Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Finding Keepers: Los Angeles Angels

I know this article is supposed to be about identifying fantasy baseball keeper targets but I can't help but mention how badly this offseason has played out for the Los Angeles Angels. I've been delaying writing about the Angels because I kept expecting to have to discuss the signings of such top free agents as Carl Crawford, Adrian Beltre and/or Rafael Soriano as possible keepers. They seemed to have the financial resources to sign any combination of these players, if not all three, and as it stands today they've signed none. WOW!

Okay, now let's discuss their potential keepers going into 2011. SP Jered Weaver had a great season in every aspect of his game but his 13-12 record doesn't necessarily reflect it. He lead the league with 233 strikeouts in 224.1 innings pitched while compiling the 5th best ERA at 3.01 and the 3rd best WHIP at 1.07. Weaver even garnered some Cy Young Award love by finishing 5th in the voting. His name may not roll off the tongue when discussing the elite pitchers in baseball but it's worth noting that he finished as the 6th best starting pitcher according to the ESPN Player Rater ahead of such big name pitchers as Cliff Lee, CC Sabathia, David Price and Jon Lester.

SP Dan Haren is another Angels pitcher that should be kept in all fantasy baseball league formats. His overall numbers in 2010 were nothing spectacular (12-12, 3.91 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 216 K in 235 IP) but still very good. In his 14 starts with the Angels, Haren went 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. Those are the numbers that should be encouraging to owners going into 2011.

Outfielders Torii Hunter and Bobby Abreu are both very consistent players that have the ability to give you seasons of 20+ HR, 90+ RBI, 80-100 Runs with batting averages in the .280-.300 range but sometimes get overlooked when discussing keeper candidates. Consistency over a long period of time should definitely be a factor when evaluating a player's value as a keeper. I'd be happy to pencil in each of their career averages into my lineup to start the season and should receive serious consideration as keepers when evaluating your options for 2011.

The Angels have three other players that a borderline keeper candidates depending on the depth of your league and the strength (or lack thereof) your keeper options. SP Ervin Santana won 17 games, had an ERA under 4.00 and a WHIP of 1.32 but ranked 144th overall on ESPN's Player Rater. If he's the best starting pitcher your roster has to offer, odds are you're not going to find much better available in the draft after teams lock up their keepers and deserves serious consideration to be kept. 2B Howie Kendrick finished as the 9th ranked second baseman and can possibly bring you a 15 HR, 15 SB, .300 season in 2011. Lastly, 1B Kendry Morales was well on his way to another 30+ HR, 100+ RBI, .300 BA season before a freak accident ended his 2010 season. He definitely deserves to be a keeper heading into 2011 but depending on where his preseason ranking winds up, he may be forgotten by many managers and could be had on the cheap in the middle rounds of your drafts. It's a big gamble but if you stashed him on your DL for two-thirds of the season, chances are you planned on keeping him anyways.

So there you have it. My assessment of the Angels roster as it stands as of today. Did I miss anyone worth discussing? Does your league use complex or extremely deep keeper settings that warrant going even deeper than the players I've mentioned above? I'd sure love to hear about it. Start the discussion by leaving me a comment.

1 comment:

  1. Good article! However, I am probably one of the few Angels fans that is happy with this offseason. I think Crawford, and Beltre would cripple us in years 4 and 5 of their contract, especially Beltre. I don't even think he makes us better at the position now. (look at his career numbers compared to Callaspo).

    I don't think Abreu is a great keeper due to his age, but I the others I think you underestimate. Also keep an eye on Eric Aybar, Peter Bourjos, Mark Trumbo (if the Angels don't sign anyone else), and Joel Pinero.

    Maybe it's my bias but I look for the Angels to bounce back this year, because nearly everyone on their roster had a career low last year, and Morales and Pinero were out.

    Again great article, always enjoy the discussion.

    Tony C