The Angels knew this season would be an uphill battle to win the division. If Richards and Skaggs could stay healthy and everyone else does their thing, they’d have a solid shot at a wild card berth, at the very least. Not only has the pitching staff been utterly annihilated by injury, but with Trout out 6-8 weeks with a torn ligament in his thumb, nearly every single worst fear of an Angels fan has been realized.
It’s incredible that they sat at .500 just a few days back. With Trout gone, all probability points to the team sinking lower and lower, en route to being one of the worst teams in the league. Trout was on a historic pace this year, en route to accruing an earth-shattering 12 WAR season had it not been for injuries — indubitably the first of many more to come. By Fangraphs’ metrics, Mike Trout had 3.6 WAR. The entire Angels offense has 5.7 WAR. It’s pretty inexact, but in this regard Mike Trout is worth 63% of the team’s offensive contributions. It seems outrageous but having watched most games this year, that figure sounds about right.
The other Angels have gotten off to sluggish starts. Between Calhoun, Valbuena, Espinosa, Cron, Marte, Pujols, and Revere, over half the lineup at any given time has been an automatic out this season. That’s quite baffling, and frankly unacceptable. It’s going to take a village to replace the child prodigy that is Mike Trout, and anything short of that will result in a bevy of losses.
With the already low margin of error the Angels had this season, they now have absolutely none. Incapable of capitalizing on an easy road trip, they face a brutal June schedule that has them playing the Twins, Tigers, Astros, Yankees, Royals, Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers. We could very well be looking at a month where the Angels lose twice as many games as they win and perhaps even worse, putting them in play for a top-5 pick come 2018 draft.
The rest of the season will be dedicated to tryouts, seeing what the Angels have so they can better build towards the Trout window,
2017 2018-2020. It also means selling off the pieces that can potentially garner any significant prospect haul in return, such as Bud Norris, Yusmeiro Petit, David Hernandez, Blake Parker (gulp), Cameron Maybin, and more should they emerge.
It’s not going to be pretty, but Billy Eppler gets paid to make the tough decisions. This is far from ideal, and it’s going to be intriguing to see the players that emerge as well as how the trade deadline unfolds. At the very least, the promise of no expectations and cheaper tickets abound.