ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 19: C.J. Wilson #33 of the Los Angeles Angels pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the second inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on April 19, 2012 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
A look at the Angels' pitching staff, from a fantasy baseball manager's perspective.
Angels pitchers, before considering ability, already have a lot of things going for them. They pitch in a home park that favors pitchers. In fact, it was only slightly less pitcher friendly then Safeco. Second, they pitch for a legitimately scary offense, which should put enough runs up over the course of the year to register wins for their starters. Add in the fact that these guys are seriously talented and will rack up K's, and Angels pitchers as a staff are a good bet to provide tremendous fantasy value this year.
Possibly both over and undervalued. Was crazy good last year, even if he was overshadowed by Justin Verlander's MVP year. Stuff is unhittable, he's a physical specimen and unlikely to break down as anyone. However I had him pegged for some regression this year, as he appeared to get just a little lucky last year on batted balls. Weaver posted a .250 BABIP, a healthy bit below his career norm. He also struck out fewer batters then in 2010. So this year I expected more whiffs and more hits.
Instead of regressing, Weaver has come out on fire. A no-no certainly padded his stats. His walk and homer rates are too low however, and scream regression. If you have him, I'd at least consider dealing him, just to see what you can get. His value is probably at its yearly peak. I couldn't find fault with just holding on to him either though. He's in a small group of pitchers with a very realistic chance to finish as a top five hurler, which is an excellent asset to have.
Wilson comes out of Texas, where despite having roughly the dimensions of a East Texas double-wide, he posted very good numbers. His new home ballpark will do a better job of suppressing the longball, and he is still blessed with the same light-hitting teams in the division. I think Wilson makes a great third starter, with the definite possibility of a number 2-like return on investment. He is another pitcher who has probably opened the season a little better then expected. His .227 BABIP is insane. That basically turns everyone he faces into Chone Figgins. It will come up, possible as much as 60 points. Another fine sell high candidate, but whose durability (67 starts in two years) make him a great one to hold as well.
The name of Haren's game is durability. He routinely posts very good numbers, while topping 216 innings every year since 2005. In his first year in Anaheim, he was a revelation, finishing in Yahoo standard leagues as the 27th best player overall. Don't expect that again. He was remarkably lucky at keeping the ball in the ballpark last year, a trend that suppressed his ERA. Already this year, he's given up 5 dingers in 6 starts, and flyballs are landing over the wall 10.4% of the time. That number comes close his career average, and about where we can expect him to finish the year. Really, most of Haren's numbers at this point are in line with his career totals. If this continues, he will be good but dependent on the Angel's offense to get him wins. If they come through with 4 or so runs a game for him, he becomes a very nice 3-4thtype starter on your fantasy roster. But don't pay for last year's numbers.
Something is broken with this guy. He's getting hit shockingly hard, giving up 11 HRs in 38.2 innings. He's worth watching in case he figures it out, but certainly not worth owning at this time.
Recently demoted, keep in mind Walden blew quite a few saves last year. In 2012, he appears to have lost the strike zone, resulting in too many walks and too many hittable pitches left over the plate. I think the Angels really want him to close though, as he's a cheap, long term part of that bullpen. If he got cut loose in your league, he's worth picking up, and if owned, try and figure out the price tag. The Angels typically generate a ton of save opportunities. They very well may acquire a closer before the deadline, but if Walden figures it out first, you'll want him. Get him before the price goes up.