If you were too look around MLB and look at teams that need to get off to a good start, you can throw the Angels right in the mix. The Angels, at this point, are a leading World Series candidate in the American League, just like they were last season. Here’s why this team is different though.
First of all, Mike Trout will be with the team for the whole season, which he should have been last year. Is he going to regress from what he did last year? Yes. You have to expect it. No one did what he did last year. We may not see that kind of year from a rookie or really anyone for quite a long time.Secondly, Albert Pujols is going to be more comfortable with the Angels. He came over last season, with a huge contract and huge expectations as the best player in the game and it took him a little over a month to hit a home run. He still put up pretty good numbers, though not the numbers anyone really expected out of him. He’s also going to have another MVP candidate in Josh Hamilton hitting behind him.
Thirdly, the bullpen will be better than last season. Even if Ryan Madson isn’t available to start the season, Sean Burnett will still be there to help setup with Scott Downs and Kevin Jepsen and when Madson gets back, Ernesto Frieri can move back to his setup role and make the pen that much deeper.
The Angels should be a better team in 2013 than they were in 2012, when they came close to making the playoffs. If the struggle early, Mike Scioscia’s seat may become quite warm as the season heats up.