The Los Angeles Angels 2024 Baseball Season Primer
Mar 16, 2024; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Angels outfielder Taylor Ward (3) crosses home plate after a home run in the sixth inning as outfielder Jake Marisnick (10) watches on during a spring training game against the Chicago Cubs at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

It is fair to say that the 2023 Major League Baseball (MLB) season was disappointing for the faithful Los Angeles Angels fans. Their beloved team finished fourth in the American League with a 73-89 (.451) record and missed the World Series playoffs for the ninth consecutive campaign. But with a new season comes a clean slate and renewed optimism; are Angles fans right to be optimistic for the 2024 MLB season?

The 2023 season got off to a relatively decent start, with the Angels 40-32 at one stage and looking a solid bet to end their losing season run and playoff drought. However, the team capitulated during the business end of the season, losing 57 of the final 90 games to finish fourth in the AL West, some 17 games behind the Houston Astros.

Like Without “Shotime”

The eyes of the baseball fraternity will be fixated on the Angels, at least during the opening few games of the 2024 MLB season, because it is the first time since 2018 that Shohei “Shotime” Ohtani is not on the roster. The Japanese superstar became a free agent after the 2023 season for the first time before signing a record-breaking ten-year, $700 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers in December, the largest contract in professional sports history.

Any baseball team would be left with a gaping hole if it lost a player of Ohtani’s quality. Last season, Ohtani led the American League in home runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, on-base plus slugging, total bases, and wins above replacement, eventually scooping the American League Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for the second time in three seasons.

It is always a challenging time when a team loses its star player. Still, bizarrely, the Angels’ management team has not even attempted to replace Ohtani by acquiring a designated hitter or a starting pitcher, instead relying on others to step up to the plate and drive the team forward.

Trout and Rendon Lead the Charge

The Angels need the best of Mike Trout more than ever before. Trout is considered one of the best in the game, but he has struggled to remain fit recently. The 11-time All-Star has missed 259 games over the last three seasons because of many injuries. Trout even went as far as apologizing for being in the treatment room so much during the 2023 season.

Trout turns 33 on August 7 and has only experienced the playoffs once in his career, back in 2014, when the Kansas City Royals swept the Angels in three games. He is running out of time if he wants to play in the postseason again, so a massive season is needed from the man who will receive approximately $260 million over the next seven seasons.

Anthony Rendon is another Angels veteran; Rendon will be 34 years old on June 6. Rendon put pen to paper on a seven-year, $245 million contract with the Angels in December 2019 but has hardly set the world alight. Between Trout and Rendon, the Angels will pay $75 million a year in wages through 2026, more for two players than the Baltimore Orioles paid their entire 101-win roster in 2023!

Angels Predicted Line-Up

The gaping hole left by Ohtani aside, the 2024 Angels line-up should look strikingly similar to the 223 edition. Mickey Moniak is expected to start in right field, with Taylor Ward in left field. Nolan Schanuel, Luis Rengifo, and Anthony Rendon should continue at first, second, and third base, respectively, while Trout is guaranteed to start in center field if fit and healthy.

Logan O’Hoppe should be the catcher, Zach Neto the shortstop, and Brandon Drury should be the 2024 Angels’ designated hitter. If that turns out to be the starting line-up, as predicted by many baseball experts and pundits, the recent additions of Aaron Hicks and Ehire Adriana will begin the campaign from the bench.

This could be the season that youngsters Schanuel and Neto begin to shine. Schanuel was the 11th overall pick of the 2023 MLB Draft and enjoyed a promising rookie season. Schanuel recorded a hit in his first ten games, setting a new Angels franchise record. In addition, Schanuel reached base safely in all 29 games he played and finished with a .275 abbreviated first-season batting average, one home run, and six RBIs in 109 at-bats.

Neto was the 13th overall pick of the 2022 MLB Draft, making him the highest-drafted player in Campbell’s baseball history. Neto made his major league debut in April 2023, and although he set an unwanted MLB record of being hit by a pitch seven times in his first 15 games, there are high hopes for the Florida native.

A Successful Season for the Angels?

The 2024 MLB season will likely be challenging for the Los Angeles Angels players, staff, and loyal fans. Climbing above .500 would be an incredible achievement while the team gets to grips without having Ohtani on the roster. Remember that the Angels only won 73 games with Ohtani, so hitting that total again looks like an outside shot.

On their day, the Angels have players who can win baseball games. Veterans Trout and Rendon know what it takes to get over the line, so keeping them fit and healthy will be crucial to any success the Angels experience in 2024.

Youngsters Schanuel and Neto have the baseball world at their feet and could enjoy breakout seasons. Likewise, catcher O’Hoppe started his Angels career in solid form before requiring surgery on a shoulder injury that kept him out of the running for three months. If those two veterans stay on the field, these fledgling players can learn much from Trout and Rendon.

Most see 2024 as a year of transition for the Angels. Sadly, it is a year of transition that will likely coincide with arch-rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, winning their eighth World Series. That’s baseball!












Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *