2008 MLB Betting Preview: Los Angeles AngelsBy Dave Golokhov
When healthy, the Los Angeles Angels have the deepest rotation in the American League. Jon Garland was added in the offseason, which supports a strong duo of Kelvin Escobar and John Lackey. Jered Weaver and Ervin Santana, who project to be frontline starters possibly as early of this year, round out the fourth and fifth spots with competition from Joe Saunders.
But Lackey and Escobar will start the season on the DL with injuries, which narrows the Angels main strength. Lackey injury is a minor triceps strain while Escobar has some shoulder inflammation, so neither is expected to miss protracted periods of time.
Assuming both come back strong, the Angels are dangerous. They might lead the league in quality starts.
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The Angels have a strong bullpen to back up their dangerous starters but they'll need Francisco Rodriguez and Scott Shields to bounce back from their second half slide last year.
Justin Speier is a good arm and one who likely would have shared a large chunk of the workload last year had he not been sidelined. Some pundits believe that Rodriguez and Shields were overworked last year, which led their struggles.
The Angels have a typically strong bullpen - one of the best in the Majors - that we have grown accustomed to seeing from them.
The Angels are a pitching team that will have to win this year based around their rotation and bullpen. Hitting is not a strength.
They were projected to have a lack of power in their lineup last year, that played out as expected and the Angels didn't really alleviate that problem in the offseason.
Torrii Hunter was the main addition but he doesn't have the kind of pop in his bat that the Angels require to supplement Vladimir Guerrero. But he will help protect Guerrero.
One thing that might help would be the emergence of guys like Howie Kendrick and Casey Kotchman, who the Angels have been waiting on for some time. Kendrick can hit for average and a breakout season would be a huge bonus for the Angels. If they added a bat at the trade deadline, the Angels would be a fearsome opponent.
Regular Season Win Total: 91.5
If pitching is the key to winning, the Angels have what it takes to win the American League.
They have a quality rotation if everyone plays to their capabilities and if Weaver and Santana climb towards their ceiling, the Angels will have the best rotation in all of baseball.
In the bullpen, the Angels will be typically strong. Their lineup is so-so, but should be good enough to support their pitching and get them to 90 wins.
They won 94 games last year and added Torii Hunter in the offseason, which leads me to believe they'll get to 92 wins again this season.
MLB Free Picks: Over 91.5
by BetUS at 1800-sports.com on March 23, 2008
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