Los Angeles Angels 80-82 2nd Place in the AL West
What Happened in 2017
The Los Angeles Angels are coming off an exciting season with a disappointing ending. Coming into the year, they had Matt Shoemaker, Garrett Richards, and Tyler Skaggs coming off injury hoping for a healthy season. Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano were injured and not likely to come back for a while. Shoemaker, Richards, and Skaggs then proceeded to each spend a hefty amount of time on the disabled list. Basically throughout the season, the Angels played without their fully “planned” starting rotation. That’s why we love baseball though, you can never ever truly plan anything because the sport is so unpredictable. Not to mention Huston Street was out, and the outlook on the rest of the bullpen was heavily pessimistic as most of the healthy arms were waiver claims or cheap signings. The offense also came in with little hopes outside Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun. Albert Pujols was rushed back from his injury so we didn’t know what to expect from the full time DH in his 37 year old body, Simmons was who we always knew him as defensively but we were still hoping he could pick it up offensively.
Though Billy Eppler, Mike Scioscia, and Charles Nagy somehow pieced together a starting rotation that did its job at a decent level. Ricky Nolasco was just the innings eater tradeoff in the Hector Santiago trade for the Angels to acquire Alex Meyer (who happens to be out all 2018 with TJ). Jesse Chavez lost his starting spot. Despite those guys, Eppler pieced together Parker Bridwell (waiver claim), JC Ramirez (waiver claim), and Alex Meyer (while he was healthy) to create a pretty decent rotation. Skaggs, Richards, and Heaney each came back from injury later in the season to round that rotation out. The most impressive Billy Eppler pickups, however, were in the bullpen. Blake Parker (waiver claim), Yusmeiro Petit (minor league deal), Bud Norris ( minor league deal), and Cam Bedrosian were the key point of a bullpen that finished 5th in the AL in ERA and part of an overall pitching staff that finished 6th in the AL in the same statistic.
Offensively Pujols, Cron, and Valbuena were major disappointments leaving the offense on the back of Trout. However, Andrelton Simmons was a huge surprise offensively. Though he was snubbed an allstar appearance, he could not be considered one of the best overall shortstops in the game, given his defensive talent. For most of the season the offense was basically Mike Trout and Andrelton Simmons until the trades for Justin Upton and Brandon Phillips happened. The Angels finished 80-82 and have a lot of work to compete in the AL West next season.
Looking Ahead into the offseason
First and foremost, it’s time to celebrate Angel’s fans! JOSH HAMILTON is finally OFF the books! Billy Eppler made the first move of the offseason for the second year in a row signing Justin Upton to a 5 year $105 million deal with a full no trade clause. Upton will provide the protection Mike Trout needs and a pretty good glove in left. Going off of that however, our free agents create a number of holes for the team. Ben Revere was a good late innings speed guy, slap hitter so I think he should be looked at being resigned. Professional singles hitter Yunel Escobar creates a hole at third base, Brandon Phillips creates one at second. Not to mention, Yusmeiro Petit should be resigned after all the good innings he pitched for the team last year.
What to do with the holes?
Ben Revere: Being completely honest he shouldn’t be too hard to resign, nor would it kill us if he doesn’t resign.
Yunel Escobar: The team has been very quiet the last few off seasons, not really spending money since the Hamilton signing in the 2013 off season. I expect them to try to spend some money this year. Mike Moustakas, a Southern California native has said that the Angels are tops on his list and the Angels seemingly have mutual feelings. If they spend a lot of money, it will be on Moustakas.
Brandon Phillips: He’s one of the guys the team brought over in the trades at the end of August. It’s been rumored that Neil Walker and Zack Cozart have been named as options as replacements. However, Phillips might be the easier option to resign. Walker wants more money and you’d have to convince Cozart to switch from shortstop to second base. I don’t know anyone that would turn down being double play partners with Andrelton Simmons, but who knows.
Starting Rotation?? : The Angels have 6-7 possible healthy options to be in their rotation come 2018 Opening Day. Why would they need more pitching? Most, if not all, of the 6-7 guys have question marks coming into the season. Parker Bridwell is a question mark only because of his ability to pitch as well as he did in 2017. The rest of the guys are question marks because of their injury histories. You never want to predict injuries, but you can guard against them by having depth. I expect Billy Eppler to do the same he did last year and try to find another Parker Bridwell, Blake Parker type guy through the waiver claim.
Prospect Watch: I know what you’re thinking…. “Prospect watch for the Angels? Great this won’t take long.” However, that’s where you’re wrong. Jaime Barria is the Angels’ #8 prospect coming at you as an international free agent out of Panama. Ever since he signed in 2013 he has impressed so expect to see him at some point in 2018 especially if the rotation suffers yet another injury.
Albert Pujols: I just wanted to address his disappointment of a 2017 season in which he earned $26 milion. I mean there’s no debate here he had a negative WAR, only hit 23 home runs, and just seemed weaker and slower than usual. I attribute that partly to the obvious natural aging of players as it was his age 37 season. But, if you don’t remember this guy was rushed back to the starting lineup because he wanted to be ready for Opening Day. He started hitting and working out late last off season and just wasn’t at his peak. Let me remind you, he’s been injured or had some surgery every off season as an Angel except the off season before the 2015 season where he hit 40 bombs, drove in 95, and was an Allstar. I’m not going to say that he’s going to hit 40 bombs again this season, however he will be a lot better than last year just because he’s going to be prepared for a season.. So quit whining about Pujols. The contract is annoying I know. But a healthy Pujols hitting with Trout, Upton, Simmons, and possibly Moustakas sounds like a pretty potent lineup if you ask me.
Please don’t expect this article to be a predictor. That’s more of a later Spring Training article to come out. I’m excited as an Angel fan for the outlook of this off season. There are going to be more healthy starters than not coming into this season for the first time in years. We finally aren’t going into an offseason with a hole in left field for the first time in years as well. Eppler still has much to fix up for the Angels to be ready to go in Mike Scioscia’s last year of his contract.
I’ll post an offseason review later on. Please send me feedback if you have any, whether you agree, disagree, just want to yell at me for whatever reason. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for all the feedback possible.
I’ll see you guys soon. PEACE