough is scheduled to play in a Triple-A game on Friday, according to MLB.com. Lough, who is working his way back from a hamstring injury, is expected to start the season on the 15-day disabled list. He will be with the club for their home series against the Blue Jays starting on April 10.

Twins SP Phil Hughes strikes out five in final spring start
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:00 pm ET) Twins starting pitcher Phil Hughes went four innings in his final spring start Wednesday against the Red Sox. He allowed one run on four hits and two walks, while striking out five.

Hughes finishes the spring with a 2-0 record and 5.28 ERA in five starts. Hughes is scheduled to make his first regular season start in Monday's season opener against the Tigers. Hughes went 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA in two starts against the Tigers last season.


White Sox pitcher Chris Sale strikes out 13 in rehab start
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4:56 pm ET) White Sox pitcher Chris Sale threw six innings Wednesday, allowing one run on two hits with 13 strikeouts on 90 pitches against Class-A hitters.

Sale is recovering from a foot injury suffered in late February and has thrown simulated games as a part of his rehab.


 
 
 
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