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L.A. Angels Predictions | 2011 Season Betting Preview

2011 MLB Team Preview: Los Angeles Angels

Hard to believe, as some of us still have VERY cold temperatures outside, that the Boys of Summer are almost back. But it’s true; teams have started reporting to 2011 Major League Baseball training camps and it’s time to start our team-by-team baseball gambling previews for the year.

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Angels Calender

FEB. 1-18, 2011 – Salary arbitration hearings
FEB. 14, 2011 – Voluntary Spring Training reporting date for pitchers, catchers and injured players
FEB. 19, 2011 – Voluntary Spring Training reporting date for non-pitchers and catchers
FEB. 26, 2011 – Mandatory Spring Training reporting date for all players

2010 must’ve felt pretty awkward for the Los Angeles Angels. These guys won the American League West in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009. Last year marked just the second time in seven seasons that L.A. didn’t reach the big dance.

So was 2010 a hiccup? Or will the Angels be watching the Rangers’ and Athletics’ behinds again this year? I think it’s the latter.

LOS ANGELES ANGELS
World Series odds: +4000

The Angels’ success through the 2000s was largely the result of two key components: power and pitching. While they still have a few noteworthy contributors in both categories, I’d argue they’ve regressed overall in those areas.

They’ll look to Kendrys Morales, Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells to be the top run producers this season. Unfortunately, all three are major health risks. Morales is a fantastic hitter in his prime but is working his way back from a broken leg that cost him most of last season. Is he ready to be elite again? Hunter and Wells are two very similar players, guys with pop and former Gold-Glove outfielders who are losing their speed and breaking down. Either guy’s production could fall off the map any year now.

Bobby Abreu is yet another aging vet expected to be a stalwart on offense for the Angels this season. 2010 snapped a streak of seven straight 100-RBI campaigns. While moving him to DH could spike his production back up, it’s no guarantee, as Abreu is 37 years old.

The rest of the Angels’ lineup is a popgun attack. Howie Kendrick is talented and everyone raves about how he’ll win a batting title someday but he’s made it through one full season without getting hurt. He’s the AL version of Rickie Weeks. Alberto Callaspo, Jeff Mathis, Erick Aybar and Peter Bourjos fill out the order. At least Bourjos is a young guy with wheels.

Since it looks like the Angels’ offense is on the decline, that puts more pressure on the pitching staff to deliver. At the top, L.A. is just fine. Jered Weaver led the majors in strikeouts during a breakout 2010 season. Dan Haren wasn’t quite himself last year but is almost always an ace and should bounce back.

The other components of L.A.’s rotation are question marks, however. Over the last three years, Ervin Santana was terrific, horrific, then terrific again. Does that pattern suggest he’s due to tank? As for Scott Kazmir, I’ve lost faith. He can’t hit the plate anymore. Will he even make the team?

If the Angels are smart, they’ll give Scott Downs a chance to close this season. He’s a lefty but he was lights out and much more than a specialist with the Blue Jays. He’s arguably a better option than the erratic, overrated Fernando Rodney.

2011 OUTLOOK

I believe the 2010 Angels are the real Angels. Their key offensive cogs are aging, their best guys are injury risks and their young guys are unproven. They have two aces but someone else has to start three out of every five games. The Angels have too many holes and concerns to be a playoff team. A .500 season seems more likely.

Prediction: 3rd, American League West

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About Shea Matthews

Shea Matthews the Senior Writer at CP. Lives and breathes sports. He made the transition from athlete to sports journalist at a young age, writing in TV & national papers. Shea applies his knowledge to sports betting + handicapping daily, and shares winning picks with the world.


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