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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
Giants SS Brandon Crawford (oblique) still out Saturday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(2:55 pm ET) Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford remains out of the starting lineup Saturday against the Cardinals. Crawford will miss his fourth consecutive game due to an oblique strain.

He is making progress however, as Crawford played catch Saturday for the first time since sustaining the injury on Tuesday. He is also expected to take some swings, though a clear timetable for his return to the lineup has not been revealed. 


White Sox relievers Daniel Webb, Zach Putnam swap places on DL
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(2:40 pm ET) The White Sox have activated right-handed reliever Daniel Webb from the 15-day disabled list. Webb had been out since early August with a back issue.

To make room for him on the 25-man roster, Zach Putnam has been placed on the 15-day DL with a right groin strain (retroactive to August 27).


Giants C Buster Posey sitting Saturday following rough night
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(1:48 pm ET) Giants catcher Buster Posey is out of the starting lineup for Saturday's game against the Cardinals. Posey got banged up behind the plate and at the plate on Friday, including getting hit by a pitch in his elbow.

He was likely going to have Saturday off anyway, with a day game following a night game. But his availability for late-inning duties remains in question. Manager Bruce Bochy did say he only expects Posey to miss one game, according to the San Francisco Chronicle

Andrew Susac will be the battery-mate for starter Ryan Vogelsong on Saturday.


Red Sox LF Hanley Ramirez (shoulder) still out on Saturday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:26 pm ET) Hanley Ramirez's fatigued shoulder will keep him out of the Red Sox lineup for at least one more game, as he is sitting against the Mets on Saturday. Ramirez was scratched from Friday's lineup when his shoulder started acting up, and he was not used in the game.

Alejandro De Aza will take over in left field on Saturday. It is not yet known if Ramirez will be available off the bench.


Blue Jays recall Drew Hutchison to start Saturday; Thole optioned
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(10:28 am ET) Blue Jays right-hander Drew Hutchison has been recalled to start Saturday's game against the Tigers. Hutchison was sent down to Triple-A Buffalo following his most recent outing, a start on August 16. The Blue Jays did not need a fifth starter up until now, so they moved the young pitcher to the minors to keep him fresh.

Hutchison is 12-2 this year, but he does own a 5.06 ERA over 24 starts with the Jays--a testiment to Toronto's offensive prowess.  

Hutchison did make a start for the Bisons since his demotion, allowing two runs on three hits over four innings on Sunday.

To clear room for him on the roster, catcher Josh Thole has been optioned to Triple-A. He is expected to return to the club shortly after rosters expand on September 1.


Tigers OF J.D. Martinez gets rare day off on Saturday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(10:15 am ET) The Tigers are giving outfielder J.D. Martinez his first day off in over two months, as he is being held out of the starting lineup on Saturday against the Blue Jays. Martinez had started every game for the Tigers since June 24.

The All-Star outfielder has been enjoying a career-year in 2015, and he has maintained his good fortunes lately. Over his last 10 games, Martinez owns a .308 average with three home runs and eight RBI.


Red Sox DH David Ortiz has tight heel, likely to sit Saturday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(9:24 am ET) Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was lifted from Friday's game against the Mets in the bottom of the eighth inning due to tightness in his left heel. Ortiz left his mark before leaving the game, as he went 2 for 3 with his 27th home run of the season in the 6-4 victory.

Ortiz is unlikely to play on Saturday, and his status for the series-finale on Sunday is still in question.


A's summon Aaron Brooks to start Saturday; Max Muncy optioned
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(9:10 am ET) Athletics rookie right-hander Aaron Brooks has been called up and will start Saturday's game against the Diamondbacks. Brooks has made four appearances (three starts) since coming over from the Royals in a deal right before the July 31 trade deadline.

His last start came back on August 12, when he was rocked for eight runs over 1 2/3 innings. He pitched in relief two days later and was then sent down to Triple-A. 

To clear room on the roster, infielder Max Muncy was optioned to Triple-A Nashville.


A's SP Felix Doubront (foot) has next start moved back a day
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(9:04 am ET) Athletics pitcher Felix Doubront will have his next start moved back a day, as he is still being bothered by a contusion on his foot.

Doubront sustained the injury in his last outing on Monday when he took a comebacker off of his foot. The injury is not considered serious, but he will have his next start pushed from Sunday to Monday against the Angels, according to Comcast SportsNet California.


Astros C Jason Castro exits Friday with strained quad
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(1:47 am ET) Astros catcher Jason Castro left Friday's game against the Twins with a right quad strain. Castro was lifted for a pinch-runner after hitting a one-out double in the fifth inning. 

Castro went 1 for 2 before being removed. Castro will be evaluated on Saturday before a decision on his status is made.


 
 
 
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