Los Angeles Angels: 5 to Watch in 2014
5 Angels to Watch in 2014
2013 has not been the year Los Angeles Angels thought it would be. The injuries, the disappointments, the errors -- it's all added up to a sub-.500 performance in a season that was supposed to be a World Series opportunity for the Halos. Other than watching Mike Trout continue to awe spectators night after night, Los Angeles hasn't offered much in the way of entertainment.
The last 30 or so games of the season will provide a low-pressure environment in which to properly evaluate the talent at the bottom of the Halos roster. With the plethora of injuries to everyday players and no shot at the playoffs, what does Mike Scioscia have to lose by letting the young guys show what they can do? Well, I guess he can lose his job ...
Speaking of which, perhaps the biggest question remaining for the Angels is who will be calling the shots in the clubhouse by the time 2014 rolls around. As he wraps up his 14th season, Scioscia is the longest tenured manager in baseball. He has taken a significant -- some would say unfair -- share of the blame for Los Angeles' struggles, and though he seems secure in his position, it wouldn't be a shocker if Arte Moreno gave him the pink slip at year's end.
With 2013 winding down, let's focus on those Halos who are vying for a bigger role and have much to prove. Here are five Angels players to watch in 2014.
5. Grant Green
Acquired for Alberto Callaspo at the trade deadline, Green has assumed second base duties ever since Howie Kendrick injured his knee on August 5. Green hasn't fared badly either, posting a .350 average through 18 games with the Halos. If he can keep up the good work, the Angels might be more willing to trade Kendrick for a quality pitcher.
4. Chris Nelson
Claimed off of waivers in May by Los Angeles, Nelson took over full time at third base once Callaspo was traded away. Though he is only hitting .229 for the Angels this season, Nelson can replace most of Callaspo's production at a far cheaper price, and hopefully with fewer costly errors at third.
3. Dane De La Rosa
Given how wildly inconsistent closer Ernesto Frieri has been this year, De La Rosa may well compete for the closer role going into next year. Let's just hope his affinity for birds doesn't distract him from the task at hand.
2. Garrett Richards
Garrett Richards has made a strong case for why he should maintain a permanent slot in the Halos rotation. Ever since taking the struggling Joe Blanton's spot in late July, Richards has started six games and posted a very solid 2.75 ERA. He may well be the Angels' third pitcher behind Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson next year if he continues to have stellar outings.
1. Mike Trout
You should really watch this guy. I hear he has potential.
In all seriousness, is there a more exciting player to watch in the entire league? I think not. So keep an eye on this guy.