You've seen my predictions for Vernon Wells alone; now let's do this for the rest of the team.
First, the Angels' 2011 Opening Day Roster:
The big shocker here, of course, is Conger being the starting catcher, over both Mathis and Wilson. The reason? Mathis is probably going to bomb in spring training; specifically, he'll probably bat something around .050 or thereabout, while Wilson will do remarkably better than Mathis, but still not good. WIth two bad catchers and one decent spring training performance from a third, who do you go with?
Now, the bench:
This looks all too familiar, and for good reason: Wilson and Wood are out of options, Willits will always be the token outfielder on the bench, Izturis will never be a consistent starter, and Soth wouldn't dare degrade Mathis by sending him down. That might hurt his feelings...or worse, make him a better catcher.
The rotation, as if we didn't know:
Not as if we expect the rotation to look different, but hey, if the proposed Alfonso Soriano deal ever went down, there may have been a bloodbath during Spring Training for the fifth spot.
And finally, the area which garners competition every season, the bullpen:
The presence of Walden in the bullpen is very questionable, and hinges on two things: First, if Scot Shields returns for another season, then replace Walden with Shields and the bullpen is set, as well as unbelievably old. Secondly, even if Shields doesn't return, he has to fight with Matt Palmer, Anthony Ortega, Rich Thompson, Michael Kohn, Bobby Cassevah and maybe even Trevor Reckling for a spot. However, Walden's performance after his callup last season was significant, and let's face it: If the man can throw 101 MPH, are you really going to give two thirty-somethings, a walking injury, a Rule V pick and a pity callup from last July a shot to best him?
Now that my projected roster is set, it's time for the stats! The best part of the year, and certainly what makes us cringe from time to time. For the sake of my own laziness, I will not include any September callups in my stats, and/or any player that garners less than 50 at-bats by my projections. So, with no further delay, let's begin with the starting lineup!
Peter Bourjos: .236 AVG, 552 AB, 130 H, 19 2B, 11 3B, 16 HR, 52 RBI, 62 R, .301 OBP, .396 SLG, .697 OPS, 30 SB
Bobby Abreu: .282 AVG, 578 AB, 163 H, 40 2B, 3 3B, 21 HR, 99 RBI, 94 R, .407 OBP, .470 SLG, .877 OPS, 21 SB
Torii Hunter: .275 AVG, 590 AB, 162 H, 39 2B, 1 3B, 25 HR, 101 RBI, 84 R, .336 OBP, .471 SLG, .807 OPS, 11 SB
Kendry Morales: .292 AVG, 599 AB, 175 H, 40 2B, 2 3B, 39 HR, 110 RBI, 79 R, .338 OBP, .556 SLG, .894 OPS, 1 SB
Vernon Wells: .272 AVG, 600 AB, 163 H, 37 2B, 1 3B, 25 HR, 97 RBI, 78 R, .306 OBP, .457 SLG, .763 OPS, 8 SB
Alberto Callaspo: .286 AVG, 548 AB, 157 H, 29 2B, 5 3B, 11 HR, 60 RBI, 66 R, .340 OBP, .418 SLG, .758 OPS, 3 SB
Howie Kendrick: .279 AVG, 566 AB, 158 H, 37 2B, 3 3B, 9 HR, 69 RBI, 61 R, .309 OBP, .403 SLG, .712 OPS, 14 SB
Hank Conger: .263 AVG, 497 AB, 131 H, 18 2B, 3 3B, 24 HR, 70 RBI, 59 R, .348 OBP, .464 SLG, .812 OPS, 8 SB
Erick Aybar: .281 AVG, 502 AB, 141 H, 20 2B, 6 3B, 4 HR, 51 RBI, 71 R, .351 OBP, .328 SLG, .679 OPS, 20 SB
Once again, the lineup lacks a .300 hitter--but how many of us expected that to begin with? Howie Kendrick continues to shred his future of being a batting champion (as we've been drugged to believe so many times), although .279 isn't exactly a terrible average. And man, if Hank Conger actually does perform up to the projections given, the man looks like a solid Rookie of the Year candidate. Kendry's looking like the certain winner of Comeback Player of the Year, unless Joe Nathan comes back and gets 50 saves or some absurdity like that. Onto the bench!
Jeff Mathis: .240 AVG, 221 AB, 53 H, 8 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 29 RBI, 23 R, .285 OBP, .335 SLG, .620 OPS, 2 SB
Bobby Wilson: .225 AVG, 89 AB, 20 H, 5 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 17 RBI, 9 R, .276 OBP, .461 SLG, .737 OPS, 2 SB
Brandon Wood: .239 AVG, 109 AB, 26 H, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 9 R, .272 OBP, .266 SLG, .538 OPS, 3 SB
Maicer Izturis: .283 AVG, 282 AB, 80 H, 15 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 35 RBI, 44 R, .342 OBP, .390 SLG, .732 OPS, 9 SB
Reggie Willits: .250 AVG, 76 AB, 19 H, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 16, .326 OBP, .355 SLG, .681 OPS, 7 SB
Many shockers here. First, Jeff Mathis is actually ABOVE the Mendoza Line (or as I call it, the Mathis Line). Secondly, Bobby Wilson has a .461 slugging percentage?! When I did the math, I was shocked as well. But with 37 total bases and 89 at-bats, you do the math. And thirdly...Reggie Willits hitting his first career home run?! Impossible! Actually, it is possible, just extremely unlikely. My guess is he does it on the road--most likely at a hitters' paradise such as the Rogers Centre. Now, out of the offense and into the rotation! And, for the sake of my laziness, anyone with less than 10 decisions OR 40 IP will not be counted in my projections:
Jered Weaver: 20-6, 2.81 ERA, 240 K, 1.01 WHIP, 230.1 IP, 50 BB, 9.3 K/9, 1.9 BB/9
Dan Haren: 15-9, 3.99 ERA, 209 K, 1.06 WHIP, 236.1 IP, 49 BB, 7.6 K/9, 1.9 BB/9
Ervin Santana: 16-8, 3.56 ERA, 174 K, 1.16 WHIP, 225 IP, 58 BB, 6.9 K/9, 2.3 BB/9
Joel Pineiro: 14-9, 2.96 ERA, 101 K, 1.05 WHIP, 209.2 IP, 31 BB, 4.3 K/9, 1.3 BB/9
Scott Kazmir: 11-10, 4.90 ERA, 186 K, 1.23 WHIP, 187 IP, 75 BB, 8.9 K/9, 3.6 BB/9
Any Angels fan knows that Weaver could have won 20 games in 2010 had he gotten proper run support during his starts. His 13-12 record this past season is a weak indicator of his ability, as we all know; thus, with proper run support this season, I believe Weav has a shot at 20. Haren, in his first full season as an Angel, looks as if he'll fare fine--the 3.99 ERA may be cause for concern, but every other stat of his is relatively solid. Santana has, since 2007, had a pattern of bad year-good year, which I believe he'll break this season. Why, I don't know, but I believe if he keeps the stuff he had in 2010, he's in good shape. Pineiro's ERA would be one of the lowest, if not THE lowest, he has ever had in his career, if it happens. And Kazmir...11-10 may be too optimistic, but his 4.90 ERA and 75 BB certainly aren't. He'll somewhat regain his stroke, hence the strikeout totals, but his outings will nonetheless still be slightly rough every time. Lastly, the bullpen:
Hisanori Takahashi: 7-4, 3.62 ERA, 96 K, 1.16 WHIP, 104.1 IP, 40 BB, 8.3 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 1 SV
Jason Bulger: 2-2, 3.16 ERA, 54 K, 1.23 WHIP, 62.2 IP, 17 BB, 7.8 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 1 SV
Kevin Jepsen: 2-4, 4.30 ERA, 66 K, 1.52 WHIP, 58.2 IP, 30 BB, 10.1 K/9, 4.6 BB/9, 1 SV
Jordan Walden: 2-2, 2.74 ERA, 101 K, 1.30 WHIP, 65.2 IP, 31 BB, 13.9 K/9, 4.3 BB/9, 1 SV
Fernando Rodney: 0-3, 5.88 ERA, 55 K, 1.44 WHIP, 52 IP, 23 BB, 9.5 K/9, 4 BB/9, 3 SV
Scott Downs: 4-4, 2.21 ERA, 62 K, 1.05 WHIP, 69.1 IP, 16 BB, 8.1 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 41 SV
I'm assuming that Takahashi will be a swing man, and will probably spot-start for Kazmir a few times, which will probably account for 3 of his wins and 1 of his losses. As always, there's at least one reliever (if not all of them) that gives us everything BUT relief throughout the year. This year, I think it's Jepsen. Let's face it: in 2009 and 2010 both, he had his spots where he crumbled. This year is no different. Now, this is assuming Downs is a closer; if he is, I'd be slightly scared, given how our last left-handed closer turned out, but if he gets us 41 saves and keeps his ERA low, I cannot complain.
Now, I've done the Pythagorean expectation with these given projections, and it shocked me: the Pythag for this team is approximately .620--which equates to a record of 100-62. Me, I highly doubt they're winning 100 games this year, so I went strictly by the wins that the entire pitching staff had, which comes out to 93.
Call me an optimist, but a 93-win team this year is not exactly out of reach. The lineup has 5 men that can all hit at least 20 HR (and according to my projections, they will). Three of the five starters can win 15 games. Let's face it. This season is not nearly as bad as pundits think it will be.
However, will 93 wins be enough? That, HH, is up to you. I want to hear what you all think.