Considering that the Angels 2019 roster is all but set in stone, it’s time to take a look at what we might expect out of this team. FanGraphs has their Depth Chart predictions which take into account Steamer, Depth Charts (aka predicting playing time), and ZiPS - the later of which are not yet out, so these numbers may change once those are released.
Instead of focusing on every single player (though their data is included below), I’m going to take a stab at which players will outperform their projections and which players may under perform. I didn’t include the players who I thought would perform close to their predictions which was quite of few of them.
Mike Trout (.441 OBP / 9.3 WAR)
Trout just keeps getting better and everyone knows it. If he doesn’t get himself injured again in 2019, he should easily outperform his current estimates. In the past three years, Trout’s OBP has been .441, .442, .460 while his WAR has been 9.6, 6.9, 9.8. Keep in mind that the 9.8 was ONLY over 140 games. After two years in which Trout averaged only 127 games, the Angels really need him to stay healthy all season - and if he does it’s a no brainer what his final numbers will look like.
Shohei Ohtani (26 HR, 2.7 WAR)
Ohtani’s power is ridiculous and although pitchers will adjust to him - so will he adjust. Not only that, Ohtai has not yet reached peak power age and if he get at least 490 PA’s as is projected, he might just hit 30+ home runs. I see Ohtani as a 30 HR / 15 SB guy if he gets to 500 PAs, and he certainly has a shot at 3+ WAR as well.
Andrelton Simmons (102 wRC+, 4.2 WAR)
Simba has been a huge offensive boost for the Angels over the past two seasons and has improved each year in lowering his K rate, increasing BABIP and AVG, and putting up two back to back 5+ WAR seasons with wRC+ of 103 an 109. All that and he doesn’t turn 30 until the end of the season so there is every reason to believe he can keep performing at that 5+ WAR pace for at least another year or two.
David Fletcher (.312 OBP, 1.9 WAR)
In 2018, Fletcher put up a 1.9 WAR in just 80 games. FanGraphs has him projected at 143 games in 2019 which should be the case unless Rengifo steals his job and Cozart looks like his 2017 version. I expect that he will mature as a hitter and top his .316 from last year to put him somewhere in the .320+ range and 2.0+ WAR.
Keynan Middleton (3.94 ERA, 25 IP)
Middleton will be coming back from TJ surgery, but all indications are that his rehab is going well. It’s not unrealistic to see him toss more in the 30 inning range, especially if he returns in June. In two seasons, Middleton has a career 3.43 ERA and 4.24 FIP with the Angels, both of which I seem him improving upon in 2019.
Ty Buttrey (3.71 ERA, 0.5 WAR)
Buttrey has some very impressive moments in 2018, including a 0.8 WAR and 3.31 ERA in 16.1 IP. He has the stuff to be a solid piece as the back end of the bullpen and should at least match his 2018 ERA and probably go over 1.0 WAR.
Kole Calhoun (.242 AVG, 21 HR, 2.0 WAR)
If you are to believe the middle of Calhoun’s season last year, then the above numbers may be possible. However, Calhoun is getting older and he struggled in a huge way at the beginning of the season as well as at the end in which he hit only .125 over the last month of the season. The Angels need Calhoun to be better than that but I don’t see him hitting any of the above numbers in 2019.
Zack Cozart (.315 OBP, 3.1 WAR)
First, Cozart needs to come back strong from a pretty major surgery. On top of that, he has only had one season in his career in which he put up a WAR greater than 2.0 (5.0 in 2017). Cozart also has a career .304 OBP and has only gone to .315 or higher once in his career as well (also in 2017). Those numbers are aggressive for Cozart who may end up in the 1.0-2.0 WAR range and closer to a .300 or .310 OBP.
Albert Pujols (.299 OBP, 0.1 WAR)
The projections aren’t kind of Pujols who is predicted to only make 100 games and 420 plate appearances. However, his OBP hasn’t been above .289 since 2016 and he has back to back negative fWAR seasons. If Pujols can have a postive fWAR and an OBP near .300 I’d call that a win but it doesn’t seem possible as he continues to break down.
Cam Bedrosian (4.05 ERA, 0.2 WAR)
Bedrosian has been on a decline the past 3 years and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s not on the team by mid season. Over the past 3 seasons his K rate has gone down each year while his walk rate has gone up. Bedrosian has also seen his average fastball velocity dip 3 MPH since 2016 and he just isn’t missing that many bats.
Position Player Projections
|Tommy La Stella||47||196||9||0||3||21||18||17||32||1||0.250||0.322||0.352||0.675||0.3|