One of the joys about Spring Training and the Cactus or Grapefruit League games beginning involves getting to see how your team performs. While the games do not mean anything, and most of the time there is not any carryover to the regular season, a fast start in those games can help increase expectations and the excitement level of the fans. Seeing Albert Pujols bat .450 with five home runs, or Jered Weaver post a 1.30 ERA can certainly do a lot for the ol’ morale.
Yet, before those games even begin, Las Vegas puts out the over/under for how many wins they expect each team to get. This year, the Angels are listed as having an over/under of 86.5 wins this year. Based on those projections, the Angels would finish two games behind the A’s in the American League West, tied with the Rangers for second in the division. That total would also leave them tied with the Rangers and Yankees for the second Wild Card spot, potentially leading to the play in scenario that occurred last year.
Have the Angels improved enough to project an 86 or 87 win season? Last season, they were 78-84. Granted, that was a season where Pujols missed the final two months due to a partially torn plantar fascia in his left foot. Josh Hamilton struggled through most of the season, hitting half the home runs he had the season before. Joe Blanton made 20 starts. Although Garrett Richards, Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs are largely unproven, they would almost have to be better than the horror show that was Blanton and Tommy Hanson.
With a little bit of luck on the injury front, and the expected improvements from the lineup, the Angels should be able to approach a playoff berth. Based on the projections from Las Vegas, the Angels should be on the cusp of the playoffs, if not a playoff team in 2014.