While the 'Rally Monkey" is left to slumber for the winter—missing the opportunity to reunite a World Series effort 10-years later—the Angels' hopeful are forced into a spectator role, watching the San Francisco Giants replay a stolen destiny.
Undoubtedly, following high-end acquisitions in the free-agent market, the Angels looked like the dominant team in the AL West at the beginning of the season, leaving many to believe the road to a World Series title would begin on the West Coast. Oddly enough, they were exactly right in their prediction; they just missed on the area.
Will it be different in 2013? Anything is possible in the AL West.
The Angels finished 89-73 in 2012, ending the season second in runs (41 behind the Texas Rangers) and fist in batting average (.274). Just remember, the division added the Houston Astros—not a team like the Yankees—and the questions surrounding the Texas Rangers organization, plus the pressure on the youth for the A's, makes the Angels' chances look solid.
It all comes down to this: The individual players on the team have to perform like the $150 million-plus payroll—and fans for that matter—expect them to.
True, baseball is a team sport—at least until the second contract—but sometimes, it's necessary to point out specific areas, understanding that any little improvement equates to a collective success.
Free-agency enigmas aside, let's take a look at the players who are the most important for the Angels' success in 2013.