Our third stop on the Cactus League tour is in Scottsdale, to take a look at the Angels and Diamondbacks. For baseball futures, their season win totals are similar on the MLB odds board, but not their viewpoints.
The Angels are strapped with gigantic contracts which prevents from adding needed pieces, while Tony LaRussa shows he is as competitive as ever after retiring as St. Louis manager and would like to add another World Series ring as an executive.
L.A.A. Angels Odds - AL West 4th (+500) - AL T-8th (+1500) - World Series T-15th (+3000) - Win Total O/U 81
It sure appears both Houston and Texas have passed up the team from Anaheim on overall talent and one of these years Seattle is going to meet expectations. With years of terrible contracts for Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson and departed Josh Hamilton still on the books, there is only so much Mike Trout can do.
Enter new GM Billy Eppler, who has to please both owner Artie Moreno and manager Mike Scioscia, which is no easy task as departed Jerry DiPoto learned. Eppler reached out to Scioscia and they agreed, at least in the offseason, there not enough offense to be known as hitting team and instead will focus on pitching and defense playing at the Big A.
That means big seasons from still essentially unproven Garrett Richards and Andrew Haney to pick up the slack for withering Jered Weaver and Wilson. The back end of the bullpen is sound, but the offense is skittish. We will have final say later this month when we see the Halos again.
Arizona Odds - NL West 3rd (+450) - NL 8th (+1200)- World Series 14th (+2500) - Win Total O/U 82
There is a belief by half the baseball scouts Arizona overachieved last season in winning 79 games. D-Backs honchos LaRussa and Dave Stewart thought otherwise, looking at young core players like Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, David Peralta and others and decided now was the time and added Zack Greinke and other useful pitchers to the staff.
Zack Grienke will add professionalism along with immense ability and given his interest in scouting, will be valuable resource to young pitchers, like Patrick Corbin and Archie Bradley. Shelby Miller will no doubt benefit from added run support after pitching in Atlanta last season.
Having Nick Ahmed and Chris Owings as middle infielders will save the Diamondbacks runs, but the bullpen still is iffy. Not sure I make futures bets on Snakes, but like them on the Over for win total.
The Angels starter Garrett Richards twice his 100 MPH on the radar gun but gave up three runs on four hits and did not last expected three innings, falling short at 2 2/3. All four hits came on the fastball which suggested lack of movement, but his curve and off-speed pitches were brilliant.
For Arizona, Robbie Roy is trying to be fifth starter and he held the Halos scoreless over three innings by striking out three and threw 34 strikes among his 50 pitchers.
Los Angeles won the game 5-3 with four runs in the sixth inning with a pair of two-run homers off Josh Collmentor, who had nothing working.
The D-Backs top outfield prospect, Socrates Brito, is making bid to be four outfielder and had three hits. Former Oakland veteran Craig Gentry is trying to hook up with Anaheim and he as 3 for 3.