No. 9 ANGELS

March 31, 2014

Enemy Lines

A rival scout sizes up the ANGELS

They don't have good starting pitching. JERED WEAVER and C.J. WILSON are solid, but from there it's a question mark.... Weaver is now pitching at 88 to 91, but that doesn't worry me. He makes the ball move both ways and competes no matter what he has.... GARRETT RICHARDS has power stuff, but it would play better in the bullpen. With TYLER SKAGGS the velo is there—92, 93—but he's an iffy No. 4.... I don't think Mike Trout's ever going to be a 40-homer guy, because teams won't let him beat them that way. But 30 homers and 40 steals every year? Yeah.... I like ALBERT PUJOLS's chances of bouncing back better than Josh Hamilton's. The only thing that has hurt Albert is health—he works really hard. But it doesn't always seem like Hamilton is all-in.... RAUL IBA√ëEZ has a .349 career average as a visiting player at Angel Stadium. Even though he's 41, I like the signing.... I always felt that if a catcher was a fringe guy, by the time MIKE SCIOSCIA got done with him, he'd be at least average. But as my mom says, If a horse don't got it, he can't trot it. And HANK CONGER just doesn't have the feet or an accurate enough arm. He's robotic, and the game is too fast for a robotic catcher. CHRIS IANNETTA's the No. 1 catcher, absolutely.... They still don't have any prospects who are ready. Their better players are a couple of years away, and though C.J. CRON had a good Fall League, I have a tough time falling in love with him. The guys I liked best—Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk—they traded to the Cardinals.

The Lineup

2014 Projected Statistics and Run Totals by ROTOWIRE.COM

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PROJECTED RUNS SCORED

500

ANGELS 742

AL AVERAGE 694

PROJECTED RUNS ALLOWED

500

ANGELS 726

AL AVERAGE 707

Modest Proposal

Manager MIKE SCIOSCIA is as conventional as they come, and that extends to his lineups. For about a week last June, though, he stumbled into the right formula: batting MIKE TROUT, JOSH HAMILTON and ALBERT PUJOLS 1-2-3. This gave the Angels' three best hitters the most at bats, while wedging Hamilton, who has fallen apart against lefties the last few years, between two righthanded batters. It isn't quite sabermetrically perfect—your best hitter is supposed to bat second—but the trade-off of having better lefty-righty balance and Trout's strong leadoff skills make this L.A.'s optimal top of the order. The Angels don't have a deep offense: To score they have to make sure they get as much production as possible from their core. That means not breaking it up with the likes of ERICK AYBAR batting second, or giving at bats to J.B. SHUCK and KOLE CALHOUN in the leadoff spot that could otherwise go to the best player alive.

PHOTOBRAD MANGIN FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PUJOLS)Albert Pujols PHOTOOTTO GREULE JR/GETTY IMAGES (WEAVER)Jered Weaver PHOTO TWO CHARTS

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)