This season for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. There have been more highs than lows, but there have been some substantial lows. All in all, the season is trending in the right direction, and Angels fans should be excited about the possibilities in front of them.
The Angels’ record is currently 20-17 after a 3-1 defeat to the Houston Astros last night. They are currently two games behind the Texas Rangers in the American League West and are currently one game back in the Wild Card standings.
For the positives so far in this season: The offense has absolutely met expectations. In fact, they have been raking for the most part. Perry Minasian’s moves to get depth and quality players throughout the roster have shown its merit. Guys like Hunter Renfroe, Gio Urshela, and Brandon Drury have all been very consistent and have allowed the Angels to rest guys who may be struggling a bit without having much of a dropoff in quality. It also allows manager Phil Nevin to play guys in many different positions and have the lineup continue to hum along. Brett Phillips has been exactly what we thought he was, a very good fill-in player who is going to save runs defensively and not stop the offensive flow at all. The Angels also called up Zach Neto from the minors and he has been a savant with the glove and has shown very good process at the plate, even though the numbers won’t show it yet. For the starting pitchers, Shohei Ohtani has been very good to excellent. Patrick Sandoval has been really solid outside of one outing. The other pitchers have had moments, but thus far have been searching for the consistency we have seen in the past. The catchers have been quite good, although injuries are starting to pile up. Angel outfielders have been very solid defensively and have been putting up the numbers that we have come to expect at the plate. The bullpen has mostly been a positive aspect of the staff. Carlos Estevez has been lights out especially recently, Andrew Wantz has thrown the baseball well, Matt Moore has been excellent and Quijada has done great in high-leverage situations. Phil Nevin has been a quality manager so far. He is ebbing and flowing with the tides and the players seem to respect and like him.
The negatives thus far have been a mixed bag. Some are large issues with some drastic potential solutions and others just need some time to get back to expected values. Tyler Anderson has had some rough starts, with some control issues and getting touched up a bit. Reid Detmers has had electric stuff but has struggled the second and third times through the order. Shohei Ohtani has even had some control issues and more hit batsmen than usual. The starting pitcher who has struggled the most has been Jose Suarez. Whether he has been tipping pitches, inappropriately sequencing pitches, or just flat struggling, he has been pretty brutal. The Angels have had a pretty rough go behind the plate with injuries. Thiass has been playing well but had a collision with Anthony Rendon which had him in and out of the lineup. Chad Wallach came up and played well, especially from a power standpoint, but he is now on IL with a concussion. And Logan O’Hoppe was having a great first few weeks in all aspects and then had a shoulder subluxation injury that required surgery and so he will be out till August or September. David Fletcher did get sent down to Triple-A to clear the way for Zach Neto but that was probably for the best. Parts of the bullpen have been rough. Aaron Loup has struggled to the point where him being DFA’d is probably better for him and the team at this point. Ryan Tepera had a short IL stint and has seemed better since coming back. Jimmy Herget struggled early and is still having his role defined.
In my opinion, there is much to be excited about and with a couple of roles being solidified and maybe a savvy trade deadline, waiver pickup or a minor league call-up, the Angels should be right there for a playoff birth. And if the Angels can get in the playoffs, to quote the famous words of the iconic Angels baseball movie “Angels in the Outfield”: “It could happen!”