Friday, February 14, 2014




By Greg Bearringer, AngelsWin.com Columnist -

I freaking love making preseason predictions-- which is good, because I am terrible at them. In the past few years, I have had the Angels in the playoffs, Michigan winning the Big 10, and four of the worst fantasy sports teams EVER assembled despite getting Chris Davis in every league I drafted last year. But man, something about the month or so before a season starts that gives me the itch to be wrong about things over which I have no control.

Anyway, here are the ten predictions sure to be incredibly wrong (even though one of them will be eerily dead on because, you know, randomness).

1) Pujols and Hamilton Combine for over 65 HR's.

This one isn't all that bold, but it's close enough for it to go terribly wrong. I just think we see Hamilton with a better approach this year, with a better game plan and the higher level of confidence that comes with it.  Pujols, now healthy, will revert to something much closer to his hall-of-fame self.

2) The Angels will lose a Starting Pitcher for an extended period of time.

Which will lead to...
 
3) The Angels will trade a 2B and/or CJ Cron for a Starter.

Of course the Angels will lose a starter at some point, for some period. If none of the "Plan B" or even "Plan C" options seem viable, the Angels will scramble to fill that extra spot in the rotation. Depending on how the offense shapes up, the main piece heading out could be Howie Kendrick or Taylor Lindsey. Or CJ Cron, the slugger with the questionable plate discipline, could be the odd man out. But the Angels will make a move for a starter at some point. Mark my words.

Wait, CJ Cron? The presumed future at DH for the Angels?  Well, that leads us to …

4) Grant Green gets most of the at-bat's at DH for the Angels

The Angels aren't hurting for power, or at least shouldn't be. What the Angels need is someone young and spry and someone who might be able to play a passable 1B, and someone who can do it with a decent OBP. Grant Green, the bat without a home, seems like a perfect fit to me, especially since I am not so sure we can depend on a 41 year old who was good for exactly half of last season. Of course, I'd be happy if Raul Ibanez's deal with the devil holds out, but at some point Beelzebub is going to want Ibanez's baseball soul and he'll flounder.

5) Kole Calhoun will remain underrated.

I can read it now: "Calhoun might not stand out on a team with Trout, Hamilton, Pujols, Weaver and the other big names in the club house," they'll say. "But he's fine with that," they'll write. "He's the lead-off man the Angels have been looking for," they'll tell us, embarrassed that they didn't see just how good he'd be last year. OK, so some people do see it, but still: the dude has gone from zero to Major league player faster than anyone I can remember. Which, of course, has nothing to do with him. He's always been this good. People just failed to see it.

6) The Angels will be in second place after 30 games.

Even if this the Angels miss the playoffs this season, I really hope this happens. If nothing else, when sports writers go to their NARRATIVE GENERATOR™ I'd like to have something else come out of it than "Joe Smith couldn't handle the pressure of getting a big contract" or some such nonsense. It would be nice if they would figure out that "random clusters are random" or even "the definition of luck," but I'm fighting a futile battle there.

7) The A's are mediocre this year!

I don't know what it is about these A's, but the past two seasons have seemed awfully lucky to me. I can't quite put my finger on it, though All-Star performances by Josh Reddick and Josh Donaldson have something to do with it. Maybe it's their freakishly productive young pitchers. Whatever it is, I am calling my shot now: The A's finish in third place. The cult of Billy Beane, however, is not diminished. IT WILL NEVER DIMINISH.

8) The Pittsburgh Pirates win the NL Pennant!

In my "non-Angels related" portion of this list, I offer the Pirates of Pittsburgh, home to a great ball park, an MVP candidate in Andrew McCutchen, the league's premier "Ewing theory" chance with AJ Burnett in Philly, and a boat load of prospects to trade should they want to add a decent shortstop or a front line starter. The crazy thing is that I don't think they do either of those things (though I still think they'd be a GREAT place for Stephen Drew to end up). I think they roll with their youth, get hot in the playoffs, and win the NL Central.

9) Angels fans start calling the "Trumbo trade" the "Santiago" trade

Hector Santiago is going to be fantastic this year. Why? The power of reduced expectations, that's why! Let's call it "The Blanton Effect." For the Angels, "fantastic" isn't "Cy Young Caliber," it's "Solid mid-rotation arm". Hector Santiago can do that. Of course, this won't stop Angels fans from missing the ol' Trumbomber, but making the playoffs might help ease that heartache.
 
10) The Angels get a Wild Card Shot-- and Win.

I am predicting this because, well, the alternatives offer too much potential pain. Missing the playoffs would suck so hard because that means "REBUILD" and who wants that? Penciling in the Angels in for the AL West crown means even more disappointment if they miss all together. Making the Wild Card means little if it turns out to be nothing more than a 163rd game. So yeah, I'm predicting the Angels make it to the ALDS. After that, well, anything will be gravy.
Love to hear what you think!

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