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OC Register: Angels 2024 season preview: How the roster looks

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The Angels lost Shohei Ohtani from their rotation, which was one of the worst in baseball, so expectations from the outside are low for this group. Internally, though, the Angels believe the pitchers’ performances in 2022 give them reason to think that they could benefit from some bounce-back seasons. Left-handers Patrick Sandoval, the Opening Day starter, and Reid Detmers were both better in 2022 than they were in 2023. Left-hander Tyler Anderson was an All-Star with the Dodgers in 2022, before enduring a miserable season with the Angels in 2023. Right-hander Griffin Canning quickly became a favorite of new Manager Ron Washington for the way he went about his business in spring training. Last season was his first full year as a major league starter, and he was the Angels’ most consistent starter besides Ohtani. Right-hander Chase Silseth has electric stuff at times, and he was putting all the pieces together before suffering a concussion that cost him most of the final month of the season. The Angels are hoping that all the pitchers can perform better under the tutelage of new pitching coach Barry Enright and bullpen coach Steve Karsay.


Right-hander Carlos Estévez was an All-Star in his first opportunity to be a closer for a full season in the majors in 2023. He finished the season poorly, so the Angels need him to learn from that in order to get through the whole season pitching effectively this time. The Angels revamped the group that will set up Estévez, which was a reaction to being outscored by 113 runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings last season. The newcomers include right-handers Robert Stephenson, Luis Garcia, Adam Cimber and José Cisnero. (Stephenson will begin the season on the injured list because of a sore shoulder.) They also brought back left-hander Matt Moore, who was one of the Angels’ best relievers in 2023. The pieces are there for the Angels to have a dominant bullpen, with high velocity and different looks. Two of the wild cards are right-handers Ben Joyce and Guillo Zuñiga, who both can hit 100 mph. Both also can be plagued by walks. Left-hander José Suarez, who had performed well as a starter in 2021 and 2022 before a disappointing 2023, is now the long man in the bullpen. He’s filling the role vacated by Jaime Barria.


First baseman Nolan Schanuel had never even been through a professional spring training before this year, but he nonetheless entered with a starting job that was his to lose. Schanuel, who was drafted in 2023, impressed enough with his .402 on-base percentage in his first major league opportunity. Second baseman Brandon Drury was arguably the Angels’ second-most productive hitter last year, behind Ohtani. Shortstop Zach Neto, who was drafted in 2022, was impressive in the field in his rookie season. At the plate, he showed some power, but the Angels expect more consistency as he gains experience. Third baseman Anthony Rendon returns, looking to turn his career around after three injury-marred seasons. At his best, he’s a middle of the order run producer and an outstanding defender. The Angels haven’t seen his best though.


The past three years have been frustrating for center fielder Mike Trout. He dealt with serious injuries each year, and last year his performance dropped before he got hurt. The Angels need Trout to return to the form that won him three American League MVP awards if they are going to contend. Left fielder Taylor Ward showed glimpses of being a potential star, with the way he started and finished 2022. Last year, he got off to a slow start and then he missed the final two months after he suffered serious injuries from being hit in the face by a pitch. Right field could be a revolving door, with Mickey Moniak, Jo Adell and Aaron Hicks all seeing time. Whoever plays the best will get the most opportunity, but Moniak figures to start the season as the primary right fielder.


Logan O’Hoppe could become the next face of the team. The Angels love his work behind the plate and his leadership. He also blasted 14 homers in 2023, despite missing most of the season after shoulder surgery. Matt Thaiss is the backup but he might only start 30 or 40 games, if O’Hoppe can be as durable as the Angels think. Thaiss is best known for his offense. He was a catcher in college, but then didn’t move back behind the plate until 2021.


Luis Rengifo can play second base, third, shortstop and all three outfield positions. He’s also a switch hitter. Rengifo was one of the Angels’ best hitters in the second half in each of the past two seasons. He is the first option if the Angels have an injury to any of their infielders. Although Rengifo can’t play first, he could play second with Drury moving to first. At least one of the group of Hicks, Adell and Moniak will also be on the bench each day, providing some power potential for late in the game.


Washington returns to the manager’s seat for the first time since 2014, which was the last of his eight seasons leading the Texas Rangers. Washington is known for his ability to teach and motivate, and he will have his work cut out for him to get the best out of this Angels’ roster. Defense is Washington’s specialty, and he vowed that the Angels will be better in the field than they have been in recent years.

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