Organizational Rankings: #11 – Anaheim

The last time the Angels won less than 89 games, Scott Spiezio was their starting first baseman and Jarrod Washburn led the team in innings pitched. That was 2003, and in the six years that followed, the Angels have won the AL West five times, finishing second in the only year they weren’t the champs. It was a tremendous run. But like all good things eventually do, it may be coming to an end.

The Angels aren’t a bad team, but they aren’t a great team anymore either. With John Lackey bolting for Boston, the team’s best player is now probably Kendry Morales, who has had one good major league season. While the team has quality around the diamond, there is a significant lack of star power. There’s not a single guy on the team that projects as a true talent +4 win guy. There is no franchise player.

That doesn’t mean they’re doomed, of course, because there are a lot of ways to build a roster, and you don’t have to have a superstar in order to win. But, to win without a premium player requires that you get legitimate major league production at nearly position. You don’t have the wins coming from the top to compensate for a glaring hole anywhere, so depth is crucial. The Angels certainly have that depth, but it’s not young and spry. Hunter is 34, Matsui is 35, and Abreu is 36. Even Juan Rivera is on the wrong side of 30. That outfield is long in the tooth, and they need all of those guys to play well and stay healthy.

It may work, but for the first time in a while, the Angels are clearly vulnerable. They’re no longer the clear favorites in the AL West, though they’re still certainly in the mix. But without a premium group of young players to build around and some important aging role players, the Angels are at a crossroads. If they don’t win in 2010 with this team, it might be time to look at going young for a year or two in order to rebuild the foundation of the team.

The team is well run and well financed, so the Angels will likely never be a laughing stock, but their run of owning the division appears to be nearing its end. This will be a critical year for the Angels future as they try to figure out just what they’re going to be going forward.

We hoped you liked reading Organizational Rankings: #11 – Anaheim by Dave Cameron!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs




Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

newest oldest most voted
Don Coburleone
Guest
Don Coburleone

11th Dave? No way in heII are there 10 teams in MLB with a brighter future than the Angels. I am not even an Angel fan (go Braves!) but this team was arguably the 3rd most successful franchise in all of baseball in the 2000’s and very little has changed in the front office (Stoneman is no longer GM, but he still has alot of say when it comes to personnel). Granted their outfield is aging and somewhat expensive, but name me a team that has a better, younger, more cost controlled infield/catcher? Izturis, Aybar, Kendrick, Morales, Mathis and Napoli combined make what, $15MM this season? And 3 years from now they’ll cost, at worst, $50MM?

I know 11th isn’t exactly terrible, but to me they are somewhere in the 5-7 range for sure. I think you are downgrading them way too much just because they’ve had some trouble signing their high draft picks over the last 4 seasons.

Reuben
Guest

who is left?

red sox
rays
yankees
braves
phillies
cardinals
rockies
mariners
rangers
twins?

is that correct? who would you bump?

i’ll throw out my guess

cardinals
twins
braves
mariners
rangers
rockies
phillies
rays
red sox
yankees

jsp2014
Member
jsp2014

that’s reverse order right? 10 down to 1?

Reuben
Guest

jsp: correct

Sandy Kazmir
Member
Sandy Kazmir

Gimme Longoria, Bartlett, Zobrist, & Pena any day of the week.

Bubba
Guest
Bubba

That infield is good, but I’d rather have Longoria + whoever will be in the Rays infield 3 years from now (they still prospects like Beckham and Brignac) over that of the Angels.

Plus the rotation is Shield/Garza/Price/Niemann/Davis and top prospects like Hellickson and Moore.