Four Bold Predictions for the 2024 Los Angeles Angels

MLB Opening Day is here and the Los Angeles Angels will travel to Baltimore to play the Orioles to open their season. With Shohei Ohtani gone, not many people expect the Angels to be relevant for very long in 2024. But all the speculation about their record can finally be put to rest once the season begins. Every baseball season is long and arduous and almost nothing that people expect to happen actually happens. But in that spirit, here are four bold predictions for the Angels’ 2024 season. 

Four Bold Predictions for the 2024 Angels


Mike Trout will finish in the top three of the AL MVP voting

Not so long ago this prediction would have been automatic. Mike Trout has won three MVPs and has finished among the top three vote-getters seven times. But he’s entering his age-33 season and hasn’t been healthy for a full season since the COVID-shortened 2020 season.

He played well in limited action last year, has enjoyed a healthy Spring Training, and looks ready to roll for 2024. In 2023, his barrel and hard-hit percentages were in the 95th percentile and his average exit velocity was in the 89th percentile according to Baseball Savant. The rest of his Savant page is equally impressive and all of those numbers suggest that Mike Trout is still very much an elite player.

Trout has said that he is committed to the Angels for the long haul and truly wants to win with Los Angeles. His dominance is a key component of a competitive Angels team, and this team would be in dire straits without Trout’s bat in the lineup. 2024 will see Mike Trout back in his prime and he will finish among the top three finalists for the AL MVP award once again.

Nolan Schanuel will win AL Rookie of the Year

Nolan Schanuel is technically still the Angels’ top prospect, but he’ll soon graduate from the prospect list. He was drafted in 2023 and made it to LA just a few months later. Schanuel played in 29 games for the Halos last year and reached base safely in all of them while displaying great discipline:  he walked more than he struck out.

After his taste of the bigs last year and a whole Spring Training spent as the club’s number-one first baseman, Schanuel is set up for a breakout season in 2024. There are areas he could improve in, namely hitting the ball harder and for more power. But the former FAU Owl has all of the tools to win Rookie of the Year and more.

He’ll have some stiff competition in the AL though. The Rangers will be rolling out two good rookies in Wyatt Langford and Evan Carter, Baltimore’s Jackson Holliday is expected to be a perennial All-Star, and others like Colt Keith and Junior Caminero could also be in contention for the award. But I think Schanuel will outdo them all, put together a great season, and earn some hardware at the end of the year.

Los Angeles will have five All-Stars, and they will be…

Mike Trout, Reid Detmers, Taylor Ward, Carlos Estévez, and Nolan Schanuel.

The Halos haven’t had five players make the same All-Star team since 1983, when Rod Carew, Fred Lynn, Bob Boone, Doug DeCinces, and Reggie Jackson all made it. Trout is essentially a lock to be an All-Star, and Schanuel should also have a good chance of making it if he is the ROY frontrunner. But it’s Detmers, Ward, and Estévez who are the real questions here.

Detmers has undeniable ace potential, he just hasn’t reached it yet. He had a slightly worse statistical season in 2023 than he had in 2022, but should be LA’s best starter this year if all goes according to plan. There is a scenario where he puts up a 3.20 ERA and is among the league leaders in wins by the time the All-Star break rolls around, which would make him one of the top starters in the American League.

Carlos Estévez made the ASG for the first time in his career last year and there’s no reason he can’t make it again this year. He collected 31 saves in 63 games last year and finished with a 3.90 ERA. Aside from poor performance, the only thing stopping him from repeating as an All-Star might be his ability to retain the closer role. Both Robert Stephenson and Ben Joyce could conceivably push Estévez for the role, although it seems like Joyce is being groomed for a setup role. Stephenson hasn’t been a closer before, but he has the chops to do it. However, I think Estévez will remain the closer and continue to dominate in the role.

In late July of 2023, Taylor Ward was hit in the head by a pitch and missed the rest of the season. He played remarkably well in 2022 (he was even in the MVP conversation early on), but he wasn’t the same after he injured himself running into an outfield wall. This year will be different though, Ward will stay healthy and mash all year long, earning his first All-Star nomination.

The Angels will finish above .500

This may be the boldest prediction of them all, but if the other three come true, then this one almost certainly will. Some people seem convinced that the Angels simply won’t do any better without Ohtani on the team, but this roster has the potential to be sneaky good. Trout will lead a lineup that is a lot deeper than outsiders want to think, and Schanuel, Zach Neto, Logan O’Hoppe, and Mickey Moniak should all play even better than they did last year.

If you squint hard at the starters, you can talk yourself into Detmers being an ace, Patrick Sandoval and Griffin Canning being solid two and three starters, Tyler Anderson being a reliable innings eater, and Chase Silseth being a solid fifth starter with upside. The bullpen should also be better, especially considering the resources Perry Minasian poured into it.

The Angels might not be as flashy or famous without Shohei Ohtani, but this team has the talent to win more than 80 games, be over .500, and be a thorn in the side of divisional opponents. Making the playoffs might be difficult, but don’t expect the Halos to just roll over; they are going to surprise people this year.

Main Image: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

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