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How do you feel about the club?


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OK, so now that we know the roster, ST is over... i wonder how many feel about the club going into the real thing?

For me, i was quite pleased overall with ST, liked most of the numbers i saw, and aside from maybe worrying about guy #25 on the roster i think the outlook is extremely good.

 

We have more depth in the rotation now than we did at the start of ST or anytime in the last couple years and that depth looks to be able to hold down the fort if needed.

I'm seeing a lot of the beat writers all over the place on who might win the West but they all say the same thing pretty much about us, if the big money guys perform, we will be in the mix... i think if they perform we are the mix and everyone else is playing for the wild card.

 

That may be optimistic im sure but ive said many times hat to me last year was an anomaly, the team was far better than its record and suffered from everything going wrong.  The team the year prior almost won 90 games and on paper this team is far better than that one so...

 

So, I say we win 90+ and likely win the West :)

I also say the the A's finish no better than third.  The M's may be better than the A's, The Royals and Orioles might make the playoffs, and this season will be a wide open dogfight in the AL with more balance than the last few seasons in pretty much every league.

Who else wants to go on record?
 

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I think our pitching is really going to struggle this season. Early on the bullpen will be bad. Jepsen, Kohn, Shoemaker, Maronde, Salas... Sorry, not excited when any of them come in to pitch. Also, the fact that Santiago and Skaggs will struggle to pitch into the 6th inning most nights because of their high pitch counts, I think will have an affect on the bullpen as well. I think the offense will carry the pitching staff at times, but it won't come easy and it won't be consistent. The 6th and 7th innings are going to drive us all up the wall many times.

 

I see us finishing somewhere between 88-92 wins. I think OAK has a better shot of winning the division than TEX does. I think TEX will have an off year and finish with 82-85 wins.

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The team that destroyed them last season is in shambles. The offense is strong. The defense will play better, especially holding runners.The pitching will be adequate. Overall they will play good baseball and outperform a 89 win Pythagorean and win the West with room to spare. 

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I am pretty optimistic about how the Angels will perform this year and it is based on how they approached Spring training this season, making the veterans put in the hours and really get into playing form.

 

My one concern is not the pitching or defense, it is just one player. And it isn't Pujols or Hamilton, those guys are not going anywhere. It all comes down to the 41 year old DH and if he can put anything out there and can Scioscia make an early determination if he is done and drop him from the roster before we have to watch 4 months of him being a black hole in the lineup.

 

Ibanez's last half of 2013 in Seattle was Jeff Mathis bad .203/.295/.345/.640. That is close to what he has shown in Spring training this season and although he still can run it looks as though he has aged out of the game with his bat. I don't have any faith he is going to flip a switch and become a better than replacement player.

 

Other than that I think the Angels are going to have a pretty good first half and make a solid run at the West title this season.

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Much better than last year. While the 3-5 this year is inexperienced, their individual upside gives me hope. I do think we'll be acquiring some trade deadline pitching though. Hopefully some our 'unknown' spects can turn into something valuable come July. As of right now, we have too many starters that will struggle to get six innings.

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I think our pitching is really going to struggle this season. Early on the bullpen will be bad. Jepsen, Kohn, Shoemaker, Maronde, Salas... Sorry, not excited when any of them come in to pitch. Also, the fact that Santiago and Skaggs will struggle to pitch into the 6th inning most nights because of their high pitch counts, I think will have an affect on the bullpen as well. I think the offense will carry the pitching staff at times, but it won't come easy and it won't be consistent. The 6th and 7th innings are going to drive us all up the wall many times.

 

I see us finishing somewhere between 88-92 wins. I think OAK has a better shot of winning the division than TEX does. I think TEX will have an off year and finish with 82-85 wins.

 

I'll add Richards too. But agreed.

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There are a lot of possible outcomes with any team, but perhaps especially with the 2014 Angels. There is a lot of potential with this club, a handful of players that could really make a difference depending upon how they play, and also a lot of possibility for outright disaster. Barring catastrophic injury, I see three general outcomes:

 

Pessimistic

The pitching is in shambles - the older guys continue on downward trends and the young guys prove unready or simply not very good. The bullpen is overtaxed and struggles terribly. Meanwhile, Pujols and Hamilton don't bounce-back, Ibanez is completely done, and while the offense is still above average, it isn't as dynamic as hoped for. This would be around a .500 ballclub, even a couple games below.

 

Optimistic

Weaver turns time around a bit and is not only healthy but recovers a bit of his velocity, with Wilson and him feeding off each other. The young guns look strong overall, holding their own, with at least a couple of them breaking out as legit #3-quality starters. The bullpen gels, with a few pitchers having breakthroughs. Meanwhile, Pujols and Hamilton discovery the flower of youth and the offense thrives. The team is remarkably injury, with nothing major. The team wins the West (93+ wins) and, of course, Trout gets his MVP.

 

Moderate

There are some ups and downs, positives and negatives.  Combine some of both of the above and you get 85-92 wins.

 

At this point, its just too hard to say - but you can see I'm looking at a range from 80-95 wins or so. I honestly wouldn't be surprised with anything within that span; the team is too talented to win much less than about 80 games, but also with enough question marks and holes to make more than 95 wins highly unlikely. I think 87-92 is the most likely range.

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I think our pitching is really going to struggle this season. Early on the bullpen will be bad. Jepsen, Kohn, Shoemaker, Maronde, Salas... Sorry, not excited when any of them come in to pitch. Also, the fact that Santiago and Skaggs will struggle to pitch into the 6th inning most nights because of their high pitch counts, I think will have an affect on the bullpen as well. I think the offense will carry the pitching staff at times, but it won't come easy and it won't be consistent. The 6th and 7th innings are going to drive us all up the wall many times.

 

I see us finishing somewhere between 88-92 wins. I think OAK has a better shot of winning the division than TEX does. I think TEX will have an off year and finish with 82-85 wins.

 

I agree with all this.

 

The young pitchers will put pressure on the BP and it could have an adverse effect.

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I feel like this club has as good a chance as any to make the post season. 

 

I feel like, regardless of whether I think they will be good, there are a bunch of players on the team that I enjoy watching. 

 

I feel like Josh Hamilton has made an effort to connect with Halo fans after seeming very aloof last year. 

 

I feel like the club is headed in the right direction philosophically and they are being less 'conventional' and more forward thinking

 

I feel like the bullpen is a huge key to success this year.  I think they are gonna baby some of the young SP.  There is gonna be a lot of pen shuffling early on in order to find out who has the hot hand. 

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I think we'll score runs at will, but the pitching will be seriously tested. I think Weaver and CJ will have a lot of pressure on them to carry this pitching staff, but they will respond and deliver their best season yet (CJ that is) We need to get off to a good start. The month of April will show us a lot. We'll be facing a lot of weak opponents early on and NEED to win against these teams. That 1-4 at the top of the lineup will be the best in baseball imo.

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I feel like this club has as good a chance as any to make the post season. 

 

I feel like, regardless of whether I think they will be good, there are a bunch of players on the team that I enjoy watching. 

 

I feel like Josh Hamilton has made an effort to connect with Halo fans after seeming very aloof last year. 

 

I feel like the club is headed in the right direction philosophically and they are being less 'conventional' and more forward thinking

 

I feel like the bullpen is a huge key to success this year.  I think they are gonna baby some of the young SP.  There is gonna be a lot of pen shuffling early on in order to find out who has the hot hand. 

 

Josh was very connected last Spring with the fans. He would sign autos after just about every game. But when he was struggling during the season, he was facing harsh criticism from the media and the same fans he was signing autos for in the spring. So instead of distracting himself with the fans, he was focusing on correcting his game.

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I think we'll score runs at will, but the pitching will be seriously tested. I think Weaver and CJ will have a lot of pressure on them to carry this pitching staff, but they will respond and deliver their best season yet (CJ that is) We need to get off to a good start. The month of April will show us a lot. We'll be facing a lot of weak opponents early on and NEED to win against these teams. That 1-4 at the top of the lineup will be the best in baseball imo.

 

When Angels play Dodgers in early Aug, it will be a battle of the best offenses in the league. Top of the order will be Calhoun, Trout, Pujols, Hamilton VS Puig, Kemp, Ramirez (my vote for NL MVP) and A Gon.

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I feel pretty optimistic about the team and see us winning anywhere from 87-93 games. The bullpen scared me, especially right now. I hope Dipoto can pull off a trade for a reliever early on the season like he did for Frieri in 2012.

The rotation will be better but the young guys need to pitch deeper into games or we'll see the bullpen overworked and ineffective.

I have no doubt that the offense will finish as one of the top 3 in baseball if not the best.

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Josh was very connected last Spring with the fans. He would sign autos after just about every game. But when he was struggling during the season, he was facing harsh criticism from the media and the same fans he was signing autos for in the spring. So instead of distracting himself with the fans, he was focusing on correcting his game.

Yep.  My judgement of him was probably unfair in that he's likely no different now than he was last year.  In the few interviews I have seen him, he seems less defensive and more engaged however.  Maybe it's just my perception, but he seems more comfortable. 

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I'm worried about pitching.  A huge part of that is Skaggs.  I understand he has great talent but I just don't think he's ready yet.  During the spring, he's walked 12 batters in a little over 23 innings.  I like his velocity is up but his command has been awful.  I think there is going to be a lot of growing pains with him this year and if the Angels are serious about being a playoff team, not sure the major league club is the place for him to work on that stuff.  Of course, a lot of this comes down to the failure to sign a veteran starter that could have started for a year while Skaggs developed.  But I'm willing to see how it goes.

 

Of course, the bullpen.  I'm not confident the bullpen has improved any over last year.  But I think that's mainly due to the fact the bullpen has been bad for a few years now that I'm not getting my hopes up with this new group of guys.  None of these guys are "shut down" pitchers IMO.

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For me it comes down to 229 and 119, -18 and +55.   Those are the numbers of runs allowed and run differentials from ST last year and this in ST.  They have pitched better, they have defended better, and the offense has looked strong.  

 

There are questions about the pitching sure, but the last time people felt awesome about the pitching 2012 happened.  There are concerns about the pen but for the first time since 2002 there are some guys in the minors that might be the answer to those concerns at some point this season.  Cron is the power option in AAA, Vs Paul McNaulty or Brad Hawpe.  Long and Shuck are the OF options in AAA Vs. Ryan Langerhans and Scott Cousins.  Green. Field, Lindsey make for a pretty decent group of call ups if needed.  Outside of catcher where John Hester remains the top option in AAA there is better immediate depth in AAA

 

Pujols looks healthy, Hamilton looks more in sync, Calhoun gives the team the legit lead off hitter they have needed since Figgins went north (and his game went south).  All in all the team just seems solid, the only thing left for them to do is play the games. 

Edited by Inside Pitch
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