2020-07-08 12:00:00 EDT
The Los Angeles Angels come into the abbreviated 2020 MLB season as one of the wild cards in not only the American League but a potential dark horse to make the world series.
The Los Angeles Angels come into the 2020 season hoping to shake off a 2019 season that was full of ups and downs with plenty of disappointment and tragedy. The Halos finished with 72 wins and a 4th straight losing season since their rechristening as the Los Angeles Angels. The good news is that Mike Trout won his 3rd MVP award but the bad news was that this L.A. team missed out on the postseason for the 5th straight year.
The Angels did their best to change the culture in the organization, starting with the bench boss by replacing Brad Ausmus with Joe Maddon. Maddon was relieved of his duties by the Cubbies after missing the playoffs for the first time as Chicago’s manager in five years at the helm. Los Angeles tried to make up for a brutal offseason prior to the 2019 season, which included the signing of Matt Harvey for the starting rotation and needless to say that didn’t go very well. The Halos did in turn make one of the biggest splashes in free agency, signing Anthony Rendon to play third-base, inking Rendon to a seven-year deal worth about $35 million annually. The bad news is that the Angels didn’t really address the other need which was pitching depth after missing out on the likes of Stephen Strasburg, Gerrit Cole and Zack Wheeler. The hope for the Angels is that role fillers like Julio Teheran and Dylan Bundy can add depth to guys like Andrew Heaney and the group of rookie pitchers in Griffin Canning, Jose Suarez and Patrick Sandoval who combined for an ERA just shy of six last season.
As far as the schedule goes, the Angels will play against teams within the AL West as per usual, as well as the National League West, and looking at that slate, one of the matchups that has to stand out is the L.A. vs. L.A. matchup between the Angels and Dodgers with plenty of star power on both sides. It will be interesting to see how the Angels fare within their division as the only team that Los Angeles had a winning record against was the Seattle Mariners at 10-9 last season.
Odds/Prediction: The Angels made one of the biggest moves of the offseason, getting Mike Trout a complimentary piece in the batting order with Anthony Rendon, but the problem for the Angels is that the pitching rotation didn’t get much better, at least improved enough to hang with the AL West in a shortened season. The rotation of Heaney, Bundy and Teheran combined with a couple of the younger arms like Canning, Sandoval and Suarez just don’t pose much of a threat going off of what we saw last year. Joe Maddon and the addition of Rendon will bring some winning vibes to the Angels, but in a season that’s a sprint and not a marathon, I expect the Halos to hover around .500, so I’ll side with the under 31.5 wins for the Angels this year.