Analyzing The Los Angeles Angels’ Opening Day Lineup

Analyzing the Los Angeles Angels’ Opening Day Lineup

mike scioscia
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

On paper, the Angels have one of the most fearsome lineups in the league. The trick will be whether players who struggled last year can return to form, and most importantly, whether or not they can stay healthy. Though much of the team's success this year will rely on the rotation, the Angels' offense really needs to have a breakthrough year if they want to get to the postseason.

1. Erick Aybar

erick aybar
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

1. Erick Aybar

Erick Aybar
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The veteran shortstop is likely going to be splitting time in the leadoff spot with Kole Calhoun. Knowing that much of their offensive success will rely upon them getting on base, both will be relied upon to set the table for the rest of the order. Provided he can stay healthy, Aybar should get most of the leadoff ABs.

2. Mike Trout

mike trout
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

2. Mike Trout

Mike Trout
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Angels' “everything” man is going to be counted on to do a lot for the team again this season. His combination of speed and power makes him valuable and dangerous from any spot in the lineup. Trout has tore it up this spring with a BA over .400, 14 RBIs and four HRs in just 15 games. Look for him to be a force again this season.

3. Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

3. Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After two terribly disappointing, injury-plagued years in Anaheim, Pujols says he's finally healthy, feeling good, and is ready to “shut his critics up.” The Angels organization and their fans certainly hope that despite a relatively pedestrian spring, Pujols can return to form and once again be the fearsome, productive hitter who led the Angels to lavish an enormous contract upon him in the first place.

4. Josh Hamilton

Josh Hamilton
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

4. Josh Hamilton

Josh Hamilton
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Hamilton is another player looking to have a bounce-back year. After tearing up the league with the Texas Rangers, the Angels dropped a hefty contract on Hamilton to lure him to Anaheim. He responded with a 2013 campaign that saw him struggle to hit .250. The Angels offense need both Hamilton and Pujols to return to form if they hope to have any success.

5. Howie Kendrick

Howie Kendrick
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

5. Howie Kendrick

Howie Kendrick
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Angels are looking to second baseman Howie Kendrick to simply do what he does best -- get on base and score runs. His career .292 BA and .329 OBP make him a valuable piece of the Angels' offensive puzzle. While he's not a power hitter, he's certainly one of the Angels steadiest, most consistent hitters, and they're going to need him to hit near or over those career numbers this season.

6. Raul Ibanez

Raul Ibanez
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

6. Raul Ibanez

Raul Ibanez
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Signed to a modest deal this offseason, the Angels are hoping Raul Ibanez will be a productive DH for the team and add to what looks to be -- on paper at least -- a highly formidable offensive lineup. He's not off to a great start this spring, hitting just .194 in 13 games, but the team is hopeful he can bounce back and be the hitter who slugged 29 HRs just last season.

7. David Freese

David Freese
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

7. David Freese

David Freese
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

David Freese will, without a doubt, provide some steady leadership and solid defense at third base, something the Angels have lacked at the hot corner for quite a while and something they've desperately needed. Freese won't hit a lot of home runs for the team, but he will be consistent at the plate and drive in some runs.

8. Kole Calhoun

Kole Calhoun
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

8. Kole Calhoun

Kole Calhoun
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Kole Calhoun is probably one of the more intriguing players on the Angels roster this season. With the outfield logjam finally cleared, Calhoun will get a shot to be the everyday right fielder. He's fast enough that he'll get some leadoff ABs, but still has some pop in his bat and can drive in runs. He had a good spring, and looks to be a great add to the lineup. It will be interesting to see if Calhoun can flourish now that he has his shot.

9. Chris Ianetta

Chris Ianetta
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

9. Chris Ianetta

Chris Ianetta
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Having hit .346 with two HRs and 10 RBIs in 13 games, Chris Ianetta has had a pretty decent spring. He's going to be relied upon more for his defense and his handling of the Angels pitching staff, which is the real key to the team's fortunes this season. However, Ianetta also adds productivity to the bottom of the order as well. He's definitely not an easy out, and pitchers will need to respect him.

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