Monday, April 8, 2024

Analyzing Shohei's Timing


It's just funny is all. The Angels right now are better, and more varied, than they've been in a while. They not only have more answers at important positions than ever, but so many relied-upon players actually playing worth a damn. And yet going into this season, Shohei Ohtani figured that staying in Anaheim was no way to actually compete, hence going with the other LA ballclub.

I get that he wanted the payday. I get that he wanted the Hollywood lineup. I get that he wanted more eyes upon him. But we're headed towards the possibility that Ohtani could have been on a playoff team if he'd stayed in Anaheim. Which is...kinda hysterical. 

The Angels aren't perfect right now, judging by yesterday's drubbing by the Red Sox. But so much of this team just feels ironed-on now, kinda wild considering how disastrously shorthanded they were last year. For one, the two early call-ups from 2023, Zach Neto and Nolan Schanuel, are regulars in this lineup. Neto's been decent so far, but Schanuel made some waves by continuing an on-base streak from his debut like nobody before him, and it was going well til the MLB brass overturned a call, erroneously, and ended his streak. The Angels broadcasters basically used this as a way of going into a whole rant about how the MLB is making terrible decision after terrible decision right now, and seeing as the Orioles guy got suspended for just saying it took a while for them to compete again, hopefully they won't be forced to rescind those statements at gunpoint. 

But the main issue with last season for the Angels was that, while they had good players doing big things, they all happened in spurts. Y'know, O'Hoppe had his good week, then Ward had his good month, then Moniak showed up and was good for a month, etc. Right now Logan O'Hoppe, Taylor Ward, Tyler Anderson, Reid Detmers, Carlos Estevez and ESPECIALLY Mike Trout are playing well. Trout's hitting home runs like the old days, but Ward's right there with him, with 3 homers and 8 RBIs already. I'm really hoping for Ward to turn a strong start into an excellent full season one of these days, and hopefully now's the time. And Detmers has 19 strikeouts in 2 starts, which is a very good thing.

But you look at what Ohtani actually chose, and...they're actually doing pretty well at the moment too. The Dodgers are still shortchanged in the pitching department, and they have a lot of guys [including Ohtani himself] who won't pitch this year. But they've still managed to cobble together a decent rotation, because look at Tyler Glasnow go. Three starts in, he's 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA and 15 Ks. This is his most confident, most consistent start in a while, and hopefully he'll keep this success going. You're also seeing James Paxton's A-material again, and while it's wild that he's the 35+ veteran hurler after the injuries ate away at his peak years, it's refreshing to see him A.) in a Dodgers uniform and B.) succeeding in this role. 

But Ohtani wanted to be the third piece of the hydra. And Betts, Freeman and Ohtani are all off to nice starts. Mookie Betts especially, he's hitting .415 with 17 hits, 11 RBIs and 5 homers. And he's doing this while playing excellent shortstop, which is something nobody was really sure he could do. Betts may finally nab a second MVP this year, and I think Ohtani will be gracious enough to let him. Still, a .304 average, 6 RBIs and 2 homers ain't nothin' to sneeze at.

I think the Dodgers are going to have the better overall season, but it would be cool if the Angels finally put something together, even without Ohtani. Unless he bet on that as well...

Coming Tomorrow- A hurler who probably didn't think he'd be starting for a last place team this year. 

No comments:

Post a Comment