Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: 2012 World Series contenders?

Thursday July 19th, 2012

John Burns:  The 2012 season for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim looks like it might be getting saved by a 20 year-old named Mike Trout. The L.A. Angels had a record of 6-14 before they called Trout up from Triple-A, and has a 44-27 record since the call up of Trout. Mike Trout leads the A.L. and is 3rd in baseball with a .353 batting average and is tied with Dee Gordon for the MLB lead in stolen bases with 30. Trout is almost a lock for the A.L. Rookie of the Year. But if he keeps this up and leads L.A. to the playoffs, he could be the A.L. MVP.

We all remember on December 10th when Albert Pujols signed a ten-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, worth around $254 million. After the signing, MLB experts and fans were automatically labeling the Angels as World Series contenders. The Angels at the same time signed C.J. Wilson to a five-year, $77.5 million dollar deal. Wilson was coming off a 2011 season with the Rangers where he posted a 2.94 ERA, with a record of 16-7. Pujols got off to an unexpected slow start with the Angels and didn’t hit a single homer in April, but that is all in the past. In Pujols’ last 30 games, he has .352 with 7 home runs and 18 RBIs. Mark Trumbo has also picked up the lack of power Pujols was not producing with 26 homers and 65 RBIs.

With Dan Haren recently placed on the DL there have been rumors that the Angels are looking for starting pitchers. Zack Greinke and Cole Hamels have been the two pitchers most commonly linked to L.A.. Both Greinke and Hamels contracts expire after the season, so it is very possible either of them would be used as rentals. That could be a problem with the Angels. Even though the Angels (50-42) are currently only 5.5 GB of the A.L. West leading Texas Rangers (55-36), I believe that Angels will indeed acquire a starting pitcher or relief pitcher at the deadline. The Angels are likely willing to offer Peter Bourjos for the right reliever and they’re suggesting to teams that they would also deal Kendrys Morales, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. So if the Angels are serious contenders for Hamels or Greinke, they will have to form a package with most likely Peter Bourjos involved. Somebody like Francisco Liriano would be much more affordable for the Angels and the Twins could also include Matt Capps in the deal (if he is likely to be healthy). Acquiring both Capps and Liriano would fill the holes in the pitching rotation and bullpen. Although Capps latest setback could scare the Angels into looking at another pen option. Huston Street anyone?

With the play of Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo I would have to seriously consider the Angels World Series contenders. Also don’t forget the Angels’ star pitchers of Jered Weaver (2.26 ERA, 11-1) and C.J. Wilson (2.82 ERA, 9-6). Ernesto Frieri has been practically un-hittable in the Angels bullpen, with opponents hitting only .107 against Frieri. We should note that Ernesto also has 1.03 ERA.  With the Angels strong lineup and pitching staff, they have to be considered early World Series contenders. Not to put any more pressure on Albert Pujols, but it will ultimately come down to Pujols stepping up to being a franchise player if the Angels want to head to the next level.

Do not be surprised to see the L.A. Angels of Anaheim make a playoff run and look for their second World Series Title in franchise history come October 2012.

***John Burns- MLB reports Intern:  I am a highschool junior, play 1st base and catcher. I am a diehard Phillies fan. I  was born in Philadelphia but now live in Virginia. I come from a huge baseball family and just love the game. My cousin was drafted by the New York Mets in the 2008 MLB draft. My favorite players are Shane Victorino, Carlos Ruiz, and Ryan Howard. I tweet all the time and you can follow me on twitter (@JohnBurns_MLB)***

 

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About johnburnsmlb

MLB Reporter

Posted on July 19, 2012, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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