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Los Angeles Angels Fantasy Preview

Posted: Tuesday March 22, 2005 10:16AM; Updated: Tuesday March 22, 2005 10:16AM
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Projected Lineup (2004 stats)
Pos. Player Avg. HR RBI SB
1B Darin Erstad .295 7 69 16
DH Jeff DaVanon .277 7 34 18
RF Vladimir Guerrero .337 39 126 15
LF Garret Anderson .301 14 75 2
CF Steve Finley .271 36 94 9
3B Dallas McPherson .225 3 6 1
C Bengie Molina .276 10 54 0
SS Orlando Cabrera .264 10 62 16
2B Chone Figgins .296 5 60 34
Projected Rotation
Starters W-L WHIP ERA K
Bartolo Colon 18-12 1.37 5.01 158
Jarrod Washburn 11-8 1.33 4.64 86
Paul Byrd 8-7 1.24 3.94 79
John Lackey 14-13 1.39 4.67 144
Kelvim Escobar 11-12 1.29 3.93 191
Projected Closer
Player W-L WHIP ERA Saves
Francisco Rodriguez 4-1 1.00 1.82 12
$129.95 PER LEAGUE

Live draft, three scoring systems to choose from

Although the Angels can't decide what city they play in (How about the D.C. Orioles of Baltimore while we're at it?) they sure know where they belong in the standings. For the first time in years, the AL West looks like it has a clear-cut favorite even with the losses of longtime Angels Troy Glaus, Troy Percival and David Eckstein -- not to mention Tim Salmon, who likely will miss the entire season. The Angels have the talent to take the nation's attention off of the Red Sox and Yankees.

Worth Every Penny

Just a year removed from a debilitating back injury that had him in traction for weeks, Vladimir Guerrero showed no ill effects and was the AL's MVP in his first post-Expos season. There is no better five-tool player in the game, and the 29-year-old Guerrero will be a consistent 30-30 threat for at least three more seasons.

About To Blossom

Francisco Rodriguez appeared on the scene down the stretch during the Angels' 2002 championship season and was an instant sensation. He immediately was given the title of heir apparent to Percival as the Anaheim closer of the future. Percival now is a Tiger and the future is here. With a strong starting staff, a great offense and solid setup men in front of him, Rodriguez should be in line to challenge for the AL saves title.

Caveat Emptor

Don't get me wrong: second baseman Chone Figgins is one of my favorite players in the majors, and I'm not predicting any doom or a sudden collapse from his breakout season last year. But there's a good chance Adam Kennedy will get his starting job back when he returns from knee surgery, most likely before June. That will leave Figgins as a super utilityman. He's still a good pick, but shouldn't be priced as a surefire starter with the same skills set.

Do You Feel Lucky?

Paul Byrd made a very strong comeback from elbow-ligament replacement surgery last season for the Braves. He was recalled from his rehab assignment in June and won eight games down the stretch, showing good velocity on his fastball He even toyed with a sinker, something that will be a big weapon with the excellent Angels infield defense behind him. Byrd won 17 games for the Royals in 2002 before the injury, and with this team, he could easily reach that number in 34 starts.

Need Speed?

Jeff DaVanon has never had a regular job in the majors and was one of the most overlooked fantasy players last season. With Salmon out, Cuban defector Kendry Morales not ready and Juan Rivera not ready to take the fulltime DH job himself, the switch hitting DaVanon -- who stole 18 bases as a reserve last season -- could have a big year on the base paths. And don't overlook Orlando Cabrera, who stole 49 bases in 2002 and 2003 combined, but stopped running in Boston last season.

If Something Should Happen To Francisco Rodriguez

The loss of Percival means the Angels no longer have the security blanket in the pen that Rodriguez represented. But Brendan Donnelly has nasty stuff of his own and a scowl that is reminiscent of Percival's. He'd get the chance if K-Rod mysteriously fizzles.

Don't Forget About

Garret Anderson, Steve Finley, Cabrera, Bartolo Colon

Don't Bother With

Jarrod Washburn, Robb Quinlan, Kennedy, Jose Molina

David Sabino is the associate editor in charge of statistics at Sports Illustrated and the author of the book, Dominate Your Fantasy Baseball League (Muska & Lipman/Premier-Trade).