2011 Los Angeles Angels Predictions and MLB Futures Odds
by Robert Ferringo - 3/28/2011
It’s never easy to watch the fall of a dynasty.
The 2010 Los Angeles Angels missed the postseason for just the third time in nine years and saw a string of three consecutive American League West titles snapped with a third-place finish. The Angels went just 80-82, failing to reach .500 for the first time is six years and just the fourth time in 14 years.
That was just the start of the problems for the Angels. They whiffed in the free agent market after promising to make some big moves. Then they made an odd (and somewhat desperate) trade to land overrated and underachieving Vernon Wells and his bloated contract. Some key batters; Hideki Matsui, Bobby Abreu, and Torii Hunter; either moved on (Matsui) or simply got a year older. Mix in some lingering injury issues for some key players (Kendrys Morales, Scott Downs) and it appears that the bad karma of last year’s slide may be carrying over to this year.
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But Mike Scioscia is a master. He has an exceptional system and this Angels team has surpassed its Las Vegas wins total in five of the last six years. They had an exorbitant amount of injuries last year and as of July 1 they had the sixth-most wins in baseball (in spite of a seven-game losing streak in May). There are several all stars dotting this roster and with a deep-pocketed owner this team is the most likely in the division to make a season-changing pickup.
There are cracks in the foundation. But this dynasty may not have crumbled just yet.
Here are Doc’s Sports 2011 Los Angeles Angels Predictions and MLB Futures Odds:
2010 Record: 80-82
2011 Wins Over/Under: 85.0
Odds To Win 2011 AL West: 2/1
Odds To Win 2011 AL Pennant: 15/1
2011 Los Angeles Angels Odds to Win World Series: 30/1
Pitching: I think that the Angels enter the season with one of the more underrated staffs in baseball. I felt like the Dan Haren acquisition was underreported last year mainly because the Angels didn’t really crawl out of third place late last year. But Haren was awesome upon his return to the A.L. and he gives the Angels the staff ace that neither Texas nor Oakland has. Jered Weaver led the league in strikeouts and can be electric. But that puts most of the pressure for this staff – and, really for the team – on two enigmatic but potentially dominating arms: Joel Pineiro and Ervin Santana. Pineiro was up and down last year but is a decent 25-19 with a respectable 3.63 ERA over the past two seasons. Santana won 17 games last year and was a 2008 All Star. But he also had a 5.03 ERA through 2009 and can get wild. But few No. 4 starters have as good of stuff as this kid and he is clearly the best No. 4 in the division. Scott Kazmir is a piñata. He won’t be the No. 5 starter past mid-May, if he lasts that long. He is awful. The bullpen, fortunately, is not awful. That is, as long as Fernando Rodney can hold it together a bit better than he did last September. I always thought that Rodney was better as a setup man. And if Kevin Jepsen is ready to make the jump to closer that could really kickstart the back end of the pen. But regardless, this team usually finds ways to get those last nine outs and I think that solid track record will continue this year, especially considering that they have four starters capable of logging 200-plus innings.
Hitting: The Angels offense has been on a pretty predictable every-other-year pace over the last half-decade. In 2006, 2008 and 2010 they finished in the bottom half of the league in runs scored. In 2005, 2007 and 2009 they finished in the Top 11, including a No. 2 finish in 2009. Part of their fallback to No. 18 last year was the fact that they fell out of the Top 5 in steals for the first time in six seasons and converted only 67 percent of their steal attempts. This team is predicated on speed, with no less than six guys in their regular lineup capable of swiping 20 or more bags. That superior speed is supposed to compensate for their incredible lack of power. It didn’t last season. And if the angels don’t improve their efficiency on the bases they may struggle to score runs again this year. Abreu, Hunter and Wells are a decent core. But so much of the Angels offense revolves around Morales’ recovery from foot surgery for an injury suffered last May. This offense hasn’t been the same since Vlad Guerrero left after the 2009 season and Los Angeles desperately needs a big bopper in the middle of the card to produce some instant offense.
Key Stat: The Angels are 100-70 in A.L. West play over the past three years, including last year’s division-best 35-22 mark. As long as they continue to beat the teams they are competing head-to-head with they stand a great chance of earning yet another divisional crown.
2011 Los Angeles Angels Predictions: I think that Los Angeles is a team that has some value heading into the regular season. Because they finished in third place last year and because they had such a spotty offseason I think it is easy to overlook the fact that Scioscia plays a unique, aggressive style of baseball and that his system is a proven winner. This team doesn’t have much power if Morales doesn’t return at full strength. But in a league that is becoming more and lower scoring, the Angels’ defense, speed, clutch hitting and solid pitching staff is built for this division. I think the Angels will be a steady earner all season long and they will be in the mix in September.
2011 Los Angeles Angels MLB Season Win Totals Predictions: Take ‘Over’ 83.5 Wins. I really think that the Angels have a great chance to win this division. But that’s only because I think that the few things they need to break their way (Morales to recover from injury, their speed to stay healthy, a major deadline deal to occur) are going to break their way this season. The American League West is one of the worst divisions in baseball so it’s really anyone’s ball game. But despite the buzz for Oakland I really think that this one is going to be a horse race between the Angels and Rangers. I can see both teams sailing their totals from Vegas, but I am really unsure which is going to advance to the postseason.
Robert Ferringo is a professional sports handicapper for Doc’s Sports. He is considered one of the top MLB cappers in the country and has turned a profit in four of the last five years on the diamond with his baseball picks. He closed 2010 with $6,000 in earnings over the last four months and is looking forward to a great upcoming season against the MLB odds. Click here for more information on his MLB picks.
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