Thursday, May 9, 2024

The Inevitable in Anaheim


9 days into May, the Angels are without Mike Trout, without Anthony Rendon, without Miguel Sano, and only 2 games ahead of the Astros. Business as usual.

It's depressing how predictable it is as well. The second Trout got off to a best-in-the-AL home run hitting streak, I knew it was only a matter of time. And the thing is, both Trout AND Rendon are frustrated that they're missing time this year, because it seems to be like clockwork. Contrary to popular belief, neither of these guys WANT to miss time, they're just both very unlucky. Especially Trout, who's seeing the last decade of his career turn into Ken Griffey Jr.'s 2000s, despite any attempt to stop it. 

And it's painfully evident that without Trout and Rendon, and Ohtani for that matter, there really isn't much to this Angels team. Who the hell is the central figure in this lineup now? Taylor Ward still? He's hitting well enough, .273 with 7 homers and 24 RBIs, but I don't know if he's versatile enough to lead the team, especially considering how hot-and-cold he can run over the course of a season. Zach Neto and Nolan Schanuel have improved since cold starts, but neither is hitting over .250 at the moment. People like Wyatt Langford and Paul Skenes are proponents for calling players up within a year of drafting them, and Neto and Schanuel are proponents of...gradual development, I suppose. Nico Hoerner was like this. It's not immediate for some people. 

And then you have role-players on this team who you completely forgot were still active like Kevin Pillar, Hunter Strickland, Willie Calhoun and Ehire Adrianza, and they're honestly not doing too bad. I think Calhoun might be a career bench surprise, judging by his wild Yankees numbers midyear last year. Pillar just arrived a week ago and is already one of the standout performers, with 2 homers and 6 RBIs in 5 games. And when trusted young players like Mickey Moniak and Jo Adell aren't doing much for you, it helps that surprising replacement level guys can overperform. 

The starting pitching isn't terrible, at the same time. Tyler Anderson's finally back to his comfort zone, he's got a 2.74 ERA  and 32 Ks in 7 starts. The wins aren't what he wants but...he's on the 2024 Angels, so yeah. Detmers and Sandoval are certainly striking people out, but the inflated ERAs are slightly worrying. At the very least, all of these guys, including Jose Soriano and Griffin Canning, can eat innings and get you through 5 or so, so it's not like other clubs where you're desperately searching for starting options. These ones seem to work, it's just...hard to find run support some days.

It sucks to see yet another Angels team crumble without Mike Trout, but this is the name of the game in this era of the team, sadly. I hope it gets better, and hope they can stay ahead of Houston, but this may be more than Ron Washington can fix at this rate.

Coming Tomorrow- One of the most underrated catchers in the game makes a case for legitimacy. 

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