As we near the end of the calendar year, Baseball Reference released their “2021 Sportify Wrapped,” which takes a look at the most viewed players and teams in Major League Baseball in 2021. The Los Angeles Angels were one of the most popular teams in this year’s edition.
The Angels went into the 2021 season with high hopes of ending their playoff drought. Instead, injuries to Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, and other key players left them with nowhere to turn, ultimately finishing below .500 for the sixth straight year and missing the playoffs for the seventh consecutive year.
They remained one of baseball’s most popular teams thanks to Shohei Ohtani, whose historic campaign netted him a unanimous AL MVP award and countless other hardware. His dominance at the plate and excellence on the mound made him a must-watch every night, even as the Angels struggled to keep ground in the playoff race.
That’s why it’s no surprise that in the 2021 Sportify Wrapped, Ohtani was ranked the No. 1 most popular Baseball Reference page visited throughout the year. Ohtani had previously been ranked the No. 1 visited page in 24 different states.
Ohtani was not the only Angels occurrence in their recap of the year. Trout, despite missing over 100 games with a Grade 2 calf strain, ranked No. 3 among all Baseball Reference pages visited in 2021. Years of MVP-caliber play contributed to this, but it could have also been due to the absolutely remarkable first month he had this season.
The Angels were also the most popular team in the AL West, with the Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners, Oakland Athletics, and Texas Rangers finishing out the rankings in that respective order. Having both the No. 1 and No. 3 individual players certainly boosted the Angels’ rankings.
Former Angel and L.A. Dodgers first baseman Albert Pujols ranked No. 2 on this list, giving the Angels another boost. In fact, Pujols got the second-most page visits in a single day on the day he was released by the Angels.
It’s unclear where the Angels ranked for popularity through the entire league. The New York Yankees were the AL’s and MLB’s most popular page, while the Dodgers ranked No. 1 in the NL. It would not be surprising, though, if the Angels were top five in that category as well.
Angels ranked fourth-most improved team
An ESPN piece discussing the most improved teams from the first half of free agency concluded that the Angels ranked No. 4 in this category. They deduced this by running World Series simulations before and after free agency to see who increased their number of pennant wins the most.