Another month, another frustrating month for the LA Angels as they keep sliding in the standings. The LA Angels July review is a bleak one as they sit at 42-56 and 21.5 games back of first place in the division. In the wild card, they are not doing much better sitting 10.5 games back. They currently sit ranked 23rd by their record with the Tigers and Cubs nipping at their heels. As the trade deadline now looms it will be interesting to see what direction this team goes in.
LA Angels July Review: Ohtani Leading the way as MVP Frontrunner
If there is one bright spot for the LA Angels so far is Shohei Ohtani. After a little bit of a slow start, Ohtani has taken off to be on an MVP level again. On the offensive side, he has a slash line of .257/.352/.492 with 59 runs batted in and 21 home runs. This is on par with his season last year and there is a good chance that he will be able to hit 35 or more home runs this season. He has been able to stay healthy for 95 games this year of the 98 they have played. He has been a major impact on the offensive side with Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon being out.
On the pitching side, he has a 9-5 record with a 2,80 earned run average with 134 strikeouts to 23 walks. This year his pitching has been phenomenal so far crushing his earned run average by .40 and is going to have more strikeouts than he did last year. He has been the only true bright spot for this Angels pitching staff that continues to struggle.
Ohtani is no doubt considered one of the favorites to win the AL MVP with Aaron Judge and Yordan Alvarez also in the conversation. Both Judge and Alvarez are great offensive juggernauts, but they do not have the pitching that Ohtani is able to provide giving him an advantage over his competition. This is likely why teams across the league are inquiring about a trade for the LA Angels star.
LA Angels July Review: Trout Injured and Fletcher Coming Back
During any long baseball, season players are inevitably going to go down with an injury. With the LA Angels it always seems that their stars go down during the season. In June, Anthony Rendon went down with an injury and now Mike Trout will be out for an unknown time.
Trout has a rare injury with his back that will have to be constantly monitored for the rest of his career. Between all the torque it takes with his swing to make leaping catches in the outfield Trout will constantly be monitored to make sure he can stay healthy. Trout is not too concerned about the injury and is positive that he will be back this season. But it is frustrating to see one of the best players in the game get sidelined again.
On a positive note, the Angels get back David Fletcher as the calendar turns over. Fletcher had surgery to repair both left and right abductor muscles and is finally back in the lineup. Last season he had a slash line of .262/.297/.324 with two home runs, 47 runs batted in, and 15 stolen bases. It will be interesting to see what production he can bring to the offensive.
LA Angels July Review: What Can Come at the Deadline?
The deadline is now less than a week away and there are some moves that the Angels can do to make this team better for the future. Sitting so far back in the playoff hunt it is clear that the team should sell off assets to get a return for future pieces.
General Manager Perry Minasian told the media that he does not see this team as buyer or seller at the deadline.
“I do not believe in terms like that,” Minasian said. “I think we’re going to look for opportunities to make the club better. Whether that’s short term or long term, if something makes sense, we’ll try to accomplish that.”
To keep Shohei Ohtani the Angels should scour the market for pieces that will make them better right now. However, to get this team in the right direction to compete for a championship all their options must be viewed. That may mean they trade away Ohtani to get maximum value for him rather than losing him for nothing in free agency.
If they do not go the route of trading Ohtani they do have some pieces that could be dealt to get pieces back. Maybe a Noah Syndergaard or Andrew Velazquez can be traded away to get some assets in return. Both are not having all-star years but they could make a playoff contender better. Syndergaard would be a rental that has World Series experience and could be utilized as a bullpen arm if necessary. Velazquez is a great defensive option and could be a defensive factor at shortstop during a playoff run.
Whatever direction that the Angels go in Perry Minasian needs to decide which direction they are going to go in so that they have a clear idea of what they are going to pitch to Ohtani as he prepares his contract talks.
What to Expect in August?
For the Angels it is important to see what options they have in the minor leagues to get a general idea of what direction they go in for the future. Prospects that are on the come up and look ready to play in the majors should get more opportunities to play. Players like Jo Adell and pitching prospect Davis Daniel should get an opportunity to show off their talents.
Another thing to look forward to is watching Shohei Ohtani compete for the MVP. Ohtani is a once-in-a-generation player so if it is watching him hit bombs or throwing heat on the mound having a player like Ohtani on the Angels is something special.
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