The Angels are entering the 2023 season as the club with the longest playoff drought. Even though it as be only eight years, Shohei Ohtani is entering his sixth year in the league. He can freely leave Anaheim and go to another team once the season ends. The Angels season starts on Thursday night at 7:00 P.M. in Oakland, and they hope to return to the playoffs even with a few questions still to be answered.
3 Big Questions For The Angels Going Into The Season
Will The Key Angels Stay Healthy?
One of the more pressing questions for the Angels is health. The Angels three best players (Mike Trout, Ohtani, and Anthony Rendon) haven’t put together an entire season with them together in the lineup for the majority of the year; in his MVP year of 2021, Ohtani, Trout, and Rendon only played together for 36 games before Mike Trout was lost for the season with a calf injury.
Rendon only played for 58 games before he was lost for the season. Last year, Rendon was again missed for most of the season after only playing 47 games. Trout missed some time last year but played in 119 games, so it could have been worse.
Ohtani has been a one-person wrecking crew for the better part of two years, both in the box and on the pitcher’s mound. If Mike Trout can continue to be Mike Trout, there is no sign of that stopping anytime soon. The biggest if is whether Anthony Rendon can play around 120 games. There is no reason they can’t make some noise in the American League.
Can The Addition Add Depth To The Lineup?
The Angels went out and addressed possibly the most significant issue they had: the fact that they had zero depth. The good teams in baseball all have the next guy up mentality. The Angels, past the fourth hitter in the lineup, had no one who really had any potential to do anything. Yes, the injuries played a big part in the fact that guys were put in roles they weren’t really meant to be in. Looking back on the past season, it’s impressive that the Angels did what they did before absolutely imploding with a 13-game losing streak.
Hunter Renfroe has had some impressive offensive campaigns over the last three years, even though he is on his fourth team in four years. Apart from the shortened COVID season of 2020, he has averaged 30 home runs a season with at least 70 RBIs. In a lineup that offers protection, Renfroe is a dangerous hitter. There is no reason to think he will fall off in 2023, but crazier things have happened.
Will The Angels Starting Rotation Reach Its Potential?
Patrick Sandoval and Shohei Ohtani were nothing short of incredible during the World Baseball Classic. Both were leaders on their respective pitching staffs also worth noting they were on the top starting staff in the tournament. Sandoval and Ohtani look to continue their run, on top of Reid Detemers looking like a guy ready to take a big step forward this year. Granted, this is all pure speculation on everyone’s part, but everything seems to be pointing in that direction.
Tyler Anderson was the lone addition to the starting rotation this year. Anderson broke out last year as a member of the Dodgers. With the Angels, he will be higher in the rotation as a number-three starter compared to a fourth or fifth starter last year with the Dodgers. He may not be a 15-game winner with the Angels, but he can be a substantial part of this underrated rotation.
The Angels enter the season with the hope that Trout and Ohanti get a deep run into late October. Maybe the experience of playing in the World Baseball Classic fuels a fire in some of these guys. The season is a long 162-game grind, there will be many ups and downs. All that fans can do is hope at the end it means a World Series title.
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