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May 16, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Albert Pujols (5) celebrates hitting the game winning RBI single against the Chicago White Sox in the eleventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

 

LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHEIM – 58th SEASON

2017 BY THE NUMBERS:

Record: 80-82, second place in the American League West, 21 games behind the Houston Astros

Manager: Mike Scioscia, 19th season

Key Hitters (2017 stats):

  • Mike Trout, CF – .306 average, 33 HR, 72 RBI
  • Albert Pujols, 1B/DH – .241 average, 23 HR, 101 RBI
  • Justin Upton, LF – .273 average, 35 HR, 109 RBI
  • Andrelton Simmons, SS – .278 average, 14 HR, 69 RBI

Key Pitchers (2017 stats):

  • Garrett Richards: 0-2, 2.28 ERA, 27 strikeouts (injured for much of last season)
  • Matt Shoemaker: 6-3, 4.52 ERA, 69 strikeouts (see Richards)
  • Tyler Skaggs: 2-6, 4.55 ERA, 76 strikeouts (see Richards)
  • JC Ramirez: 11-10, 4.15 ERA, 105 strikeouts (only Angel with double-digit wins)

Top Newcomers:

  • Shohei Ohtani, P/DH, from Japan’s Nippon Ham Fighters: 3.20 ERA, .332 average
  • Zack Cozart, 3B, from Cincinnati Reds: .297 average, 24 HR, 63 RBI
  • Ian Kinsler, 2B, from Detroit Tigers: .236 average, 22 HR, 52 RBI

 

 

THE ANGELS’ TOP HIGHLIGHTS OF 2017; Courtesy of YouTube.

 

 

Analysis and Thoughts:

Things are looking up for these Halos from Orange County, as illustrated by them making the biggest news of this off-season by signing a young man from Northern Japan who with his ability to hit and pitch with much success reminds every one of how Babe Ruth was much the same way in the early days of his career.

Before his hitting got too overwhelmingly good and he switched to that full-time, of course.

As his spring training numbers showed, however, Angel fans need to keep in mind that irregardless of his exploits in Japan, Shohei Ohtani is 23 years old – an age where many, if not most players, are honing their skills in the minor leagues, trying to make “The Show”.

And that Major League Baseball is NOT Nippon Professional Baseball, as that league is akin to the AAA level of the minors here in the States.

Which means that Ohtani is going to be paying some major dues, especially in the early part of this about to start season.

In fact, I recently commented to a friend that although it’s definitely not going to happen, it wouldn’t be a bad idea at all for the Angels’ brass – Scioscia, general manager Billy Eppler, and owner Arte Moreno – to at least consider sending Ohtani to Triple-A Salt Lake for the first few weeks to get more acclimated to American baseball.

Then, if he kicks butt in the Pacific Coast League, bring him up to Anaheim sometime in mid-to-late April.

After all, that’s exactly what the Dodgers did with Cody Bellinger, and all he did was break the National League’s rookie record for home runs.

But as was said, that’s not going to happen as not only is there too much publicity and hype involved,

Those Angels desperately need the help he’s expected to provide in the starting rotation, as the fate of the Angels in 2018 rests on arms that have spent more time healing than throwing from a mound.

Simply put, if the arms of Richards and Skaggs holds up, that red-clad team’s chances of a wild card spot are good because their hitting will be no problem with the addition of Cozart and Kinsler and having Upton for a whole year.

Which will immensely benefit guys like Pujols, Trout, and Kole Calhoun, who with Upton and Trout will form one of the best outfields in baseball.

And I can’t leave out what catcher Martin Maldonado will bring to the table, as while he’s not in the lineup for his bat, his abilities behind the plate – he’s won a Gold Glove – more than makes up for it.

Speaking of Pujols, this is another milestone season for him as he’s just 32 hits away from his 3,000th.

Just another feather in his Hall of Fame resume, which he’s an absolute shoo-in to be elected to on the first ballot; it’s just a matter whether he’ll have an Angel or a St. Louis Cardinal cap on his plaque.

GETTING BACK TO OHTANI:

if he wins 10-15 games with an earned run average in the mid-threes or low fours and a batting average around .270 his first year, Angel fans should be fine with that.

He’s got all the tools and talent, but as with almost anyone starting their life in the big leagues, it will take time for him to gel and really make an impact.

In other words, I’ve got two words for all those Angel fans out there…

Be. Patient.

Shohei Ohtani during a Spring Training game (wearing those UGLY jerseys); he’s possibly the most hyped newcomer the Angels have ever had. Photo courtesy of cbssports.com

 

ALL RIGHT, HERE’S MY PREDICTION OF HOW I SEE THE ANGELS FARING IN 2018:

They will win anywhere from 83-87 games, and have a very good shot at not only finishing in second place, but claiming a berth in the post season as a wild card.

There’s no way whatsoever that those Halos will beat out the defending World Series champion Astros, who don’t look like they will have a hangover from their epic title win over the Dodgers, but…

If their pitching stays healthy – and that’s a fairly big “if” – the Angels’ chances of achieving good things this spring and summer are good.

Now if only they got rid of those ugly red caps and uniforms, especially those hideous red caps and alternate red jerseys, and returned to the uniforms they wore in the 1980s or 90s;

That’s a message that I would give Moreno or anyone who runs the Angels if I ever meet them…

Dump those red caps and jerseys and GO BACK to what you wore in the 80s or 90s!

PLEASE!!

 

Jul 15, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun (56) celebrates with center fielder Mike Trout (27) after defeating the Chicago White Sox 7-0 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Wearing uniforms that they SO need to go back to – NOW! Photo courtesy of halohangout.com

 

 

 

 

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