2007 Los Angeles Angels Baseball Preview
For the Los Angeles Angels (89- 73), it has been primarily about pitching. This year the team has added a bit more power, but the focus is still on the mound.
The pitching staff is potent, having posted the third best team ERA in the AL last year (.404). It includes Bartolo Colon (1- 5, 5.11 ERA), who was injured last season after winning the Cy Young in 2005. John Lackey (13- 11, 3.56 ERA) may be the staff ace, with Jared Weaver (11- 2, 2.56 ERA), Ervin Santana (16- 8, 4.28 ERA) and Kelvim Escobar (11- 14, 3.61 ERA) comprising one of the toughest rotations in the league. Francisco Rodriguez (2- 3, 1.73 ERA, 47 SV) is a dominant closer and has some very fine set-up men.
Although the Angels aren’t loaded at the plate, they still possess some dangerous bats, including right fielder Vladimir Guerrero (.329 AVG, 116 RBI, 33 HR) and outfielder Juan Rivera (.310 AVG, 85 RBI, 23 HR). Third baseman Chone Figgins (.267 AVG, 62 RBI, 9 HR) stole 52 bases last season and the addition of Gary Mathews Jr. (313 AVG, 79 RBI, 19 HR) and Shea Hillenbrand (.274 AVG, 68 RBI, 21 HR) gives the Angels a bit more offense.
Mathews in center is a big upgrade defensively, while second baseman Howie Kendrick has shown a lot of improvement and shortstop Orlando Cabrera is as solid as anyone playing that position.
Mike Scioscia has guided this club to the World Series in 2002 and two division championships in 2004 and 2005. He does not, for the first time in seven seasons, have pitching coach Bud Black, who is now managing the Padres.
This is a team that was supposed to make some major improvements in the hitting department but only made minimal moves. Still, the fact is that the Angels are in a weak division, and they are certainly good enough to play a major role once again.
For more info on Los Angeles check out the MLB website for the Angels Clubhouse.