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Angels Team Health Report 2012

When you miss something so badly, there's two ways you can go -- learn from it or pretend it never happened. I'm always in the former camp, so I'll wear the green that I put on Kendrys Morales last year. It's one of the most flukish injuries in the history of the game. At the time, there were indications that things were going a bit slower than expected for Morales, but not that there would be issues that would keep him out an entire season and beyond. No one -- inside or out -- had enough information to make that prediction, which is the danger of probability. There's an underlying number to all the projections, and Morales' was in the low 20s. Two times out of 10, something's going to happen in some form. It happens the other way as well. Long time Angel Francisco Rodriguez pitched in a manner that coach after coach scored as "damaging", racked up innings totals that taxed any reliever ... and nothing. To this day, he's fine. The problem is not that I'll miss on some, but that the team's themselves don't seem interested in finding out why those misses happen. The Angels spent $250 million on Albert Pujols this offseason, but won't spend $1 million this season on sports medicine and less than that on research that might help keep him healthy through that expensive contract.

Health Keys: Don't expose the depth issues up the middle by keeping Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar on the field.

(HEAD TRAINER: Adam Nevala; FIVE YEAR RANK: 11; 2011 RANK: 8)
For explanation of these ratings, click here
GREEN LIGHT
1B Albert Pujols
Pujols has never really been healthy. He's had elbow, back, foot and leg problems, all while mashing the heck out of pitchers. Thing is, last year was probably his healthiest season -- and it included a broken arm. That fracture cost him 15 days, which is just ridiculous on the face of it. Pujols probably could have come back faster. Without it, he probably hits between 42 and 45 home runs, just like he always does in his Aaron-like consistency. It means he won't quite get to 500 this year, but I'm curious if the big contract might get Albert some boos along the way. I wouldn't do that if I were you. You wouldn't like him when he's angry.

SS Erick Aybar
There's not much to say about Aybar, other than that there are very, very few green-rated shortstops. When you miss the guy you want, take the guy that's usually available.

SP Jered Weaver
Weaver has three seasons above 190 innings, creeping up each year. He even skipped his last start after the Angels were eliminated. He seldom seems taxed.

SP Dan Haren
He's another automatic 190-innings guy and maybe the most underrated pitcher in the game. I'm sure Jerry DiPoto's glad he traded him now.

Also Green:
3B Maicer Izturis
LF Vernon Wells
CF Peter Bourjos
RP Scott Downs
YELLOW LIGHT
C Chris Iannetta
Ianetta's stat line looks like the vaunted "Quad A" player, but he does have a skill few notice. For the most part, he stays healthy. Health is a skill, especially for catchers. The System has him as a very low yellow.

2B Howie Kendrick
It's hard to believe that Kendrick is 28 or that he's all that's left of those touted Angels prospects. Lists are nice, but production is better. Kendrick had a nice season, but the hamstring injuries that held him back last year are a bit worrisome. He's very likely to follow the Jimmy Rollins career path, which isn't a bad thing.

RF Torii Hunter
Hunter shifted over, begrudgingly, to a corner and it helped him immediately. He played in 150-plus games again and only his age and that injury-marred 2009 put him slightly over the yellow threshold. He can probably be expected to do about the same, though a few more games at DH here and there (or just rest) could help as well.

DH Bobby Abreu
Abreu's age and declining workload make it look like Mike Scioscia is resting him through minor injuries. Fact is he's just not hitting lefties as well. The DH slot is going to be one of Scioscia's challenges, especially if Mark Trumbo is healthy and if Mike Trout keeps knocking on the door.
SP C.J. Wilson
Wilson has a career pattern that's nearly unique. Lots of relievers have shifted to the rotation, but few have immediately established themselves. He was an ace by default in Texas; in Anaheim, he won't need to be. Pitching with a big-dollar contract and in his hometown could add a bit of stress, but I'm really not that worried.
SP Ervin Santana
Another essentially automatic 190-plus innings guy, Santana's the most worrisome of the bunch. He's had some arm problems in the past, and while he came back well, it's the type of thing that can recur (but hasn't since '09.) The biggest note of worry is what he's using, which is a lot more sliders (38% percentin '11). If you ever see Santana's fastball creep down into the 90-91 range, run.

CL Jordan Walden
This is a low yellow based on his lack of track record
RED LIGHT
SP Jerome Williams
Williams was a nice comeback story, but there's nothing in the numbers that says this should be sustainable. Giving Williams -- or Brad Mills or any questionable starter -- the ball when you could add starts to any of the other four starters is just bad baseball. Jerry DiPoto might have been given a "win now" mandate and budget, but this wouldn't be an experiment. It would be more "win now."