2006 Anaheim Angels Preview

2005 summary:

Mike Scioscia and his 2005 Anaheim Angels entered the new season ready to defend their 2004 American League West title. Although the 2004 season ended with a disappointing 3-game sweep of the ALDS in the World Series by the Sox Reds of Boston, the Angels stood firm and confident that they could return to the postseason once again. The Angels’ good fortunes continued in 2005 when they ended up clinching the AL West with an impressive 95-67 record. Unfortunately, the 2005 postseason ended with 4 straight losses to the Chicago White Sox as the Angels were eliminated 4-1 in the AL Divisional playoffs.

Led by superstar Vladimir Guerrero (.317 32 108), the Angels’ starting lineup provided a balanced attack against opposition in 2005. New additions Juan Rivera (.271 15 59) and shortstop Orlando Cabrera (.257 8 57) helped provide much better offensive stability as they joined outfielders Garret Anderson (.283 17 96) and catcher Bengie Molina (.295 15 69) to provide one of the most consistent lineups in the American League.

The 2005 Angels’ pitching was led by Bartolo Colón (21-8 3.48) and John Lackey (14-5 3.44) along with journeyman pitcher Paul Byrd (12-11 3.47). Byrd emerged as a pleasant surprise in 2005 going 8-5 with a 3.73 ERA before the All-Star break, which was second only to Colón late in the first half of the season. While pitchers Brendan Donnelly (9-3 3.72 in 65 relief appearances) and Francisco Rodríguez (2-5 2.67 45 saves) anchored one of the best bullpens in baseball.

Move out of season:

Los Angeles stayed conservative in their offseason. Free-agent pitcher Hector Carrasco (5-4 2.04) was signed after an impressive year for the Washington Nationals, while additional help was added to the bullpen by trading 2B Alexi Casilla for JC Romero (4-3 3.47) of the Washington Nationals. Twins. Pitcher Jake Woods (1-1 4.55) was also tapped to help out in late-inning relief, acquired from the Mariners’ waivers. The Angels changed their offense very little, adding Edgardo Alfonso (.277 4 43) to their lineup in a trade for Steve Finley (.222 12 54).

2006 analysis:

The Angels were wise to add pitchers Hector Carrasco and JC Romero, as both should help them improve an already strong bullpen and pitching staff. Finley didn’t achieve the same results as when he was acquired in the second half of the 2004 season (13 HRS 46 RBIs with Anaheim), so the Angels felt it was worth trading him. Unfortunately for the Angels, Alfonso’s best seasons are clearly behind him; however, as a bonus, he can still be relied on to power runs. The Angels also avoided arbitration with 7 different players during the offseason, so the baseball club is pretty much the same as it was when the year started in 2005. The 2006 starting lineup is balanced even losing Molina in free agency. Starting pitching could probably use another consistent starter. However, with only three other teams to compete against in the AL West, there really is no reason to believe the Angels won’t compete in 2006 again.

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