2018 Record: 80-82
Projected 2019 Record: 82-80
2018 Recap & 2019 Team Outlook
The Angels won 80 games last season, and the 2019 projection is for them to just win two more games. Not ideal when you currently hold the best player in baseball, and can’t get to the postseason. They have locked up Mike Trout for 12 more years, and will have time to start a minor rebuild around him. The 2019 outlook is a tough one because they still are nowhere near the American League elite teams. Houston is still the top dog in the AL West, while Oakland was the team to jump ahead last season. The Angels could certainly pull ahead of Oakland given the status of their rotation, but they are going to need to win more than 85 games to be in the hunt for the Wild Card.
Los Angeles just forked out the most money for a contract in MLB history to Mike Trout, now what? They have a lot of aging used to stars around him, and a very average at best staff. We now need to look ahead over the next few seasons and see a bigger picture. Eventually some of these teams will start to focus on paying a few of their loaded young stars, giving the Angels an opportunity to catch up. As for this season, it is going to be about having some over-performing arms and bats to try and get the Angels to where Oakland was last season. There are some starting pitchers on the trade market, and with the rotation being in the shape that it is, you have to wonder if they go out and look for an arm at the deadline.
Angels Starting Pitching
Starting pitching isn’t a strong suit for the Angels right now, and the offseason acquisitions of Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill are decent moves, but the upside seems a bit capped. Harvey left New York last season, and found himself with Cincinnati for a brief stint. We won’t look too much into Spring Training, but Harvey doesn’t look much better. Both Andrew Heaney and Tyler Skaggs have had their share of injuries in their career. When healthy they have slowly turned into slightly above average left-handers. Jaime Barria was hit and miss last season, but did win ten games. He relied heavily on his slider which is a concern if you are looking at his health. Trevor Cahill has sported a positive groundball and strikeout rate over the last few seasons. When healthy, he has been a solid middle of the rotation arm.
Los Angeles went out to get a full time closer, landing Cody Allen. It has been a while since Los Angeles has had a steady closer. Cody Allen had some issues in Cleveland last season, but still is someone who can notch 30+ saves. Cam Bedrosian and Dan Jennings will be names that set him up. Otherwise this is a pretty average bullpen that will need to be used often if this staff can’t go deep into games. Looking at the names in the rotation, they likely will be used heavily. Names like Ty Buttrey and Luis Garcia are interesting young names that have a lot of upside as young relievers.
We start with Mike Trout, hit had a .312/.460/.628 slashing line last season. He is the best player in baseball, and despite what you may believe, it is not really that close. Now the names around him have been aging stars. Justin Upton finished with 30 HR last season, hitting .257. Upton continues to be a stable power bat, but his hot and cold stretches run far too often for him to be consistent. Kole Calhoun’s average just continued to slop last season, and he never really broke out. He did hit 19 HR, and the right-field wall being lowered seemed to help a bit. The Justin Bour and Albert Pujols combo is not that attractive when you look at their 1B/DH situation. Bour isn’t a bad hitter, but these guys don’t have the power to mask their poor contact skills.
Los Angeles will hope to get some steady production out of Zack Cozart once he is back and fully healthy. That doesn’t look like it will be early on. Cozart would be an interesting leadoff name to move up if he comes back strong. The rest of the order is pretty pedestrian. Andrelton Simmons is a steady contact bat with limited upside, while names like David Fletcher and Jonathan Lucroy are below average bats at their positions.
Angels Projected Lineup
- Kole Calhoun
- Mike Trout
- Justin Upton
- Justin Bour
- Albert Pujols
- Andrelton Simmons
- Zack Cozart
- Jonathan Lucroy
- David Fletcher
2019 Noteworthy Fantasy Pitchers
Andrew Heaney – We have two middle of the road left-handers that flash their original upside potential. Both Andrew Heaney and Tyler Skaggs have had some injuries in their career that really derailed their career trajectory. Heaney is still a viable SP in all formats. He threw 180 innings last season, and averaged a strikeout per inning. If he can stay healthy, he should flirt with a four ERA bringing you moderate strikeout numbers.
Tyler Skaggs – Tyler Skaggs threw 125 innings last season, and had some strong strikeout stuff at times. He is another interesting lefty to take a shot on, but we will also have to hope for good health. Skaggs did a good job of missing bats, but the home runs did hurt at times. He had better ERA estimators than his 4.02 ERA, and the projections for this season look pretty solid.
2019 Noteworthy Fantasy Hitters
Mike Trout – It is Mike Trout. Your number one fantasy pick. If he isn’t, then you have someone trying way too hard.
Justin Upton – Now on the other side of 30, Justin Upton continues to be one of the better hitters when all is said and done. He has topped 30 HR each year since 2016, and finds himself around a 160 R + RBI most seasons. Upton’s SB are going to be single digits, and that average likely isn’t coming back around, but the power production is still there.