2020 Los Angeles Angels Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
LeBron James is in the playoffs every year (and wins championships), and that's why he's considered one of the best and most popular NBA players both now and ever. Ditto Tom Brady in the NFL. Sidney Crosby in the NHL.
Mike Trout might be better at his sport - seriously - than any of those guys are at theirs. Yet, I'd be willing to wager if Trout was standing next to you in line at Trader Joe's or wherever, you would have no idea who he was. I write sports for a living and I probably wouldn't, either.
To be fair, all baseball players have a bit of a low national profile, in part because they are hard to recognize as they are always wearing hats in their jobs. But mostly due to the fact that baseball isn't "cool" among younger people - when is the last time you saw a national marketing campaign featuring a baseball player? Can't go more than five minutes without seeing a State Farm commercial involving Aaron Rodgers.
This week, there have been reports that MLB is thinking about dramatically changing the postseason format, including adding a few more Wild-Card teams in each league. It won't happen likely until 2022, but do it! Anything to get Trout more national attention. It's a crying shame one of the greatest players in MLB history has played just one postseason series in his career and doesn't have a playoff win to his name.
The Halos missed the playoffs for a fifth straight year in 2019, finishing 72-90 and fourth in the AL West. That was the franchise's worst record since 1999, and it cost manager Brad Ausmus his job after just one season. He has been replaced by former Rays and Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who began his coaching career in the Angels organization in 1994. Great hire.
Los Angeles opens the season March 26 at the cheating Houston Astros.
Angels 2020 Projected Lineup
It's all about the incomparable Trout, who won his third AL MVP Award last year, which is tied for the second-most in history behind Barry Bonds' seven. Trout has finished in the top two in AL MVP balloting in seven of the last eight years, with his worst finish a fourth in 2017. That's absurd.
Trout hit a career-high 45 bombs last season and led the American League with an on-base percentage of .438 (best in baseball) and slugging of .645. The 28-year-old batted .291 with 104 RBIs and 110 runs scored in 134 games. Maddon has said he's contemplating having Trout lead off this year. Hey, if you can get the guy an extra 50 at-bats a year, do it. I tend to doubt it happens, though.
L.A. was a big winner in free agency as well in signing All-Star third baseman Anthony Rendon, formerly of the Nationals, to a seven-year, $245 million deal to help protect Trout in the lineup. Third basemen on the Angels hit a combined .243 with 13 homers last year; Rendon hit .319 with 34 homers, 126 RBIs and an OBP of .412 - and was spectacular in the Nats' run to the World Series.
DH Shohei Ohtani hit .286 with 18 homers and 62 RBIs in 106 games and should be even better a year removed from Tommy John surgery that kept him off the mound in 2019 and surely affected his hitting a bit. Albert Pujols is WAY past his prime at age 40 and criminally overpaid but still a threat at the plate.
This lineup would have been even better had the rumored trade for Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson gone through, but that's dead for now. Maybe the teams can still figure it out.
Here's what the lineup may look like:
2B Tommy LaStella (L)
OF Mike Trout (R)
3B Anthony Rendon (R)
DH Shohei Ohtani (L)
1B Albert Pujols (R)
OF Justin Upton (R)
OF Brian Goodwin (L)
C Jason Castro (L)
SS Andrelton Simmons (R)
Ohtani will not be in the lineup a few days a week once he returns to the rotation. Goodwin is just holding down a spot until top prospect Jo Adell is ready.
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Angels 2020 Projected Rotation & Closer
Los Angeles starters ranked last in the AL with a 5.64 ERA in 2019, nearly a full run above the league average of 4.76.
The Halos are going to be mega-cautious with Ohtani off that Tommy John surgery so they are going to delay his return to the mound until-mid May and will keep the 2018 AL Rookie of the Year on an innings limit. He was 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 51.2 innings as a rookie.
One huge benefit of Ohtani being a two-way player is that he won't count against the limit of 13 pitchers on a 26-man roster - a 13-pitcher limit is new in MLB this year as is a 26-man roster. Ohtani will qualify for a special designation as a two-way player.
L.A. signed former Braves pitcher Julio Teheran to a one-year deal; Teheran has so much potential but has trouble with consistency. He was 10-11 with a 3.81 ERA last year and is one of only six pitchers to record at least 170 innings in each of the past seven seasons. The Halos traded for another pitcher with great potential but inconsistent tendencies in Baltimore's Dylan Bundy.
Here's how the rotation should shake out (including when Ohtani is ready):
Matt Andriese likely will be the fifth guy until Shohei is back. Hansel Robles took over as closer early last season when Cody Allen struggled, and Robles finished with a career-best 2.48 ERA and 23 saves with 75 strikeouts in 72 2/3 innings. It's his job now.
Angels Futures Odds
Los Angeles is given a win total of 85.5 (over a slight favorite). The Angels are +850 to win the AL West, +1600 for the pennant and +3500 to win the World Series. Trout is an even-money favorite for another MVP and +1100 to lead the majors in homers for the first time. He is given an "over/under" total of 42.5.
Angels 2020 Predictions
This team is going to hit - I still think Pederson ends up with the Angels. Adell is one of the majors' top prospects so he could upgrade the lineup even more. The pitching is still a question mark; the death of Tyler Skaggs during last season was devastating from an on-field perspective too.
PECOTA projects 86 wins for the Halos. I could see as many as 88 as long as Trout stays healthy. Go over that win total, and this could be a Wild-Card team with the additions of Rendon and Maddon. I'm not taking Trout at such a short price for MVP or to lead the majors in homers.
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