Opening Day is here and with them comes the much anticipated return of our weekly Angels Player Power Rankings. Future rankings will focus mostly on recent play, but to start the year, we base them off of season expectations (Yay, Trout!) and spring performance (Sorry, everyone in the bullpen.)...
Mike Trout - Fat? Fit? It doesn't matter, he's still the best player on the planet. Go ahead and inscribe his name on the 2013 AL MVP award now and feel free to throw in a 15-year contract extension while you're at it.
Jered Weaver - I don't know about you, but I'm pretty anxious to see him in a real ballpark with a real radar gun telling us whether or not it is time to freak out about the Angels' ace.
Albert Pujols - Well, this April can't possibly be any worse than last April. So he's got that going for him, which is nice.
Josh Hamilton - The over/under on when I finally fully suppress my reflex to boo every time I see Hamilton is set at May 15th. But the line could move if demolishes the Rangers in his first series back in Arlington in the second series of the year. Place your bets now!
Erick Aybar - Aybar the Two-Hole Hitter Experiement, take three. Aaaaaaand... action! (Fast forward to mid-May: Cut! Cut! Cut! This is all wrong! Who's idea was this? Someone call central casting and get me a real two-hole hitter now!!!)
C.J. Wilson - Am I the only one that thinks C.J. is going to have a really big year? I am? Oh. Well, ****.
Mark Trumbo - I know better than to worry about Spring Training numbers, but how does Trumbo go 77 plate appearances without a single homer?
Howie Kendrick - The best part about Howie quitting Twitter is now we can all say mean things about him after he grounds into a double play without worrying about hurting his feelings. Oh wait, we never did that. I forgot how the internet worked there for a minute, sorry.
Ernesto Frieri - Reason #9,784 to be worried about the Angels bullpen this year: Ernasty has looked a lot more like ErnestNOOOO!!!!!! in Spring Training.
Jason Vargas - The bad news is that nobody knows how Vargas will perform outside of Safeco. The good news is that in a worst case scenario we can at least rest easy that Vargas finally won't dominate the Halos two to three times per year.
Peter Bourjos - The Angels have gone out of their way to rebuff trade offers for two years and giftwrap the center field job for Bourjos with absolutely no threats to his playing time this season. Now it is up to him to justify that immense amount of faith the organization put into him.
Joe Blanton - I'd be much more excited about Joe Blanton looking great in Spring Training if not for the fact that Joe Blanton is Joe Blanton.
Chris Iannetta - Say hello to this year's winner of the official "Let's all hope this guy doesn't get hurt because the back-ups are terrible" Award.
Scott Downs - We all agreed to pretend that there is nothing wrong with Downs and that he is going to be fine this season despite all the evidence to the contrary, right?
Tommy Hanson - Unlike the similarly velocity-challenged Weaver, I won't be watching the radar gun like a hawk with Hanson, but that is more out of preservation for my own sanity. Instead, I'll just reduce my expectations and hope that his fastball is down with movement, no matter how hard he throws it, and that his breaking stuff is sharp. If that doesn't work, I have a live chicken in my backyward ready to be sacrificed at the makeshift Santeria alter in my basement.
Kevin Jepsen - Reason #12,331 to worry about the bullpen: Jepsen has been dinged up and behind schedule this spring and that is a HUGE problem for the Angels.
Alberto Callaspo - Can we stop referring to him by his given name and instead strictly call him "Kaleb Cowart's Seatwarmer?" Great! I'm glad we had this talk.
Sean Burnett - The only reason the Angels even considered keeping Mitch Stetter as a third lefty is because Sean Burnett has looked like a dumpster fire after a spring plagued by a back injury and a slow recovery from off-season elbow surgery. Multi-year investments in relievers are always a great idea, am I right?
Garrett Richards - The question for Richards now is if he can thrive in relief now that he knows that he knows what his actual role is?
Jerome Williams - The success of the Angels in April will be inversely proportional to the number of innings that Jerome Williams logs.
Hank Conger - Good on Hank for hanging on and earning a roster spot. I'm really happy for him. I'm not happy enough that I won't be holding my breath the first time he tries to throw out a basestealer, but still pretty happy.
Andrew Romine - I knew Maicer Izturis and you, sir, are no Maicer Izturis.
Mark Lowe - Reason #156,999 to worry about the bullpen: Lowe was in camp for less than a week after being released by the Dodgers and still wound up winning a roster spot.
J.B. Shuck - I wonder if Kole Calhoun said "what the Shuck?" when he found out J.B. beat him out for the reserve outfielder slot on the roster.
Brendan Harris - I really can't wait for Angel fans to start suggesting Harris replace Callaspo at third strictly based on the premise that Harris had one good year back in 2007.