Category Archives: Los Angeles Angels

2018 AL West Predictions

1. Houston Astros

The Astros are the defending world series champions, but they arguably made their team even better this offseason with the addition of star pitcher Gerrit Cole. Either way, it’s very difficult to find a weakness on this roster. The Astros have a terrific lineup led by AL MVP Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer, and Alex Bregman. Houston also has other contibutors in their lineup, but those 4 guys are the core that will carry them for several years to come. Houston also has a terrific starting rotation with Dallas Keuchel, Justin Verlander, and Gerrit Cole leading the rotation. They also have Lance McCullers and Charlie Morton who provide even more depth to the rotation. Houston also has a reliable bullpen with closer Ken Giles and quality setup men Will Harris and Chris Devenski. Houston is definitely the favorite to win the AL West this year and they have all of the pieces to make a deep playoff run once again.

2. Los Angeles Angels

The Angels just missed out on the playoffs last season, but they made some offseason additions that could allow them to be a playoff team in 2018. Los Angeles added Ian Kinsler to be their starting 2nd basemen as that has been a major area of weakness for a few years. The Angels also added Zack Cozart this offseason as he will help to fill a void at the 3rd base position. Those two players will just make the Angels lineup even more dangerous especially with the team already having Mike Trout, Justin Upton, and Albert Pujols in their lineup. However, the key for the Angels will be their starting rotation as their starting pitchers failed to stay healthy last season. Garrett Richards is back in 2018 after missing most of last season due to injury and Andrew Heaney is also returning set to return from injury. The Angels also made a big splash in free agency by signing Shohei Ohtani, but it is a mystery as to how he will adjust to the MLB level since he has only played professionally in Japan. If the starting pitchers for the Angels can stay healthy then they should have a decent starting rotation especially if Ohtani is able to live up to the hype. Meanwhile, the Angels bullpen could be a major issue for the team heading into 2018. Blake Parker figures to be the team’s closer in 2018, but he is rather unproven in that role. The Angels also added Jim Johnson this offseason as a setup man, yet Johnson had an awful 2017 season for Atlanta as he had a 5.56 ERA. Los Angeles also has Cam Bedrosian as a late-inning option, but he struggled for the Angels last season with a 4.43 ERA. Los Angeles needs improvement from Johnson and Bedrosian if this bullpen is going to be successful in 2018. Overall, the Angels should be able to score plenty of runs with their deep lineup, although the starting rotation and bullpen are what is holding them back from competing with the Astros.

3. Seattle Mariners

Seattle is a team that has been on the verge of finally making the playoffs, but they just haven’t been able to do so. The Mariners will probably compete for a playoff spot in 2018, although it is unlikely that they will be able to secure a wild-card spot. Seattle has a very good lineup with Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano, and Kyle Seager providing the power in the middle of the lineup. However, the Mariners also acquired Dee Gordon this offseason who will be their new leadoff hitter with his tremendous speed. Seattle should be able to score runs, but the question will be their pitching staff. Felix Hernandez clearly isn’t the starting pitcher that he once was and he is not the ace of the rotation anymore. James Paxton is the team’s new ace, although the problem for Paxton is that he just can’t seem to stay healthy consistently. Mike Leake and Erasmo Ramirez will provide decent depth in their rotation as the 3rd and 4th starters. However, the Mariners need Paxton to stay healthy and Hernandez to return to form if their starting pitching is to be successful. Meanwhile, the Mariners bullpen should be very good as they have Edwin Diaz as a good closer. However, they also have plenty of depth with Juan Nicasio, Nick Vincent, and David Phelps being good late-inning options. Seattle should be a playoff contender in 2018, but the key to their success will be the starting rotation.

4. Texas Rangers

The Texas Rangers are a team that is definitely trending in the wrong direction as they were a good team a couple of years ago, but now they probably aren’t even a playoff contender. Texas still has a very good lineup and they can hit for some power with Joey Gallo, Rougned Odor, Adrian Beltre, Shin-Soo Choo, and Nomar Mazara leading the way. The team also has Elvis Andrus who can hit for some power as well and he provides tremendous speed as well. The Rangers will hit plenty of home runs this season, but they might still struggle to score some runs as they don’t have many players that hit for a good average. Texas also has a decent bullpen as they have Alex Claudio, Keone Kela, and Jake Diekman as solid late-inning options. However, they need to find which one of those guys will be their closer in 2018, although Claudio seems like the best option out of that group. The one major concern for the Rangers is their starting pitching as they have 5 veteran starters, but those starters all really struggled last season. Cole Hamels is the clear ace for the rotation, yet he needs to be much better than he was last season. Martin Perez, Doug Fister, and Matt Moore have all had success at the MLB level. However, those 3 guys seem to be trending in the wrong direction at this point in their careers. Texas has the lineup to be competitive, but they need more out of their pitching if they want to even be competitive in 2018.

5. Oakland Athletics

Oakland is kind of a mystery team heading into 2018 as they have plenty of young talent, although they aren’t expected to be playoff contenders. Khris Davis is the clear threat in the Athletics lineup as he is one of the best power hitters in the game. However, the Athletics also have young players Matt Olson and Matt Chapman that have proven that they are capable of hitting for power as well. Oakland’s lineup certainly has the potential to hit home runs, but they probably won’t hit for average or score many runs in general. Meanwhile, Oakland’s starting rotation is a complete unknown as it is full of young and uproven starting pitchers. Kendall Graveman and Sean Manaea are probably the team’s best starting pitchers, but neither has proven themselves as the best of the group. Jharel Cotton and Daniel Mengden also have some potential, although they both haven’t been very good early on in their careers. Oakland’s rotation has tremendous potential since they are such a young group and they don’t have much MLB experience. However, somebody needs to step up and pitch well because they don’t really have a leader in their starting rotation. Oakland could have a good starting rotation, but it could also be terrible and we’ll just have to see which young starting pitcher can step up. Oakland’s bullpen has a chance to be good this season as they have Blake Treinen as a decent closer. Also, they have Santiago Casilla and Yusmeiro Petit as experienced late-inning options in their bullpen. However, Oakland’s bullpen has some quality depth overall and it should be the overall strength of the team heading into 2018. The Athletics probably aren’t going to be a playoff contender in 2018. However, don’t count the A’s out since they are an intriguing team with all of their young talent and they could be a sneaky team in 2018.



Angels sign Cozart to a 3-year deal

The Los Angeles Angels continued to make major changes this offseason as they have signed shortstop Zack Cozart to a 3-year/$39 million contract. Cozart really boosted his free agent value last season as he had a career-high .297 batting average along with 24 home runs and 63 RBI’s with Cincinnati. Cozart could continue to be a starting shortstop as that is the only position that he has ever played. However, the Angels don’t really need a starting shortstop for 2018 as Andrelton Simmons is the clear starter at that position. That means Cozart will have to shift over to 3rd base for the 2018 season as the Angels had a major void at that position prior to this signing. It definitely won’t be very easy for Cozart to adjust to a new position considering that he’s played every single game of his career at shortstop. However, the good news is that he will have the rest of the offseason and spring training as well in order to prepare for the position change so it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge. It’s difficult to expect Cozart to have the same success offensively that he had last season, although he certainly is capable of being an above average batter. This signing is really good for the Angels as he will add more depth to the Angels lineup and he is a big upgrade over what they had at 3rd base last season.

Grade: A

zack cozart

Tigers trade Kinsler to the Angels

The Detroit Tigers continued their rebuild on Wednesday as they traded veteran 2nd baseman Ian Kinsler to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for outfielder Troy Montgomery and right-handed pitcher Wilkel Hernandez.


Tigers grade:

This trade makes some sense for the Tigers as they clearly aren’t going to be in a position to compete next season as they are just beginning what could be a lengthy rebuild. That is why it was good that they traded away Ian Kinsler since he is nearing the end of his career and he will now have a chance to compete for a playoff spot elsewhere. This move makes sense for the Tigers mainly because it allows them to cut $11 million from their payroll by having the Angels take up his entire 2018 salary. That isn’t a lot of money to pay a player like Kinsler, but the Tigers need to cut costs wherever they can especially with an aging veteran player that won’t help them much. Meanwhile, I’m not quite excited about the prospects that Detroit is receiving in this deal. Outfielder Troy Montgomery was the 20th ranked prospect in the Angels farm system according to However, the Angels don’t have a very good minor league system which means that Montgomery isn’t a very quality prospect. Montgomery doesn’t provide much power or offensive ability as he only had 8 home runs last season in 100 minor league games. He does have decent speed as he has 28 stolen bases in 2 minor league seasons and doesn’t have a very impressive batting average as he hit only .271 last season. Montgomery is a good fielder, but he needs to improve his offensive ability if he wants to reach the MLB anytime soon. The other prospect that Detroit received is right-handed pitcher Wilkel Hernandez who was the 24th ranked prospect in the Angels minor league system. Hernandez is only an 18-year old who was an international free agent signing by the Angels in 2016. He has some upside, but he is still a very raw prospect that will take many years for the Tigers to develop. However, he has pitched well mainly as a starting pitcher in rookie ball as he is 6-1 with a 2.28 ERA in 17 games pitched. Maybe the Tigers could have acquired more for Kinsler, but now they can continue their rebuild and give another young player an opportunity to play 2nd base.

Grade: C+


Angels grade:

I really like this trade for the Angels as it gives them an all-star caliber player at a position that they have struggled at recently. Kinsler’s production declined last season as he hit only .236 for Detroit, but he still has solid power as he hit 22 home runs in 2017. Kinsler is a very good defensive 2nd baseman as proven by his gold glove award in 2016, yet he is a significant upgrade offensively over what the Angels had at the position last season. Kinsler is likely just a temporary solution at 2nd base since he is 35 years old and he is entering the final year of his contract. However, Kinsler should help the Angels improve in 2018 and that might be enough to push them into the playoffs.

Grade: B+

ian kinsler

Season Outlook: Los Angeles Angels

Projected 2017 Starting Lineup:

  1. Yunel Escobar – 3rd baseman
  2. Kole Calhoun – Right Fielder
  3. Mike Trout – Center Fielder
  4. Albert Pujols –¬†Designated Hitter
  5. Luis Valbuena – 1st baseman
  6. Cameron Maybin – Left Fielder
  7. Danny Espinosa – 2nd baseman
  8. Andrelton Simmons – Shortstop
  9. Martin Maldonado – Catcher

Projected 2017 Starting Rotation:

  1. Garrett Richards
  2. Matt Shoemaker
  3. Tyler Skaggs
  4. Ricky Nolasco
  5. Jesse Chavez

Season Outlook:

Despite having the best player in baseball with center fielder Mike Trout, the Angels are still probably not going to be a contender in 2017. We all know that Trout will carry the offense for the most part, but it will be Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun that are key to their offensive success. Pujols is still one of the best players in baseball when healthy and he proved that last season when he hit 31 home runs. He is getting old, but if he can stay healthy then expect him to continue his outstanding career. Calhoun also will probably be a key contributor for the Angels offense as he hit 18 home runs for them in 2017. Los Angeles did improve their lineup with the additions of Danny Espinosa at 2nd base and Cameron Maybin in left field. The Angels offense should be good with Trout and Pujols leading the way, yet they’ll need more from the other position players in order to succeed. Meanwhile, the Angels pitching staff is filled with major uncertainty heading into 2017. Garrett Richards is the team’s best starting pitcher, but there is a question as to whether he will stay healthy or if he’ll be the same pitcher in 2017 after his elbow injury last season. Matt Shoemaker and Tyler Skaggs both have good potential, but they will need to be more consistent for the Angels pitching staff to be good next season. Ricky Nolasco and Jesse Chavez aren’t really good options even at the back of their rotation. The Angels need Richards to stay healthy for the pitching rotation to be successful. However, there will be more pressure on Shoemaker and Skaggs to be much more consistent as well. The Angels have a good setup man in the bullpen with Cam Bedrosian, but other than him they don’t have much else in the bullpen. Huston Street will be the team’s closer despite having a 6.45 ERA in limited action last season. Overall, I think the Angels lineup will be pretty good next season, but it is the pitching rotation that will need to step up in 2017.

Prediction: 4th place in the AL West


Biggest need remaining for every AL West team

Houston Astros РBiggest need: 1st baseman

The Houston Astros don’t have a big need, but if there is one position that appears to be a little bit of a concern then it would be 1st base. Yulieski Gurriel will be the team’s starting 1st baseman in 2017, but he has limited MLB experience which makes me wonder how he will fare with the everyday job at 1st base next season. Gurriel hit .262 with 3 home runs for Houston last season, but the Astros should add at least some depth to the 1st base position. It might not work out with Gurriel as the everyday 1st baseman and the Astros should find another 1st baseman that can fill in if Gurriel doesn’t do well. There are many options left in free agency and they would be smart to add some depth to 1st base.

Los Angeles Angels – Biggest need: Catcher

The Los Angeles Angels didn’t get much production out of the catcher position with Geovany Soto and Jett Bandy. Now, both Bandy and Soto have departed this offseason which means there will be a new starting catcher for the Angels in 2017. Carlos Perez will see more playing time as a backup catcher next season. However, Martin Maldonado was acquired from the Brewers this offseason in order to be the new starting catcher. Maldonado has some power as he hit 8 home runs last season, but he needs to be a more consistent hitter as he only had a .202 average. It’s tough to find solid catchers these days, but the Angels could really use one because the combination of Maldonado and Perez doesn’t look too promising.

Oakland Athletics – Biggest need: Centerfielder

Oakland has some big needs to fill before next season, but the biggest need that they have is in center field. Jake Smolinski is projected to be the starting centerfielder for the Athletics in 2017, but he has never been very good even as a backup outfielder. Smolinski can hit some home runs as he hit 7 last season, but a .242 average is a little concerning. I don’t see Oakland going out and signing a quality centerfielder. However, there are still a few out there if they choose to go that route and it would probably improve their lineup.

Seattle Mariners – Biggest need: Left Fielder

The Mariners outfield isn’t looking too good for next season as they have three starting outfielders that aren’t very solid players. However, left field appears to be a major weakness for Seattle heading into next season. Ben Gamel is projected to be the starter in left field for the Mariners in 2017, but the issue is his lack of experience. Gamel only has 48 career at-bats and he only has a .188 average to show for it. There are still some quality left fielders in free agency and the Mariners should sign one to compete with Gamel for the starting job.

Texas Rangers – Biggest need: 1st baseman

Texas lost starting 1st baseman Mitch Moreland in free agency and it has created a major vacancy at the position heading into next season. Right now Ryan Rua would be the starting 1st baseman for Texas and he has only played 44 games at the position in his career. Don’t be shocked if the Rangers make a move to sign a quality 1st baseman and it has been rumored that they will reach a deal with Mike Napoli. Either way, the Rangers should add an everyday 1st baseman soon, although their options are starting to run out.

Angels sign Revere to a 1-year deal

The Los Angeles Angels added to their outfield depth as they signed veteran centerfielder Ben Revere to a 1-year/$4 million contract. Revere had an awful season with the Nationals last season as he hit .217 with 2 home runs. However, Revere has some value still as a backup outfielder as he has tremendous speed and he can get on base often. The Angels already have their starting outfield with Mike Trout, Kole Calhoun, and Cameron Maybin. Revere probably won’t see a large role with the Angels, but he could be useful at the top of the lineup if one of the starting outfielders needs a day off. Also, Revere could be used late in games as a pinch runner that has an ability to steal bases consistently. Revere is a career .285 hitter, so I believe that last year’s horrible batting average was likely a fluke for Revere. He will likely use 2017 with the Angels to build up his value again and maybe he can get a bigger role for the 2018 season as he is currently only 28 years old. The Angels clearly needed some outfield depth for 2017, so I like this signing for the team. Revere obviously won’t compete for a starting outfield spot. However, he still has good speed and he can get on base often if called upon as a replacement.

Grade: B-


Maldonado traded to the Angels

The Los Angeles Angels added to their depth at the catcher position as they acquired Martin Maldonado and right-handed pitcher Drew Gagnon from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for catcher Jett Bandy.

Angels evaluation:

The Angels are getting a veteran catcher with Martin Maldonado who they hope can compete for the starting catcher job in 2017. Maldonado has been in the majors for 6 seasons, yet he has never played more than 79 games in a season as he has been a backup with Milwaukee. Maldonado isn’t a great defensive catcher as he had 7 errors in 69 games last season, although he has thrown out 35% of baserunners in his career. Maldonado isn’t really known for his offense as he is a career .217 hitter. However, he does have some good power for a catcher as proven by his 8 home runs in 76 games for the Brewers last season. It will be interesting to see if Maldonado will get the full-time catching role with the Angels or if they will have him split time with Carlos Perez. Jett Bandy was probably a better option to start at catcher than Maldonado which makes it strange that they would trade Bandy away. Maldonado only brings a little bit of offensive ability and he can throw out baserunners, but he is still probably a below average starting catcher. Meanwhile, the Angels also acquired right-handed pitcher Drew Gagnon in this trade. Gagnon was a 3rd round pick in 2011 by the Brewers, so he obviously is a talented pitcher. However, he has put up terrible stats in the minor leagues as he is 30-38 with a 4.64 ERA in his career. Los Angeles will have a lot of work to do with Gagnon and it will start by developing some more pitch control. Gagnon was supposed to reach the MLB level by now, although it will likely take a couple of years for the Angels to develop him if they ever are able to. I’m not sure that I really like this trade for the Angels. They are getting a veteran catcher that has been a backup for most of his career and yet they are getting rid of a younger catcher that was better last year. Bandy was probably a better option at catcher for the Angels than Maldonado and it doesn’t make much sense why they would make this deal as it doesn’t really help their team.

Grade: C

Brewers evaluation:

The Milwaukee Brewers are looking to get younger and more talented this offseason as they rebuild their roster for the future. This trade will certainly help as Maldonado is a 30 year old catcher that had only been a backup for the Brewers most his time there. Jett Bandy is only 26 years old and he is probably a better catcher than Maldonado is. Bandy had his first full season in the MLB last season for the Angels and he played relatively well. Bandy hit .234 with 8 home runs in 70 games played and he has been tremendous defensively as he has thrown out about 40% of baserunners. Bandy should be able to compete for the starting catcher job with the Brewers and he’s probably an upgrade over Maldonado. It is unfortunate that the Brewers had to trade away former 3rd round pick Drew Gagnon since the team wasn’t able to develop him. However, it was the right move for Milwaukee since Gagnon wasn’t developing effectively in their minor league system. Overall, the Brewers probably weren’t going to use Maldonado much next season anyway and it makes sense to get a younger catcher by acquiring Jett Bandy.

Grade: B