The Los Angeles Angels season ended in disappointment. Despite a good start, the Angels struggled through a mid-season slump and never recovered. The Angels fired their manager Joe Maddon, but it wasn’t enough to save the season. The team missed the playoffs for the 8th consecutive year. The team last won the World Series in 2002, their first and only championship to date.
The bright side is that the team has several outstanding players under contract, including Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout.
The sports betting world has Aaron Judge as the favorite to win the American League MVP Award this season, but that’s not to say last year’s MVP Shohei Ohtani didn’t have a tremendous season.
The Angels’ two-way superstar had a Cy Young Award-caliber season while also being one of baseball’s best hitters. Ohtani finished the season with a 15-9 record, a 2.33 ERA, and a league-leading 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings. He slashed .273/.356/.875, hit 34 home runs and drove in 95 runs in 157 games, an unparalleled performance in the modern-day game.
Ohtani avoided what would have been a fascinating arbitration case this coming offseason by agreeing to a one-year contract worth $30 million for 2023. Ohtani will become a free agent after next season.
Mike Trout has been the face of the Angels franchise since he broke into the starting line-up 11-seasons ago. The 31-year-old, 10x all-star, 3x MVP, has a lifetime average of .303, has hit 350 home runs, batted in 896 runs, and stole 204 bases in just 1,407 games played, injuries limiting his last three seasons to just 208 games.
The Angels selected Trout in the first round, 25th overall in the 2009 MLB draft. He played 40 games in 2011 and won the 2012 AL Rookie of the Year Award the following season, batting .326 and hitting 30 home runs while stealing a league-leading 49 bases.
In 2019, Mike Trout signed a 12 year / $426,500,000 contract with the Los Angeles Angels, including a $20,000,000 signing bonus, $426,500,000 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $35,541,667. In 2023, Trout will earn a base salary of $35,450,000 while carrying a total salary of $37,116,666. He will be a UFA in 2031 at the age of 39.
Probably the most surprising player for the Angels this season has been Taylor Ward. Ward was drafted by the Angels in the first round of the 2015 MLB draft, 26th overall out of Fresno State. Ward was converted from a catcher to a third baseman before his debut in 2018 and played both the hot corner and outfield during the season.
Ward was expected to platoon this season, but a hot start including his season debut on April 16, 2022, going 2-for-3 with a solo home run against the Texas Rangers elevated him to everyday status. Ward would be named the American League Player of the Week for April 25–May 1, a span where he batted .448 with a .484 on-base percentage, a 1.000 slugging percentage, ten runs scored, and 11 RBIs.
Ward finished the 2022 season batting .281 with 23 home runs and 65 RBIs in 135 games, a pleasant surprise for what was a very disappointing 2022 season for the team.