Anaheim AngelsOur expert from ScoutPRO.com,Shawn Childs, helps you prepare for your big fantasy baseball draft.
Anaheim Angels Team Projection
Start your fantasy baseball draft prep today by reading my 2014 player profiles of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim's pitching staff.
1. SP Jered Weaver
Weaver had a tough start to 2013, breaking his left elbow in only his 2nd start of the year. That caused him to miss 7 weeks of the season. When he returned, Jered struggled in 3 of his first 4 starts, allowing 13 runs and 26 base runners in 17.7 innings. Weaver found his rhythm over a 9-game stretch from late June to early August (1.72 ERA with 52 K's in 62.7 innings). A nine run pasting by the Yankees on August 19th pushed him back a couple of steps, but he finished the year with 6 quality starts (2.25 ERA). Weaver developed a sore right forearm in September, but was able to pitch through the injury. His command (2.2) remains elite, but his K rate (6.8) has been weak over the past 2 seasons. Jered was very good against lefties (.227). Weaver is a FB pitcher (46.8%), but he has been able to control his HR/FB rate (7.8%) in his career. His AFB (86.5%) has declined over the last 3 seasons and was a career low last year. Furthermore, his fastball is in a very dangerous area for a RH pitcher. However, his curveball gained value in 2013 to become his #2 pitch. He also throws a solid changeup and a declining slider. His lack of a fastball leaves him very open to disaster starts. Many fantasy players will view Weaver as still having an elite arm. While his command remains strong, his skill set is on the decline. His forearm injury bothers me and it could be a sign of a disaster 2014. I can't trust a major league pitcher as my #2 starter with a 86.5 mph fastball. Jered is a player to avoid in 2014.
2. SP C.J. Wilson
Wilson was one of the few bright spots on the Angels in 2013. His command (3.6) has been a negative during his entire career, while his K rate (8.0) was in line with his career average. C.J. was dominant against lefties (.169), but he did struggle a bit with righties (.269). Wilson was a much better pitcher at home (2.55 ERA), but won most of his games on the road (11-3 with 4.13 ERA). HIs AFB (91.2) was down from 2012 (91.7). Wilson threw a slider as his #2 pitch for the 1st time since 2009. He also throws a curveball, followed by a cutter and a show me changeup. C.J. is 61-32 over the last 4 years as a starter with a 3.37 ERA. Wilson has been able to survive in the majors even with poor command. In a way, he has somehow overachieved considering his skill set. His solid season will push up his draft value, which makes it easier to avoid his downside WHIP risk. Possible down tick year.
3. SP Tyler Skaggs
Skaggs has a nice upisde arm, but struggled in the minors and majors in 2013. He has a career 3.34 ERA in the minors with 544 K's in 498.7 innings. Tyler has had decent command (2.9) during his minor league career, but last year his walk rate was high in the minors (3.9) and majors (3.5). He allowed 6 of his 7 HR's to righties in 118 at bats. Skaggs had an electric spot start in May (6 shutout innings with 9 K's), but only pitched well once in his 6 other starts in the majors. His AFB (89.2) lacked upside last year, but his scouting report suggests he has another level with his heater. Tyler has a plus curveball and a developing changeup. Skaggs is real close to being a factor in the majors, but his lack of success at AAA and in the majors in 2013 tells me he may need some time at AAA early in 2014. Tyler is a player to watch in spring training. If his command falls in line with his previous success, Skaggs may very well be the 3rd best starter on the Angels this season.
4. SP Garrett Richards
Richards had some growth in the majors last year. His command (2.7) moved in line with his minor league resume (2.8), but his K rate (6.3) still needs some work. Last year, Garrett turned into a high GB pitcher (57.9%). He has a plus fastball (94.8), but really only has one other pitch that he trusts (slider). Richards will throw a show me curveball and an occasional changeup. In 2013, he struggled with LH batters (.281) and wasn't dominant against righties (.252). Over the last 2 months last year, Garrett had a 3.98 ERA in 12 starts for LA, but he allowed too many base runners (1.40 WHIP). Richards is 34-11 during his minor league career with a 3.34 ERA and 347 K's in 398.3 innings. He struggles with lefties and lacks a 3rd pitch at this point of his career. His fastball gives him upside, but his skill set may make more sense as a closer down the road if he doesn't improve. His jump in GB rate shows a change in approach to batters. Garrett needs to improve his first pitch strike % (54%) as well. Possible upside, but he isn't ready to make a fantasy impact. Potential sub 4.00 ERA with some WHIP risk and low K upside.
5. SP Hector Santiago
Santiago pitched well in his 23 starts (3.51 ERA) with the White Sox. He had a better K rate (8.4) as a starter than in relief (7.4), however, his walk rate (4.3) still needs a lot of work. His success in the majors matched his minor league resume (3.50 ERA with 378 K's in 357.7). He had equal success against RH (.244) and LH (.241) batters, but his AFB (91.8) has declined over his past 2 seasons in the majors. His #2 pitch is a changeup, which gained value in 2013. His 3rd pitch is a slider, while he also throws a weak cutter and an occasional split-finger fastball. Last year, he allowed 3 runs or less in 19 of his 23 starts and avoided any disaster outings. His high walk rate invites WHIP risk, but his arm has upside. Santiago has 175+ K potential with 30+ starts.
6. SP Joe Blanton
Blanton hasn't had a pulse since 2009. He has solid command (2.5) with a reasonable K rate (7.3). Last year, he allowed 29 HR's in 132.7 innings (2 per 9 innings). His fastball (89.4) was in line with his career average. Furthermore, his changeup is his #2 pitch followed by a curveball, cutter, and slider. Last year, RH batters hit .339 against him with a .603 SLG %. Along the same lines, he wasn't that much better against lefties (.300 with a .500 SLG %). Blanton flashed some upside in June (3.44 ERA with 40 K's in 34 innings), which included 2 double digit K games (Hou and Sea). Joe has some K ablity, but he can't keep a starting job if he can't get anyone out. Blanton is expected to start the year in the bullpen.
7. SP Wade LeBlanc
Miami gave LeBlanc a shot at the starting rotation out of spring training last season. He pitched well during his first 2 starts (4 runs in 11 innings with 10 K's), but was worthless over his next 5 starts which led to him being moved to the bullpen. He signed a minor league contract with LA in November. Wade has a short fastball (86.1), and throws a cutter as his #2 pitch (followed closely by a changeup and a low value curveball). Last year, he really struggled with lefties (.346 with a.603 SLG %). LeBlanc is a low upside pitcher that will compete for a backup starting job with the Angels.
8. CL Ernesto Frieri
Frieri wasn't an easy ride last year. He struggled with walks (17 in 23.7 innings) over the first 2 months of the season. This led to a bad stretch in May where he allowed 6 runs and 12 base runners in 5.3 innings. He survived his slump without blowing any saves, but his 2nd bad stretch in late July and early August (12 runs and 19 base runners in 4.7 innings) led to him losing the closer job for 2 weeks. When he returned to the 9th inning in late August, he only walked 3 batters over his last 16.7 innings with 22 K's. Ernesto finished 2013 with a plus, plus K rate (12.8), but his walk rate (3.9) is a huge problem especially if you add in 11 HR's (1.4 per 9 innings). RH batters hit .292 against him. Frieri was very good against lefties (.159), but he allowed 21 of his 30 walks to them. His HR problem was to both sides of the plate. Last year, he had an incredible 59.2% FB rate. His AFB (94.4) was the highest of his career, but he threw it 87% of the time. Ernesto throw a slider as his #2 pitch. Frieri is a one dimensional pitcher with a huge FB rate, poor command, and a HR problem. His lack of success against righties isn't good for his long term job security. Overall, he's a tough swing for me in 2014. I just see too many factors working against his success, even with an improved 1st pitch strike %. Frieri needs to find a 2nd pitch he can trust.
9. RP Dane De La Rosa
The Angels bullpen doesn't have one plus arm with plus command to push Frieri for the closer job. De La Rosa spent most of his minor league career pitching in the low levels of the minors and the independent league. Dane started to show some promise after he was signed by the Rays in 2010. Last year, he pitched very well in the majors (2.86 ERA). His command (3.5) isn't ideal and his K rate (8.1) may lack upside. De La Rosa has a solid fastball (94.6) and throws a curveball as his #2 pitch, followed by a changeup. He is a GB pitcher (51.3%). While his resume isn't elite and his command isn't strong enough to steal the job from Frieri, he may be better than the other major league options on the roster as of today.
10. RP R.J. Alvarez
Alvarez has an upside fastball that can reach triple digits. It leads to a huge K rate (13.9), but his walk rate (4.5) is a huge negative. He has a career 3.08 ERA during his 2 seasons in the low minors (117 K's in 76 innings). His #2 pitch is a slider that has upside. While he is expected to start the year at AA, he could move quickly if his command makes a huge step forward. Possible closer down the road, but he has a lot of work to do.