Los Angeles Angels

Manager: Mike Scioscia
Stadium: Angel Stadium of Anaheim
2008 Record: 100-62 (1st in AL West)
Team Page | Roster | Schedule

LINEUP

'08: Batting | Runs (10th in AL)
PLAYER B POS
Chone Figgins B 3B
Bobby Abreu L LF
Vladimir Guerrero R RF
Torii Hunter R CF
Juan Rivera R DH
Kendry Morales B 1B
Mike Napoli R C
Howie Kendrick R 2B
Erick Aybar B SS
OFF THE BENCH
Maicer Izturis B INF
Gary Matthews Jr. B OF

PITCHING

'08: Pitching | ERA (3rd in AL)
ROTATION T POS
Joe Saunders L SP1
Dustin Moseley R SP2
Shane Loux R SP3
Jered Weaver R SP4
Nick Adenhart R SP5
BULLPEN
Scot Shields R Setup
Jose Arredondo R Setup
Brian Fuentes L Closer
 
The Mets talked to Brian Fuentes, as did the Cards, but as the former Rockies closer watched the free-agent market play out, he became intrigued by the possibility of landing in Anaheim. And three weeks after Francisco Rodriguez signed with the Mets, Fuentes inked a two-year, $17.5 million deal with the Angels. "It's kind of a unique opportunity," says Fuentes, a California native. It's not often you get a chance to replace the guy who holds the single-season saves record. Sure, there's pressure, but Angels fans will be happy to know that Fuentes was about as efficient as K-Rod last season. The 33-year-old lefty converted 88.2 percent of his save chances, while K-Rod made good on 89.9 percent. With Scot Shields still around to handle the eighth inning, and young flamethrower Jose Arredondo flashing closer stuff, the Angels should once again have a deep bullpen, which has been a driving force on their road to winning four of the past five AL West titles. Fuentes won't save 62 games, but if he's still salting them away deep into October, no one will complain.
-- Buster Olney

ESPN The Magazine's Angels preview Insider

PROSPECTS

HITTER TO WATCH:

Freddy Sandoval gets little play as a prospect but has a decent eye and good doubles power; he could fill in at third or first if either Brandon Wood or Kendry Morales struggles or gets hurt.

PITCHER TO WATCH:

Nick Adenhart has an above-average fastball and a plus curve but a history of allowing way too much contact. His development needs might be better served in the majors than in Salt Lake.
-- Keith Law, Scouts Inc.

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SPORTSNATION

Is Vladimir Guerrero the top right fielder in the American League in 2009? What about Bobby Abreu in left field or Chone Figgins at third base? Is multiple Gold Glove winner Torii Hunter the AL's top center fielder? Register your vote.

AL poll page

Featured Comment

The Angels just feel like an old team that needs some change. The loss of Teixeira was big.


RashedMian

American League fan previews

FANTASY

SLEEPER

Brandon Wood has had a very good spring and has been showing signs that he can start translating some of his minor league production to the big leagues. He's been cutting down on the strikeouts without losing power. He also has eligibility at two positions for his fantasy owners, in a year when the American League has a lack of depth at shortstop and third.

BUST

Even though he's healthy again, Gary Matthews Jr. is going to find playing time tough to come by in the revamped Angels outfield, limiting his chances to bounce back from an injury-marred 2008.
-- Jason Grey

INJURIES

John Lackey made this column last year, and that's not something an athlete strives to repeat. He started the season on the DL but finished the year strong. His reappearance here for essentially the same condition does not bode so well. Lackey has inflammation in his right (throwing) elbow and is resting the arm following a cortisone injection. An MRI reportedly showed no major structural damage, and the Angels expect to have him back within a few weeks. So why the concern? Because with the exception of last season, Lackey has made at least 30 starts per year since his rookie season in 2002, adding up to a lot of mileage on a thrower's arm. Although he has shown great durability to this point, one has to wonder whether this episode signals that cumulative trauma is beginning to take its toll.
-- Stephania Bell

MORE

30 Questions: Can Kendrick be healthy and productive?

PRESEASON POWER RANKINGS

  • Jayson Stark

    Stark
    5th overall
    1st in
    AL West

  • Tim Kurkjian

    Kurkjian
    8th overall
    1st in
    AL West

  • Buster Olney

    Olney
    10th overall
    1st in
    AL West

  • Rob Neyer

    Neyer
    11th overall
    2nd in
    AL West

  • Jim Caple

    Caple
    4th overall
    1st in
    AL West