Fantasy baseball: Angels’ Trout leads list of top 10 players to pick

Fantasy Sports columnist Rudy Ropp says Mike Trout is the top player in Fantasy Baseball, who else makes his Top 10 players to grab on draft day …

It’s time to start assembling spreadsheets and draft charts, becoming familiar with all the players who changed teams in the offseason and all the youngsters poised to make a splash in the majors this season.

Who to take in the first round is the question that sets the tone for which way to go when assembling the rest of your roster, so here’s how I have the first 10 picks going:

1. Mike Trout, OF, Angels >> Despite his steals total shrinking from 49 to 33 to 16 over the past three seasons and leading the majors in striking out last year, Trout still turned in an elite fantasy season and was named AL MVP. He has arrived in camp this spring saying that he wants to cut down his strikeouts and increase his steals, and improvement in both areas would be great news to fantasy owners. Trout is as safe a pick as they come and is capable in his age-23 season of distancing himself from the pack with his five-category goodness. Projection: .305 average, 117 runs, 33 homers, 105 RBIs and 22 steals.

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Spring training TV schedule released

The Angels released their complete spring training television schedule. The five games against the Dodgers (March 19, March 28 and April 2-4) will not be blacked out in SportsNet LA markets. The April 4 game is on KCOP, the April 2 game is on Prime Ticket, and the other three are on Fox Sports West.

Also, Pitcher Garrett Richards threw off a mound from a full windup for the first time since his knee surgery last year.

- J.P. Hoornstra

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Angels react to news of Josh Hamilton’s reported drug relapse, possible suspension

J.P. Hoornstra talked with Angels players about the Josh Hamilton situation …

Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson, who has been Hamilton’s teammate for six-plus seasons in Texas and Anaheim, understands why Hamilton’s struggles with addiction never simply went away.

“I had some family members who went through some of this stuff growing up,” Wilson said. “That’s one of the reasons why I’m straight edged, I’ve never drank or done drugs in my life because I know exactly how scary this stuff is. I know how the pull of addiction is a lifelong struggle for people.”

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Mike Trout’s motivation: Steal more bases, strike out less, win

Sounds like a simple plan, J.P. Hoornstra checks in with the reigning American League MVP

What’s next for the reigning American League Most Valuable Player?

Mike Trout’s physical appearance gave one clue Wednesday. Addressing reporters on the first day of spring training for Angels position players, Trout said he weighs 239 pounds — “right where I want to be,” and only one pound above his playing weight last year.

Trout said he would like to steal more bases in 2015. His trim physique suggests he isn’t kidding.

“Definitely I’m trying to run more,” Trout said. “I haven’t talked to (Angels manager Mike) Scioscia and Dino (Ebel, the Angels’ bench coach) but I’m sure they’re on board with it, trying to get me to second as much as I can.”

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Angels’ Josh Hamilton meeting with MLB; discipline could follow

Via J.P. Hoornstra at Spring Training …

The Angels were prepared to be without outfielder Josh Hamilton for more than a month into the regular season.

Now, it appears Hamilton could be gone longer than that. Much longer.

Hamilton was in New York City on Wednesday to meet with Major League Baseball officials. According to multiple reports he will be disciplined by the league, though neither the Angels nor Hamilton’s agent would immediately confirm this – or why he might be disciplined.

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Albert Pujols reports to Angels camp, says he might retire in 2020

via J.P. Hoornstra

Albert Pujols was sitting next to his wife on Saturday crying tears of joy. Their 9-year-old daughter, Sophia, had just won first place in a prestigious gymnastics event, the St. Louis Classic Gymnastics Invitational.

Sunday, the Angels’ first baseman reported to spring training a couple days ahead of the mandatory report date for position players. Maybe the emotions were still fresh when he began talking about his daughter’s 2020 Olympic aspirations.

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Spring Training 2015: Top 5 Angels storylines to watch for

 

J.P. Hoornstra takes a look at the five storylines to watch as Angels begin spring training:

1. THE RACE TO REPLACE KENDRICK

Grant Green, Josh Rutledge, Johnny Giavotella and Taylor Featherston are all vying to become Erick Aybar’s double-play partner. Green’s ceiling is the highest of the four, but he’s been inconsistent since becoming an Angel midway through the 2013 season. Rutledge, acquired in a trade with the Rockies, has spent more time at shortstop and struggled to hit away from Coors Field in his career. Giavotella is a light hitter with four years of major-league experience with the Royals. Featherston, a Rule 5 pick, is a longshot.

2. GARRETT RICHARDS’ KNEE

Richards was in the running for a Cy Young Award when he suffered a devastating knee injury last August. As of today, his throwing program isn’t so far behind that he can’t make his first start of the season in turn. At 26, Richards is just entering his prime and has a real chance to be the staff ace — knee willing.

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