Cokin’s Corner, Monday 3/27/17
I’ve got two MLB divisions still remaining to be previewed, the AL and NL West, respectively. I’ve decided to focus exclusively on one team today, and that will be the Los Angeles Angels. This is one of my Over/Under Win prop plays this season, and with the light schedule today, I’ll make the Halos prop my daily free play.
Before getting to the Angels, a quick Sunday recap. I managed only a split on two tournament plays. Florida was a loser, UMBC was a winner. There was also a baseball play on the Astros that won, so the day was at least profitable. The March Madness offer expires on the first day of April. The deal covers a full 30 days of all my personal plays across the board, and also includes my daily Pros vs. Joes reports. Cost is $350, and the easiest way to get rolling is to utilize the dropdown menu on this page. Any questions, just email me directly at email@example.com.
The Sunday comp was a winner as the Brooklyn Nets got a relatively easy win against an injured and apparently disinterested Atlanta Hawks entry. Today’s free play is on a 2017 MLB Win prop.
LOS ANGELES ANGELS OVER 79.5 WINS
One of my 2016 O/U plays was Under on the Angels. That one was basically never in doubt, as the Halos had a rough time throughout and finished with a mediocre 74-88 ledger. I’m expecting considerable improvement in 2017.
First off, it’s hard to fathom the team having as much bad luck as they did in 2016. This was a Murphy’s Law campaign on several levels. Aside from another sensational performance by Mike Trout, there was very little to cheer about in Angels country.
Here are some reasons for Halos faithful to be optimistic in 2017. I’ll start with the added quality depth, which over the course of the arduous MLB season, is a factor that should never be overlooked. I like the additions of Luis Valbuena in the infield and Ben Revere in the outfield. Being able to plug in guys of that caliber is a nice luxury.
The everyday outfield has been upgraded with Cameron Maybin joining Trout and Kole Calhoun. Health is always an issue with Maybin, but I can see him flourishing in left field. Calhoun is solid in right, and Trout is Trout. Not much more needs to be said about the best player in the game.
The infield looks okay to me. CJ Cron and Valbuena will perhaps evolve into a first base platoon, but Valbuena down for a bit with a hamstring, Cron will be the everyday guy. Danny Espinosa will be at second base, and while his bat is always going to be a question, his glove isn’t. Andrelton Simmons might well be the best shortstop I’ve ever seen. Simmons will never be a great hitter but he’s a huge asset with his incredible defense. Yunel Escobar has never really lived to what many thought he might be, and he’s not exactly Brook Robinson at the hot corner, but he should be okay with Jefry Marte in reserve.
My biggest worry on this team is being the plate. The Angels are going too have to make do with a pair of backup catchers. The hope is that the Maldonado-Perez combo does a good job handling the pitching staff, which would alleviate the legit concerns about each player’s lack of offense.
Albert Pujols is probably never going to hit .300 again. But don’t bet against the veteran being very productive as the DH.
As for the pitching, I think this could turn out to be somewhat of a plus for the Halos. There are no Cy Young contenders on this staff. But Matt Shoemaker, Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs, Ricky Nolasco and Jesse Chavez are not the worst quintet of all time, either. Shoemaker is likely the most reliable of the bunch, Richards has the most upside if healthy. Skaggs is a lefty I’m still somewhat high on, though his durability is absolutely a question. Nolasco and Chavez as a #4-5 combo is acceptable.
I am bullish on the bullpen to some extent. Cam Bedrosian is looking like he’s arriving as a late running stud. I don’t think there should be any debate whatsoever as to who closes for this team. Huston Street is far better served as a setup man if and when he is healthy enough to pitch again. Yusmeiro Petit is a plus in the bullpen. He might have to start on occasion, but he’s much better as a reliever. The rest of the relievers are not stars but manager Mike Scioscia is still very adept at maneuvering his bullpen.
I don’t see the Angels as contenders to make the playoffs, but I like their chances of climbing back on the right side of the .500 plateau. Clearly, they have to avoid a rerun of the injury luck that reared its head last year. I’m projecting the Angels to win roughly 82 games, and that’s enough of a differential from the posted number to go with the Over.