They shared co-favorite status with the Tigers, Red Sox and the New York Yankees to win the American League pennant when the green flag dropped on the
2012 campaign. But like
It marked the third consecutive year that Mike Scioscia's
club missed the postseason, and while he isn't necessarily on the hot seat to
begin his 14th season in
Even with their crosstown rivals up at Chavez Ravine at 17/2 to win the World Series, the Halos are just behind the Toronto Blue Jays (15/2) on the MLB futures board. Projections a couple of weeks back here at SBR put the Angels at +475 to win the Junior Circuit, and they should be even more heavily favored to win the AL West title that has gone to Texas or Oakland the past three years.
The offensive potential of this lineup is off the
charts. Even with Albert Pujols' slow
start and Mike Trout not called up until late-April, the Angels scored the
3rd-most runs in the
Angel Stadium has always played pitcher-friendly, so those
767 runs last year were pretty impressive.
But what about that pitching?
Mound Corps Big Question Mark Behind Weaver
Scioscia and pitching coach Mike Butcher have three new faces for the rotation and a new arm at the back of the bullpen for 2013, and it's on the mound where the Halos' success in 2013 will be determined.
Jered Weaver leads the rotation following a campaign that was briefly interrupted by a trip to the DL. The Angels went 23-7 in his 30 starts, so his importance can't be overstated.
Neither can the importance of the arms behind him be
emphasized too much. CJ Wilson was
signed away from the rival Rangers before the '12 season and fell off sharply
in the second half when his ERA rose nearly 1.5 runs. Filling out the rotation
are newcomers Jason Vargas, Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton. Vargas, who comes over from
The job of protecting late leads falls to Ryan Madson who was supposed to close for the Reds a year ago before missing the entire season due to Tommy John surgery. The Angels got him on the cheap, and all reports are his rehab has gone well. Ernesto Frieri finished 2012 as the Angels closer and gives the squad a deep group of middle-setup arms along with Kevin Jepsen plus lefties Scott Downs and Sean Burnett.
New-Look Schedule Has
Betting MLB futures requires more than just looking at a given roster to determine offensive and pitching strengths or weaknesses. Equally important is the schedule, and there is going to be a radical change to the slate for all AL West teams in 2013 when the Houston Astros join the division.
There will be interleague play each day of the season, and
as luck would have it, the first interleague series of the year will involve
the Angels who open the campaign in
The new divisional alignment should provide a boon for the
other four AL West clubs since the 19 extra games vs. the Astros mean 19 fewer
games against the likes of the Yankees, Tigers, Rays, etc. That will be crucial for wagers on season win
totals, and there's every reason to expect at least one of the two
It all adds up to the Angels being a very strong choice for your MLB picks to make it to the postseason, and that gives them extra value on wagers to win
Be sure to check out our other MLB Team Futures: