Tag:Angels
Posted on: March 7, 2012 12:19 am
Edited on: March 7, 2012 4:27 pm
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Spring primer: Los Angeles Angels

Angels
By Dayn Perry

Perhaps no team in 2012 will shoulder greater expectations than the Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim). This offseason, new GM Jerry DiPoto and owner Arte Moreno shelled out more than $300 million in guaranteed monies to sign the luminous Albert Pujols and pluck C.J. Wilson from the division-rival Rangers. Add them to a team that won 86 games last season, and the Angels are certifiable pennant contenders. Anything less than a playoff berth -- especially now that there's a second wild-card berth in play -- will be a serious disappointment. 

Major additions: 1B Albert Pujols, LHP C.J. Wilson, C Chris Iannetta, RHP LaTroy Hawkins
Major departures: C Jeff Mathis, RHP Joel Pineiro

Probable lineup
1. Erick Aybar, SS
2. Howie Kendrick, 2B 
3. Albert Pujols, 1B 
4. Torii Hunter, RF 
5. Vernon Wells, LF 
6. Bobby Abreu, DH
7. Alberto Callaspo, 3B 
8. Chris Iannetta, C 
9. Peter Bourjos, CF 

Probable rotation
1. Jered Weaver
2. Dan Haren 
3. C.J. Wilson 
4. Ervin Santana 
5. Jerome Williams 

Back-end bullpen
Closer: Jordan Walden
Set-up: LaTroy Hawkins, Scott Downs, Jason Isringhausen

Important bench players
IF Maicer Izturis, 1B Kendrys Morales, 1B/OF Mark Trumbo, C Bobby Wilson

Prospect to watch: Mike Trout
To hear some analysts tell it, Trout edges out Bryce Harper and Matt Moore for the honor of top prospect in all of baseball. It's easy to understand why: Trout has more tools than a frat house. He's one of the fastest runners you'll ever see, he boasts Gold Glove-caliber skills in the outfield, and his smooth swing and pitch-recognition skills should yield high OBPs and plus  power at the​ highest level. It's no surprise, then, that Trout has thrived at almost every stop despite being much younger than his peer group. There's nothing he can't do on the diamond. 


Fantasy Sleeper: Kendrys Morales
"As if Morales' season-ending ankle fracture early in 2010 wasn't bad enough, the 28-year-old slugger then kept Fantasy owners on the hook right up until the end of spring training last year, burning some of the early drafting types for a second straight season. Needless to say, nobody is counting on Morales for much now, which means he's likely to go for next to nothing on Draft Day. So far, his work in batting practice has the Angels cautiously optimistic that he'll be ready for the start of the season. Of course, we were hearing reports just as favorable this time last year only to find out he needed a second surgery, but what are the chances of that happening again? A second surgery was surprising enough. A third would be grounds for a lawsuit. Granted, a healthy Morales would face the same playing time obstacles as Mark Trumbo, but considering Morales is the better all-around hitter, he's a better gamble in the late rounds than Trumbo is in the middle rounds." - Scott White [Full Angels team fantasy preview

Fantasy Bust: Mark Trumbo​
"It's not that Trumbo can't repeat last year's 29 homers. It's just that, given his lack of plate discipline, everything has to go just right for it to happen. And already things are going wrong. The biggest blow came when the Angels signedAlbert Pujols, leaving Trumbo without a position. He was supposed to learn third base this offseason as a creative way to keep his bat in the lineup, but a stress fracture in his foot kept him off the practice field. The Angels still might try to rotate him between DH, third base and possibly left field, but such instability often has an adverse effect on a player's batting average, which in Trumbo's case, could lead to an on-base percentage lower than any number of homers could justify. Besides, if Kendrys Morales is healthy, it's all moot anyway. Trumbo will get drafted in mixed leagues given his potential for 30-plus homers, but consdiering all the variables at work here, he could easily be a waste of a pick." - Scott White [Full Angels team fantasy preview]  

Optimistic outlook
The rotation turns out to be baseball's best. Albert Pujols rebounds from last year's "disappointing" campaign. Chris Iannetta constitutes a substantial upgrade over the mercifully departed Jeff Mathis. Mike Trout lives up to the press clippings, and what figures to be one of the top benches around helps push the Angels to the top of the AL West. Oh, and then they win the World Series. 

Pessimistic outlook
As good as the Angels are, it's not hard to envision struggles. That could happen if Pujols declines further, and they struggle to find a reliable fifth starter. The other starters are then undermined by a potentially thin setup corps. Vernon Wells struggles, and the team refuses to treat him as a sunk cost, which leaves Trout languishing in Triple-A. What else could go wrong? Kendrys Morales can't get healthy, and Mark Trumbo fails to repeat his 2011 power performance, which means the aging, worsening Bobby Abreu is without a steady platoon partner at DH. Meanwhile, the Rangers cruise to a third-straight division title. 

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Posted on: March 5, 2012 3:04 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 3:44 pm
 

The Pujols revolution will not be televised

Albert Pujols

By Dayn Perry


Freshly minted Angel Albert Pujols is in the lineup and batting third today. One would think that Pujols's Los Angeheim debut would make for some compelling afternoon television, but, as Cork Gaines of Business Insider notes, no one in a position to do so--not FOXSports West, not MLB Network, not ESPN, not even MLB.tv--is broadcasting what's surely the most notable game of the day. And the people say: Lame.

Our programming masters cannot, however, stop us from wondering aloud what we can expect from Pujols this season. Last year, he showed some patterns of decline, but the Angels, given the breadth of their investment, are hoping that was but a blip. Was it?

For a glimpse of the future, FanGraphs has a nifty round-up of what the various forecasting systems are expecting from Pujols in 2012. The most pessimistic is the Marcel system, which forecasts a .298/.384/.549 batting line out of him with 32 homers and 31 doubles. On the other end of the continuum, there's Bill James, who expects Pujols to hit .316/.414/.591 with 41 bombs and 40 doubles. Quite a bit of variance there, as you can see.

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Posted on: March 2, 2012 8:20 pm
 

Injury roundup: Lee, Freeman, Crawford and more

By Matt Snyder

As happens every single spring, the minor little injuries are starting to pop up all over the place. It's bound to happen when guys first start hitting the field after a long offseason, especially with older players like 35-year-old Carlos Lee.

Lee, the Astros' first baseman, has already been scratched from Saturday's lineup due to a mild right hamstring strain. (Ultimate Astros)

Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman had his kneecap briefly dislocated earlier this week, but he had an encouraging jog Friday.

"I feel great," Freeman said (MLB.com). "Hopefully, they will let me start hitting [in batting practice] again tomorrow or Sunday."

Red Sox left fielder Carl Crawford is aiming for an opening day return from his offseason wrist surgery -- which he had in the middle of January -- but he had a small setback Friday. There was some inflammation in his wrist and he didn't end up taking any swings.

"I'm always concerned when there's a setback. I don't know how bad it is. But according to the doctor it doesn't look that bad," Crawford said (Boston.com). "I was feeling real good, too. I wasn't expecting this."

• Sticking with the Red Sox, closer Andrew Bailey has been limited with a lat strain, but he's "inching closer" to pitching in a spring game, after a 20-pitch bullpen session Thursday. (BostonHerald.com)

Mark Trumbo of the Angels is making progress in his recovery from a stress fracture in his right foot, to the point that he's been able to get into "more intense" workouts at third base -- where he's attempting to transition.

"We haven't been able to find out [how well he can play third], because he looks fine in some of the baby steps, but his hurdle is going to come when the game comes to full speed, [when the] ball off the bat becomes full speed," manager Mike Scioscia said (MLB.com). "We haven't been able to get close to that because of trying to fit in his rehab. He's done as much as he can, outside of the things that we're going to need him to do to evaluate him. Although those things are encouraging, the test for him is going to be much deeper as he moves on to see if he's going to be a Major League third baseman."

Phillies second baseman Chase Utley isn't necessarily injured, but after the past few seasons, the Phillies are bringing him along slowly this spring to make sure he's fine come opening day.

"It might be a little while before I play him," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said (Philly.com). "I want him to keep doing his regular workouts. Right now, I'm in no hurry to play him as long as we can have him ready when the season starts. We just want him to feel good about where he's at with his practice and hitting."

• The Rays have several smallish updates. Evan Longoria will return to likely action Monday from his bruised hand. Phenom pitcher Matt Moore doesn't have lower abdominal discomfort any longer. Designated hitter Luke Scott and outfielder Sam Fuld will be delayed before appearing in any spring games. Scott had shoulder surgery last season, so it's just the club taking it slow. Fuld is in a similar situation of patience, as he had an injury in the tendon of his right wrist late last season. (MLB.com)

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Posted on: March 2, 2012 6:31 pm
 

Fielding Bible projections for 2012 released



By Matt Snyder


Highly-respected defensive analysts John Dewan and Ben Jedlovec have released their Fielding Bible projections for the 2012 Major League Baseball season, with the Tampa Bay Rays being projected as the best defense in the majors and the Miami Marlins proejected to have the worst.

The system used in the Fielding Bible is "defensive runs saved," which doesn't only factor in errors, it also uses range and player placement to determine how many runs a defense either saves pitchers or costs them. Clubs with a positive score are said to have defensively saved pitchers runs while those with a negative score have cost their pitching stuff some runs.

Last season, the Rays were the best in the majors with a +85 score. That's quite a feat, saving 85 runs for your pitching staff. On the flip side, the Marlins checked in with a -75, which is flat-out atrocious.

This season, the projections have the Rays saving 42 runs and the Marlins at a -30.

The top five projected defenses for 2012, in order, in the projections: Rays, Mariners, Reds, Rangers and Angels.

The bottom five, listed from 26-30: Orioles, Cubs, Mets, Twins and Marlins.

The Phillies made the highest leap from last year's score to this year's projection, going from a -59 ('11 score) to +6. Losing Raul Ibanez from left field helps, as does having a full season of Hunter Pence and someone other than Ryan Howard manning first base for a few months, the press release for the Fielding Bible noted.

Other teams with projections showing a big improvement from last season were the Mariners, Rangers, Yankees and A's (though the A's are still projected in the negative).

The clubs expected to take the biggest hit defensively are the Astros (going from 12th ranked to 25th) and Dodgers (11th to 24th). Losing Pence and Michael Bourn for the first half of the season has to be a major part of the Astros slide. The Tigers -- with Miguel Cabrera shifting to third base -- Brewers, Padres and Rockies are also projected to fall down the Fielding Bible standings.

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Posted on: March 2, 2012 3:56 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 9:32 pm
 

2012 MLB top prospects



By Matt Snyder


We at CBSSports.com don't have a scouting guru, but prospect rankings are incredibly popular among fans these days, so we aren't about to neglect covering the preseason rankings. So this post will contain the consensus top 60 prospects from the baseball world. I've gone through and averaged out the rankings from the five major outlets that do them.

Why 60? Well, the outlets usually rank 100 (Baseball Prospectus does 101), but after around 50 there's nothing close to a consensus. It's a muddled mess of disagreement. There were 147 players mentioned between the five top 100 (or 101) lists and once you get north of a certain handful of can't-miss prospects, the rankings are all over the place. Even in the top 60 below, you've got someone like Wily Peralta from the Brewers' system. He was ranked 39th by ESPN.com and 94th by Baseball Prospectus. Hak-Ju Lee of the Rays was ranked 12th, 20th, 44th, 46th and 67th, respectively, by the five outlets.

One thing they do agree upon? The top three prospects in baseball are Matt Moore, Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. Of course, they don't agree on the order.

The five rankings sets we used:

- Baseball Prospectus (Kevin Goldstein)
- ESPN.com (Keith Law)
- MLB.com (Jonathan Mayo)
- Baseball America (staff vote)
- Scout.com on FoxSports.com (Frankie Piliere)

So here are the consensus top 60 prospects in baseball, according to these five published outlets. Notes of other things that might interest will follow the chart.

Prospect Position Organization Average rank
Best rank
Worst rank
1. Matt Moore
LHP Rays 1.6 1 3
2. Bryce Harper
OF Nationals 2 1 3
3. Mike Trout
OF Angels 2.4 1 3
4. Jurickson Profar
SS Rangers 6.4 4 7
5. Shelby Miller
RHP Cardinals 6.8 5 10
6. Julio Teheran
RHP Braves 7.2 4 18
7. Manny Machado
SS Orioles 7.4 4 11
8. Jesus Montero
C Mariners 7.8 5 12
9. Gerrit Cole
RHP Pirates 10.4 9 12
10. Dylan Bundy
RHP Orioles 13.4 6 30
11. Jameson Taillon
RHP Pirates 13.6 8 16
12. Devin Mesoraco
C Reds 15 8 25
13. Trevor Bauer
RHP Diamondbacks 17.2 9 21
14. Jacob Turner
RHP Tigers 18.4 11 29
15. Wil Myers
OF Royals 19.2 13 28
16. Manny Banuelos
LHP Yankees 20.8 9 30
17. Miguel Sano
3B Twins 21 12 28
18. Travis d'Arnaud
C Blue Jays 21.4 6 43
19. Tyler Skaggs
LHP Diamondbacks 21.4 13 26
20. Danny Hultzen
LHP Mariners 23.2 13 36
21. Bubba Starling
OF Royals 25 15 41
22. Nolan Arenado
3B Rockies 25.8 18 42
23. Carlos Martinez
RHP Cardinals 26 19 32
24. Archie Bradley
RHP Diamondbacks 28 19 38
25. Anthony Rendon
3B Nationals 29.2 17 56
26. Drew Pomeranz
LHP Rockies 29.6 14 45
27. Taijuan Walker
RHP Mariners 30.6 14 77
28. Jarrod Parker
RHP A's 31.6 23 52
29. Zack Wheeler
RHP Mets 34.8 27 53
30. Arodys Vizcaino
RHP Braves 35 14 64
31. Francisco Lindor
SS Indians 36.2 17 60
32. Hak-Ju Lee
SS Rays 37.8 12 67
33. Matt Harvey RHP Mets 41.6 26 54
34. Martin Perez
LHP Rangers 44.4 20 UR
35. Michael Choice
OF A's 45 16 80
36. Gary Brown
OF Giants 45.8 18 68
37. Christian Yelich
OF Marlins 46.6 34 75
38. Brett Jackson
OF Cubs 46.8 32 89
39. Jonathan Singleton
1B Astros 47.6 34 75
40. Billy Hamilton
SS Reds 47.8 23 70
41. Mike Montgomery
LHP Royals 48.6 23 UR
42. Jean Segura
SS Angels 49 22 69
43. Anthony Rizzo
1B Cubs 49 36 77
44. Jake Marisnick OF Blue Jays 50 29 67
45. Jarred Cosart
RHP Astros 52.8 25 78
46. Mike Olt
3B Rangers 54 43 75
47. Anthony Gose
OF Blue Jays 54 39 70
48. Xander Bogaerts
SS Red Sox 54.2 33 76
49. Nick Castellanos
3B Tigers 55 37 73
50. Zach Lee RHP Dodgers 55.8 41 72
51. Dellin Betances
RHP Yankees 56 28 83
52. Gary Sanchez
C Yankees 56.2 42 81
53. Wily Peralta
RHP Brewers 56.8 39 94
54. Randall Delgado RHP Braves 56.8 42 98
55. George Springer
OF Astros 57.4 33 84
56. Jake Odorizzi
RHP Royals 57.8 47 71
57. Oscar Taveras
OF Cardinals 58.2 24 UR
58. Rymer Liriano
OF Padres 60.6 40 100
59. James Paxton
LHP Mariners 62.4 51 77
60. A.J. Cole
RHP A's 63.2 33 88

• If a player went unranked by any outlet, he received a value of 105 in the calculated average. More than one of those would easily be enough to knock a guy from the ranks, so everyone above with a "UR" next to his name in the "worst rank" category above was ranked by four of the five outlets.

• Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish was ranked fourth by Baseball America and ignored by all other outlets. I've got to believe the four outlets that didn't rank the Japanese phenom don't consider him a prospect. Which is weird, because most define "prospect" as someone who still has "rookie" eligibility. Darvish still does, but they have the right to rank whomever they wish.

Athletics' outfielder Yoenis Cespedes was ranked 20th by Goldstein and 14th by Baseball America while the other three outlets declined to rank him. My response to this would be similar to that of Darvish.

• Goldstein mentioned that he'd rank Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler 39th, so I actually plugged him in and bumped everyone else down one spot. After all, I fully expect Soler to be signed sometime this season. Still, Soler didn't make the top 60 above because no one else ranked him.

Nick Franklin (SS, Mariners) would have easily made the top 60 here, but Goldstein left him unranked.

Will Middlebrooks (3B, Red Sox) would have easily made the top 60 here, but Law left him unranked.

• The following players were ranked somewhere by all five outlets but didn't make the cut for the average top 60, listed in order of best average ranking: Yasmani Grandal (C, Padres), Casey Kelly (RHP, Padres), Trevor May (RHP, Phillies), Yonder Alonso (1B, Padres), Sonny Gray (RHP, A's), Starling Marte (OF, Pirates), Josh Bell (OF, Pirates), Javier Baez (SS, Cubs), Mason Williams (OF, Yankees), Jedd Gyorko (3B, Padres) and Addison Reed (RHP, White Sox).

• For the complete lists of each, please note I linked to them in the introduction above. Just click on it and go (of course, ESPN.com and Baseball Prospectus are pay sites, so you can't see those for free). Those guys all focus on scouting throughout the year as their primary job, so they know more than you and I on this front.

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Posted on: February 29, 2012 8:48 pm
 

Mariners' Gutierrez to start season on DL

Franklin GutierrezBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez will once again miss opening day, and he could miss all of April after the team announced he suffered a partially torn pectoral muscle.

The good news is he isn't expected to need surgery. He will need at least four weeks before he is able to participate in any baseball activities.

"At this point, we don't know," Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. "Every body responds to things differently. We do't know wwhat he'll be able to do and at this point, we'll probably just ease him into things gradually."

Last season Gutierrez didn't play until May after being diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome during spring training.

Chone Figgins played center field in Wednesday's intrasquad game. Michael Suanders and Casper Wells, along with Figgins, are candidates to replace Gutierrez while he's gone.

Gutierrez played in just 92 games last season, hitting .224/.261/.273 with one home run.

He left Tuesday's workout with the pectoral injury and had an MRI the same day. He flew back to Seattle on Wednesday to see the team's doctor.

In other injury news from Wednesday:

• Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett was scheduled to return to Pittsburgh on Wednesday to have his right eye examined by team doctors after his bunt attempt hit him in the face.

According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Burnett joked, "Where did the bone go?" after the ball hit him in the face.

Burnett wasn't scheduled to throw on Wednesday.
 
• Braves right-hander Tommy Hanson threw his first bullpen session since suffering a concussion on Feb. 20. Hanson threw 30-pitches and told rpeorters he felt good.

"I think I threw a little better than I had expected," Hanson said (via MLB.com). "I've had some time to think about some mechanical stuff. I was surprised by how well I threw."

Hanson may throw live batting practice on Friday, but he still has to pass one more part of the concussion impact test.

•The Angels' Kendrys Morales is making progress from his 2010 ankle injury, hitting from both sides of the plate, something he didn't do last spring. He also added S-turns in his running -- another thing he never did last season.

"He's in a different position now because he's had nothing but a progression to the point where you can see that he'll progress to playing games in a couple of weeks," manager Mike Scioscia told reporters, including Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.

• Keeping with the theme of Angels displaced by Albert Pujols, Mark Trumbo was cleared by doctors on Wednesday to return to the field.

Trumbo, who had a stress fracture in his right foot, is attempting to make the move to third base. [Orange County Register]

• Cubs catcher Geovany Soto will miss the start of the Cactus League with a sore groin, but told reporters it wasn't a big deal.

"It's spring training, and there's no hurry to get out there," Soto told reporters, including Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. "I want to be there as much as I can, just to play. I've had four months off and you train hard all offseason, so you want to get every game possible to get ready for the season."

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Posted on: February 27, 2012 5:14 pm
 

Report: Bourjos needs hip surgery next offseason

By Matt Snyder

Though he said he's good to go for this season, Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos is "probably" going to have to undergo surgery next offseason to repair "some fraying of the labrum in the joint" of his right hip (LATimes.com).

The Times report says that Bourjos would have had the procedure this past winter, but he didn't have the MRI until the week before Thanksgiving and the surgery has a six- to 12-week recovery period. He didn't want to cut things too closely to spring training and the regular season, so he held off.

If the issue becomes a problem during the season, the Angels could turn to one of baseball's top prospects, Mike Trout. Trout is only 20 and spent 91 games in Double-A last season, where he hit .326/.414/.544. He got 135 major-league plate appearances, hitting just .220/.281/.390. But he only turned 20 in August.

Bourjos, however, sounds like he doesn't think Trout will be needed to spell him this season.

"As long as I keep it strong and loose, it should be all right," said Bourjos (LATimes.com). "Once I get going, it's fine. It's usually after games that it's sore. That's why I soak in an ice bath."

Bourjos, 24, hit .271/.327/.438 with 26 doubles, 11 triples, 12 homers and 22 stolen bases last season.

Hat-tip: Hardball Talk

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Posted on: February 26, 2012 6:54 pm
 

Bengie Molina officially retires with a party

By Matt Snyder

What, you didn't know that Bengie Molina wasn't retired yet? Hard to blame anyone who didn't, because he did not play at all in 2011. He just had never offically announced his retirement. Saturday night (via CSNBayArea.com), in the form of a retirement party with former Giants teammates, it happened. So he's now off the free agency market.

Molina, 37, retires with a career line of .274/.307/.411 with 144 home runs and 711 RBI in 1,362 regular-season games. He has two World Series rings (he got a ring from the 2010 Giants, even though he was traded July 1 of that season), just like his two brothers, Yadier and Jose. Bengie Molina played for the Angels, Blue Jays, Giants and Rangers. He won the AL Gold Glove in 2002 and 2003, when he was the Angels' starting catcher.

Up next for Molina? Take it away, CSNBayArea.com:
Next up for Molina is some traveling, fishing and enjoying time with his wife and two daughters. He wants to take a trip to see the Olympics in London. Then, in a year or two, he plans to look for a coaching position where he can make an impact. His late father, Benjamin, was deeply invested in youth baseball in Puerto Rico until the day he died of a heart attack in 2008. He was crossing the street with boxes of baseballs in his hands when he collapsed.

“I want to dedicate myself to do what my dad did: teaching kids how to play, and also how to be a better person and how to love their families,” Bengie said. “I’m going to try to pass it on.”

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com