Angels Continue to Slide Amid Depth Issues

Is it September yet? Seeing the state of the Angels lineup, it sure feels like it. Since Anthony Rendon and Mike Trout hit the injured list, Brandon Drury, Luis Rengifo, and Ehire Adrianza all sustained injuries and will miss at least ten days. As a result of all these injuries, there are plenty of new faces on the Halos roster.

On May 1, Willie Calhoun was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake. On the 9th, LA recalled Kyren Paris from Double-A Rocket City, traded for Luis Guillorme from the Braves, and claimed Niko Goodrum off waivers from the Rays. These four players have a combined career average of .205.

This already feels like a wasted season in Anaheim with Trout’s absence, but the everyday roster is a further indictment of the Angels’ subpar farm system. For many other teams who have drafted and developed talent well, they don’t have to rely on the castoffs of other organizations to fill starting roles when the need arises. They can turn to a young and promising player who has a legitimate shot to be a starting major leaguer.

For example, look at the Orioles roster and minor league system: they have so many prospects they don’t even know what to do with them. Jackson Holliday is the number-one prospect in baseball and Baltimore sent him down because they have the luxury of having quality depth pieces to take his spot while he works on things in Triple-A. Zach Neto and Nolan Schanuel, the Angels’ last two first-round picks, were rushed to the big leagues abnormally quickly and haven’t performed as well as the team has wanted them to. But they can’t really be sent down because there aren’t any quality replacements waiting in the wings.

How can the Angels solve their depth problems?

The Angels have had depth issues for years and it’s only becoming more magnified in 2024. The only real solutions to this are to draft and develop players better and fully commit to a rebuild. But the organization has never been one to go above and beyond with spending in the minor leagues and owner Arte Moreno will never enter a rebuilding phase as long as he owns the team.

Having a fully stocked farm system is almost always a sign of good things: look at the Astros before their dominant run started or the Orioles right now. Both of those teams also committed to tanking, thus securing top draft picks. Baseball draft picks aren’t always a sure thing, but the more picks you have, the greater your chances are of drafting a superstar. The best way to hit on draft picks is to give them all the tools and support they could possibly need, which means investing more in coaches, technology, and auxiliary staff, something the Angels have needed to do for years.

It’s admirable that the front office and owner want to win with Mike Trout, but every move this team makes seems to backfire. It might be time to reconsider the “win now” mentality and look toward building the foundation for the next great Angels team.

What to look forward to as the season progresses?

So if the Angels continue to play poorly all season, what can fans actually look forward to when they tune in to Halo games? The youngsters.

Jo Adell has had a great start to the season and his Baseball Savant page looks like that of a budding superstar. He is the most intriguing player on LA’s roster right now and he could be on the precipice of breaking out.

Both Zach Neto and Nolan Schanuel have started their careers slowly, but they’re still young and overflowing with talent. Neto is a defensive wizard and is truly a joy to watch play shortstop. If his bat catches up to his glove, watch out! Schanuel is extremely patient and has a great eye, he just needs to make hard contact more often.

Reid Detmers has had two bad starts in a row, but he’s still been very good to begin the season and will be the Angels best starter when the year ends. Tyler Anderson has been the team’s best starter so far, and it would be great to see his resurgence continue.

Both Logan O’Hoppe and Taylor Ward should be mainstays in the heart of the order, although O’Hoppe has moved around the lineup a bit. Both of them will be in contention for the All-Star Game if they play up to their talent levels.

Keep an eye on all of these guys, even if the Halos struggle to win games. All of these players will have plenty of highlights by the time 2024 ends.

Main Image: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

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