East Coast bias in the sports world will tell you that the Toronto Blue Jays have made all the right moves this winter, are now the favorites to capture the American League East, and could be World Series favorites by the time Opening Day rolls around.
But a quick look at the Los Angeles Angels‘ roster may indicate otherwise.
The Angels have spent big money the past couple of offseasons to beef up their offense and now may have the most potent middle-of-the-order in all of baseball. And while that’s the element of this team that will get the most attention, they are a strong club, top to bottom.
On offense, we already know how strong the Angels are going to be. The meat of their order will consist of Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Josh Hamilton. That’s absurd. And outside of the 3-4-5, you still have the likes of Mark Trumbo in the fold, and even Howie Kendrick.
Defensively, the Halos are almost as strong as they are with the bats. The outfield defense is as good as it gets, with Trout and Peter Bourjos two of the better defensive outfielders out there. Hamilton is no slouch with the glove, either.
While the lineup is going to get most of the attention, the pitching staff will be a quiet strength of this team. We already know how terrific Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson are at the top of the rotation, but the Halos have filled in the remainder of the starting staff with solid pitching, including Joe Blanton, Jason Vargas, and Tommy Hanson.
As poor as the bullpen was last year, it improved as the season went on and could be among the better relief corps in the league this upcoming season. Ryan Madson and Ernesto Frieri could be dynamite at the back end of the bullpen, in addition to the likes of Kevin Jepsen, Scott Downs, and Sean Burnett in there, among others.
There are questions for this Angels team, but you’d need to look deeper in order to find them. Their depth in the lineup, particularly on the infield, could end up being something of a concern if someone goes down with an injury. It also remains to be seen how Hanson will perform in his transition to the American League. But those concerns are minor, at best.
Top to bottom, as it stands right now, the Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim) are the best team in baseball. The Jays will get most of the pub, since most of America is still awake when they take the field, but this Angels team is going to be tough to bet against in 2013.