Los Angeles Angels
SLEEPER Shea Hillenbrand does nothing but hit, and has little competition for at-bats. He'll give you a lot for very little investment.
BUST Fantasy owners may be expecting too much, too soon out of Howie Kendrick. He'll hit for average, but that won't be enough to justify his current average draft position.
HITTER TO WATCH: Brandon Wood , SS/3B Wood has huge power potential, but he'll rack up strikeouts with the best of them and may not hit for average out of the chute.
PITCHER TO WATCH: Nick Adenhart, RHP
Adenhart is just 20 years old but has a mid-90s fastball, plus control, and a chance to have two average or better secondary pitches.
MLB Preview 2007
FIXED It calms Shea Hillenbrand to hit with runners on. The pressure is on the pitcher, he tells himself. As a rookie with the Red Sox in 2001, he crushed a bases-clearing liner to right-center, and he can still see the pitch coming to the plate. "It was a triple, which doesn't happen to me too often," he says. The Angels have desperately needed a guy like Hillenbrand in the middle of their order. He's never hit more than 18 HRs, but he's driven in 80 or more runs three times, and the 31-year-old free agent fits Mike Scioscia's hit-and-run-and-run-some-more style. "He's about getting guys moving," Hillenbrand says. "That's what I'm all about." Ommm.
NEEDS FIXING Turning down trade offer after trade offer, GM Bill Stoneman has clung to his young pitchers, particularly Ervin Santana. Good thing, because Kelvim Escobar's creaky joints are a constant problem, and Bartolo Colon's shoulder trouble and excess weight have scouts thinking he'll never regain his form. Now, with Jered Weaver's arm sore too, Santana might have to be elevated as high as No. 2.
"They just said, 'Go over there and show us what you got.' " -- Top prospect Brandon Wood, who's hit 68 HRs the past two years, on his move from shortstop to third base.
Arte Moreno may not get the credit for keeping prices low in LA, but fans know a bargain when they see one. Prices for the Left Field Family Pavilion -- $9 for adults, $5 for kids -- have gone unchanged since 2003. Ditto for the team's $39 Family Pack (four tix, dogs and sodas). And a season seat can be had for $6 a game. Moreno even had the price of caps slashed to an MLB-low $7 after learning about a fan who couldn't afford them for his kids. It's all part of bottom-third fan costs for a top-shelf product that has produced two AL West pennants and a World Series title in five years. Now that's money.
"Barring unforeseen major injuries, this team should coast to the AL West title, and depending on their bats, should make a run for a World Series title."