By: Noah Wright
Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press
After losing Shohei Ohtani to a grade 2 UCL injury, and placing Andrelton Simmons on the 10-Day, The Angels have lost 2 major pieces of their major league roster. While it would have been hard for them to compete for The AL West with The Astros, and The Mariners doing better than expectations, many fans have started to question; will The Angels even make a wild card spot? I’m here to answer that question, and explain why.
First, I’ll make a case of why they will make the playoffs. Even without Ohtani and Simmons, The Angels still have a line-up that holds Mike Trout. Trout is backed by Justin Upton, who’s had a good year so far. Simmons’ DL stint will likely be shorter than Ohtani because Simmons was only diagnosed with a sprained ankle. Outside of Ohtani, the starting pitching has been solid to say the least. Tyler Skaggs, Garrett Richards, and Andrew Heaney all have ERA’s under 3.50, and FIP’s under 4. Rookie Jaime Barria has also been excellent, but was optioned a on June 2nd. The bullpen has been decent as well. Blake Parker has been really good since taking back the closer’s role. Noe Ramirez, and Jose Alvarez both have been solid this year as well.
Next, let's make a case why they won’t make the playoffs. Shohei Ohtani’s injury is a grade 2 UCL injury. Anytime there’s a UCL injury, it’s never good. Ohtani will likely be out an extended amount of time with his injury, who’s been a large cog in their rotation, and line-up this season. Their new infienders haven’t performed the way they wanted to. In the off-season, The Angels acquired Ian Kinsler to try and solve their 2nd base problem. Though his glove is still good (7 DRS, 1 dWAR, 5.3 UZR), his bat has continued to decline, as he’s only batting .219/.281/.393 with 8 homers, and 17 RBI’s in 221 PA’s. Their other major off-season acquisition was Zack Cozart. While he was signed to play third, he’s seen time at his original position shortstop, and second base. But he’s not been what they were expecting, especially with the bat. Cozart is only batting .230/.301/.380 with 5 home runs, and 18 RBI’s in 239 PA’s. Though he’s usually known for his shortstop defense, his third base defense has been underwhelming, with -4 DRS, -.1 dWAR, and -1.8 UZR. Entering the season, The Angels had one of the best outfields in The AL, if not MLB. While Trout and Upton have been good, Kole Calhoun has not. He’s having the worst season of his career, and probably worst season by any position player, offensively. Currently, Calhoun is batting an awful .145/.195/.179 with just 1 homerun, and 11 RBI’s in 185 PA’s. He was recently placed on the DL with a right oblique strain, to add another player to The Angels’ DL.
So what do I think? I think The Angels still have a shot at the playoffs. Granted, a very, very outside shot of making the playoffs as things stand right now. You still have to remember, they have Mike Trout, and a good rotation. Plus, they have time on their side, as they played their 66th game today, and still could make some moves to help bolster areas of need.