If I were to have written this article back in August, it would have looked drastically different, as Francisco Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira would have been atop this list.
I have taken into consideration that the Angels have gotten bit by the injury bug as of late, and that some players may not bounce back from injury as planned. Age was also a key component, but I tried not to make it the essential ingredient.
1. Vladimir Guerrero
Guerrero has had seasons that were comparable to some of Willie Mays’ seasons, but he is growing older and was limited to just 109 games in 2008 due to injury.
Nevertheless, he can hit for average and power, and he can run like the race-horses George Steinbrenner races. He was one home run short of joining the exclusive 40-40 club (40 homers and 40 stolen bases).
2. John Lackey
His 3.75 ERA in 2008 was quite misleading, since his ERA was 3.25 before a disastrous last start where he gave up ten runs in a meager 2.2 innings.
As the Angels' ace, he is sure to be leading a formidable rotation despite the fact that Kelvim Escobar and Ervin Santana are injured for a while now.
3. Ervin Santana
Although he is injured, he is said to be returning in April, so he will only be missing three to four starts at the very most.
He is truly a rival team's nightmare, as he is a young star that can post incredible numbers. In 2008 He was 16-7 with a 3.49 ERA and had 214 strike-outs in a team leading 219 innings.
4. Joe Saunders
Saunders is another pitcher for the Angels that can produce massive numbers. He is still fairly young (27), but his numbers have never come relatively close to his 2008 numbers of 17-7, 3.41 ERA, and 103 strike-outs.
If 2008 was just a fluke year and he goes back to having an ERA in the mid 4.00’s, he will be my bust of 2009.
5. Bobby Abreu
As a Mariners' fan, I was utterly heart-broken to see a guy like Abreu go to a team like the Angels. But I have to admit that he is one heck of a baseball player.
Every year he produces numbers around 20 home runs, 20 stolen bases, .300 batting average, and 100 runs batted in, but his defense doesn’t match those superb numbers. His work with the glove is fairly modest, but he has horrible range, which is why I believe he should strictly be a designated hitter or move to an infield position such as first base.
Like the Mariners, the Angels’ production doesn’t exactly drop off after these five as Chone Figgins, Jered Weaver, and Mike Napoli would be my six, seventh, and eighth ranked players had I extended these rankings.