In fairness to the Angels, they are playing in a division with arguably the best team in baseball: The Texas Rangers.
However, this is a team with C.J. Wilson, Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Howard Kendrick, Erick Aybar, Mark Trumbo, Kendrys Morales, and oh yeah, that Albert Pujols guy. Plus Torii Hunter, Vernon Wells, Chris Iannetta who have been hurt, Peter Bourjos who has been ineffective, and Mike Trout, the youngest player in the American League who has been terrific.
So, why are the Angels in last place in the A.L. West, seven games behind the Rangers, but also behind the rebuilding Mariners and the interesting but erratic Athletics?
It is not like the Los Angeles American League franchise has been problematic over the years, in fact especially since skipper Mike Scioscia has a .546 W/L percentage (1086-903), with five division crowns, and a World Series title in 2002, when they were a Wild Card participant.
But, after a six-year run, when Sciocia's team won those five titles with a second place finish between 2004-09, the Angels have not really been threatening since, landing third in 2010, second last year, while holding down fourth place this year.
Surely, to kick things up a notch and keep pace with, if not exceed Ron Washington and his Rangers, the Angels signed two of the most intriguing free agents this past off-season with Pujols and Rangers defector Wilson, but the Rangers replaced Wilson with Yu Darvish, and have enough spare parts who would be starters elsewhere that well, they are dominating once again.
In fact, I expect the Rangers will win the AL West, and I even think the third time will be the charm for Ron Washington and he will get his World Series title.
But, if I had to pick a dark horse, it would be the Angels, who really have all the pieces, and like our roto teams that take half the season to get healthy and coalesce, but then gain some steam and put themselves in the position of being hot at the right time. Like maybe the Cardinals of last year, or the Giants of the year before, since neither was the best team on paper, yet both beat the Rangers, the squad that arguably was the best.
So, I think betting on Pujols, Trout, Kendrick, Weaver, et al is really a pretty good bet over the course of the season. And one most people will dismiss at this juncture. Because over the course of the season, all those Angels players have pretty good career averages.