Our second stop on our tour around the AL west brings us to Anaheim.
- Full-house cleaning done after not only a underachieving season but a death at the big league level that has legal ramifications. The fallout from the T Skaggs drug overdose was a black cloud on an already somber situation.
- J Maddon is the new skipper in charge and was the best managerial option available in the offseason. Maddon returns to the dugout in which he served under M Scoscia. Maddon is known for his player-first mentality and is one of the few managers who are successful doing it.
- The Angels went hard after Strasburg and Cole, missing out on both. Then settled on A Rendon to add some protection for the best player in the game, M Trout.
- The Angels have to be concerned with their starting staff. The Angels went hard after both Cole and Strasburg, but missed both. Currently, S Ohtani is penciled into being the “ace” but he will only pitch once a week, not every five days. Ohtani is still unproven at the big league level from the mound. He is also coming off TJ surgery where he really didn’t fully rehab as a pitcher normally would. Ohtani played DH last year.
- After Ohtani the Angels will go with A Heaney (average at best), FA signing J Tehran (very streaky, isn’t a big game pitcher) and D Bundy (former top prospect who has never reached his full potential.) The Angels will have to run a 6 man rotation essentially with Ohtani limited so bullpen games could be a norm for Maddon and the Angels.
- 2015 was the last time the Angels felt good about the closer role. H Robles was claimed on waivers and converted 23/27 saves. Robles is a nice story but in all reality he would be a setup man, at best on most teams, but the Angels will take the positive.
- After Robles the Halos pen is inexperienced at best. Keyan Middleton is a closer in the making but after TJ ended his 2018 season and most of last year, he will need to get healthy as he will be relied upon heavily this year. He only pitched 7.2 innings but recorded 7 walks. That can’t continue.
- The Angels don’t project to have a lefty in the pen but that isn’t a huge issue when you consider how bad the group is overall, you’ll take whatever you can get.
- There is no doubt in my mind that the Angels are wasting the talent of M Trout. There is no greater gap in sports between the best and second best. Trout at 75% is the second best player in the game. He’s played in three postseason games and lost every single one. M Trout is a generational talent and deserves better.
- To the Angels credit they did get him some help. A Rendon will give Trout the protection he needs and Trout’s numbers should go up. Rendon is a legitimate bat and gives the Angels a legitimate 1-2 punch.
- Unfortunately for Anaheim there really is not anything else. Ohtani is a nice DH but he seems to struggle when also having to pitch during the season. IF A Pujols and Upton can be above average the Angels could be a contender.
- Bad bullpen: Bet against them late.
- Take the overs. Bad pitching staff coupled with a lineup that has some talent.
- I like the Halos in the final game of a series, especially one in which they have lost the first two. The reason why is usually the final game is a day game after a night game, and backups are used more liberally. Advantage Maddon, he might not have the fanciest bullets, but he knows how to use those crappy bullets to do the most damage.
Overall the Angels will miss the postseason and it will be in large part because of the pitching staff. Too many unlikely things have to happen for this team to contend in what i believe is the best division in all of baseball. Maddon will get this team more wins but a September challenge is the best they can hope for.