Despite having perhaps the most bizarre name in Major League Baseball, the Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim are primed for another playoff push in 2011. Owner Artie Moreno and the Angels front office were active this off-season, adding veteran Vernon Wells to play outfield alongside Torii Hunter and second year player Peter Bourjos.
With the powerful switch hitting Kendrys Morales returning from a leg injury and veteran Bobby Abeu acting as the team's full time designated hitter, the Angels offense is poised for a solid 2011 season. (* It appears that Morales will miss the first month)
Although the Angels have an excellent offense, the strength of the team is their pitching staff, which includes 2010 AL strikeout king Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Ervin Santana and Joel Pinero. Weaver is coming off a 2010 campaign in which he had a 3.03 ERA with 13 wins and 233 strikeouts, while Haren is a former Ace who is capable of winning 20 games.
The AL West race should be an interesting contest this season, with the Angels excellent pitching staff facing off against the Rangers powerful offense. It is coin toss which team will come out victorious, however it is certain to be an exciting race.
Vernon Wells, Scott Downs
Mike Napoli, Hideki Matsui, Scott Shields
Who to Target
From a fantasy perspective, the Angels do not have a blue chip player to target in the early rounds of fantasy drafts. The first Angel listed on our Kramerica Sports 2011 Top 200 Fantasy Baseball Rankings is the team's ace and top pitcher, Jered Weaver.
As the younger brother of fellow big leaguer Jeff Weaver, Jered quickly staked his claim as the best pitcher in the Weaver family by going 11-2 with a 2.02 ERA in his rookie season. In his five-year career, Weaver has averaged 15 wins and 184 strikeouts, while posting a respectable 3.55 ERA. At his current ranking of 62, Weaver is an excellent number two pitcher who has the ability to produce top 5 stats in 2011.
Dan Haren is an excellent number two fantasy pitcher and is ranked as the second best Angel on our top 200 rankings. Haren is a three-time all star who has averaged 188 strikeouts per season over his eight year Major League Career. Haren has a mid 90’s fastball and an excellent split finger fastball that works well as his strikeout pitch. He is a former ace who will be matched up against the number two pitcher from his opponent’s staff, making Haren a nice option in 2011.
Although the Angels assumed a ridiculous contract to bring Vernon Wells to the club, Torii Hunter is the more valuable Angel outfielder. Over 14 big league seasons, Hunter has averaged 25 home runs and 93 runs batted in, with a respectable .275 career batting average. His speed numbers were down last year, however I think he will come close to another 20-20 season, making him a solid number three outfielder.
Our sleeper for the Angels is Mike Trout, Baseball America's second ranked prospect and one of the best outfield prospects in quite some time. Drafted 25th overall in the 2009 amateur draft, Trout has a blistering .344 average over two seasons in the minor leagues.
Trout may not make the roster at the start of the season, however we anticipate that he will be called up and play at least half of the 2011 season.
AL West Fantasy Scouting Reports
NL West Fantasy Scouting Reports
NL East Fantasy Scouting Reports
NL Central Fantasy Scouting Reports
Andrew Swanson is the founder and president of Kramerica Sports LLC, the home of free fantasy news, rankings and advice. In addition to his work as the featured writer for Kramerica Sports, Andrew has a weekly fantasy football segment on ESPN radio 101.7 The Team.. You may contrat Andrew through his website or Twitter @ KramericaSports
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