Apr 22, 2012; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick (47) is greeted by third base coach Dino Ebel (12) after hitting a solo home run in the eighth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Angel Stadium. The Orioles defeated the Angels 3-2 in 10 innings. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport/US PRESSWIRE
Fantasy baseball advice for free - this week, a look at the LA Angels of Anaheim
It's a mad world, or more accurately, it's Arte Moreno's mad world. Armed with a Scrooge McDuck-type swimming pool of Rupert Murdoch's money, Jerry Dipoto went out and bought every shiny thing he could get his hands on this offseason, loading his team up with immediate fantasy opportunities. I'm also hoping he bought a spot on Google / James Cameron's mining ship, because he'll need a place to hide when he's paying a 41 year old Albert Pujols $30 million.
So hate the Angels now, laugh at them (much) later. But by all means, when it comes to their fantasy players, buy, buy, and buy.
Albert Pujols - It's hard to say this, but I hope you avoided Pujols in your draft, at least in the first round. Albert's numbers have declined now four years in a row (although when your starting point is G.O.A.T., you can afford some decline). Moving to a new league, with better pitching, takes some shine of The Machine. Given his slow start, wait until he gets on a streak, and I wouldn't hesitate to trade him away, especially if the other guy pays for the same old Albert. Over the course of the season, I think Pujols will likely play his way out of the first round status he was drafted for.
Howie Kendrick - Having eligibility at multiple positions makes him a very appealing player. Expect numbers similar to last year. Peripherally, Kendrick was nearly identical in 2009 as he was in 2011, so it wasn't really a breakout. Last year, an injury derailed him, knocking him out for around 20 games and hampering him for a while even when he did play. But when healthy, he's a great start at second base, capable of approaching 20 homers and 15 steals, while putting up a good average. In the Angels lineup, expect him to get good runs and RBI opportunities as well. He's maybe the safest bet for five category contributions outside of the Top 3 second basemen, which will all go 5-7 rounds before Kendrick.
Kendrys Morales - Target him now in a trade. Once the rust is off, I expect him to return to his beastly ways. I never want to downplay an injury that costs someone nearly two years, but an ankle injury isn't necessarily a killer for a power hitter, at least not like a wrist injury can be. Based on where he went, and how slow the power is coming (one HR on the season), you may be able to pry him away for a reasonable price. Do it, do it now.
Mark Trumbo - Trumbo is primed to take advantage of all the Angels RBI opportunities, and now comes with 1B/OF eligibility. Trumbo may be a great guy for the 3/4th OF or utility spot. Hope for an uptick in contact skills so his average doesn't drag you down
Bobby Abreu - Bobby's probably over the hill, but a good player to grab when he's on a hot streak and you need an OF for a week or so. He's capable of going on a tear, but will probably need to get traded to a new team to see enough regular playing time.
Erick Aybar - Aybar is a great source of steals and potential runs in this lineup. If his owner is souring on him, or perhaps has already cut him loose because of his slow start, see if you can't get him on the cheap. Find a spot on your roster for him as a backup shortstop, especially if you have somebody like J.J. Hardy in there now, a non-elite power source who won't run much.
Peter Bourjos - He's Aybar without the playing time. And an outfielder.
Maicer Izturis - Izturis is potentially a great bench guy to have on your roster, as a potential source of runs, average and steals, and comes with valuable three-position eligibility. He'll need to see more playing time for real consideration, but should Kendrick or Aybar get hurt, scoop this guy up immediately.
Torii Hunter - Hunter's skills may be fading, but he's remarkably consistent. Home Run totals the last four years of 21, 22, 23 and 23, and RBIs of 78, 90, 90, and 82. His age certainly raises the possibility that his numbers will decline, but projecting a 20/70 season out of him is not crazy. He went on average in the 18th round, and should come cheaply since he has not hit one out yet. If you need a 4/5th OF, you could do worse then target Hunter.
Vernon Wells - No.