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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.

2) One of this year’s fantasy sleeper picks here at Razzball is Kole Calhoun. What are your thoughts on him?

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.

  1. Sky

    Sky says:
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    spiked a tiny but…hehehe

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      @Sky: PS, I edited it but still. Pretty damn funny :)

    • Count de Monetball says:
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      @Sky: Don’t you dare…..grow up Sky, RB wouldn’t be the same without your humor as it is…..

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Haha…oops

  2. milo says:
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    No love for SP Richards?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I like him (nice GB%) but more as a streamer/matchups play in standard leagues

  3. Count de Monetball says:
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    Mike, is there a link page for all your team previews. They are an interesting resource when deciding on a player. Otherwise I can just click on your name and scroll through your articles. If you did a “wrap-up” at the end of highlighting all the teams, you could list them alphabetically for easy access. Just a thought and love the work!

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      There’s usually a ‘team previews’ link in one of the menu bars but I see it’s missing. I’ll see if that can be fixed…

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      I pushed Grey’s magical button and POOF! It’s there now.

      • Mike

        Mike says:
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        @Sky: Did he giggle like the Pillsbury Doughboy?

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          He tried. Instead he just cackled liked the pizza-bagel from NJ that he is

          • Mike

            Mike says:
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            haha…when I look through the fantasy folks on Twitter I feel like 2/3 of them are from Jersey. It’s a hotbed!

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          You magically turned into an orgasming Meg Ryan! That’s just…I have to try this on my wife…

          • Count de Monetball says:
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            @Sky: Hey, while you are pushing magical buttons, where is the button for fantasy schmohawks? Not that it takes much to remember those guys…

            • Sky

              Sky says:
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              POOF!

              • Count de Monetball says:
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                @Sky: nice, thanks sky

                • Sky

                  Sky says:
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                  Word

  4. Jesse A. says:
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    I don’t see why we’d trust a guy whose avatar is a picture of Mike Pagliarulo.

  5. Schmohawks Bob says:
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    As a lifelong Angels fan I have one fantasy rule regarding Angels players: Don’t draft them. Except Mike Trout.

    The Sciopath and his assistants suck the value out of everyone. The curse takes care of the rest.

    • Shake N Bacon says:
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      @Schmohawks Bob: The Sciopath is to fantasy baseball as Belichick is to Fantasy Football. Frustrating to no end.

  6. George says:
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    I selected Garrett Richards as my 3rd pick in a 3 round salary cap keeper league where you get three starting pitcher slots and five relief pitcher slots.

    Since Richards is no more than a #7 pitcher in my rotation of Wainwright, Scherzer, Fernandez, Teheran, Cole and S. Gray, I think that Richards is going to be a quality asset this year whom I think will have a 7 k/9 rate, and I think that he is going to break through like Justin Masterson did in 2013 with a k rate of 7.5 per 9.

    I think Skaggs is going to have more success once they figure out his mechanical flaws so that his velocity comes back as well as benefiting from a change in scenery.

    I like Santiago a little less than the other two guys only because Skaggs and Richards have better out pitches.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      wow…that’s a nice rotation

      • George says:
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        @Mike: Thanks Mike – you should see what my lineup and bench looks like. :)

        C – Ramos
        1B – Fielder
        2B – Altuve
        SS – Segura
        3B – Chris Johnson
        IF – Cuddyer (drafted in the 2nd round this year because I had salary to use)
        LF – Braun
        CF – AJax
        RF – Myers
        OF – J. Hamilton
        Bench – O. Taveras, B. Hamilton, Profar, Av. Garcia, K. Bryant, and F. Lindor. I forgot, I also have Jameson Taillon too for a hopeful playoff run with his buddy Cole…

        We are going to be a dynasty…

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          dayum…

          • George says:
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            @Mike: Thanks Mike. I also have Will Middlebrooks as well as a part of the 3b rotation.

  7. Ghost of the Disappeared says:
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    Mike: The Angel’s are coming down to earth to clean things up this year – Maybe?? Texas is looking awfully good too (Too bad Holland went down) – poor A’s

    “”The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven..”””
    ? John Milton, Paradise Lost This should be hanging in Scioscia’s office.

    Needless to say, I believe, he is a big art of their problem. Time for a new gaffer in Angel land IMO.

    1. Hammie – BUY BUY BUY… Pujols too (can’t leave him out here as they both are all but the same question)… They have dropped too far. The rewards of a rebound are too massive to pass up. Better them than the Garkos or that other Hamilton speedster IMO Ibanez was a nice add on and Cron is pushing if someone is hurt – good time to get rid of Trumbo ( He will die in the NL west – SP!!! – bad landing for him)

    That touts get their yokel rube clod-hopping hayseeds straight off the farm all lathered up about this or that starlet, year in, year out, is beyond snake oil tonic out of the back of the wagon nonsense to me I think, they these same huckster touts, who push this cure all quackery, are straight off to draft buying up the Hammies and Pujols of the world every year instead. And counting their ill earned money – seeing if they’ve made enough for a soiled dove, a short neck of the good stuff and few pipes full down in Chinatown too.

    2. Old Nullification Calhoun BUY BUY BUY … The second coming of DARIN ERSTAD, I tell you… He is soaring up the charts with the demotion of Aybar (about time) from the lead off spot. The kid can stick. 295, 15 Taters and 20 plus swipes are not out of the realm of possibility. You now have to buy him below 200 in ESPN and he is climbing all the time.

    A great spring, then, it’s Molly Bar the Door time… He could become the sweetheart of many a draft… He is being kept at $17 in a Deep AL only league, I know of.. Exciting prospect… Like him better than many other who showed up last year and early were ranked above for 2014… Again, this may change

    3. Boyo Boyo… If I thought I knew the answer to this one, I’d have my own tout wagon and would be selling snake oil to the rubes. MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION!!!

    I’ll go with Santi based on age and experience for this year… His historical H&BB/9 is not looking that good – but, he is young enough to adjust.

    Skaggs is learning on the job.. Probably needed another year in AAA – even though he is a top prospect…. He is a tougher call… His historical whip is not great either – … 4 and 5 SP spots will be the year for the Halos IMO… Like Richards doing well this year in the 3 hole…

    Mulder and Blanton are good backups and may have their places in the end … Mid season trades for SPing may be in oreder if in the race – they should be.

    4. I like Frieri – “”The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”” Scioscia’s mind is his problem. Makes him a bit risky, don’t it!

    5. BYE BYE BYE cheap CJ is going to bounce… How high is the question?? He is a good AL only pick up. Should come at a discount everywhere. Look for a better year… WINs and Ks…

    Like the Angel depth at the ready to help level in the MiLB… It may not be sexy… But, it is ready.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Hi Ghost…thanks for your comments

      Nicely done with that quote. I’m liking Santiago this year. Totally agree that Pujols is falling too far and hoping to land Calhoun in a few drafts if the cat isn’t totally out of the bag…

  8. griff says:
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    Mike,
    In a dynasty league where I inherited Hamilton at a high salary and is not tradeable due to salary that previous owner’s bid.b I still have enough cap room to keep Hamilton., but Jose Abreu is available. Need RIBs, and some hr support. Do you think I should go after Abreu?. Either player would be in a utility role. Need to do one or the other do due roster situation.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      If HR and RBI make your team better, go with Abreu. Plus, if BHam was really that much of an overpay, there’s always the possibility you can still get him at a similar or better price at auction.

  9. Greyismyhero says:
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    I love it when writers side step and avoid the question….Politician in the future maybe?

    Should fantasy players be buying Hamilton in 2014?

    A big paragraph of mumbo jumbo and still no answer???? My answer is simply no.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Drafting him highly? I agree. But if he falls to Round 9-10 (ESPN has him at 109)…I’m buying.

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