Predicting Angels' 2016 starting lineup

Beat reporter Alden Gonzalez offers projected order, rotation and bullpen

Predicting Angels' 2016 starting lineup

FanGraphs projects the Angels to be mediocre this season, at 81-81, four wins shy of last year's win total. Take that with a grain of salt. Those same projections, produced by Steamer, had the reigning World Series-champion Royals finishing the 2015 season with that same .500 record.

It isn't Steamer's fault, of course. Too many variables and too much unexplainable luck factors into a season. These projections, no matter how diligent, will always be an inexact science because the future will always be so unpredictable. We nonetheless tried some of that below, by projecting the Angels' Opening Day lineup, rotation and bullpen.

Comeback candidates | Newcomers | Prospects | Deep rotation

It's a difficult task this time of year, especially this year, with Albert Pujols (right foot) questionable for Opening Day and so many roster spots open for competition. We assumed Pujols at full health to provide a glimpse at how the lineup should look for the majority of the season, and we accounted for as much of the Angels' starting-pitching depth as possible.

(fWAR is FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement.)

2015 record
85-77, third in the American Leauge West

Projected batting order (with 2015 statistics)
1. RF Kole Calhoun:
.256 BA, .308 OBP, .422 SLG, 26 HR, 3.8 fWAR
2. 3B Yunel Escobar:
.314 BA, .375 OBP, .415 SLG, 9 HR, 2.1 fWAR
3. CF Mike Trout:
.299 BA, .402 OBP, .590 SLG, 41 HR, 9.0 fWAR
4. 1B Pujols:
.244 BA, .307 OBP, .480 SLG, 40 HR, 2.0 fWAR
5. DH C.J. Cron:
.262 BA, .300 OBP, .439 SLG, 16 HR, 0.5 fWAR
6. LF Daniel Nava:
.194 BA, .315 OBP, .245 SLG, 1 HR, -0.2 fWAR
7. SS Andrelton Simmons:
.265 BA, .321 OBP, .338 SLG, 4 HR, 3.2 fWAR
8. C Carlos Perez:
.250 BA, .299 OBP, .346 SLG, 4 HR, 1.1 fWAR
9. 2B Johnny Giavotella:
.272 BA, .318 OBP, .375 SLG, 4 HR, 1.1 fWAR

Projected rotation (with 2015 statistics)
1. Garrett Richards:
15-12, 3.65 ERA
2. C.J. Wilson:
8-8, 3.89 ERA
3. Jered Weaver:
7-12, 4.64 ERA
4. Andrew Heaney:
6-4, 3.49 ERA
5. Matt Shoemaker:
7-10, 4.46 ERA

Outlook: Richards, SP, LAA

Projected bullpen (with 2015 statistics)
Closer: Huston Street:
40/45 saves, 3.18 ERA
RH setup man: Joe Smith:
3.58 ERA, 1.27 WHIP
LH setup man: Hector Santiago:
3.59 ERA, 1.26 WHIP

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook , and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.