LA Baseball Looks to Continue its Success

Although the last few seasons have ended in disappointment for many Southern California baseball fans, experts believe both Dodgers and Angels fans will have reasons to cheer this season. With spring training in full swing, baseball season is right around the corner.

One of the many things Dodger fans have to be excited about this year are all the offseason additions the Dodgers have made.

“The Dodgers biggest move was trading former MVP outfielder Matt Kemp to the Padres for a catcher named Yasmani Grandal,” sports radio host and baseball expert Mark Kreidler said in an email interview. “Kemp is a fine player but often injured, and the Dodgers needed catching help.”

Other key additions for the Dodgers are shortstop Jimmy Rollins, second baseman Howie Kendrick and pitcher Brandon McCarthy. With these offseason moves, Kreidler said he believes that the Dodgers are set for a very successful 2015 season.

“The Dodgers are stacked. They have a solid pitching staff led by Cy Young winners Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, an outfield anchored by Yasiel Puig, a rebuilt infield with Rollins and Kendrick and enough money in the bank to add any other players they need,” Kreidler said. “They’re the favorite to win the [National League] West again this season.”

Former Cal Lutheran baseball player and current Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim prospect Jake Petersen said he believes the Dodgers have potential but is not quite as certain as Kreidler that the Dodgers will be an instant success.

“The Dodgers have made a lot of changes. Their team consists of many young players which can either hurt them or help them,” Petersen said in an email interview. “The Dodgers have a good organization no doubt, but whether they can put everything together is questionable.”

Along with the Dodgers, the Angels look to build on the success they had in the 2014 season.

One move Kreidler said he believes will help the Angels this year was trading second baseman Howie Kendrick to the Dodgers in exchange for pitching prospect Andrew Heaney. Kreidler said he believes Heaney has the potential to win the Rookie of the Year award.

Kreidler said he believes the Angels have a lot of promise and will likely repeat the success they had last year. The play of reigning MVP Mike Trout will be a large factor in their success this season.

“The Angels won 98 games last season, so it’s not like they needed to make major moves this winter,” Kreidler said.

One obstacle the Angels face is outfielder Josh Hamilton is out indefinitely due to a substance abuse issue, as well as a shoulder injury.

“They did suffer a huge loss when it was announced that Josh Hamilton had a substance-abuse relapse along with a shoulder injury and will be out indefinitely,” Kreidler said. “Hamilton normally bats in the middle of the Angels’ lineup, and they can’t fill that void.”

However Kreidler said he believes the Angels still can pull together and have another successful season.

“They did pick up outfielder Matt Joyce during their trade season, and it looks smart now with the loss of Hamilton,” Kreidler said. “To contend though, they’ll need Albert Pujols to hold up for a full season and for Mike Trout to be incredible, which he has been.”

Petersen also said he believes the Angels will once again be contenders this season.

“The Angels have a solid roster and a strong minor league system. We’ve had relative success the last few years, and I don’t see that changing any time soon,” Petersen said.

Cal Lutheran senior and baseball and softball commentator Jase Magarifuji said he also believes Trout will be a huge factor in the Angels’ success this year.

“Anytime you have Trout on your team you will likely be good,” Magarifuji said.

Overall, both of the local teams are ready for very successful seasons and should give their fans a lot to cheer about in 2015.

Cody McElligott
Staff Writer
Published March 18th, 2015