Originally written on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 11/9/14
The Los Angeles Angels head into 2013 as a nearly unanimous favorite to capture the AL West this season, if not take home the pennant in the American League. With the addition of Josh Hamilton to a lineup that laready featured a few big names in it, it isn't difficult to see why. Aside from the main guys (Hamilton, Pujols, Trout, etc.), there are a couple of folks who could fit the bill as an "x-factor" for this team (Mark Trumbo). But the one I'm thinking that is crucial, yet completely under the radar heading into the season season is the newly acquired Tommy Hanson. The Angels acquired Hanson from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for reliever Jordan Walden. If Hanson can return to his pre-2012 form, this trade could end up being a steal for the Halos. That's a big 'if' though. Offense was not a problem for the Angels in 2012. They ranked near the top of the league in almost every offensive category. Which is why a player like Trumbo isn't the key, though he is important to success. The concern in Anaheim is going to be pitching, whether it's in the rotation or the bullpen. But success in the bullpen starts with success in the rotation. And the questions in the rotation come after Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson. Which means it starts with Hanson. Jason Vargas won't put up the 3.96 ERA he posted in the pitcher's utopia of Seattle the last three seasons. He's going to regress, at least a bit. Joe Blanton is absolutely not more than a no. 5 guy in the rotation. Hanson needs to be a strong third starter for the Angels to be successful. Prior to the 2012 season, he never had an ERA above 3.60. He has a solid strikeout-to-walk ratio for his career, but health is going to be an issue for him, most notably with his shoulder and back, both of which have presented problems in the last two years. Which, no doubt, contributed to his struggles in 2012, when he posted a 4.48 ERA, a career high WHIP, and walked more batters than he ever had before. If Hanson can bounce back and get closer to that 2012 form, while remaining healthy, it would not only benefit him, but the bullpen that struggled mightily for this team in 2012 as well. One issue for the relief corps was starters not going deep into games. If he can go at least six innings per outing, as he did in 2011, the Angels' staff as a whole will be a lot better off in 2013. The success of the Angels, from a pitching perspective, will fall heavily on the shoulders of Tommy Hanson. He's not the most important part of this staff, but he's the x-factor. His success, or potentially his failure, will tell a lot about where the Halos will be going in 2013. Angels on TOC End of Season Post-Mortem 2013 Season Preview You May Say I'm A Dreamer 2013 Burning Question This Is My Nightmare X-Factor Top Ten Prospects (4:30 PM) [follow]
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

LeBron James lists his top three friends in the NBA

Reds to have in-stadium nursery

Izzo: MSU could win football, basketball titles in same year

Durant ‘would love to’ spend entire career with Thunder

Elementary school sportswriter has hot take on Cam Newton

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Romo was willing to take pay cut to keep DeMarco Murray

Marcus Mariota reportedly not planning to attend NFL draft

Alabama RB dismissed from team after marijuana arrest

Golden Tate: Departure of Suh won't pressure Lion's offense

Are the Angels being overlooked?

Team USA improves before meltdown in Swiss draw

'Zo on MJ: He would average almost 50 in today's NBA

Report: Las Vegas season ticket drive passes goal of 10,000

WATCH: Steph Curry drops Chris Paul with crossover

WATCH: Spoelstra gives nice shoutout to Craig Sager

WATCH: Drew Miller takes skate to the face

WATCH: Gronk describes his perfect wife

Reigning National Champions to boycott Final Four in Indiana

This isn’t Tom Izzo’s greatest March masterpiece

New development clears path for Rams relocation

WATCH: J.J. Watt sings about stadium food on 'New Girl'

Kings ready to shut down DeMarcus Cousins

Jameis Winston may skip NFL draft to be with grandmother

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Curry drops CP3 with crossover

Durant wants to spend career in OKC

This isn’t Tom Izzo’s greatest March masterpiece

Are the Angels being overlooked?

Top 20 players in the Final Four

Top 10 players in baseball

Report: Tiger's plane spotted in Augusta

Moss shares story on meeting Deion

Five coaches already on the hot seat

Can we envision the Hawks in the Finals?

10 winners and losers from the past week in the NFL

Namath parties with 100 yr-old women

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.