Major Changes

Well, they made what is regarded as the worst trade of the off-season, shipping Napoli and Rivera for Vernon Wells and his albatross contract. Matsui is gone (and will be missed) and Collapso is gone (and will not be missed). They signed a couple of relief pitchers (Takahashi and Downs). Mostly, this is a pretty similar team to the 2010 squad that went 80-82.

Hitters 2010 D 2011 C- (+6 WAR)

Oddly, the lineup doesn’t seem that different: Mathis was the regular catcher, though Napoli was worth something. The outfield now features three centerfielders, as newcomer Borjous (fewer than 200 ML PAs) seems ready to take over (his entire value in 2010 was defensive, but he hit in the minors) and they now have Wells in left and Hunter in right, a vast improvement over last year’s Rivera, Hunter, Abreu. With Abreu at DH, the analysis suggests that the offense, improbably, will be much better. And of course Kendry Morales is better than projected, if he stays healthy; this projection uses his lost half-season as a basis.

Starters 2010 A- 2011 A-

And the rotation looks just as good as the squad that was pretty darn good last year. In fact, it is the same bunch. Weaver is great, Haren was terrific in a half-season, and Santana and Piniero are solid. And Kazmir was one of the great young pitchers just a couple of years back – he could do better than this suggests.

Bullpen 2010 C 2011 C+

And the bullpen is unlikely to be any worse than the ragtag collection that the Angles fielded in 2010. Downs and Takahashi are both potentially solid pickups, though Takahashi has very little track record in the USA and is 35 years old. Rodney as the closer is nothing special, but then neither was Fuentes. There is not that much to do to be better than the mediocre 2010 pen.

Overall 2010 C 2011 B- (86-76)

It appears that the Angels will improve just enough to be on the fringes of the race – in it only if no other team puts together a solid season. Still, that is a surprise to me: prior to this analysis I would have slated the Angels for about 10 fewer wins. Trading for Wells is a BAD financial move, but it improves the team.

Charts

Player Position 2011 2010
Jeff Mathis Catcher -0.8 -1.3
Kendry Morales First Base 2.0 2.0 Napoli
Howard Kendrick Second Base 2.4 1.8
Maicer Izturis Third Base 2.0 0.5 Callaspo
Erick Aybar Shortstop 2.0 0.5
Vernon Wells Left Field 2.1 0.8 Rivera
Peter Bourjos Center Field 2.0 3.2 Hunter
Torii Hunter Right Field 3.4 1.1 Abreu
Bobby Abreu Designated Hitter 1.7 2.0 Matsui
16.8 10.6

_________________________________________________________

Jered Weaver Starting Pitcher 5.1 5.4
Dan Haren Starting Pitcher 4.4 3.2
Ervin Santana Starting Pitcher 2.9 3.1
Scott Kazmir Starting Pitcher 0.4 0.3
Joel Pineiro Starting Pitcher 2.0 2.9
14.8 14.9

_______________________________________

Hisanori Takahashi Relief Pitcher 0.7 -0.5 Shields
Scott Downs Relief Pitcher 1.6 0.5 Rodney
Kevin Jepsen Relief Pitcher 0.3 0.8
Rich Thompson Relief Pitcher 0.3 0.6
Francisco Rodriguez Relief Pitcher 0.3 0.2
Fernando Rodney Closer 0.4 0.5 Fuentes
3.6 2.1

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