In this piece, we’ll be explaining what each of us think this 2017 Angels team can be expected of along with each of our over/unders.
In no particular order, here we go!
Josh: The Angels are going to have a formidable lineup, and they will score lots of runs and hit a crap load of dingerz. The pitching will be serviceable. The defense is going to be a thing of legend, though, and that factor is what’s going to help the Halos surprise the heck out of the AL West. Score lots of runs + prevent lots of runs= Angels having champagne and beer showers in the clubhouse come October.
Yes, I am optimistic. It’s that time of year where we can be wildly optimistic and righteously ignore any and all of baseball’s hard-to-swallow probabilities. There is plenty time yet to have our gullets filled with the Big A’s acerbic realities, but until then, I’ll happily englut the candied effervescence of hope and dreams, straight out of a plastic Mike Trout commemorative cup.
Over/under: 90.5 wins
Jessica: The Angels only won 74 game this year so it will be easy to improve on that. I think a 10 game improvement is the most we will see unless some great things happen and a wild card shot is not super likely without lightning striking. The catcher position is probably a wash in terms of win changes from 2016 to 2017. I also don’t see the bullpen out performing 2016 by much. The bullpen was pretty middle of the road last year and I expect 2017 to be about the same. Gains should come out of the changes at second base and left field as well as a hopefully healthy Pujols and (hopefully) improved defense. Our starting pitching staff should pick up some more wins as well if they stay healthy (since quality depth is a concern). An 8-10 win improvement over last year is about what we will see and that’s some pretty positive change.
Over/under: 83 wins
Rahul: In all the hullabaloo of 2016, the team was only outscored by 10 runs, which means an expected 80-82 record. The offseason upgrades intend to construct a terrific defense and shore up black holes; they may not be the household names, but they provide a nice win swing that will be quite useful. Left field (+2.5 wins) will be solid between Maybin and Revere, second base (+2 wins) should be a home for web gems, and Jesse Chavez (+1.5 wins) is a solid fifth starter. That brings us to 86, and that’s even before considering a healthier pitching staff/Simmons/Cron, an improving Trout, a full season of Bedrosian and Bailey, and MLB-ready depth, among other things. This team might fall a few wins short, but it will surprise the heck out of hecklers.
Over/under: 87.5 wins
Carlos: Shoring up the starting nine and vastly improving the bench depth likely means this team has nowhere to go but up from their 74 wins last season. While Billy Eppler has accumulated a large stable of pitchers, I would hesitate to declare that stable as impressive. If the four horsemen of Richards, Shoemaker, Skaggs and Nolasco manage to provide ~180 IP a piece — and they somehow mine some gold out of the bullpen — this is a playoff team. But for now, I’ll hedge my bets.
Over/under: 84 wins
Chad: The Angels made several small but necessary moves this offseason that add up to a much improved, and much deeper, team. They’ll have one of the top defenses in the game. They’ll have Garrett Richards, Matt Shoemaker, and Tyler Skaggs leading the rotation. They’ll have a fully-developed Cam Bedrosian protecting leads. They’ll have actual production and value coming from left field and second base! The team is not without its flaws, but if they catch a few breaks here and there, the Angels could find themselves in the thick of the postseason race.
Over/under: 84.5 wins
Jeff: My over/under was going to be 84 but it is taken, so I’ll go one better at 84.5. Really, my over/under will be determined by two other over/unders: innings pitched by Richards and Skaggs. If we get 160 IP from the former and 140ish from the latter, I think we’ll be in good shape. Swing men are great from time to time, but let’s face it: if Norris and Petit were good enough to start they’d be starters.
Our division games should all be competitive, so I’m assuming a tad over .500 in the division, well above .500 against the Central and a little below .500 against the East. Throw in some interleague and we just eke above .500.
Over/under: 84.5 wins
Chase: I have them at 85 wins if everything breaks their way. Richards obviously needs to stay healthy, Shoemaker needs to be 2014 and 2016 Shoemaker, Skaggs needs to be out there a full season, Nolasco needs to do what he did last night. I’m hoping last night wasn’t a glimpse into the lineups everyday production, Trout needs help.
The bullpen is my main area concern and has been.
Over/under: 84.5 wins