2018 Angels: World Is Watching Shohei Ohtani Experiment

Mark Lathrop

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 11:39 AM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 14, 2018 11:39 AM UTC

The Angels are a Mike Trout injury away from being irrelevant in the AL West. Our MLB handicapper Mark Lathrop looks at some interesting pieces they have coming into the 2018 season.

We will be breaking down each division team-by-team as we approach the 2018 MLB season to identify futures value and upcoming betting trends. Today, we will take a look at the Los Angeles Angels of the AL West. The Angels squeaked past their 79.5 win total set in 2017 with a mediocre 80-win season as they trailed the Astros by 21 games in the division standings. Bovada has set their win total a little higher this year at 84.5 wins.

Pitching Staff

While the entire world will be watching Shohei Ohtani making his transition from the Japanese league to the MLB, the most intriguing pitcher on the Angels roster for me is Garrett Richards. Richards has had 2 years of injury issues after accruing 207.1 innings in 2015 where he put up a 3.86 FIP. That came after his first full season as a starter in 2014, when he had a stellar 2.60 FIP and put up an insane 3.9% HR/FB rate. He appeared to be back to form in late 2017, and although he had some short outings he picked up a 2.43 FIP and 1.0 WAR over just 27.2 innings. Extrapolate that over a full season, and you have a real difference maker in your rotation, regardless of the development of Ohtani.

[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "

Hey Ohtani, welcome to the MLB courtesy of Clayton Kershaw. pic.twitter.com/4SK3VTuZ3G

— LA Dodgers HQ (@LADodgersHQ) March 7, 2018


The Angels' lineup consists of Mike Trout and some insignificant role players. All kidding aside, it is just not up to argument that Trout is the best player in the game right now, and he is entering his prime at age 26. It’s just a little unfortunate that his greatness might be wasted on the sidelines come October because of the Houston Astros, but as a Mariners fan I’m used to seeing this a la Ken Griffey Jr. Trout put up a 181 wRC+ last year and is projected for an 8.4 WAR season in 2018. The amount of value he brings to the Angels is also one of the reasons they are hard to make a futures wager on, as his absence is terribly catastrophic. Who knows how many games the Angels could have won if Trout didn’t miss 48 games in 2017?

Wild Cards and Betting Trends

OK, we do need to talk about Ohtani a little bit, as he is one of the biggest wild cards to enter the MLB in quite some time. I’m as fascinated as the rest of us if he can become the best two-way player since Bo Jackson … I mean, Babe Ruth. But if you can throw 98 mph and also possess plus-plus home run power, you should get a look both ways. The real unknown may just be how willing the Angels are to giving Ohtani chances at the plate in 2017.

Current Win Total: 84.5Best Line Offered: Bovada
comment here