On Saturday afternoon the Brewers and Angels meet for the first of three spring games. To help you get ready, we asked some questions of Rev Halofan of Halos Heaven. His answers are below.
BCB: This is an Angels team that won 89 games a year ago and somehow finished third in the West. Are they in a better position to compete this year?
HH: Absolutely. They replaced Torii Hunter (36) with Josh Hamilton (32), gutted a terrible bullpen and added Jason Vargas and Tommy Hanson to the rotation at the cost of Kendrys Morales and Jordan Walden. And Peter Bourjos will patrol CF this year to give their flyball-loving pitching staff the best outfield defense in the game.
BCB: Mike Trout is 21, the runner-up for the AL MVP, the AL Rookie of the Year, a Silver Slugger and a 2012 All Star. Is it possible he could repeat or even improve on his .326/.399/.564 batting line from a year ago?
HH: I think we will see a little more power. Trout really tailspinned at the end of the season, was out of gas, so the endurance will build, that is what every major leaguer adapts to. His WAR will be lower this year because of a defensive shift to Left Field. He showed up to camp plus twenty pound but his slash line could be a little heavier this year than last. Every team in baseball sends at least one scout to Angels games to scout Trout. The pressure of adjustment will be on him, but ...to paraphrase what Martin Sheen says about Kilgore in Apocaplypse Now... Trout is one of those guys that has that weird light around him. You just know he is going to make the adjustment.
BCB: The Angels enter the 2013 season without Ervin Santana, Dan Haren and Zack Greinke, who combined to make 73 starts for this team a year ago. Is this rotation better with Tommy Hanson, Joe Blanton and Jason Vargas in their places?
HH: Dan Haren and Ervin Santana were, frankly, terrible outside of being lousy #4/5 arms so Joe Blanton and Tommy Hanson will have a long leash in Anaheim to hold up their end of the #4/5 starter bargain. While Vargas is no Greinke, he no Stinky either - a solid number three will do with this Angels offense.
BCB: As Jean Segura (and possibly Johnny Hellweg) slides into a role on the 2013 Brewers, is it safe to say the Angels organization probably regrets what they traded for half a season of Zack Greinke?
HH: The poker-faced organization will never admit it. Segura wasn't going to crack the Erick Aybar/Hoiwie Kendrick/Alberto Callaspo infield triumvirate. Hellweg would be in AAA this season for them. If either breaks out it will be a case of "what might have been", sure, but when you see a Peter Bourjos highlight reel catch once a week on SportsCenter in Milwaukee, don't cry in your beer too long over not having gotten our fourth outfielder for Greinke instead.
BCB: What's the biggest storyline in Angels camp that I haven't covered here?
HH: You have expressed no envy over Angel Stadium maintaining MLB's highest ratio of hot chicks in the stands.
Thanks to Rev for taking the time, and check out Halos Heaven for more on the Angels.