By Ross Sutton
Despite missing the playoffs, the Angels had a pretty good season in 2017 as they finished with a 80-82 record. The Angels fell just 5 games short of the Minnesota Twins, who clinched the second wild card spot in the American League. So far, the Angels have had a pretty splashy offseason, signing coveted Japanese two-way player, Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani is expected to be a better pitcher than hitter, but was promised to get some time as the team’s designated hitter. The Angels desperately need an ace in their rotation, so the Ohtani signing is crucial to the team’s success this upcoming season. Other than Ohtani, the Angels acquired Zack Cozart to play third base, and Ian Kinsler to play second base. The most notable players that have signed elsewhere in free agency or do not look likely to re-sign with the Angels include, Brandon Phillips, Bud Norris (Cardinals), Jesse Chavez (Rangers), Yunel Escobar, and Ben Revere (Reds). The Angels have lost some depth in the bullpen this offseason, but there are still some valuable bullpen arms available on the free agent market such as Greg Holland or Trevor Rosenthal.
The Angels will likely be a better team than last year, as they have made some nice additions this offseason. This team is obviously led by superstar Mike Trout, who hit 33 home runs, stole 22 bases, and had a .306 batting average, despite missing almost 50 games over the course of the season. Other than the fact that they have the best player in the game in Mike Trout, I think the best part of this team is their defense. Andrelton Simmons is the best defensive shortstop in the game, Mike Trout is one of the best defensive center fielders in the game, Zack Cozart was a great defensive shortstop so he should make an easy transition to third base, and Ian Kinsler is a very good defensive second baseman. The Angels great defense will probably be the backbone of this team and will make them a tough team to beat. The Angels should have a successful season in 2018 and I believe they will finish with a 84-78 record and will be in contention for the second wild card spot in the American League. Due to their lack of pitching depth in both the starting rotation and the bullpen, I do not think the Angels will be able to make it past the ALDS. Of course if this is a problem for the team over the course of the season, they could always add a pitcher or two at the trade deadline, but as things currently stand I think it will be tough for the Angels to advance past teams like the Red Sox, Indians, Yankees or Astros.
All stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com
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