LA Angels Season Prediction Series: Pujols Sits and Wild Card Contention
By Mark Wilkens
It was Lao Tzu who said “Those who have knowledge do not predict. Those who predict do not have knowledge.”
With that said, here I am predicting your 2019 LA Angels season!
Last year’s fourth place finish has brought change to the Angels, most notably manager Brad Ausmus. While the roster construction is similar to the past two seasons, I believe some of the buy-low moves Billy Eppler made will pay dividends, most notably Jonathan Lucroy and Matt Harvey.
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Both players arrive in Anaheim with something to prove, as Lucroy, previously with the Oakland A’s, carries a reputation of a solid defensive catcher with declining offensive skills, and Harvey comes from Cincinnati with the albatross of being seen as a creature of the New York night, more interested in the club scene than the clubhouse.
I believe Lucroy and Harvey will both have bounce back seasons at the Big A, despite Lucroy being at the tail end of his prime years, and Harvey being tantalizingly close to the glitzy lights of LA, and will be a big part of the Angels year.
Justin Bour will also be an X-factor. Bour, a powerful lefty bat, will likely find ample opportunity to prove himself until Shohei Ohtani returns to the lineup as the club’s regular Designated Hitter.
If Bour starts off hot, and Ohtani returns in the same form we saw the 2018 Rookie of the Year display as a DH last season, Ausmus’ vow that at-bats will come with performance will be tested. That’s right, it’s put up or shut up for Albert Pujols. I firmly believe we will see a contributing Machine in the lineup, or the $25 million man will ride the pine. It’s the hard decision, but the right one for the fans, and it will only help the team.
With all that said, and a solid prayer to the Baseball Gods for health, I see a bounce back year in Halo Land, they will go 87-75 and compete for the Wild Card in third place in the AL West.