NBCsports.com recently unveiled their Angels preseason preview and you have to like what you read. The story on the Angels is great pitching and good hitting and while they lost a couple of guys and probably way overpaid for Gary Matthews, Jr., they’re probably the favorites to win the AL West.
The news about Bartolo Colon is a bit discouraging. While I don’t think our laurels rest on Colon’s shoulder, he’ll definitely make a good rotation better if he can come back healthy. And the sooner the better. In the meantime, I like the idea of Joe Saunders filing in. While we can’t expect him to have the start like he did, I think he’ll make for a very good fifth option in the rotation.
And what about Jered Weaver? We’ll get a full season out of him and I like his PECOTA projection. His weighted mean average of a 1.22 WHIP would be very acceptable although I’m hoping for something closer to his 75 percentile, which would put him at a WHIP of 1.17. The one thing to note for Weaver is, he has a 61% collapse rate so there’s a high chance that we could see a little bit of regression before he makes the leap forward to a Cy Young contender.
The more I think about this signing, the more pessimistic I get. John Sickels recently did a community projection for Gary Matthews, Jr. and if that’s what you get for $10 million per, then I’m not buying. Regardless, the deal is done so Matthews is outs whether I like it or not.
Kevin Goldstein recently unveiled his list of the top ten Angels prospects in his latest Future Shock and you have to like what you see. Five of the ten rate at least Very Good and you have Brandon Wood and Nick Adenhart in the “excellent” category.
Wood comes as no surprise and you hope to see him matched up with Howie Kendrick as the team’s double play combination for years to come. The problem of course is Orlando Cabrerra. I like the idea of moving him to third to get him up quicker but it looks like that might be on hold.
Adenhart had a nice season last year splitting time between Low A and High A. It looks like he’ll repeat High A next year but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him at Double A by the All Star break. Expect Adenhart to break through some time late in 2008.
Erick Aybar (another shortstop), Sean Rodriguez (yet another shortstop) and Hank Conger (catcher) round out the top five. The final prognosis is that the Angels have both depth and star power in their system. You can’t ask for much more then that.
At one point in time, Dallas McPherson topped a lot of prospect lists. Not just for the Angels, but in the entire league. Since then, McPherson has been hinder by a back injury and since rehab doesn’t seem to be working, he’ll go under the knife to have it fixed. This story says that under normal circumstances, McPherson could be back in August but there’s also a chance he’s out for the year.
There’s no doubt that the Angels need help at third and if this means fixing a lingering problem, I can’t see much downside from the team’s perspective. From McPherson’s angle, any surgery is scary so I wish him the best in what is hopefully a speedy recovery. Maybe he’ll be back to help the Angels in their 2007 playoff run and hopefully he’s better then ever.
Former star relief pitcher Troy Percival recently agreed to come back to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as a minor league pitching instructor and he’ll also be travelling from farm club to farm club to evaluate each team’s pitchers. It wasn’t that long ago that Percival was one of the best closers in baseball but then injuries slowed him down and eventually ended his career in 2005.
The Angels avoided arbitration with their three eligible players and signed relievers Francisco Rodriguez and Scot Shields to one year deals. K-Rod walked away with the biggest paycheck and he’ll make $7 million in 2007. That’s in line with other top notch closers and assuming K-Rod can stay healthy, he’ll earn his keep.
Shields will make $3.4 million. He’s the bullpen’s workhorse and he had a fine 2006 season as the setup man to K-Rod. That’s a bit more then I would have liked to see a secondary reliever make, but it probably wasn’t worth nickel and diming.
In addition, the Angels signed Robb Quinlan to a two year deal. Quinlan had a very solid season with the bat and with the Angels problems at both first and third, Quinlan could see his playing time increase if he hits as well as he did in 2006 (.321/.344/.491). Not too bad for a guy who will make less then $2 million combined over the next couple of years.
There’s nothing too extreme here. I like how they’ve put off signing K-Rod to a long term deal. Closers have a short shelf life and while I’m sure they’re not waiting for him to flame out, it’s best to be prudent.
The good news is, Kendry Morales has really found his stroke in the Dominican Winter League. In eleven playoff games, Morales was hitting .421 with three homeruns. The bad news is, Morales has been shut down because of a sore knee. X-Rays came up negative but an MRI was planned.
There’s no doubt that the Angels need help at first base. Morales tore up Triple A last year before getting promoted, but then he struggled. He’ll still only be 24 years old this year though so he probably hasn’t hit his peak. Hopefully this knee injury isn’t a major setback, both for Morales and the team.
Not a lot of Angels news out there, so I’ll be doing a retrospective in the next couple of days. In the meantime, the Angels made a few changes to their minor league system. You have everything from managerial changes to the roving coaches.
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