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

Corey Brewer: We got our butt kicked, it was embarrassing

Brian Kelly hints Notre Dame will have fast offense

John Madden: Last play of Super Bowl will 'torment' Pete Carroll

Cristiano Ronaldo nets hat trick, sets career high for goals

WATCH: Cormier tells Jones to get his s-- together

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Fans holding 'Free Tom Brady Rally' at Gillette Stadium

Josh Hamilton to be activated by Rangers

WATCH: Top CB recruit makes insane catch doing backflip

Biggest surprises of the MLB season

Marcus Mariota leads NFL in jersey sales for May

Report: Scott Skiles frontrunner for Magic coaching job

Seahawks fan starts GoFundMe for Russell Wilson's contract

Billy Donovan thanks Florida fans with full-page ad

WATCH: Daniel Cormier gets into it with Ryan Bader

Jim Harbaugh compares his driving to Jeff Gordon's

WATCH: High school seals win with perfect hidden ball trick

Warriors crush Rockets in Houston to take 3-0 series lead

WATCH: D'Angelo Russell whiffs on horrible golf swing

Brian Matusz ejected for having foreign substance on arm

PHOTO: Don Cherry wears wild suit even for his taste

PHOTOS: Gigantic sinkhole at Jack Nicklaus golf course

WATCH: Memphis player catches defense sleeping, scores

WATCH: Astros turn around-the-horn triple play

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

Kelly drops hint about ND offense

John Madden: Last SB play will 'torment' Carroll

Eight biggest surprises of the MLB season

Bryan Price ejected before first pitch

Vin Scully narrates marriage proposal

Pats fan's obituary defends Brady

Marlins players skip own charity event

John Wall tells All-NBA Team voters to ‘keep sleeping’

Jim Kelly: No doubt Tom Brady cheated

Post-combine NBA Draft big board: Top 30

Ex-players sue NFL for conspiring to push painkillers

Astros surprising, but can get better with Correa

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.