Back for a second consecutive week Rotoguys is privileged to re introduce our guest contributor Jessica Kleinschmidt. You can follow Jessica @KleinschmidtJD
Going into the 2014 season, once again the A’s got little to zero recognition, even though the two seasons prior they more than proved themselves to the baseball world, taking the AL West title. The Texas Rangers were their biggest competition, this season however, the green and gold have to worry about the Los Angeles Angels.
I know what you’re thinking, Angels are in second place, so that automatically means of course, they are the biggest competition to the A’s. Well, you would be correct, however there are specific factors to it.
The Halos spent a huge chunk of change on Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols. Hamilton received a $125,000,000/5-year contract and Pujols signed a $240,000,000/10-year contract. Two big names with even bigger salaries you would think meant the team would be unstoppable. That wasn’t the case last season. They finished 2013 with a 78-84 record, third place in the AL West behind the Texas Rangers and Oakland A’s. Sounds solid, but not when you have a roster of All-Stars. Luckily things started off hot for them this season.
Hamilton was looking more and more like the Texas Ranger Josh Hamilton who averaged a .305 batting average with 771 hits and 142 home runs. I’m not getting too ahead of myself and necessarily saying that he’s on pace for those numbers, but an Angels fan can dream. He wasn’t as terrible as he was in 2013, let’s put it that way. In addition, Pujols managed to look less slow and making solid contact with the ball even after some string of injuries and some Jack Clark drama. He managed to put a sigh of relief on to the Halos roster.
Cole Kalhoun became a precious gem that came out of left field (or in this case, right field) and he’s brought a strong bat and fielding to the lineup. Calhoun is hitting with a .284 batting average, and 65 hits in 61 games. He’s also come through with some clutch walk-offs for Los Angeles.
A guy that I have to mention is Mike Trout. You can say what you want, but the guy is phenomenal. The All-Star and former Rookie of the Year has a .313 batting average and a 1.003 OPS, which is the best in the Bigs right now. I don’t believe it takes one single guy to carry a team, but I’m pretty sure Mike Trout makes the lifting a big easier for his team.
The Angels have a lot to prove through the second half of the season. They’re sitting on a 59-38 record, right behind the A’s. Don’t sleep on the Halos. These two teams will be fighting for the AL West title come Fall.
Jessica is a sports writer on Sportsnaut.com and has been featured on YardBarker, Fox Sports and Bleacher Report. She is also a radio host at Fantasy Sports Live. A baseball aficionado she also covers NFL and the NBA.