Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Fantasy Baseball: Who are the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim?

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are one of those confusing teams right now that you’re not quite sure if they are all-in in terms of making the postseason and winning a World Series or if the team is just wasting away Mike Trout’s best years and prime with mediocre ball clubs weighed down by large contracts. This LA of A team is paying Josh Hamilton to essentially play for their AL West rivals in the Texas Rangers and it’s keeping the team out of the deep end of the free agency water and away from potential bats like Yoenis Cespedes. Either the team is confident in what they have, they truly are more worried about going over the luxury tax than putting the best team out there on the field for 162 games or they believe in the young guys on the team that you are unlikely to have heard much of. Well until today when I explain how those same guys can help you win the later rounds of your fantasy baseball draft and win you your league. You’re welcome. 

If Trout is there first overall you should probably take him and he shouldn’t go any farther than 2nd, this much you should know, but the names of Andrelton Simmons, Kole Calhoun and Garrett Richards you may not. Rather than tell you that Albert Pujols is still one of the better first baseman in the league and to stay away from most, if not all, of the Angels pitching staff I would rather focus on the players that are going to win your draft. 

We’ll start with Simmons and your first warning of the day. Simmons is a glove-first type shortstop that will give you very little in terms of offensive prowess. He’ll likely hit low in the lineup and not get many chances to drive in runs or make a huge impact offensively. He’s there for defense and defense doesn’t win your league. If you just desperately need a shortstop then he will work in a pickle but I wouldn’t reach too high for him personally. 

Speaking of defensive only shortstops while the fantasy owners won’t appreciate Simmons much his pitching staff will, especially the staff ace Garrett Richards. Richards is a ground ball inducing pitcher that strikes out enough batters to survive. Richards K numbers should improve as he matures and grows into his body and he should only be helped by a potent offense behind him and a much improved middle infield defense. He may be worth taking in the middle rounds when most of your top notch aces are already off the boards. 

Kole Calhoun is an outfielder that a lot of people don’t talk about when they should. Calhoun is obviously overshadowed by Mike Trout in the Angels outfield and the fact that he plays on the west coast doesn’t help him much in terms of media but Calhoun quietly had a nice 2015 campaign. Last season Calhoun hit 26 home runs and knocked in 83 RBI at the top of the Angels order. Calhoun doesn’t steal bags and he may be destined for a platoon role sooner rather than later but if you need runs scored, RBI and home run then he may be a steal in the later rounds. 

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