The Angels’ playoff probabilities would benefit the second-most in baseball in the event of a shortened season, per Dan Szymborski at FanGraphs. He compared his ZiPS projected playoff odds from an expected 162-game season to various truncated versions.
In an 81-game season, the Angels would have a 33.2% chance of making the playoffs, up from 15.6% had the season been full. Presumably, having Shohei Ohtani and Griffin Canning available to pitch in a larger percentage of games is the driving force here.
Canning received a PRP injection in his right elbow on March 7, and was to be reevaluated in the beginning of April. Before the coronavirus shutdown the tentative plan for Ohtani, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery, was to return some time in May. Joe Maddon gave an update on Wednesday:
Shohei Ohtani could be available to pitch at the beginning of the season, whenever that is, Joe Maddon said. One of the biggest factors: how long the regular season winds up being, so the Angels can monitor workload.— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) March 18, 2020
The Angels’ playoff odds, per Szymborski, increased to 17.5% in a 140-game season, and 28.9% in a 110-game season. Only the Rangers (1.6% to 19.3%) saw a bigger jump in their playoff odds going from 162 to 81 games, per Szymborski.
Spring training camps are closed, though Temple Diablo Stadium and Angel Stadium in Anaheim are open to players for individual workouts. Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register has more from Maddon’s Wednesday conference call with reporters:
“Pitchers will grab a catcher and throw their 60 feet, 6 inches, which definitely falls within the barriers (of social distancing),” Maddon said. “They’ll do their running on their own. There’s a lot you can do on your own. It’s all there. Even to the point of having guys throw against the wall.”
More Maddon from Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com, sounding optimistic as to when the major league season might resume: “We’re hoping to get everything going by mid-May. From what I understand, that would be the quickest. I think it’s about following the rules about not going out and not interacting, and staying put to help those numbers to decrease. I believe the season will be played but it may not be the full 162.”
Mike Trout topped the list of MLB players we would be most shocked if they joined another team, per Bradford Doolittle at ESPN. Trout being under contract through 2030 helps here, as does “is his unchallenged place atop the Angels’ all-time pecking order.”
Former major league outfielder Rick Miller, who played three years with the Angels and was their starting center fielder during the first division-winning team in franchise history (1979), chatted with David Laurila at FanGraphs about his 15-year career.