The Los Angeles Angels nearly won 100 games last season but found themselves swept right out of the playoffs. As the 2015 season arrives, there are even bigger expectations on the team to get right back into the World Series hunt especially with an even better Mike Trout on the roster. Here are the three biggest questions going into the spring.
1. Is the loss of Josh Hamilton a big deal? There were injuries with Hamilton and now the likely suspension for his drug relapse. He still did bring more power to the lineup though and his loss will be felt to a point. Matt Joyce will fill in just fine in the Angels outfield so it shouldn’t be as bad as it could have been. If Hamilton can return at the All-Star break and maybe get 200 at-bats with 11-13 homers, the team should be happy.
2. How good is the starting rotation? The top four in Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Garrett Richards and Matt Shoemaker are very impressive and each has the potential of winning 15 games this season. Richards is returning from his terrible injury and will miss some time but still will be a force to deal with. This is where the Angels will make teams cringe when they play with opponents seeing a No. 1 or 2 starter every time out.
3. Is the year Albert Pujols finally gets back to his St. Louis production? When he was with the Cardinals, Pujols was one of the most feared hitters in Major League Baseball. That hasn’t happened with the Angels. His skills seem to have declined to a point where he is still a 25-30 home run hitter but not the player who can hit .340 again. He is going to expected to pick up more slack this season. Maybe the light bulb goes off in the process.
The American League West looks to be a two-team race with the Angels and Seattle Mariners. This is an Angels team though that looks still better than any other team in the AL and will win 90-95 games for a division title. Trout looks like he is in line to have the best season of his entire career in the process. It could be one for the ages.