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Anaheim Angels
Team Page | Roster | Spring Training Schedule | Regular Season Schedule
On this page: Arrivals | Departures | Spring Cleaning | Team Breakdown | Prospects | Predictions


   Darin Erstad led the Angels in average (.355), runs (121) and stolen bases (28) last year. AP

By Jeff Fischel, CNNSI.com

Mussina? Hampton? Never.

Dreifort? Neagle? Appier? Ashby? Nope.

After going 82-80 last season, it appeared the only thing the Angels were missing to make a run at a division title was a staff ace.

The Disney Co. cemented the perception that the Angels are a Mickey Mouse franchise by making no attempt at a big-name starter. And then things got worse when Anaheim lost Mo Vaughn for the season with a ruptured biceps tendon.

They may be Angels, but this is baseball Hell.

There didn't seem to be anything wrong with the offense. The cherubs were coming off a season in which they hit a franchise record 236 home runs. Without Vaughn, Scott Spiezio and Orlando Palmeiro will most likely get more at-bats. And the Angels brought back Wally Joyner in the hopes he can rekindle some Wally World magic.

Darin Erstad had one of the greatest seasons ever in 2000 by a leadoff man. He hit .355 with 25 homers, 100 RBIs, 121 runs and a league-leading 240 hits. Besides the raw numbers, his high-intensity leadership has no peer.

Adam Kennedy proved in his rookie season he can hit, run and play defense at the major league level. But he walked only 28 times, and a .300 on-base percentage is not good enough to bat second. If he can't take pitches and get on base, it's very likely Kennedy will spend much of the season at the bottom of the batting order.

 
Top Guns
Angels 2000 team leaders
Avg.  Darin Erstad  .355 
HR  Troy Glaus  47 
RBIs  G. Anderson/M. Vaughn  117 
SB  Darin Erstad  28 
Wins  Shigetoshi Hasegawa  10 
ERA  Scott Schoeneweis  5.45 
Ks  Scott Schoeneweis  78 
Saves  Troy Percival  22 
 
Go Figure

100

RBI total for Darin Erstad, the first leadoff hitter in major league history to reach the century mark.
 
 

Even without Vaughn, the middle part of the Angels' lineup will still be productive. Tim Salmon, Troy Glaus and Garret Anderson should combine to hit 95 homers and drive in 300 runs. And Jose Canseco joins his sixth team to be the everyday DH.

Salmon is coming off minor foot and shoulder surgeries, but he's in the final year of a contract. He's a lifetime .291 hitter, and holds the franchise record with 230 home runs.

Glaus led the American League with 47 home runs, which would be all the more impressive if he were still a shortstop -- the position he played at UCLA. Where would Glaus rank when compared to A-Rod, Garciaparra and Jeter?

Anderson's numbers (.286, 35 HR, 117 RBI) hid the fact that he lacked concentration far too often. With the bases empty, he hit just .259 and his OBP was below .300. Overall, Anderson walked just 24 times, and his .307 OBP was the lowest of his career.

As for Canseco. Who knows what's left?

A pleasant surprise for the Angels last season was rookie catcher Ben Molina (.281, 14 HR, 71 RBI). Manager Mike Scioscia, a former major league catcher, also has great faith in Molina's defense and his ability to work with pitchers.

Gary Disarcina has played in just 93 games the past two seasons. No, he cannot put up All-Star numbers. But this team is dramatically better with him in the lineup. Recovering from rotator cuff surgery, he could be back in the lineup by June 1.

Ever since Disney took over, the Angels have never existed to win. They merely exist to be another entertainment option for people to spend money when they visit nearby Disneyland.

As proof, this offseason, GM Bill Stoneman bolstered a talented but inexperienced pitching staff by signing Pat Rapp and Ismael Valdes. Rapp eats innings, but otherwise has no redeeming value. Valdes should be a $10 million-a-year commodity with his lifetime 3.59 ERA. But he earned a bad rap with the Dodgers for lacking dedication and toughness.

The Angels had six young arms -- all 26 or less -- work their way in and out of the starting rotation in 2000. But this winter, Anaheim gave up on former first-rounder Seth Etherton. The 23-year old, who went 5-1 last season in 11 starts, was traded to the Reds for shortstop prospect Wilmy Caceres.

That leaves Scott Schoeneweis, Jarrod Washburn, Ramon Ortiz, Brian Cooper and Matt Wise. Which one or two will get 30 starts? It's a five-horse race.

Arrivals
Pos.  Player  From  Via 
OF  Kimera Bartee  Reds  Free Agency 
SS  Wilmy Caceres  Reds  Trade 
DH  Jose Canseco  Yankees  Free Agency 
Jorge Fabregas  Royals  Free Agency 
1B  Wally Joyner  Padres  Free Agency 
RHP  Pat Rapp  Orioles  Free Agency 
RHP  Ismael Valdes  Dodgers  Free Agency 

Departures
Pos.  Player  To  Via 
RHP  Jason Dickson  Blue Jays  Free Agency 
RHP  Seth Etherton  Reds  Trade 
OF  Ron Gant  Rockies  Free Agency 
LHP  Scott Karl  Padres  Free Agency 
LHP  Kent Mercker  Red Sox  Free Agency 
RHP  Mark Petkovsek  Rangers  Free Agency 
SS  Kevin Stocker  Mets  Free Agency 
Matt Walbeck  Reds  Free Agency 

Spring Cleaning
 
Wally World
  • Bringing back Joyner is a feel-good moment for any Angels fan. He was one of the most popular players in franchise history when he left amid a contract dispute following the 1991 season. As a rookie in 1986, Joyner led the Angels to their last division title. He can't be Mo, and he won't be Mo. But Joyner can hit .280-.300, and play above-average defense. Joyner has said if he doesn't win the starting job, he'll retire.

  • At 24, Glaus is now the premier third baseman in the American League. The Mike Schmidt comparisons have just begun. And like Hollywood rumors, they're all true.

  • Salmon is in the final year of a four-year, $22.5 million contract. He told Scioscia and Stoneman they must assure him the Angels will be a perennial contender. When they made that promise, he agreed to open up contract talks. One question: Why did he believe them?

  • Team Breakdown
    Projected Lineup  Projected Rotation 
    LF  Darin Erstad  LHP  Jarrod Washburn 
    1B  Wally Joyner  RHP  Ismael Valdes 
    3B  Troy Glaus  RHP  Ramon Ortiz 
    RF  Tim Salmon  LHP  Scott Schoeneweis 
    LF  Garret Anderson  RHPs  Pat Rapp/Matt Wise 
    DH  Jose Canseco  Bullpen  
    2B  Adam Kennedy  RHP  Troy Percival (closer) 
    Bengie Molina  RHP  Shigetoshi Hasegawa 
    SS  Benji Gil  LHP  Mike Holtz 
    Key Reserves   RHP  Al Levine 
    OF  Orlando Palmeiro  RHP  Mike Fyhrie 
    INF  Scott Spiezio  RHP  Lou Pote 
    Jorge Fabregas  RHP  Ben Weber 

    Prospects to Watch
    1B Larry Barnes -- The left-handed hitter becomes a prospect by necessity with Vaughn gone. Barnes plays very good defense, but hit only .257 with seven home runs in 397 at-bats at Class AAA Edmonton last year. Barnes will get a chance this spring to earn time at first.

    RHP Matt Wise -- The right-hander came up in the second-half, making six starts. His first four were all quality starts. His fastball isn't necessarily enough by itself, but he is not afraid to throw off-speed pitches in any situation.

    RHP Derrick Turnbow -- You might disqualify him as a prospect after spending all of 2000 with the Angels. But that is only because he was a Rule V pick from the Phillies. Turnbow pitched in just 24 games, all in mop-up roles. He has a low 90s fastball with a curve and a change. He'll return to the minors this season, but he could be a Halos setup man in 2002.

    OF Nathan Haynes -- The best center fielder in the organization, Haynes stole 37 bases at Class AA Erie last year. But he's a slap hitter that struck out 103 times. was traded to the Angels in the 1999 deal that sent Omar Olivares and Randy Velarde to the A's.

    RHP John Lackey -- Lackey's biggest problem was wildness, but after being promoted to Class AA late in 2000, the 6-foot-6 power pitcher walked just nine batters in 57 innings. The off-speed pitches are coming along, but he'll most likely start 2001 at Class AA.

    Best-Case Scenario
    Erstad, Glaus and Anderson match last year's numbers. Canseco and Joyner, 1-2 in the 1986 rookie of the year balloting, reach back into the past and match their numbers of that season.

    Schoeneweis, Ortiz, Washburn and Wise are so good (and healthy) that they knock Rapp and Tim Belcher out of the rotation. On the final day of the season, Troy Percival throws a 100 mph fastball for strike three to get the Halos into the playoffs. Sure, Percival's arm falls off ... but wouldn't it be worth it?

    Worst-Case Scenario
    Rapp ends up being the most reliable starter ... can it get worse? Ortiz and Washburn experience arm trouble again. Reliever Shigetoshi Hasegawa again leads the team in wins, but this year he can't even register 10.

    Erstad's numbers look more like 1999 -- when he hit only .253 with 13 homers, 53 RBIs, 84 runs and 148 hits -- than 2000. In mid-June, with the worst record in baseball, Salmon calls off contract talks and requests a trade. Disney changes the team's name to the Mighty Winged Creatures With Halos of Anaheim. Oh yeah, and the Twins sweep the season series.

    Bottom Line
    No mo' Mo = No mo' mo-mentum. Without Vaughn, the Angels just can't score enough runs to keep up. The starting pitching is still a year away. Seventy-five to 80 wins would solidify Scioscia as one of the great young managers in the game.



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