10 Bold Predictions for the Angels Season

The Angels open the season tonight in Oakland, and with news of the expanded postseason, it almost feels as if anything can happen. Without further ado, here are my extremely vetted, bold predictions for the year. I truly decided to emphasize the bold this year, and I would be happy if I get five of these. Because that’s the point of a bold prediction! It’s no fun to predict things that might possibly happen, because then you’re quite nearly making actual predictions. Go big and go bold. That’s my motto. These are all assuming that the season is completed, as I didn’t want to deal with the minutiae of picking based on a depressing outcome.

1) Griffin Canning finishes the season top-10 in AL Cy Young voting. This is, admittedly, the most far-fetched one, but we might as well start off with a bang. The pitcher wasn’t even expected to be ready for the season, as there were rumors of potential Tommy John surgery, but he managed to avoid undergoing the knife. Canning was excellent in his tune-up against the San Diego Padres, and he claims that he has a new routine to keep his arm fresh and reduce stress between innings. We’ll see what happens, but with that kind of performance and the fluky short season, stranger things have definitely happened.

2) Justin Upton hits for less than .200. This is a rather depressing one, considering he is signed through the end of 2022, and Albert Pujols remains on the roster. However, Upton did not hit that well last season, and Dan Szymborski listed him as a Breakdown Candidate for this season. When he gets a hold of the baseball, he can still blast it. However, Upton has not shown that he can hold off on pitches outside the zone. We’ll see what happens this season.

Corollary to 2: Justin Upton loses his starting job before the end of the season. Whether this will be because Anthony Rendon returns healthy, Tommy La Stella mans second base, and some combination of Albert Pujols, Jared Walsh, and Matt Thaiss competently holds down first, forcing David Fletcher into the outfield, or because Jo Adell forces his way into the lineup and Brian Goodwin is too good to displace, if Upton keeps hitting at the above numbers, he will be replaced.

3) Mike Trout will not win the AL MVP. Trout is currently the odds-on favorite to win the award, as he should be. He is still quite obviously the best player in baseball, but sixty games has a way of doing funky things to teams. Giancarlo Stanton has already hit one home run, which matters a lot more than it does during a normal season. The bookmakers are generally giving 1/1 odds on Trout, but that still means that they think the field has slightly over 50% of a chance of winning. I do too. With the variation and the fact that we don’t know how much time he will miss due to the birth of his child, despite the lack of a need for quarantine, I simply feel it’s not his year. I hope he proves me wrong.

4) Hansel Robles will garner at least 14 saves. Manager Joe Maddon seems to like his roles, and with the Angels (hopefully) taking a step forward, they should win more games this season, leading to more save opportunities. 14 saves projects to 37.8 across the whole 162 game spectrum, good for a top-5 amount in the 2019 season. Robles has been consistently good at his role so far as an Angel, and there’s no reason to think that should change.

5) The Angels will strike out the fewest times in the Majors. This is a contact team. It’s unknown how that will play out in the home run or bust era, especially this season, when driving up a pitcher’s pitch count seems less necessary than ever, but with David Fletcher, Andrelton Simmons, Mike Trout, Tommy La Stella, and Anthony Rendon, the Angels feature many players who do not strike out. Yes, Upton is a barrier, but Kole Calhoun, a minor culprit, is also no longer with the team (sadly). If you’re a fan of putting the ball in play, the Angels may be the team for you.

Corollary to 5: The Angels will see the most pitches per plate appearance in the Majors. They saw 4.00 P/PA in 2019, good for 6th. Not only does the team not strike out, they also foul off a lot of pitches and make the pitcher work. This is definitely doable with the players in the Angels lineup.

6) Shohei Ohtani will finish the season top-5 in AL MVP voting. If all goes well, Shohei Ohtani will get to start ten times, just two fewer times than other pitchers going through a normal 5-man rotation. This difference is lesser than in a typical season. If Ohtani finishes with top or near-top rate numbers, the hitting should easily push him over the top compared to the Cy Young candidates, and hopefully it will put him on par with those in the running for AL MVP as well. Plus, the Angels hitting coaches feel he’s about to wreak havoc with the bat.

7) The most valuable Angels reliever will not be Hansel Robles, Ty Buttrey, or Keynan Middleton. This trio consists of arguably the three most important relievers for the Angels this season. However, when you look at the numbers and factor in that relievers are always volatile, this one actually makes some sense. Robles has been a fine addition for general manager Billy Eppler, but if he continues to be used solely in a closer role, as I predict earlier, he may not pitch that many innings. Buttrey fell off a cliff in May, and we don’t know that second half of the season was a fluke or if it was his entire career up until that point. 2020 may be a defining year for him to determine the quality of innings he can provide. Middleton is, of course, returning from Tommy John surgery, and although he pitched a little last year, he didn’t seem back to his old self yet. We may have to see an unsung hero from the ‘pen for the Angels to have success.

8) David Fletcher will be worth 1.5 fWAR. Fletcher has already put himself into team folklore, what the Angels Twitter account apparently describes as “Fletchlore”, and he is ready to take another step forward. 1.5 fWAR extrapolated to a 162 game season is 4.05 fWAR, which definitely seems doable for him. Joe Maddon has commented that Fletcher will definitely be an everyday player, and with that amount of time in front of him, he will wreak some damage as the potential leadoff hitter in front of Trout, Rendon, and the rest of the gang.

Corollary to 8: He’ll do it without hitting one home run. Because he’s just that awesome.

9) Anthony Rendon will finish with a 1.050 OPS. Rendon is a cool, calm, collected player, and although he will miss the start of the season with injury, his plate discipline and protection of Mike Trout should be one of the highlights of the season. With a career-high 1.010 OPS last season, leading the league in doubles, Rendon is poised to take another step forward.

10) Andrelton Simmons will not be extended. I actually don’t know whether this will happen or not. There are both good arguments for and against his extension. However, I feel thusly: Anthony Rendon will be entrenched at third base. If David Fletcher takes another step forward and Tommy La Stella continues to produce at his 2019 level, then perhaps even a one-year gap contract doesn’t make too much sense for Simmons, as it would require another season of juggling all of them through the (not nearly enough) positions. Only time will tell what will happen.

Well, that’s the end of me writing off-the-cuff. If you have any bold predictions of your own, drop them below!

21 Comments
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Eric_in_Portland
Legend
3 years ago

seeing that the Mets just beat the Braves and it makes me realize how important each game is. 1-0 is already a lot better than 0-1.

halofansince1978
Super Member
3 years ago

If any one of the great hitters from the past were still around.

One of them could easily hit .500 in a sixty game season.

Carew
Boggs
Gwynn
Williams
Hornsby
Cobb

Just to name a few…someone will hit .400 who will it be?

Eric_in_Portland
Legend
3 years ago

Max Stassi?

halofansince1978
Super Member
3 years ago

I can unequivocally say NO!!! `;~}}

halofansince1978
Super Member
3 years ago

It’s anybody’s season…even a terrible team.

Stay above .500 for the first thirty games.

Then get hot for the second thirty games.

No posts for a while…HALO POWER!!!

Designerguy
Super Member
3 years ago

My 10 bold predictions..

1. Scioscia’s name will be used in vain.
2. Due to blowout and sloppy game, the monthly f-bomb limit will be ignored (for one thread only).
3. We’ll still wonder if Granderson is available.
4. Trout will remain fat.
5. Pujols’ birth certificate will be discovered and we’ll learn he’s actually 73 years old.
6. The Rally Thong will prove once again to be magical as the Angels reel off a 10 game winning streak.
7. People will wear pants while participating in a game thread, even though they’re pants optional.
8. Maddon will say something deeply philosophical that will cause east coast writers’ heads to ‘splode.
9. Angel Hernandez, Joe West and Doug “F’ing” Eddings will have more bad calls than good calls.
10. The MFY and Bahstan will still suck.

Eric_in_Portland
Legend
3 years ago
Reply to  Designerguy

3, 4 and 9 we know are true.

Eric_in_Portland
Legend
3 years ago

last season I wanted to predict 67 wins but chickened out and said 75. Well, neither was on the money.

This year, sorry, I see us at 24-36, wondering how in the world Seattle finished ahead of us.

Limited Trout, slightly limited Rendon, “surprisingly” less than effective starting pitching, the usual injuries will doom us and, in the scenario I picture, we’ll struggle a little under .500 for most of this short season, then collapse over the last few weeks.

Happy to be wrong though!

John Henry Weitzel
Editor
Super Member
3 years ago

If 1 happens we make the playoffs.

If 2 happens, Marsh may get service time.

3 I can see due to Trout baby time.

4 seems very likely.

5 seems likely.

6 is possible but only if Ohtani doesn’t miss 3 games a week of hitting. He can’t take the day before of and after off from hitting.

7 will be subsoil due to irony

If 8 happens, 10 is more likely to happen.

9 is a certainly maybe. Don’t want to get my hopes up.

2002heaven
Super Member
3 years ago

The usual suspects will strike us down yet again………
Bad pitching, disastrous FA signings from 2016-now, lousy drafting and scouting. 2016-2020 front office is a trainwreck. I hope Guillermo is working for Dunkin Donuts or Del Taco in 12 months.

GrandpaBaseball
Legend
3 years ago

Number 10 is concerning in that if not resigned and Simmons moves on that leaves Fletcher to play short at the cost of lesser defense and removes a valuable piece to play multiple positions. l would like to see the Angels and Simmons stay together for 3 or 4 more seasons. Upton has always had a high “K” rate but he could show up as he was 2 years ago, but l think he is done. The difference between Simmons and Upton is contact rate and Simmons makes hard contact which translates better to hits, so he will return to his old self imho.

red floyd
Legend
3 years ago

Isn’t save garnering illegal in California?

halofansince1978
Super Member
3 years ago
Reply to  red floyd

You’re funny Red!!!

Charles Sutton
Editor
Super Member
3 years ago

Shohei Ohtani will pitch a combined no-hitter with Buttrey and probably Robles.

Rahul Setty
Admin
Trusted Member
3 years ago

I think 10 is probably the most likely to happen. 🙁

I was going to rage at #3, but makes sense with Trout’s upcoming paternity leave.

BruinsAngelsKings
Trusted Member
3 years ago
Reply to  Rahul Setty

I hope #10 does not happen but the arguments laid out above make it seem almost certain. 😥

Jeff Joiner
Editor
Legend
3 years ago

Maddon also loves the rally stopper role in his bullpen. Robles has pitched in the 7th inning in the two summer camp games. Perhaps Robles is the high leverage guy and Buttrey gets to start the clean 9th inning.

ryanfea
Super Member
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

I feel like he was in the 7th because more of the opposing starting lineup would still in the game

Jessica DeLine
Admin
Super Member
3 years ago

Oh my! Where to start… Canning? I think Ohtani has a better shot at a top 10 so that is certainly a bold prediction. Upton hitting below .200 COULD happen but also rather bold. I think we may see that in the next year or two but not sure if it’s 2020. Trout not winning MVP? Boldish. Depends how much time he misses for the baby. #4 and #7 seem to be at odds. Hedging your bets?? Not sure how bold #5 is though Upton and Ohtani will certainly jack up those numbers. I also don’t think 8-10 are that bold. I could see all those happening. 🙂