And it might not matter.
The projected starters should be better than the 2013 group, though inexperience at the back of the rotation is a cause for concern.
Jered Weaver and
But the quality of depth beyond those five is spotty. The group is currently led by left-hander
"Realistically," Wilson said, "everything has to go right pitching-wise for us to be there."
How often does that happen?
Of the 30 major league teams, only Oakland and Detroit did not use more than seven starting pitchers last season. The Angels, who went 78-84 and finished third in the division, used 11.
And a club whose farm system has been rated the worst in the game by Baseball America isn't ready to help.
"I don't think it's any secret that our minor league system isn't quite as stacked as it used to be," Weaver said. "They made some trades, and not too many guys are ready to step in. What's going to help our starting pitching is to stay healthy."
The offense should benefit from better health. Pujols, hobbled for all of 2013 by a left foot injury that eventually knocked him out for the season in late July, looked like a different player this spring, moving nimbly around the first-base bag and on the basepaths and finding his power stroke.
"We all know what Albert can do when he's healthy," Trout said. "He's swinging the bat great, he's running good, he feels great, and he's a great guy to have in the clubhouse."
Hamilton, who hit .250 with 21 homers and 79 runs batted in last season, gained 28 pounds, and at 240 pounds, he is closer to his playing weight when he won the 2010
"Right now, we look good — everybody's swinging the bats well, we're scoring runs, and that's definitely a positive," Kendrick said. "But who knows what's going to happen when the season starts?"
That, of course, is the biggest question surrounding the Angels, who killed their playoff hopes by going 8-15 in April of 2012 and 9-17 in April of 2013.
The Angels took several measures to avoid another slow start, sending their strength-and-conditioning coach on home visits to monitor winter workouts, hiring a full-time nutritionist, putting their pitchers on far more aggressive spring throwing programs and playing their regulars in longer blocks of exhibition games.
"I think we have a hungrier work ethic this year than we had the last two years," Wilson said. "People showed up in better shape.
"Instead of having to lose weight, guys are playing baseball, getting ready to get better instead of back to where they were."
There are early series against the
"Some people get caught up in saying, 'Oh, we have to have this record by this time.' You have to try to win every game," Wilson said. "It comes down to focus. If we have the focus we need, we'll win in April."
Burnett, the veteran left-hander who could be a key bullpen component, has been slow to recover from elbow surgery, and reliever
Oakland lost ace
"If your main guys stay healthy," Weaver said, "you're going to have a pretty successful season."