Originally posted on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 2/13/13
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]

This article first appeared on The Outside Corner and was syndicated with permission.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Manfred blames MLBPA for no significant rule changes in 2017

Report: Zach Britton has potential oblique injury

The Rock returns to WWE, leaves CM Punk a voicemail after 'Raw'

After outfield collision, Ichiro pranks teammate and claims he’s been cut

Simeon Rice gets vulgar with radio host over HOF debate

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Ronda Rousey to be guest star on NBC’s ‘Blindspot’

Lakers replace Jim Buss with Magic Johnson, fire Kupchak

Report: James Harrison, Steelers share mutual interest in 2017 return

Jimmy Garoppolo’s mom keeping him up to speed on his trade rumors

Report: Clippers intent on keeping both Blake Griffin, Chris Paul

Slam dunks and startups: How all-star technology took over the NBA in The Big Easy

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

'Playmakers' in Ice Cube's league who can help the Cavs

Box Score 2/21: It's trade heartbreak season

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

We got our hands on the new Nintendo Switch, here are our first impressions

Top 10 second basemen in baseball for 2017

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Movies you can stream now to get your football fix

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

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

'Playmakers' in Ice Cube's league who can help the Cavs

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win 100 games with two different teams

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

We got our hands on the new Nintendo Switch, here are our first impressions

Top 10 second basemen in baseball for 2017

Teams, players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker