Having Pujols in the lineup, whether it be at first base or DH, obviously makes the Angels a much better team, but how much better? Pujols didn’t seem too high on the 2016 Angels, calling them “decent” and elaborated on his thoughts.
“If you can stay healthy, we have the ballclub we can go out and compete with everybody,” he said. “The paper doesn’t look too good, but you can’t go by that. You have to go by what you do in the field and do whatever you have to do.”
We’re not that great, but if we stay healthy then who knows! Mike Trout is still the best player in the game and the face of baseball, but beyond that, do the Angels have a shot at the World Series this year? The Halos added Andrelton Simmons and Yunel Escobar over the offseason, but they’re counting on a few bounce back seasons, especially from the ace of the staff Garrett Richards. In 2014, Richards was 13-4 with a 2.61 ERA and 164 strikeouts in 168.2 innings before suffering a torn patellar tendon in his left knee that required surgery.
Richards rebounded nicely last year, logging 207.1 innings and a 3.65 ERA, but wasn’t quite his 2014 self. The Angels will need that in 2016, because after Richards, the Angels will have Andrew Heaney, whose career high in innings are the 105.2 that he tossed last year. After that, you have Jered Weaver who has fluctuated between dominant and highly hittable over the last four years in which he has declined each season. CJ Wilson hasn’t hit 200 innings since 2013, and was limited to 21 starts last year after he was placed on the 60-day disabled list with elbow inflammation in his pitching arm. The rotation rounds out with Hector Santiago, who also has never hit 200 innings in his career, and allowed a league-leading 29 home runs last year, but had a respectable 3.59 ERA in 180.2 innings with 162 strikeouts.
Pitching aside, there’s no doubt that the Angels drastically improved their defense this winter, and it seems like they’ve followed the trend in baseball lately where defense is highly valued. Will that be good enough to get into the postseason? I doubt it, so sit back and depressingly watch the Angels waste Trout’s prime seasons by not giving him a supporting cast.