TST’s 2024 Angels Season Preview

The Angels have not had a winning season since 2015 and have not made the playoffs since the year before that -- both of which are the longest active streaks in Major League Baseball.

There are some things that may not be fun to hear, but they are factual and have to be stated.

The Angels lost 89 games last season, which was the same amount they lost the season before. Shohei Ohtani is gone and up the road in Los Angeles. The Angels have not had a winning season since 2015 and have not made the playoffs since the year before that — both of which are the longest active streaks in Major League Baseball.

Okay. That’s out of the way.

Perry Minasian and the Angels had a busy winter where they to reconstruct and overhaul most of their primary roster. Much of it came from internal growth and the farm system, which is the most desirable (and cheapest) way to build a roster — with your own guys. Budgeting was a bit more limited this winter than in prior ones, but the Angels still were able to spend over $50 million on relief pitching alone. This is a new team than prior ones. It is filled with young guys, whether of rookie-status or not, and wiry veterans that have a hunger to win and eliminate the comments listed above. Will they do it? Our staff takes a look and breaks down each position to see if the Angels have something worth eliminating those comments.

This preview is a collective effort from the Angels writing staff from The Sporting Tribune – Taylor Arrey, Anthony Bautista, Brandon Deutsch, Marisa Flores, Michael Huntley, Taylor Blake Ward

STARTING ROTATION — Brandon Deutsch, MLB Staff Writer for The Sporting Tribune:

Patrick Sandoval will be the opening day starter for the Angels, but after a stellar 2022 season, his 2023 campaign was a huge step back. In 2022 Sandoval finished the season with an impressive 2.91 ERA with 151 K’s and 60 walks in 148.2 innings pitched. Sandoval’s changeup had some of the best metrics in the MLB that season, and in 2023, his changeup was worse, part of the reason he regressed to a 4.11 ERA with 76 walks in 144.2 innings pitched. Another reason is obviously the control issues that were more evident in 2023 than 2022. Sandoval needs to get his control back in order to see a 2024 season indicative of his 2022 success and it’s entirely possible it happens.

Reid Detmers has arguably the highest upside of any pitcher on the staff. He is coming off a great outing vs. the Dodgers with 5 innings pitched and only 3 hits given up against a lineup at full strength with Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani, Max Muncy, Will Smith…etc. After an amazing 2022 where Detmers had a 3.77 ERA, gave up just 46 walks, and threw a No-Hitter vs. the Tampa Bay Rays as a 22-year-old, he had a 4.48 ERA with 64 walks allowed in 148.1 innings pitched in 2023. A lot was expected from Detmers in 2023 and he didn’t take the leap many expected him to take. However, his strong Spring and dominant outing vs. the Dodgers could mean that breakout is coming in 2024 considering Detmers is still just 24 years old and has some of the best pure stuff of any left-hander in the sport.

Griffin Canning missed all of the 2022 season with injuries and returned to form in 2023 in a nice bounce back year. He finished with a 4.32 ERA, 139 K’s, and just 36 walks in 127 innings pitched, and he had some stellar starts against very good teams last year. Canning’s big problem is consistency. Some outings Canning looks like the Angels ace going 6 shutout innings and in other outings he looks like the worst pitcher on the staff going just 1 or 2 innings with 6 runs given up. I will give him the benefit of the doubt since he was coming off a major injury last year, but Canning’s ERA should be under 4.00 this season if he remains healthy.

The most underrated starter in the rotation, the 23-year-old Chase Silseth finished with a 3.96 ERA and 56 K’s in 56.2 innings pitched last season, including a quality start against the red-hot Braves in early August when the Angels were still trying to make the postseason. Silseth also dominated a fully healthy Dodgers lineup with 10 K’s and 2 runs in 5 innings pitched on Tuesday night. The 26 walks in 56.2 innings pitched in 2023 is a little concerning, but his stuff plays very well at the MLB level and if he limits his walks, he should take another leap this season.

Tyler Anderson had a year to forget in 2023 finishing with an atrocious 5.43 ERA and 119 K’s in 141 innings pitched. He also has a big home-run problem as he gave up 20 long-balls in 2023. He’s also had a home-run problem though. Even in his career year in 2022 for the Dodgers where he posted a 2.57 ERA in 178.2 innings pitched, he gave up 14 long-balls. That part of his game won’t go away, but hopefully Anderson has better control considering he walked 64 batters in 2023 and only 34 batters the year before. This is the last year of his contract.

The extra arm that could join the Angels rotation is Jose Soriano, who has been doing an excellent job being stretched out as a starter in Spring Training games. Soriano had an excellent season in the backend of the Angels bullpen in 2023 finishing with a 3.64 ERA and 56 K’s in 42 innings pitched. His 97-100 MPH sinker is simply disgusting, and his off-speed pitches have looked way better in the Spring. It remains to be seen if Soriano will be used as the 5th or 6th starter, or a long reliever this season. Either way, the uber- talented 25-year-old has all the tools to become an All-Star at some point in the near future.

BULLPENTaylor Blake Ward, Affiliate Director for The Sporting Tribune

Revamped might be an understatement when talking about the Angels bullpen for 2024. Over the winter, they committed a combined $51.55 million towards their relief core while bringing in veterans Adam Cimber, Jose Cisnero, Luis Garcia, Matt Moore (re-sign), Robert Stephenson, Adam Kolarek, and Zach Plesac. That list doesn’t include depth options made via minor league signings, the Rule-5 Draft, or trades in the likes of Guillermo Zuniga (who made the Opening Day roster), Hans Crouse, Tayron Guerrero, Travis MacGregor, Jose Marte (re-sign), Ryan Miller, Hunter Strickland, and Tyler Thomas. The veteran additions who cracked the roster make for an intriguing new look at the bullpen who, on paper at minimum, look the part of a solid staff.

The new additions also add to the depth of the bullpen who had a handful of holdovers from the year prior in Carlos Estevez — who will serve as the team’s closer at the outset of the season — Sam Bachman (who will continue developing as a starter in the minors), Jose Soriano (who will be progressively stretched out to a starting role) and Jose Suarez. Internally, with the minor league signings, will be the likes of Kelvin Caceres, Jimmy Herget, Nick Jones, Eric Torres, Andrew Wantz, Kenyon Yovan — as well as standout prospects and likely eventual in-season additions: Ben Joyce and Victor Mederos.
It is a fully revamped, and in reality, better suited bullpen than it has been in probably over half a decade. Over usage will fall on how deep the starting staff goes, but if all goes well on that front, this may be one of the strong points for the Angels in 2024, and retaining leads may be an easy case.

CATCHERSTaylor Blake Ward, Affiliate Director for The Sporting Tribune

The Angels will run with a familiar look behind the plate for 2024. Despite starting the year with the big-league club last year, Logan O’Hoppe (who suffered an oblique injury in the early stages of 2023) will get his first full season as the primary catcher for the Angels. The injury limited him to just 51 games where he was an above-average hitter posting a 111 OPS+, along with 14 home runs. You likely won’t expect to see O’Hoppe retain his near 40 home run pace, but can expect him to play adequate defense while gaining more faith in his revamped bullpen and hit around par for the course while targeting 120-or-more games, as a starting look to the Angels catcher for the foreseeable next half decade.

Matt Thaiss once again retains a backup position after a defensive resurgence in 2023 where he was one of the top half receivers in Major League Baseball. Nearly replicating his offensive numbers from the previous season, Thaiss could serve as both a backup backstop, as well as some corner infield play where he may see pinch hitting duties against right-handers.

INFIELDMichael Huntley, Lead MLB Analyst for The Sporting Tribune

The Angels are in a unique situation with their infield in that the team has some stability but lacks depth. The infield is likely to look the same for most of the games this season, but the team could run into trouble with just one injury.

Anthony Rendon, Zach Neto, Brandon Drury and Nolan Schanuel are expected to be everyday players for the Angels.

Neto had an outstanding Spring Training with a .310 batting average and a .942 OPS. Washington praised Neto in his postgame press conference Tuesday.

“He’s a kid that really has some upside,” Washington said. “He’s a baseball rat, he works hard and he’s going to be successful because of the work ethic that he has, the baseball acumen that he has and that want that he has. We just have to get him experience playing at the big-league level every day.”

Luis Rengifo will be a utility infielder off the bench. 66 of his 120 games were at second base last season, 23 at third base and 37 at shortstop.

A major factor in the Angels success this season will be the health of Rendon. He has not played more than 58 games in a season since joining the Angels in 2020, although he did play 52 of the team’s 60 games in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. The last time Rendon played a full major league season was in 2019 with the Nationals. That season he had a 157 OPS+, earned a Silver Slugger and was third in the National League MVP voting. If Rendon can play 130 games or more this season and return to about 80 percent of what he was in Washington, he could be a 4 WAR player which is a massive upgrade over what he has been.

Schanuel was a pleasant surprise for Angel fans as a late season call up in 2023. After playing just 44 minor league games, Schanuel was called up to the big leagues where he had a .402 OBP in 29 games.

New Angel Miguel Sano was taking ground balls at third base prior to Tuesday’s Spring Training game but hasn’t played more than 10 games at third base since 2019. Sano will primarily be a designated hitter for the Angels and will be able to spell Schanuel at first base on occasion.

The Angels have three other infielders on the current 40-man roster, but the team still has to make a roster move prior to Thursday’s game to make room for Sano. Michael Stefanic is battling a quad injury and has shut down baseball activities as of March 20. He was a 103 OPS+ player in 25 games last season, but I expect the Angels to move him to the 60-day injured list to add that 40-man roster spot for Sano. Kyren Paris is a 22-year-old shortstop that the Angels want to play every day in the minor leagues. He will likely be a late season call up for the Angels, but don’t expect to see him before August unless Neto suffers an injury. Livan Soto was designated for assignment this offseason, claimed by the Orioles and then reclaimed by the Angels shortly after. He is entering his age 24 season and could be called up if the Angels suffer an injury.

OUTFIELD –Taylor Arrey, Lead Staff Writer for The Sporting Tribune

With the return of Mike Trout and Taylor Ward, the Angels outfield will have a much more familiar look this season, but there’s more to this puzzle, as the Opening Day roster is set to carry five outfield players.

In recent years, Trout has dealt with stints on the injured list that have limited his playtime to 237 games in the last three seasons, meaning that the key to his success this season will be staying healthy. Before he was injured last season with a hamate fracture in his left hand, Trout was in the midst of one of the worst offensive runs of his career with a .263 average and .857 OPS after 82 games — an unconventional line of stats compared to previous years’ performances.

During spring training, Trout began working his way back to the top, logging 47 plate appearances with 11 hits, one home run and six RBIs, and earning a .234 average and .710 OPS. If Trout can stay healthy for the entirety of the season whilst continuing to build on the foundation he laid in Tempe, there’s hope that the 11-time All-Star will have a record year reminiscent of the seasons that earned him three AL MVP Awards.

Left fielder Ward will also reclaim his spot on the outfield roster, returning to the game after he was hit in the head by a 91.7 mph pitch from Blue Jays righty Alek Manoah last July. Before the injury, Ward was a left field regular alongside Trout, and it’s likely that he’ll reclaim that position going into 2024.

Along with Ward and Trout, the outfield roster will feature three other outfield players, including Mickey Moniak, who had a breakout season in the center field spotlight last year during Trout’s absence.
Moniak will split time in right field with veteran outfielder Aaron Hicks, who the Angels signed to a one-year deal in January. Hicks previously landed a seven-year, $70 million extension with the New York Yankees in 2019, but after being released by the team in May 2023, he was picked up by the Baltimore Orioles. He finished the 2023 season in Baltimore after 65 games, slashing .275/.381/.425 with seven home runs, seven doubles and 31 RBIs.

Hicks and Moniak will also be joined by another familiar Angels name — Jo Adell. The No. 6 overall prospect in 2020, according to MLB Pipeline, has had a productive spring training run, showcasing a significant amount of progress compared to last year. Out of minor league options, Adell’s challenge will be matching his offensive power with a solid right field presence to earn him more playing time.

COACHING STAFFAnthony Bautista, MLB/MLS Staff Writer for The Sporting Tribune

Since appointing Ron Washington as manager in November, the Los Angeles Angels orchestrated a whirlwind of additions to their coaching staff this past offseason.

One of Washington’s first additions to his staff was former Angels pitcher Barry Enright as the team’s pitching coach. Enright, who pitched for the Halos from 2012-2013, has spent the last five years with the Arizona Diamondbacks, serving as an assistant pitching coach over the past two seasons.

Joining Enright in the dugout is Jonny Washington, hired to fill the hitting coach role after spending the last two seasons with the Chicago Cubs as an assistant hitting coach. The Angels also poached Tim Laker from the Los Angeles Dodgers, appointing him as the offensive coordinator. Laker previously served as the Dodgers’ minor league hitting coordinator and had stints with the Seattle Mariners and Diamondbacks.

Ryan Goins, who retired as a player just last season, will serve as the infield coach in his first season coaching.

In the infield, former Houston skipper Bo Porter steps into the fray as the new first base coach while Eric Young Sr. will serve as the third base coach. Lastly, Jerry Narron assumes the mantle of catching coach, leveraging his past role as the Angels’ minor league catching coordinator.

Washington’s staff brings a unique blend of years of coaching experience along with recently retired former players, which could help the 71-year-old connect with his players a little more. Regardless of how well his coaching staff works together, the roster they have to work with isn’t the cream of the crop in MLB and it will be an uphill battle for 162 games.


“The Angels haven’t had a winning record since 2015 and I don’t see that trend stopping this season. While the team has reloaded the coaching staff, the product on the field compared to their toughest opponents in the AL West — the defending champs Texas Rangers and Houston Astros — will likely be too much for the Halos to compete with. A third-place finish would be a step in the right direction and a realistic goal this season.” – Anthony Bautista — MLB/MLS Staff Writer for The Sporting Tribune

“Many people expect the team to win around the same amount of games as last year (73) but I think they could be a little bit better. It all starts with Mike Trout, who hasn’t played over 119 games since 2019. If Trout is healthy, the Angels will be in a solid position to win games. In fact, their offense is their calling card with Trout and Zach Neto and Logan O’Hoppe expected to take leaps as well. Brandon Drury is solid, Aaron Hicks is a seasoned veteran, Miguel San is hitting the heck out of the baseball, and Luis Rengifo has turned into one of the most underrated players in baseball.

Sure, they lost some star-power without Ohtani in the lineup, but it should still be a top 15 lineup ready to mash on a nightly basis as long as it is healthy. However, the angels do play in one of the toughest divisions in baseball with the Rangers, Astros, and Mariners all expected to make the postseason leaving very little expectations for this Halos team. That could be a good thing for them though considering a huge microscope was following them with Ohtani and Trout and now they can just focus on baseball. Overall, I expect this team to be better than last year’s team and surprise people with 80-82 wins.” — Brandon Deutsch, MLB Staff Writer for The Sporting Tribune

“The Angels have quite a season ahead of them with some major adjustments from last year. The team lost superstar Shohei Ohtani to free agency but gained a new manager in Ron Washington, who managed the Texas Rangers during back-to-back World Series appearances.

The Halos didn’t have a winning record with their star last season and currently are projected to be one of the worst teams in baseball this year, which may not come as a surprise.
However, the team’s silver lining could lie in the young talent they acquired last season. Zach Neto and Nolan Schanuel seemed to adjust easily in the majors in little time, keeping optimism high as to what they can accomplish this year. Without Ohtani, it will be interesting to see if the team continues the trend of bringing up recently drafted players.

With Washington at the helm, I would imagine the Angels can expect a culture change in the clubhouse. Hopefully that change can produce a winning season for the Angels, who have not had one in the past eight years.

While I still remain shaky in my confidence of a postseason appearance, I can see the Angels producing a winning record with their new mix of young prospects and seasoned veterans.” — Marisa Flores, MLB/NBA Staff Writer for The Sporting Tribune

“Shohei Ohtani was nearly a 10 WAR player last season and the Angels won 73 games. The Angels made no upgrades to the starting rotation, no major upgrades with the position players and their biggest investment was a setup relief pitcher who is currently injured.

I expect some growth from the young players in the Angels’ lineup. Zach Neto could be a 3 WAR player and Mickey Moniak has 25 home run potential. The rotation moving to a five-man rotation rather than six is a variable that could be good for the pitching staff and give them more of a consistent regimen.

A lot rides on the health of Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon. If the Angels get 140 games from each of them, they can be in contention long enough to make a trade in July. The worst-case scenario is the Angels hover around .500 at the trade deadline and repeat what they did last season. I expect a slight upgrade from last season and between 75-80 wins. But the Angels will need 90 wins to reach the playoffs and it would take major improvements from several players to reach that mark.” — Michael Huntley, Lead MLB Analyst for The Sporting Tribune

“Coming off back-to-back 73-win seasons, the Angels lost their best asset and potentially the best player in baseball in Shohei Ohtani. They revamped much of their pitching staff while filling internal holes with internal players and prospects, outside of the bulk of their bullpen. Seemingly, expectations are that it will be much of the same for the Angels in 2024 as it has been in years prior. It may be the loss of Ohtani, or it may be gripping with reality, but this would come off as the year with the lowest expectations for an Angels team on paper in quite some time.

Call it a rebuild year, without actually using that term, and I believe that is what this team will be. Let the young players blossom into legitimate everyday players in the likes of Logan O’Hoppe, Nolan Schanuel, Zach Neto, Jo Adell, Chase Silseth, and others. The division itself doesn’t assist with the Mariners looking pretty legitimate, a weakened but still defending champion Texas Rangers, and the Houston Astros who may not look as pretty on paper as years prior but still a threat for the postseason.

All said and done, a season above .500 with a combined 300 games from Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon may come as a victory for this club and the Ron Washington factor is likely their best chance at attaining that goal. Give me 300 games combined games of Trout-Rendon, and 130 games each from O’Hoppe, Neto, Schanuel with a full season of development for the arms and call it a win. I say 75-81 wins is a realistic outcome.” — Taylor Blake Ward, Affiliate Director for The Sporting Tribune