In the This Is My Nightmare series, we'll take a look at what the absolute worst case scenario for each team would be in 2013. Think of it as the negative complement to our You May Say I'm A Dreamer series that we'll be running during our preview series.
A lot of the 2013 Angels season depends on their pitching staff. It's led by CJ Wilson and Jered Weaver, but the trio after them is thoroughly mediocre: Joe Blanton, Jason Vargas, and Tommy Hanson. All three are essentially innings eaters with major meltdown potential. All the Angels need is a 4.00 ERA out of the trio…yet, there's a very real, very nightmarish possibility that the three could combine to post an ERA over 5.00. That would be a worst case scenario for the team.
Offensively, what if Albert Pujols' knee isn't good to go and is an issue all season? He had offseason surgery on his right knee, but that's something that could be bothersome all year, especially if he tweaks it the wrong way. If Pujols is going to miss an extended amount of time, the likely fix for the Angels would be to shift Mark Trumbo from DH to first base, and (gulp) plug Vernon Wells into the lineup at DH. Vernon Wells getting any sort of extended playing time? Now *that's* a nightmare scenario.
Speaking of Wells, he's the fourth outfielder on the team. If something happens to Mike Trout, Peter Bourjos, or Josh Hamilton, Wells will be pressed into duty, and he's a huge dropoff on both offense and defense in comparison to any of the three. Hamilton has had his share of injuries throughout the years, and Trout's high octane, open throttle style of play will likely result in an injury or two during his career. Either one getting banged up this year would be a disaster for the Angels. Speaking of Trout, what if he's healthy all season, but falls into a sophomore slump? Sure, a sophomore slump for Trout would probably end up being a five win season, but he's the team's best player, and any massive dropoff in production would be a huge demerit for the Angels.
Finally, there's the matter of the Angels bullpen. Ryan Madson probably won't be ready for Opening Day after running into issues with his elbow at the beginning of Spring Training. Scott Downs missed time last year. Ernesto Frieri has tremendous meltdown potential. The Angels bullpen could be one of the best in baseball, and it could also end up being a dumpster fire. There's a lot of middle ground with this crew.
Quite frankly, a bad season for the Angels would result in them not making the playoffs. A nightmare season is probably anything other than 90 wins. The AL West became a different animal last season with the A's winning the division and even the Mariners showing signs of life at times. Los Angeles can't coast by solely on talent, and while they are the most talented team in the division, there's a lot that can potentialy go wrong with them.