The Los Angeles Angels could be one of the most intriguing teams of 2020. In recent years, the Angels have hoped to compete, only to be held back by injuries.
As a result, it’s been five years since the Angels last made the playoffs and 10 years since they last won a postseason game despite the fact that Mike Trout has won American League MVP honors three times in the last seven years.
The Angels have made some changes during the offseason. They opened their wallet to sign third baseman Anthony Rendon, who was arguably the best position player on the free-agent market.
There’s also a new leader in Anaheim, with Joe Maddon taking over as manager. Those changes have created optimism.
Of course, recent seasons have also begun with plenty of optimism. Why will this year be any different for the Angels? What do oddsmakers and sportsbooks say about the club’s regular-season win totals and World Series odds?
Are they buying the Angels as a team that can make some noise in 2020? Let’s take a closer look at the 2020 Los Angeles Angels.
Los Angeles Angels 2019 Results
A slow start doomed the Angels in 2019. The team began 1-6, although they eventually fought their way back to 8-7 midway through April.
Unfortunately, the Angels lost nine of their next 10 games. To their credit, the Angels fought back in June and July, and in late July, they were five games over .500.
The Angels ran out of steam and had a disastrous August and September. Los Angeles began August with seven straight losses, going 9-18 in that month and 7-18 in September.
In the end, the Angels finished 72-90 and in fourth place in the AL West. They were 35 games behind the division-champion Astros and 24 games out of a Wild Card spot.
The only silver lining is the club’s poor record didn’t prevent Trout from winning MVP honors. However, it did cost manager Brad Ausmus his job, leading to a new coaching staff that includes Maddon and former Mets manager Mickey Callaway as the team’s pitching coach.
Offseason additions began with their starting rotation. The Angels signed free-agent Julio Teheran and completed a trade with the Orioles for Dylan Bundy. Both have proven to be durable, which is just what the doctor ordered (quite literally) for a pitching staff that has struggled with injuries during the past several seasons.
Teheran, still struggling after COVID-19 issues in June, made at least 30 starts in seven consecutive seasons. Bundy has gotten past injury woes early in his career and made at least 28 starts in each of the last three seasons.
Matt Andriese was another key addition. The Angels worked out a trade with the Diamondbacks to acquire Andriese, who worked primarily as a starter early in his career before transitioning to the bullpen the past two seasons. His versatility to be used in both roles should prove useful.
The Angels have a new catcher working with their revamped pitching staff. In January, Los Angeles signed Jason Castro, who is coming off a breakout season offensively.
Last but not least, the Angels made one of the biggest signings of the offseason by landing third baseman Anthony Rendon. After putting up MVP-caliber numbers and helping the Nationals win the World Series, Rendon is taking his talents to Anaheim.
While it might be difficult for Rendon to replicate his 2019 performance, he’s hit over .300 and posted an OPS over .900 in three straight seasons and figures to be an immediate difference-maker.
The most notable absence will be outfielder Kole Calhoun. After he was with the club for eight seasons, the Los Angeles Angels parted ways with Calhoun.
He ultimately landed with the Diamondbacks, but only after having the best season of his career. Calhoun contributed 33 home runs and 74 RBIs while posting an OPS of .792, so he won’t be easy to replace as the team’s primary right fielder.
Among position players, the only other notable losses are veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy and infielder Zack Cozart. Of course, the Angels feel like they have upgraded behind the plate with Castro, leaving no room for Lucroy.
As for Cozart, he struggled with both performance and injuries since signing a multi-year deal with Los Angeles before the 2018 season. Before signing Rendon, the Angels traded Cozart to the Giants, who subsequently released him.
Meanwhile, there has been a significant amount of turnover on the Los Angeles pitching. Veterans like Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill are no longer with the club. Neither worked out, which is why the Angels sought more durable starting pitchers.
In the bullpen, relievers Luis Garcia and Cody Allen are no longer with the Los Angeles Angels. Of course, the team parted ways with Allen last summer after he struggled immensely during the first half of the 2019 season.
Given their injury woes in recent years, the Angels have assembled a considerable amount of depth. Preferably, the team will have lefty Andrew Heaney leading the rotation despite a long history of elbow trouble.
The delay in the start of the season will also allow two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani to reclaim his spot in the rotation. If Heaney and Ohtani can stay healthy and perform anywhere close to their potential, the Angels could have one of the more underrated rotation duos in baseball.
As mentioned, the additions of Teheran and Bundy will add some stability to the Los Angeles rotation. Both are solid mid-rotation starters who should provide reliable rotation depth if Heaney and Ohtani are healthy.
The Angels also have several candidates to fill out their rotation and provide depth if there are injuries. Youngsters like Griffin Canning, Patrick Sandoval, and Dillon Peters have all gotten their feet wet but have yet to establish themselves.
Veterans like Andriese and Felix Pena also provide depth and can pitch out of the bullpen if they’re not needed in the rotation.
Speaking of the bullpen, the Angels are hopeful that Hansel Robles can replicate his performance as the team’s closer. Robles saved 23 games and pitched to a 2.48 ERA in 2019, although his track record has a lot of peaks and valleys for a closer.
Fortunately for the Angels, they have several late-game relievers who could serve as the closer if Robles falters. Keynan Middleton was starting to establish himself as a closer in 2018 before undergoing Tommy John surgery. He came back strong late last season and should be a reliable late-game reliever.
Cam Bedrosian has also been a consistent reliever in Los Angeles for several years. Ty Buttrey and Noe Ramirez are also solid relievers. When you add to the mix potential starters who may not be needed in the rotation, the Angels have the making of a deep bullpen.
Offensively, the Los Angeles Angels have high hopes in 2020. Obviously, it starts with Trout and now Rendon.
The Angels should also have considerable lineup depth behind their two stars. Left fielder Justin Upton was slowed by injuries in 2019 but is capable of having a bounce-back year.
Shortstop Andrelton Simmons has become an above-average offensive player, while Albert Pujols still provides a little pop after hitting 23 home runs.
Most days, the Angels will also have Ohtani in their lineup serving as the designated hitter. He and Upton will be dangerous hitting down in the order with Trout and Rendon as the headliners.
Finally, the Angels have a few intriguing X-factors in their lineup. Second baseman Tommy La Stella had an All-Star season in 2019 before he was sidelined by an injury. If he can pick up where he left off, it’ll be huge for the team.
Finally, there is the situation in right field. Brian Goodwin will have a chance to play regularly after being a solid role player in Washington. However, the Angels are hopeful that top prospect Jo Adell will prove that he’s ready to play regularly in the majors.
Los Angeles Angels’ Three Key Players
Trout is the most important player. Adding Rendon to the lineup should take a little pressure off him. But Trout is still the most important figure on the team and has a chance to do serious damage now that he has help around him.
Speaking of the help around Trout, Upton is also one of the keys. He got off to a slow start in 2019 after suffering a toe injury that kept him out for the early portion of the season.
Afterward, he never got on track, hitting .215 with an OPS of .724, which are well below his career averages. At 32, there has to be some worry that last year wasn’t an aberration but rather a sign of things to come. Even if he’s now the third- or fourth-most important hitter on the team, the Angels need better from Upton.
Finally, Heaney is huge. Teheran and Bundy were great additions, but neither is an ace. With Ohtani coming back from Tommy John, he’s not a sure thing to lead the rotation.
They need Heaney to stay healthy and pitch like an ace. The depth in the Los Angeles rotation is nice, but to push the Astros in the AL West, the Angels need Heaney leading the rotation.
Los Angeles Angels Schedule Breakdown
The Angels will play 40 of their 60 games against their division foes. That could be a problem after the Angels were 16 games under .500 against teams from the AL West.
Specifically, they were 5-14 against the Astros and 6-13 against the Athletics. Los Angeles will have to be a lot better against those teams.
The team’s remaining games will come against teams from the NL West. Unfortunately, six of their 20 games against the NL West will come against the rival Dodgers, who are heavy favorites to win the National League.
No other team in the division should be considered a pushover, giving the Angels a challenging schedule in 2020.
The team’s over/under for the season is 31.5 wins, which means that sportsbooks expect them to be slightly above-average this season. If you are new to sports betting, please check out our MLB betting hub page to get started.
For the Angels, predicting how the season will play out is difficult, although there is no denying they have the potential to put together a special season. The bullpen has impressive depth and some intriguing late-game arms. In the end, it’ll come down to Heaney, Ohtani, and the team’s younger pitchers. If they can perform, the Angels will be in the playoff hunt and have enough pieces to make a surprising postseason run if everything comes together.