We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2014 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2014 Angels Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Garrett Wilson from Monkey With A Halo.
1) Josh Hamilton struggled in the first half of 2013, but he was able to get things back on track after the break. Should fantasy players be buying Hamilton in 2014?
I find your usage of “back on track” to cling to a pretty loose definition. Yes, Hamilton was better in the second half, but that was almost entirely because of a 100 point differential in his BABIP. His walk rate spiked a tiny bit, but his strikeout rate remained steady while his Isolated Power actually dipped a small amount. So a lot of it depends on where you think his natural BABIP level currently lies. If there is one reason for hope, it is that he intends to put weight back on this off-season after he slimmed way down last winter after seeing a Juice Lady infomercial. That isn’t a joke, by the way. That actually happened. So, assuming he can avoid infomercials this winter, his power might recover. Given that he suffered a major decline in his average flyball distance in 2013, the extra girth and muscle could serve him well. That could help him be a useful player, but I don’t see him returning to MVP-form as pitchers have really exploited his approach at the plate for a season and a half now. Then again, Hamilton has always been a special unicorn when it comes to hitting, so he is pretty hard to predict.
My first thought is “Shhhhhh!” He is a big fantasy sleeper in my eyes, too, and I am hoping to use late round picks on him in all of my leagues. So, thanks for spoiling it, jerks. Calhoun is actually a guy Angel fans have been eagerly awaiting for some time. He doesn’t have any flashy tools, but he does a lot of things well and has put up monster numbers at every level. He can hit for average, has decent pop and can steal a few bases. As of right now, it looks like he should be in line to hit leadoff either full-time or against right-handers, so from a fantasy perspective, he is in good shape to score a bunch of runs. He isn’t a superstar or anything, but there are going to be a lot of people who get good value out of him, especially if he reaches his power potential and smacks 25 homers, give or take. The only problem is that he is a ginger, so if your league has a “souls” category, you’re out of luck.
3) The Angels pulled in a nice haul of starting pitching with the White Sox/Diamondbacks trade. Which of the two pitchers they received (Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs) do you see providing more value for the Angels and fantasy owners this season?
That’s a really tough question because I don’t even think the Angels know that yet. Ideally, they want Skaggs to provide the most value. They think they can fix his mechanics and help him recover his lost velocity. If that is the case, he could slot into the rotation on Opening Day and has a chance to be a league average contributor. However, they also may not want to rush him and keep him in the minors for a few months while they see what Santiago can do. If Santiago ends up in the rotation, he could be solid as well since he should really benefit from moving from U.S. Cellular to the Big A. He should also have eligibility as a relief pitcher in most fantasy leagues, so being able to use him in that slot can be a real bonus depending on the type of league you are in.
4) Do you see Ernesto Frieri holding down the closer role all year and if not, who should fantasy players have their eye on in the Angels’ bullpen?
Yes, by default. They really just don’t have anyone else who is a threat to overtake him this year. Sure, he has his annual two-week stretch where everything he throws is right down the middle or two feet off the plate and Scioscia claims he is going to go to a closer-by-committee, but Scioscia never really follows through on that. Joe Smith is probably the superior pitcher, but because he isn’t a power arm, Scioscia probably won’t seriously consider using him as closer full-time. If there is a real threat to Frieri’s job security, it probably won’t come until the trade deadline.
5) When C.J. Wilson was traded to the Angels, he tweeted out Mike Napoli’s cell phone number to all of his followers. Needless to say, Napoli wasn’t a fan of that move. Which Angel, past or present, would you most like to have in your cell phone’s contact list and why?
I think I am legally obligated to say Mike Trout, but, not to be mean, but I’ve heard his interviews and “conversationalist” is not one of his five tools. Instead, I’ll go off the board and say Mickey Rivers not just because he is a crazy person, but a crazy person who won a World Series, was with the Yankees during the tumultuous Billy Martin hired-fired-re-hired saga and with the Angels during Nolan Ryan’s heyday. I just want to hear stories of those events from his addled perspective because, seriously, Mickey Rivers is a crazy person.