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Unpredictable Season Looming in Anaheim

Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels MLB

Despite an 85-77 record and the eighth-highest payroll in baseball, the Los Angeles Angels failed to make the playoffs last season. In all honesty, this lineup could have used some reworking over the offseason, but remained largely untouched. The Angels entered Spring Training at +4000 to win the World Series, but first it will be about making the playoffs in the brutal AL West.

The Angels were one of the worst hitting teams in baseball last season as they hit a collective .246, only three points higher than the MLB-worst San Diego Padres. LA did bring Yunel Escobar to fill in at third base and to help plug some of their holes in the batting order. Escobar hit .314 and drove in 56 runs through 139 games with the Washington Nationals last season. Aside from Escobar, the lineup will feature a new shortstop in Andrelton Simmons who, despite his gold glove defense, has always struggled at the plate.

But of course, you can’t talk about the Angels without talking about Mike Trout. The perennial MVP candidate will almost certainly put up ridiculous numbers, despite playing in a lineup that will struggle to get on base.

Fans in LA are used to seeing the ludicrous rotation of the Dodgers over the past few season, but the Angels have been relatively solid. The team finished largely around the league average in most pitching categories, with Andrew Heaney being the lone member of the starting rotation to post an ERA under 3.50.

Winning the AL West being listed at +400 may be a bit generous for the Angels. They finished behind both the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers last season, two teams that have arguably gotten better during the offseason. Plus, only 21 teams in the past 20 seasons have gone from third to first within their division in one season, but LA accomplished that feat in 2014. However, the Angels, historically speaking, have a one-in-six chance at winning the AL West.

A win total of 81.5 seems about right for an Angels team that seems destined for regression this season, but they will still get a good chunk of games against the lowly Oakland A’s. Only once in the past five seasons have the Angels failed to hit 82 wins or more, with their 78-84 2013 being the lone black sheep.

Though there are quite a few potential negatives heading into the season for LA, that doesn’t mean they have no hope. If their lineup can somehow become better and if the rotation could remain solid, they have a solid chance at a playoff run. It’s just that those things are far from a guarantee.

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2016 Los Angeles Angels Futures Odds
World Series+4000
American League Pennant+1800
American League West+400
Win Totals81.5

Odds as of March 30 at Bovada