The Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim) hit it big on the free agent market this past offseason and are truly stocked with fantasy baseball assets. Their roster is now full of proven veterans sluggers, ace pitchers (yes, plural) and talented rookies but how many of them are keepers?
1B Albert Pujols is definitely one of the games greatest players, the offseason’s biggest free agent signing shocker and should be kept in all formats of fantasy baseball. A move to the American League means he should spend a little time getting some at bats at DH to keep him fresh over the long haul of the season. As if this guy needs a rest. Ever. He’s produced a standard 5×5 rotisserie line of .328/123/42/126/8 per 162 games played. Those ridiculous numbers are AVERAGES over 11 seasons. His current ADP is 3.51 and his ranking on the big 3 fantasy sites are: ESPN #2; Yahoo! #3; CBS #3.
SP Jered Weaver is a top 5 fantasy baseball ace currently being drafted with an ADP of 33.64 and definitely should be a keeper if he’s currently on your roster. He’s practically a lock for 15+ Wins and 200+ Strikeouts with a 3.00 ERA and a sub-1.20 WHIP. His fantasy rankings are consistently good, too: ESPN #31; Yahoo! #23; CBS #25.
SP Dan Haren follows up Weaver as the Angels’ second ace and should be the ace of your fantasy baseball staff and locked up as a keeper for the 2012 season. He’s projected for 15+ Wins, 200 Strikeouts with a sub-3.50 ERA and stellar WHIP. Sound familiar? (See Weaver) He led the majors with a 5.82 K/BB ratio due to his 7.3 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9 ratios. He’s being drafted with an ADP of 42.52 and comes into drafts ranked: ESPN #41; Yahoo! #77; CBS #31.
SP C.J. Wilson is the Angels third ace and projected to win 15+ games, 180+ Strikeouts with a sub-3.50 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. Of the three aces, Wilson probably comes with some level of risk. Changing teams but staying in the same division leads me to believe he’ll be just fine in 2012 and should be considered a keeper if he’s the best starting pitcher option you currently have on your roster. His ADP of 84.65 is a little high for a standard keeper league, so evaluate your roster accordingly. He’s ranked: ESPN #68; Yahoo! #85; CBS #61.
Best of the rest but not keepers
2B Howie Kendrick (ADP 104.07) is the 9th second baseman being drafted and could easily be targeted during the redraft rounds.
1B/3B Mark Trumbo (ADP 140.72) could be a steal in the mid-rounds of most drafts, especially once he gains third base eligibility, but would be a risky keeper heading into 2o12. If the experiment of moving him to 3B fails, he’s mixed up in a platoon for time at 1B, DH and some games in the OF.
OF Mike Trout (ADP 219.65) has all the tools to be an incredible fantasy baseball asset but 2012 may not be his year. Again, the logjam of players on the Angels roster fighting for time in the outfield, first base and DH could limit his playing time this season.
OF Torii Hunter (171.50) should benefit from batting in the fourth spot behind Pujols and would be a nice option in your outfield for 2012 but hasn’t stolen double-digit bases since 2009 and has seen batting average drop over 30 points since then, too.
1B/DH Kendrys Morales (ADP 221.15) was among the elite first baseman heading into the 2010 season. This is 2012 and there are a ton of question marks regarding his health. Grabbing him up in the late rounds as a low-risk pick makes sense.
OF Peter Bourjos (ADP 131.51) could easily be a 15 HR/30 SB guy in 2012 but is not in the same class of outfielders considered keepers. I recommended him as a power/speed draft target in another fantasy baseball article of mine last week.
RP Jordan Walden (ADP 158.19) saved 32 games for the Angels in 2011 and sports a robust career K/9 ratio of 10.7 but also carries a horrific 3.9 BB/9 career ratio. Only the most elite closers should be considered as keepers and Walden is far from that category.
So, as you can see, the Los Angeles Angels 40-man roster is full of some of the game’s more desirable assets and key keepers. Do you agree or disagree with my keeper recommendations? I’d love to hear some comments from die-hard Angels fans about what expectations you have for the 2012 season and beyond with this core of players on board. Feel free to follow me on Twitter @DJAubain and continue the conversation there, too.