Jump to content
  • Welcome to AngelsWin.com

    AngelsWin.com - THE Internet Home for Angels fans! Unraveling Angels Baseball ... One Thread at a Time.

    Register today to comment and join the most interactive online Angels community on the net!

    Once you're a member you'll see less advertisements. If you become a Premium member and you won't see any ads! 

     

2024 Los Angeles Angels Player Predictions, Part One: The Hitters


AngelsWin.com

821 views

01h8cnkcj8byvj3m3z3v.webp

By Jonathan Northrop, AngelsWin.com Senior Writer

It is probably too early for this, but I'm bored and what else are we going to discuss? Here's what I expect to see from the current team so far - at least the regulars. My predictions tend to be what I see as reasonable optimism, although this is partially in contrast to the everything-went-wrong fiasco that was the 2023 season. When considering playing time and injury, I'm treating each player individually, that is, in a vacuum; chances are, more games will be missed by some of the starters. 

C LOGAN O'HOPPE (24)

2023 Stats: 51 games, .236/.296/.500, 14 HR, 113 wRC+, 0.2 WAR

There's a before and after for O'Hoppe. Before his injury, he hit .283/.339/.547 with a 137 wRC+ in 16 games; after he hit .217/.279/.481 with a 102 wRC+ in 35 games. But even that can be split up:  .145/.217/.291 with a 35 wRC+ in his first 15 games back, and .270/.325/.622 with a 152 wRC+ in his last 20 games.

So who is the "real" Logan O'Hoppe? I'm pretty bullish on him and think he's going to be one of the ten or so best catchers in baseball as soon as 2024. My lone complaint is that I'd like to see him take more walks. For his first few years in the minors (2018-21), his BB% was in the 7-8% range; in 2022, it doubled to 15.7% (70 walks in 104 games). In the majors so far, it has been back down to 7.4%. Presumably he'll eventually be somewhere in-between.

Anyhow, in 2023 the top two catchers by WAR were William Contreras (5.4) and Adley Rutschman (5.1), followed by four in the 4.1 to 4.7 range. After that there's a drop, with nine in the 2.0 to 2.8 range. My guess is that O'Hoppe splits the difference between two groups and finishes in the 3-4ish range, with 4-5 upside in peak years. But even if he becomes more of a 2-3 WAR player, he has a chance to become the best all-time Angels catcher by WAR before he reaches free agency (to be fair, that isn't saying much, with Bob Boone being the all-time leader with 13.1 WAR).

2024 Prediction: 113 games, .263/.337/.518, 23 HR, 128 wRC+, 3.1 WAR

1B NOLAN SCHANUEL (22)

2023 Stats: 29 games, .275/.402/.330, 112 wRC+, 0.1 WAR

Schanuel is one of the most unusual hitters in baseball. He walks a ton, but has virtually no power (1 HR, 3 2B in 30 hits last year), mainly due to an over-cutting swing that generates a lot of ground balls. I think he'll eventually develop at least low-average power (25-30 2B, 10-15 HR) to go along with a .290+ BA and 100+ walks. In other words, a poor man's Wade Boggs, though won't have the benefit of the Green Monster to bounce doubles off of. He might be slated to start the year in AAA, but I think will be the starting first baseman well before the All-Star break. With that OBP, he could end up being the most unconventional lead-off man the Angels have had since Brian Downing.

2024 Prediction: 110 games, .284/.407/.390, 7 HR, 124 wRC+, 2.0 WAR

2B LUIS RENGIFO (27)

2023: 126 games, .264/.339/.444, 16 HR, 114 wRC+, 1.9 WAR

Of all the players that I was concerned might be traded this offseason, Rengifo topped the list for me. He seemed to have a micro-breakthrough in the second half of 2022, hitting .267/.290/.455. After a slow start in 2023 (.219/.312/.326 in the first half), he exploded in the second half (.318/.374/.587). Now it could be that Rengifo is just a slow starter, and certainly I don't expect him to reach those numbers over a full season, but...I think he's going to take a big step forward in 2024 and, like O'Hoppe, be in the 5-10ish range for his position. But he's a guy to watch early on: if he starts strong, he could be even better than I'm predicting.

2024 Prediction: 143 games, .274/.348/.487, 23 HR, 126 wRC+, 3.4 WAR

SS ZACH NETO (23)

2023: 84 games, .225/.308/.377, 9 HR, 89 wRC+, 1.1 WAR

A bright spot early on, Neto impressed with his all-out play. He really seems to embody the notion of "spark-plug" - a guy who just brings life to the team, in the batter's box, on the base paths and, most of all, in the field where he was stellar. Some have compared him to Dustin Pedroia and David Eckstein; I think, when he finally reaches his potential, he'll be somewhere in-between the two. For next year, I expect better numbers than 2023, if only because his season will (hopefully) not be interrupted by a long injury layover, but Neto also seems to be the type of player who will miss time, due to his hard play. 

2024 Prediction: 133 games, .267/.328/.422, 14 HR, 105 wRC+, 2.7 WAR

3B ANTHONY RENDON (34)

2023: 43 games, .236/.361/.318, 95 wRC+, 0.2 WAR

What a disaster. Sorry, homers, but you're not a "hater" if you simply point out the obvious: Rendon hasn't been able to stay on the field the last three years (148 games all told), and when he has he hasn't been good. The pattern seems to be: start rusty and slow, get going and hot, get hurt and miss more time than expected, rinse and repeat. The thin slivers of hope are that A) He hasn't played much over the last four seasons, so has less wear-and-tear than a 33-34 year old normally has; and B) he has hit well once he throws off the rust. So maybe he has something left in the tank, but...Anyhow, I'll split the difference between "homerish optimism" and "more of the same."

2024 Prediction: 100 games, .271/.374/.420, 15 HR, 118 wRC+, 2.3 WAR

LF TAYLOR WARD (30)

2023: 97 games, .253/.335/.421, 14 HR, 107 wRC+, 1.5 WAR

For about a month and change in 2022, Taylor Ward looked like a breakthrough superstar. Then he crashed into a wall and was out for awhile. When he came back he didn't look the same, though gradually heated up and finished the year strong. Going into 2023, I had a lot of hope that he had had a legit breakthrough, but Ward's 2023 was another disappointment among many for the Angels, and just as he seemed to be finding his groove (a 197 wRC+ in his last 14 games), he was hit in the face by a 92-mph Alex Manoah sinker. It is anyone's guess how he'll come back. There's a non-zero chance that he will never comfortably stand in a batter's box again and/or that his vision will be compromised. As far as I know, there's been little news about his recovery other than the usual baseballspeak. He could put it all together and be the star player he's flashed for parts of the last two years, or end up as a charity-case bench player. To quote Fox Mulder, I want to believe.

2024 Prediction: 118 games, .274/.357/.491, 20 HR, 128 wRC+, 2.8 WAR

CF MIKE TROUT (32)

2023: 82 games, .263/.367/.490, 18 HR, 134 wRC+, 3.0 WAR

For the first month of 2023, Trout looked like Trout, hitting .320/.408/.612 with a 176 wRC+ through his first 26 games. Then for the next six weeks or so, he went through the worst such span of time of his career, hitting .199/.318/.351 (85 wRC+) from April 30 to June 16. He finally seemed to shake it off, hitting .340/.441/.680 (203 wRC+). June 17 until July 3 when he...broke his hand on a contact-less swing?! Only the Angels and, unfortunately, only Trout. After putting together what was arguably the best first eight full seasons in baseball history, Trout has been a shell of his former self the last four years, mostly due to a string of injuries that has seen him miss over half of all Angels games over the last three seasons.  Or to put it another way, from 2012-19 he was (70.6 WAR) was 50% better than the next guy (Buster Posey with 47.0 WAR); from 2020-23, he has been the 29th best player, producing 58% (13.8 WAR) of the leader during that span (Aaron Judge with 23.6 WAR)

I suppose the silver lining is that each injury has been different and mostly random; so it isn't like he has a bad knee or some other chronic injury (well, aside for that weird back condition). He just seems to have a knack for injury and, quite frankly, there's no reason to expect that to change. Still, there's also no reason to think that with a player of his talent and due to the freakish nature of his injuries, he can't put together a few reasonably health seasons in, if not 2012-19 form, something not far from it. I do think he bounces back, but it will be at a slightly lower level than what we've seen in his prime.

2024 Prediction: 128 games, .281/.393/.577, 34 HR, 163 wRC+, 6.5 WAR

RF JO ADELL (25)

2023: 17 games, .207/.258/.448, 86 wRC+, 0.2 WAR

The good news is that Adell seemed to improve in the ways that he needed to improve - he took more walks and played better defense. The bad news is that it was in AAA. More bad news is that, like everyone else, he got hurt and then only played 17 games in Anaheim. At 25 in April, he's no longer young; but he also isn't old. To some extent there's still the sense that Adell will either be a star or a bust, but I think more likely is that he's somewhere in-between, maybe something like Hunter Renfroe. He seems to really want it and will keep working to improve his game. But it is really coming down to a place where its now or never. 

2024 Prediction: 110 games, .252/.301/.493, 23 HR, 114 wRC+, 1.8 WAR

DH BRANDON DRURY (31)

2023: 125 games, .262/.306/.497, 26 HR, 114 wRC+, 2.5 WAR

Drury was one of the only bright spots for the Angels, and probably the only acquisition that actually turned out as hoped. He pretty much continued where he left off from 2022; now, averaging 2.8 WAR over the last two seasons, he's pretty much the definition of "quality regular." What you see is what you get. If the Angels are out of it in July, he's a likely trade candidate.

2024 Prediction: 130 games, .260/.315/.490, 27 HR, 118 wRC+, 2.0 WAR

OF MICKEY MONIAK (26)

2023: 85 games, .280/.307/.495, 14 HR, 114 wRC+, 1.5 WAR

Moniak seemed like he had finally found his first round potential in the first half, but there was a lingering concerning as he didn't walk. At all. He finished the year with an ungainly 9 walks to 113 strikeouts, which doesn't bode well for the future. But even after his midseason slump, he started hitting again; so he seems like a feast-or-famine guy, who will get hot for spells. On paper, he looks like a good platoon player or 4th outfielder, but this is a bit tricky with such a streaky player. But he'll be in the mix with the rest of the questionable cast of characters that will be the Angels outfield, and will get playing time. That said, he's the only player among the ten on this list that I predict will be worse in 2024 than in 2023.

2024 Prediction: 90 games, .250/.280/.442, 12 HR, 100 wRC+, 0.8 WAR

0 Comments


Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.

Guest
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...