Tuesday, April 9, 2013

For those wondering why I didn't pick the Angels to win the AL West...

If you looked at all the preseason predictions, you probably noticed the overwhelming majority of the experts picked the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to win the American League West this year.

Not me. I went with the Texas Rangers. I could be right; I could be wrong, but let me tell you why I did not select the Angels: I wasn't comfortable with their lack of depth in the starting rotation.

I think most people looked at Anaheim's roster, saw Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton all on the same team and figured this club was a slam dunk for the playoffs.

I'm not so sure. When I looked at their projected rotation, I saw the names Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Jason Vargas, Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton.

Hmmm ... OK. Weaver is pretty tough, a legitimate All-Star. Wilson is a little erratic with his control, but he has good stuff. That's a respectable 1-2 punch at the top. But Vargas, Hanson and Blanton? If I'm an opposing hitter, I'm not uncomfortable facing any of those three. I felt the Angels would be relying on Weaver and Wilson an awful lot this year -- not only for wins, but to eat up innings as well.

Well, guess what? Now Weaver is injured. The Angels placed him in the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a fractured elbow on his non-throwing arm. He will miss 4-6 weeks.

The team recalled right-hander Dane De La Rosa to take Weaver's spot on the roster.

What do we know about De La Rosa? Well, not much. He's 30 years old and has a career 10.95 ERA in 12 appearances spread out over the last two years with the Tampa Bay Rays. Tampa Bay is the best organization in baseball when it comes to scouting and developing pitchers. The Rays had a team ERA of 3.19 during the 2012 season, the lowest in the American League in the last 22 years. I figure when Tampa Bay dumps a pitcher, it does it with good reason. So, I question whether De La Rosa will contribute anything to the Angels' cause.

Coming into the year, the Angels were a "Weaver and Wilson and pray for rain" kind of rotation. Now, it's Wilson and pray for rain. And it doesn't rain much in Southern California. We'll see if the Angels can hit enough to outslug their questionable starting rotation. They'll have to if they want to win the rugged AL West.

Of course, anytime we mention Jered Weaver we would be remiss to not include this video. "Are you ready, Weaver?!"

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