Picking the Los Angeles Angels as my MLB pick for the most disappointing team in the American League was an easy choice. The Angels have done nothing but disappoint in the years since pairing Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. There is no denying that these two are among the best players in the history of baseball. However, their only meaningful games together have come during the recent World Baseball Classic.
Many are tagging the Angels as a breakout team in 2023. I’m not convinced that the MLB news is in their favor heading into opening day.
How Many MVP Candidates Are Enough?
My biggest gripe regarding the Angels is how they can continue to fail despite having two generational talents on the team. I can’t think of any team with a more potent one-two punch in the last few decades. Ohtani is so good he almost won the MVP and Cy Young awards in the past couple of seasons. He is better than Babe Ruth, yet the Angels can’t make the damn playoffs.
Injuries played a large part in their lack of success in 2022, as Trout missed 43 games and failed to make 500 plate appearances for the seventh season in a row. He played just 119 games in 2022 and 36 in 2021.
Injuries are impossible to predict, but Trout’s history is a strong reminder of why the Angels never fail to fail. With two of baseball’s best rotting away in LA, they must shape up fast or risk losing one or both.
Our hearts #GoHalos x @WBCBaseball pic.twitter.com/G4QlNJRmPv
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) March 21, 2023
Halos’ Pitching Getting Better
The pitching staff for the Angels has taken some steps forward recently, and last season was very promising. LA made additional staff investments during the offseason, with Tyler Anderson slotting right behind Ohtani in the No. 2 spot. But this doesn’t change my MLB predictions on this team too much. Yes, Anderson is an upgrade over the player he replaced, Noah Syndergaard.
But my issue with the Angels’ pitching staff has much to do with the recent rule change regarding defensive shifts. The truth is that for all their talent, the Angels pitch to contact more than trying to go for the strikeout. Considering the new shift rules, pitchers who strike out batters will be at a premium and more critical than before. While Ohtani will be fine, guys like Patrick Sandoval and Reid Detmers may be in for a rude awakening under the new rules. This makes the Angels a riskier MLB bet than usual during the early season.
Having said that, Sandoval and Ohtani could be one of the best one-two pitching combos in the AL. But, If the last few years of results indicate, there are too many gaps on the roster for the team to succeed consistently, especially when the injury bug hits.
The Angels have had seven straight losing seasons and, with Ohtani and Trout, are just 150-174 in the last two years. The Halos scored their fewest runs last season than any other since 1992 and are putting a lot of faith in newcomers to the roster. Regarding MLB betting, the Angels are best left alone aside from a futures bet on them to fall under the season win total.