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AngelsWin.com Today: Los Angeles Angels: Five Bold Predictions 2017

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By Scotty Allen, AngelsWin.com Staff Writer

I first wrote an article like this in 2014.  I went 3/5, which is really good considering the nature of these bold predictions are meant to be unlikely to come true.  In 2015, I went 1/5, which isn’t so good.  Still I touted that I averaged 40% on these predictions, which I thought was cool.  Then last year happened…..and now I’m not so optimistic.  In fact I’d rather you just take these predictions at entertainment value only so I may be spared the humiliation.  Let’s review last year’s predictions first.

1. Kole Calhoun will have his best season as an Angel – .276/.326 with 30 doubles and 20 home runs.

His actual performance was .271/.348 35 DB 18 HR.  That’s actually a very accurate prediction on my part, but to be fair, Kole managed 3.4 wins above replacement his most valuable season was back in 2014 when he accumulated 4.1 wins above replacement.  I can’t claim this one to have come true.  While my numbers were pretty spot on, the fact is I predicted his best season yet, and it wasn’t.  0/1.

2. Garrett Richards will finish Top 5 in the AL Cy Young race

Nope, not even close.  Richards was great when he pitched last year, and I’d argue that if he stayed healthy, he could’ve beaten Rick Porcello out for the Cy Young because Garrett Richards is a better pitcher than Rick Porcello.  But instead, Richards became dehydrated, which is apparentlyt code for “Needs Tommy John surgery”.  Garrett didn’t get it, and instead successful underwent stem cell infusion and his elbow recovered enough to start this year 100%.  That’s a win for Garrett and the Angels, just not my prediction.  0/2.

3. Albert Pujols will turn back time and deliver a 2012-like performance – .275/.330 40 DB 30 HR

Instead, Albert dealt with more foot troubles, and his .268/.323 with 19 DB 31 HR.  Yeah, not even close.  0/3.

4. C.J. Cron won’t be the player we envisioned – .280/.320 35 DB 15 HR. 

This was meant to say that Cron wasn’t going to be the power hitter we pictured.  That’s fair. But he hit .278/.325 25 DB 16 HR across 116 games.  Had he played a full season, he might’ve come closer to my prediction, but as it stands, he didn’t.  0/4.

5. The Angels will have the best bullpen in the AL West

Let’s just stop that right here.  0/5.

So as you can see, my bold predictions are bold.  So bold that none of them come true, though a couple came close.  This gives me the perfect opportunity to segue into this year’s five bold predictions, which will undoubtedly embarrass me again this time next year.

1. The Angels will win a playoff game

That’s right folks, be amazed!  My bold predictions are meant to be out here, and according to most sources, this is pretty far out there, but let me hit you with some knowledge (really, any chance I get to quote the movie “Dodgeball”).  The Angels won 98 games the year before last.  That’s a lot of freakin’ games, and that team is still very much intact…..when it’s not on the 60 day DL.  If things go right, Richards is an ace, Shoemaker and Skaggs are mid-rotation starters, Nolasco is pitching at home in So Cal and will eat innings as a #4 starter, and Jesse Chavez will do what he did in 2015, the last time he ws a starter, which is pitch quite well.  The Angels have also built themselves a solid lineup 1-9 that if nothing else, can make contact and put runners in scoring position. Defensively, the Angels should be among the best, if not the best defensive unit in all of baseball. I predict the Angels sneak into the playoffs and get themselves a W.

2. Ben Revere will dethrone Cam Maybin as the starting LF and turn in one of his prototypical seasons when he was healthy. 

I like Cameron Maybin.  I’ve liked him ever since the Padres managed to get him and he turned into a dynamic, albeit overlooked ball player.  I still think he is.  But last season’s abridged .315 batting average just screams fluke to me.  Mayan’s a good hitter, but not that good.  Revere on the other hand was hurt last year, just no way around that.  He wasn’t the same player.  But he’s come into Spring this year with a chip on his shoulder and he’s playing to earn a big payday in free agency next winter and to show all of baseball that he’s good when he’s healthy.  I think Maybin will get April, they’ll split May, but by June, Revere will take off and be the starting LF.

I’m saying Revere hits .300/.340 with 30 SB and marquee level defense in LF.

3. Bud Norris will be the Angels best reliever

Yeah, this one’s out there.  This is the same Bud Norris that hasn’t posted an ERA under 5.00 in a couple years.  Fortunately, this is also the same Bud Norris that can hit 96 on the radar gun with regularity.  I’m predicting Norris will be for the Angels what Andrew Miller was for the Indians last year, coming out in the 7th inning, getting 2 outs to close the inning, then pitching a clean 8th to set up the closer.

I’m going to go with 70 innings 100 K’s and a 2.20 ERA.

4. Yunel Escobar is traded at the trade deadline, even though the Angels are still in it. 

Escobar was more valuable then he’s been given credit for.  I don’t think Trout wins MVP without Escobar hitting .304/.355 in front of him.  And he’ll continue to be very valuable for the Angels this year.  However, his eventual replacement in Luis Valbuena will need somewhere to play, and Jefry Marte will continue to bludgeon homeruns, and Escobar will continue to run himself into mistakes on the base path and give you spectacular plays one second, and bone headed ones the next season in the field.  I just think that with Revere breaking out and being capable of hitting leadoff, Valbuena needing somewhere to play because Cron’s going to totally breakout (even though I’m not listing him), and Marte deserving more at bats, the Angels will get someone to overpay for Escobar’s services at the deadline and flip him for a promising young prospect.

5. Ricky Nolasco will have the second finest season of his career.  

Nolasco is a career #5 starter.  Nothing wrong with that.  It covers a lot of innings, earns a great paycheck and a goo reputation.  But I think Nolasco will have one last good season, and it will be the second best of his career, after his 2008 performance as a 25 year old for the then Florida Marlins.  I think Nolasco enjoys some more of that home cooking, pitching in front of his family, and living in So-Cal.  I’m going with 33 starts, 200 innings, 150 K’s and a 3.50 ERA.

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Trout will have his first season with an OPS of 1.000 or better with 40 stolen bases. Just one little hot streak away from doing that like every season. That's one of my bold predictions this season. The other two are Pujols putting up his first .800+ OPS season since 2012 and JC Ramirez being the Angels best reliever this season. Dude was rally good after getting traded over from the Reds last season with an ERA under 3.00 in like over 40 innings pitched.

And I think #5 is actually a nice prediction. He pitched good baseball after getting traded over from the Twins. Should benefit from pitching at a pitchers' park behind a better defense this year.

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1. Probably less than 50/50, all depends on pitching.

2. Better than 50/50 chance.  A platoon for sure.

3. Ditto junky--wishful thinking

4. Just depends.  Injuries at 3b could change his market.

5. Most likely of the 5 predictions, IMHO....

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1) The Angels will play much more "small ball" this season. 

2) We will struggle with starting pitching all season. Some of the problems will be because of pitch counts and the lack of inning eaters at the front end. Skaggs and Richards will both struggle with velocity issues. Nolasco and Shoemaker will have some great days but some bad days to. Chavez won't have enough left in the tank by the All Star break.

3) Cron is going to have a monster year. .290 / 33hrs / 95rbi's. I think he's arrived. I would hit him right behind Trout but that's another story.

4) Albert will actually start out strong but here's what my Voodoo doll says. His Right knee was repaired, his Right planters fasciitis was repaired, his Left planters fasciitis fixed itself so now his Left knee is due to fail. Oh well, he'll be like new by the time he retires.

5) They will be in a dogfight for the 2nd wild card again until the end. 


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12 hours ago, Angelsjunky said:

I think you're too harsh on your 2016 predictions. I'd at least give yourself a half point for Calhoun and Cron, to give you 1/5.

As for your predictions, I'd say:

1. Maybe

2. A solid chance

3. Wishful thinking

4. Maybe

5. Maybe

It'd be nice if I could say something easy, like Trout will be our best player and Bedrosian will be our best relief pitcher.

As much as I wanted to, I even wanted to talk about how good I think Richards, Shoe, Chavez and Cron will be, but I sort of feel like there's been enough ink spilled on these guys (minus Chavez). 

I really wanted to go out on a limb and try something new. Pretty much no one is expecting the Angels to make the playoffs, or Bud Norris or Ricky Nolasco to be even remotely good.

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1. The Angels will win a playoff game

Maybe, if the wildcard game

2. Ben Revere will dethrone Cam Maybin as the starting LF and turn in one of his prototypical seasons when he was healthy. 

I'm predicting more of a platoon for the two players.

3. Bud Norris will be the Angels best reliever

Bedrosian was really good a year ago.   I would still list him as the predicted best reliever.

4. Yunel Escobar is traded at the trade deadline, even though the Angels are still in it. 

This one could go either way, and also depends on Valbuena's health, and also on how Maybin and Revere are hitting.

5. Ricky Nolasco will have the second finest season of his career.  

This is definitely possible.   He is back home, and pitching in a comfortable park.   He also comes off of a rock solid two months in 2016 here (mid 3.00s ERA). 

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