Los Angeles Angels: Bold Predictions for Angels' 2012 Season
The Los Angeles Angels' 2012 season depends largely on the performance of the team’s new general manager Jerry Dipoto. Whether he will pursue big-name stars or up-and-coming players remains unseen.
Nevertheless, Dipoto’s game plan should include the acquisition of a dependable and proven pitcher to the starting rotation team of Ervin Santana, Dan Haren and Jered Weaver. Another reliable reliever would also not be a bad idea.
Predictions for the season? I have a few. Time will tell if the Angels will live up to the expectations.
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The Angels will continue to compete with the Texas Rangers for first place in the AL West. However, their chances have improved since the 2011 season. While Texas played in both the 2010 and 2011 World Series, they failed to perform in crucial games.
As a franchise yet to win its first World Series championship, the Rangers face considerable pressure from a variety of sources, which has only increased with the latest loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. The Angels should aim to capitalize on this in the 2012 season with consistently strong pitching and a dependable lineup and reclaim their title as AL West Champions.
Year of the Rookies
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As a team known for building not buying, the Angels will continue to develop their younger players in 2012.
Rookie Mark Trumbo serves as a testament to the efficiency of this philosophy, and he will only improve his offensive performance after hitting 29 home runs in his first big league season. He was the first rookie to accomplish this since Nomar Garciaparra in 1997, who, before retiring in 2010, became the only player in Major League history to hit two grand slams in a single game.
It seems safe to say that we can expect great things both offensively and defensively from Trumbo and the other developing players: Mike Trout, Peter Bourjos and Trevor Bell to name a few. The 2012 season will be a year for the newer players to make their mark on the Angels' franchise.
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Expect significant changes to the Angels' lineup. To increase offensive performance, manager Mike Scioscia will greatly experiment with the roles of his players. Those expected to provide run support in 2011 were often upstaged. Bobby Abreu hit only eight home runs and ended the season with a .253 batting average. How did Vernon Wells fair as one of the highest-paid players in Angels history? He managed a dismal .218 batting average and only 66 RBI on the season.
While owner Arte Moreno refused to state that the Wells deal was a flop, he admitted that, “Any time you start doing things because of pressure, you're going to make mistakes.”
Whether it's considered a deep regret or simply a setback, the deal crippled Moreno’s budget and prevented any adjustment.
Many victories came as a result of unanticipated offensive output on the part of the younger and less experienced players. Peter Bourjos hit 12 home runs, double the amount he hit the year before, and surpassed both Wells and Abreu with a .271 batting average. Don’t be surprised if the less dynamic and potentially overvalued players are swapped with more recent MLB inductees for the sake of practicality and overall production.