The Los Angeles Angels have done much better than most of us expected so far in 2017. Especially since they have had another injury-filled first half of the season. Right now the team sits at 42-41 which puts them only one game out of the second wild-card spot and three games out of the top wild-card position.
This is a product of two things. First of all the Angels are overachieving with guys coming up big when they have been called upon due to the numerous injuries. The second reason the Angels are in the wild-card hunt is the mediocre play of so many teams in the American League. There are eight teams within three games of each other, with the Twins leading the way at 40-37. This makes the Angels at one game over .500 look much better.
The Angels definitely have a chance to make the playoffs if the bar continues to be so low in the wild-card race. However, I do not believe this will happen. Two or three of these eight teams will get hot in the second half and I do not believe the Angels will have the horses to keep up.
Despite their recent strong performance I do not believe a rotation of Ricky Nolasco, Alex Meyer, J.C. Ramirez, Jesse Chavez, and Parker Bridwell will be able to last throughout the season. Even if Tyler Skaggs and Matt Shoemaker can come off the disabled list and return to form it will still be tough for the Angels to compete with the more talented rotations in the AL.
Another reason I say the Angels will not make the playoffs is that the bullpen will start to break down due to overuse. With the inconsistent starting pitching the Angels have seen in the first half of the season the bullpen has been overworked.
With this being said I don’t believe they will be able to continue to be one of the top bullpens in the majors. The bullpen has been a major reason the Angels have been able to compete and stay in the race so far. Without it the Angels would be in last place or somewhere close.
The final reason I think the Angels will not make the post-season is inconsistency at the plate. The Angels team batting average has been hovering around .240 all season and that is due to many deficiencies the team has shown.
Acquiring of Danny Espinosa and Luis Valbuena as well as Ben Revere looked good on paper, but have not looked so good on the field. Both Valbuena and Espinosa were looked to provide some power and offensive punch from the left side of the plate. So far Espinosa is hitting .168 with six homers and 29 RBI’s and Valbuena is hitting .185 with five homers and 21 RBI’s. Not what the Angels need to contend.
Revere is also struggling hitting .218 with one homer and five RBI’s. Couple this with a .246 average from Kole Calhoun and a .235 average from Albert Pujols and you have a recipe for disaster which could be used to describe the Angels offense this season.
If things can change for the better in the second half the Angels could sneak into the playoffs, but with so many areas left to improve on I think the chances are slim and none.
ST. PETERSBURG, FL – MAY 24: First baseman Luis Valbuena
ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 04: Cliff Pennington
DETROIT, MI – JUNE 06: Alex Avila