KFFL answers important fantasy baseball questions for each Major League Baseball team as spring training approaches. What must fantasy baseball players know about the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim?
What's the outlook for Kendrys Morales?
The Halos took the Albert Pujols splash. Does that mean they're concerned about Morales' recovery from two surgeries within a year of each other to repair a fractured left ankle suffered in June 2010? Hopefully, they have plenty more reasons to commit 10 years and more than $250 mil to one player.
Trout worth the bait?
Still, the attitude of Mike Scioscia and Co. is "wait and see." The skipper told the media that Morales' second procedure inspired a lot more confidence from doctors about the switch-hitting slugger's outlook. This winter, he's jogged and taken batting practice. But it seems that no one is willing to commit to optimism until the ankle is forced to bear the torque and tension that occurs from swinging and running in game action.
Even if the Cuban destroyer makes a full recovery, he may face PT issues. Will the Angels trade Mark Trumbo? Perhaps not until they're comfortable with where Morales is, at least. With the club's depth, will they consider sitting him versus some right-handers (against whom he's a career .255/.285./405 hitter)? Morales, 28, hasn't played baseball in more than a year and a half; he'll need to regain his timing, and it may take him awhile to recover the strength around his ankle that allows him to push off and drive the ball.
The Angels were willing to tender him a contract, which indicates that they're cautiously hopeful. They won't ask him to don a mitt often, if at all, which should decrease stress. The uncertainty will keep the price down - perhaps considerably, which, given the potential reward, would make the Cuban an attractive flier investment.
When will Mike Trout be a fantasy factor?
First, pay little attention to Trout's disappointing marks (.220/.281/.390) in his first MLB exposure. He appeared to be overmatched initially, but he displayed his capacity for making adjustments, albeit relatively briefly. Cut the 20-year-old a break, will ya? He hasn't played a day at the Triple-A level.
Morales' condition affects a lot of what the Halos will do as they mold their opening-day roster. The organization may try to get rid of Bobby Abreu regardless, but that still leaves them with a full outfield, plus a couple of players capable of filling in out there. The Angels could also swap Mark Trumbo if they aren't comfortable with him at third base and Morales turns out to be healthy.
Still, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Vernon Wells, 33, and Torii Hunter, 36, aren't strangers to injury. And the front office attached its wings to Pujols' back in its quest for championships. If Trout is dominating at Class AAA (which will hardly be surprising) and they believe he's ready for the bigs, they'll find a spot for him. This organization has been unafraid to rely on contributions from players with little experience if they believe it gives them the best chance to win.
There are a lot of pieces in Anaheim, and some of them need to be moving for one of the game's top prospects. Trout, a five-tool being with superstar ability, could easily be a factor at some point this summer, however. He's a worthwhile AL-only stash, and mixed leaguers should be ready to pounce if the buzz builds.
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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