Team Previews in a Fantasy Nutshell: Los Angeles Angels
Projected Starting Lineup
C Martin Maldonado—If you draft Maldonado you must be in a 30 team league, and if so, I highly recommend you finding a different league.
1B C.J. Cron—There was a time when I was projecting Cron as a future 30 home run hitting first basemen for the Halos. That time has come and gone, and Cron is now best served as a 1B/DH who plays primarily against RHP.
2B Danny Espinosa—There is no doubt that Espinosa has power (he hit over 20 HR last season) but his batting average will kill your team. The Angels are playing him because they lack better options. Hopefully, your Fantasy team can avoid that same fate.
SS Andrelton Simmons—If I look up the word disappointment in the dictionary, I think I might see a picture of Simmons next to the word. Experts have been projecting Simmons as a 20/20 type of hitter, but the speed has never emerged, and the power usually stalls around 10+ home runs. There is talent there still, but I will let some other Fantasy owner cultivate it.
3B Yunel Escobar—If you are looking for a player at the end of your AL-only league draft who can hit over .300 then Escobar is your man. The problem is that he gives you practically nothing in the rest of the categories. He is not even on my draft list when I walk into the draft.
OF Mike Trout—He is the number one pick in any league format and is capable of winning the Triple Crown in any given year. Best yet, he is just entering his prime.
OF Cameron Maybin—Both Adam Ronis and Shawn Childs like Maybin’s skills set, but I have been burned so many times by this guy in the past that I will avoid him at all costs. Sure he might steal you 20 bases, but where is the power that was supposed to be there when he arrived from the minors years ago. If I were a betting man, I would put a few bucks down on Ben Revere being the leadoff hitter by Memorial Day.
OF Kole Calhoun—Calhoun benefits greatly from getting to hit right in front of Mike Trout. He should be good for around 20/80 with some runs scored and a few stolen bases. He is a perfect 4th OF for your Fantasy team.
DH Albert Pujols—Pujols showed last year that he still has some thunder in his bat and he can be counted on for close to 100 RBIs when healthy. Speaking of healthy, Pujols is coming off offseason foot surgery and is not a lock to start the season with the team. Watch his situation carefully as I still think he has a decent year, but he could start the season on the DL.
SP Garrett Richards—Red flags abound when discussing Richards this season. Last season, Richards was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL, and instead of going in for surgery, Richards opted for stem-cell and plasma injections. My gut tells me that he won’t make it through the season, so while I like his skills, I don’t like the risk, and I won’t draft him this year.
SP Matt Shoemaker—Shoemaker was having an incredible year (K/BB ratio of 143/30) before he was hit in the head by a line drive in September. He fractured his skull in the injury, and despite any reports to the contrary, I have to think that this is something that might haunt him this year. People often forget that sports are as much mental as it is physical and until I see for myself that Shoemaker looks comfortable on the mound I will let others draft him. If, however, I see in spring training that he looks confident, I will take the shot on him as he improved dramatically last season and I think he can build on last season’s stats.
SP Tyler Skaggs—Skaggs has upside, but that doesn’t mean I want any part of him on draft day. Can he pitch 120+ innings? Can he keep his walks down? Can he keep his WHIP under 1.40? What I AM sure of is that I will let someone else draft him.
SP Ricky Nolasco—Please, I beg you do not look at Nolasco’s numbers and think he will improve—he won’t. He is a marginal, replacement level pitcher at best and is only remotely useful in AL-only leagues with innings pitched requirements.
SP Alex Meyer—Once a top Twins prospect, Meyer finds himself trying to win the 5th starters job for the Angels. I will watch him closely in the spring, but I cannot imagine drafting him.
RP Cam Bedrosian—Bedrosian is a bit wild (like his father was back in the day) and has had some health issues (blood clotting in his arm) but he is still the best thing the Angels have in their bullpen. While he might not start the season as their closer, I feel pretty confident that he will finish the season as the closer, thus making him a pretty solid investment on draft day.
Closer Huston Street—The only way I would roster Street is if I owned Bedrosian and I wanted to cover myself and make sure I got all the saves on the team. Maybe there is a chance he bounces back from last season’s disaster, but I see him more as a guy who will get moved to a contender to be another bullpen arm come the All-Star Break.