Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 2011 Season Preview
The 2011 Los Angeles Angels squad return home with newly plural and recovering slugger Kendrys (with an "s at the end") Morales. The returning core of the team also welcomes new additions Vernon Wells and Scott Downs. Torii Hunter's leadership will be needed to turnaround the 80-82 losing record of the 2010 for this fiftieth anniversary year of Angels Baseball.
The Los Angeles Angels pitching rotation stands up among the best in the American League led by ace and 2010 strikeout leader Jered Weaver. Weaver proved himself to be a budding star and All-Star in the league leading his team hoping to gain more wins with greater run support. Following Weaver is the well reputed Dan Haren looking for a strong complete season with his new club. Ervin Santana follows a career year hoping to show two consistent back to back campaigns. The struggling Kazmir and the ground ball hurler Pinero round out the lineup looking to complete a solid foundation.
The bullpen welcomes veteran closer Scott Downs and additional left hander Hisanori Takahashi add versatility to the relieving staff. Fernando Rodney and the red hot fastball of Jordan Walden may come head to head for the closer position on the roster.
The fastest man on the lineup is 23 year old Peter Bourjos who will likely man the center field position of which eight time gold glove winner Torii Hunter will slide to right with Vernon Wells in left field. These three arms should present a formidable wall in the field with the coverage of the speedy Bourjos minding gaps between the two veterans.
Look for Bourjos to assist with his bat in the ten to fifteen home run sector this season as well as stealing 30+ bases. Hunter led the club in batting and runs batted in and there is no reason to expect any less this season.
There are still a few questions to address in the remainder of Spring training in Arizona for the Angels. The third base job might be within the reach of Alberto Callaspo or Maicer Izturis. Minor league slugger Mark Trumbo may get a few days at first base if Kendrys Morales is unfit to take the position immediately April 1st. Long time prospect Brandon Wood finds himself out of options if he is not placed with the club and has an uncertain future.
Overall the Angels get a B+ grade coming into the 2011 fiftieth anniversary season. Well respected Manager Mike Scioscia has firm grasp on his club and knows the players well enough to place intelligent lineups on the field. All that is left to chance is the day to day decisions and actions of the game and hopefully bring the team back to the playoffs against a stacked American League division in 2011.