The Angels came in to today’s games trailing the Rangers for first place in the AL West by 5.5 games. They are also fifth in the Wild Card a half game behind Minnesota, two behind Chicago, four and a half back of Boston and seven and a half behind Tampa. Given the strength of the Twins, Red Sox and Rays, the Angels should not hold strong hopes or capturing that particular title. Their best bet to qualify for the postseason is to win the West from the Rangers.
Realistically, the Angels should treat 2010 as a year to sell. They will be hard pressed to pass Texas, even if the Rangers do not make any further moves to bolster their team. Chasing that hope could cost them dearly in future wins if they deal off players that would help down the line. Of course, there is no reason to make that decision now; they can afford to wait out the month of July to see how the team holds up. In the meantime, I would hold off on making any major additions at the cost of prospects as difficult as it might be to effectively concede the division to Texas.
ON THE FARM
Mike Trout is the name on everyone’s tongues with his performance to date in 2010, an insane .448 park-adjusted wOBA that he’s put up in Cedar Rapids. It just A-ball, but Trout is only 18 as well giving him plenty of time to continue growing. Closer to the majors, Hank Conger entered the year as perhaps the Angels most touted prospect and while he has done fine at Triple-A this season, there is still a lack of power.
Trevor Reckling was projected as a pitcher with possible breakout potential if he managed to harness some control. Starting the season with a promotion to Triple-A’s rotation, Reckling walked 50 in 69.2 innings with just 46 strikeouts. Needless to say, that was a disappointment and he’s since been pushed back to Double-A. The Angels have some interesting players in their farm system now, but for the most part will need some years to see the fruits of the more recent crops.
Entering the season with their highest payroll of all time, it is hard to imagine the Angels having much room to add payroll for this season. With over $80 million already committed to 2011, the budget looks a bit tight for this coming winter as well. Keep in mind that the Angels have several players such as Mike Napoli, Howie Kendrick and Jered Weaver that are second or third–year arbitration players without long term deals so they are not counted in that $80 million yet.