Before the season started, I predicted that the Los Angles Angels would win the AL West. It was one of my five bold predictions for the 2021 MLB season. It was the one I was the most confident in and after four games I am liking what I am seeing from the Halos. The Angels are going to make noise this year, and I fully believe the Angels will win the AL West.
This Angels lineup is deep. David Fletcher, Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, Jared Walsh, and Justin Upton. Those are the first six batters to this Angels lineup. I touch on Trout and Ohtani in the next section so I can hold off on them for now. But starting with David Fletcher, he is in his 4th MLB season and has been a great leadoff hitter for the Angels. Through 287 career games, he is posting a .292/.346/.385 slash line. Fletcher is a guy that does the little things right and gets overlooked by most because he doesn’t hit 25+ home runs each season.
Anthony Rendon shouldn’t need much explanation. He is one of the best 3rd basemen in the league. He can hit for average, he can hit for power, and he can play the field. Justin Upton may be getting up there in age as he turns 34 later this season. But he can still hit pretty damn well. He has 308 career home runs including at least 25 in 6 of the last 8 seasons. The last guy on that list is Jared Walsh. You probably don’t know his name but you will learn it. Walsh made his debut in 2019 at the age of 25, where he played 31 games. Last season he played 32 games and hit nine home runs batting .293 in that time. This year he already has two home runs in four games, including a walk-off 3-run bomb to beat the White Sox on Sunday Night Baseball. He will get 25 home runs with ease this year and will continue to be a dangerous bat in this Angels lineup.
Jared Walsh. BALLGAME. pic.twitter.com/OucVqmWkm2
— MLB (@MLB) April 5, 2021
Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani
One of these guys is the best player in the league and the other is the most unique player in the league. Starting with Mike Trout. The 3x MVP and 8x All-Star is in his 11th MLB season and has zero playoff wins to his name. He has a career .304 batting average, .418 on-base percentage, and a .582 slugging percentage. Trout has 302 career home runs and at the age of 29, he just keeps getting better. There is a reason that Trout is the favorite to win AL MVP almost every year. He is just shadowed by the shit show that was the Angels organization.
But things have turned a corner in the last few years especially with the signing of Shohei Ohtani. If you don’t know who Ohtani is then you are missing out on one of the most unique players in the game. What makes Ohtani special is that he can both pitch and hit. Last night Ohtani started the game on the mound for the Angels and was batting 2nd in the lineup. He threw the fastest pitch by a starting pitcher so far this season at 100.6 mph and hit a home run in the same inning with an exit velocity of 115.2 mph, which was the hardest-hit ball by any player through four games. With Ohtani in the rotation and in the lineup, the Angels are going to win a lot of games because of him.
Shohei Ohtani hits 101 on the mound and then crushes a homer! pic.twitter.com/4jS1zKfCHo
— Baseball Bros (@BaseballBros) April 5, 2021
In addition to Ohtani, the Angels rotation has a couple of nice pieces. Dylan Bunday got the opening day start and struck out 6 over six innings pitched. He gave up three runs and earned a no-decision while the Angels picked up a win. Alex Cobb had similar numbers in his first start with the club, as he struck out 7 over six innings. Cobb has a career 3.88 ERA while Bundy has a career 4.54 ERA. Last season, Bundy had his strongest season, posting a 3.29 ERA over 11 starts. Andrew Heaney and Jose Quintana round out the Angels rotation as the 4th and 5th starters.
The bullpen looks strong too. Raisel Iglesias was acquired via trade from the Reds to be the team’s closer. Mike Mayers, Junior Guerra, and Aaron Slegers are other notable names in the Angels pen. It is still very early in the season, but this start for the Angels is definetly a promising one.
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