It seems a little silly to be talking about prospects for next year given the talent surrounding the Los Angeles Angels, but here we are.
The team that was tabbed by many experts to make a deep run into the postseason has almost no chance of making the playoffs with two games left.
With that in mind, here are 10 reasons the Angels will dominate and win the American League West in 2013.
1. A New Pitching Approach
The talent is there when it comes to the pitching staff, but it’s the approach that’s all wrong. That’s where coaching comes in.
2. Mike Trout
Mike Trout has been an incredible find for the Angels’ organization. The 21-year-old phenom will be heavily relied upon to help the Angels improve on a disappointing year next season.
If it weren’t for his MVP-caliber production in 2012, the Halos probably wouldn’t be in the hunt, given their horrendous start to the season. Expect big things from the likely AL Rookie of the Year in 2013.
3. Jered Weaver
Jered Weaver has been the only consistent hurler for the Angels in 2012, winning 20 games for the first time in his career in 2012. He’ll be 30 years old at the start of next season and in the prime of his career.
Pitching aces aren’t easy to find, and the Angels know what they have in Weaver. If the team has any success in 2013, he’ll be a big part of it.
4. Albert Pujols’ Comfort Level
Albert Pujols will pick up right where he left off in the second half of 2013, and likely won’t go through another slump as bad as the one he dealt with early in the year.
That’s a good thing, because it’s one of the reasons the Angels were in such a deep hole in the standings in the first half. If he had played like he’s capable of playing all year, then the Halos would be getting ready for the postseason today.
5. Mike Scioscia
As much as fans clamored for baseball’s longest-tenured manager to get the ax during the season as the team struggled, Mike Scioscia has been one of the primary reasons the team never panicked and always had a fighting chance throughout the year.
Scioscia knows how to manage, how to deal with players and the right way to play the game. He’s the man to lead the Angels to their next pennant. Fans who think otherwise need to look at what happened to the Boston Red Sox without Terry Francona.
The bottom line is that good managers are hard to find, and Scioscia is a proven winner.
6. A Bitter Taste from 2012
Missing the playoffs the way the Angels are likely to do so is going to leave a bad taste in their mouths, but it should motivate them to come out aggressively in 2013.
Baseball’s not a “rah-rah” sport where a killer-instinct mentality tends to equate to success, but it won’t hurt to have a little extra motivation given the disappointment that 2012 will bring on.
7. A Young Outfield
Are there any more Trout in Anaheim? Probably not, but there are a host of young players at the minor league level prepared to make an impact with the big club sometime soon.
This great read from B/R’s own Patrick Gutierrez highlights some of the up-and-comers in the organization. The team will be in good hands, and it stands to reason that another young player could come in and produce.
8. Getting Rid of Dead Weight
The offseason is the time to evaluate the season and take a look at who the contributors were. It’s also the time to determine who to cut ties with.
9. A Great Fanbase
Fans in Southern California may have a reputation for being of the fair-weather variety, but the Angels have a fanbase as dedicated to their team as any in baseball.
The Angels are No. 3 in the American League in attendance, and have seen over three million people go through the turnstiles at Angel Stadium in 2012. That kind of support always makes a difference.
10. Willingness to Invest
Owner Arte Moreno has not shied away from spending money, and though it hasn’t always translated to victories, it helps the Angels stay competitive year after year.
Though we don’t know what the future will bring in terms of personnel, we do know that Moreno will continue to invest in players who have shown they can produce at the major league level.
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