Fantasy News and Analysis for the Los Angeles Angels
The Angels’ offense seems to be finally clicking the last 15 games or so because of the production of proven veterans and some integral pieces in the offense. It also helps that the starting rotation is blowing full steam ahead right now, and if it wasn’t for the lack of a true closer they could be a lot higher in the standings. They have played well through some key injuries and they look to be even better when they get their whole team on track.
After a scorching hot start for Josh Hamilton he found himself on the disabled list with a thumb injury after sliding head first into first base. Let this be a lesson for all young baseball players about sliding headfirst. He looked like the Hamilton of old through 8 games posting 2 home runs and 6 RBI with a .444 batting average. He is progressing very well though, and had his cast taken off four days early because of quick healing. Hamilton looks to be back towards the end of May or beginning of June. While the Angels offense has been productive while Hamilton's been out, his bat will be a welcome return to the lineup if he can pickup where he left off. Kole Calhoun was off to a slow start but began to start hitting and then he too found himself on the DL with an ankle injury and looks to be out until June at the earliest. This team has been pretty resilient in the early stages of the 2014 season with solid contributions from Collin Cowgill, Howie Kendrick, and Eric Aybar. David Freese is finally beginning to see the ball and drive the ball to the opposite field and although his batting average does not show much, Raul Ibanez has picked up some timely RBI for a 41 year old.
Sir Albert Pujols has been on an absolute tear his last 20 games and has accumulated 9 home runs and 21 RBI. Many critics were predicting 25 home runs and 85 RBI for the former MVP and are baffled by his recent surge in power. To me, he just looks plain ole healthy. Yes he had the ability to drive the ball with just his hands earlier in his career, but at this stage he needs his legs under him to be healthy. His foot problems seem to be over for now so you should ride out this hot streak while you can. He is currently on pace for 54 home runs and 138 RBI. Now that would be amazing for anyone at any age, but if we are being realistic he should end somewhere around 40 and 115.
Another big surprise has been Tyler Skaggs and Garret Richards in the rotation. Both young arms are throwing a lot harder this year and allowing the Angels to stay competitive in games. Both guys are having big breakout seasons and if you own them in fantasy make sure to hold on. Solid young starters like Skaggs and Richards, along with the health of Jered Weaver, are a few huge reasons why the Angels are looking like a solid team in the thick of the playoff race right now
We then come to the face of MLB in Mike Trout. What is there to say about this guy? He signed his giant contract right before the season, and showed just what he is worth on day 1. He is hitting .321 with 6 home runs and 18 RBI which is exactly what we expected him to do. He Is 4-4 in stolen base attempts, yes they may be lower than expected but he doesn’t have to run when Pujols is on fire behind him. Clearly he is picking the right opportunities to steal and not just running because he has the ability to. He has scored 21 runs through 27 games which would put him on pace for 126 for the season and I believe not one person will be complaining about that. His strikeouts and walks are rather high at this point, which reflect the more aggressive approach Trout wanted to employ this season, but I see both of them starting to slow down once the summer begins as he waits for better pitches to hit.