The time is now for the Los Angeles Angels. They've got the players: sluggers like Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton; baseball's best young player in outfielder Mike Trout; and pitchers like C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver. They've spent the money – a Yankees-like $300 million over the past two years. They're not built to just contend, but to win a championship. If they feel the pressure that comes from those expectations, they aren't showing it: At spring training in Tempe, Arizona, the Angels seem relaxed and confident. "We go karting, target shooting. I put together group dinners, just fun stuff we can do with the guys," says Wilson. "They're looser than ever because they have such a good team," says ESPN baseball analyst Tim Kurkjian. "It's easy to be confident with this kind of offense."
Ernesto Frieri: 27, pitcher.
Frieri, a longtime minor leaguer who broke in with the San Diego Padres in 2009, grew up in Cartagena, Colombia. He credits some of his major-league success – 23 saves last year, 98 strikeouts, plus a streak of 26 scoreless relief appearances – to a childhood job grinding corn for his grandmother's tamale stand. "It built up arm strength," he says. Jerry Dipoto, the Angels' general manager, has said that Frieri has a "magic fastball": "It cuts, it runs, it sinks – it moves in different directions."
[Ernesto Frieri wears a sweater by J. Crew, $225.]
Credit: Photograph by Michael Muller