The LA Angels have now entered a new decade, and hopefully leave the losing in the 2010’s.
What better way to start off the 2020’s than with five bold predictions for the LA Angels and their players? There is a ton of excitement around the fanbase, and these next ten years already look to be far more promising than the last ten have been. So, without further ado, my five bold predictions of the 2020’s for the Halos.
#1 Mike Trout Ties the MVP Record
As of now, Mike Trout is tied for second all-time in MVP awards. Barry Bonds holds the record with seven awards, so Trout would need four more in 2020 to tie the Home Run King’s mark.
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And honestly, as long as Trout stays healthy, I see no problem with the game’s best player winning four MVP’s in the prime of his career. I touched on why he has a real shot of breaking the record in his career, and that would include going on a Bonds-esque run of 3-4 straight years with an MVP for Trout.
In terms of competition, most of Trout’s elite counterparts reside in the National League. Obviously there’s still talent in the American League, but no one comes even remotely close to Trout’s production when he’s healthy.
#2 The Angels Get Another Hall of Famer
When Mike Scioscia retired after the 2018 season, most fans were relieved to see him go. And while I was in that camp, Scioscia was retiring with a strong Hall of Fame case as well.
Scioscia retired as the 30th winningest manager in the history of the MLB. Of the 29 managers in front of him, 19 are in the Hall of Fame. A handful of the others haven’t been eligible for the Hall or Fame yet.
Scioscia’s case goes beyond the wins, as he also was the leader in the clubhouse for the Angels’ sole World Series, and led a decade of dominance in the AL West to start the millennium.
#3 The Angels Make the Playoffs More Often Than Not
Of the five bold predictions here, this is the one I’m least sure about. This would require six (6!!!) playoff appearances over the next ten years, and we aren’t even sure the Angels will make it this season.
This would require Dodgers-level dominance for the next decade, and the AL West is much more talented throughout than the NL West the Dodgers spent the 2010’s bullying.
That being said though, these three things are what lead me to this thought.
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1.) The Astros are still really, really, really good, but are going to be declining over the next 2-3 years as players age and they’re forced to choose who to extend and who to let walk.
2.) The Angels are more talented than the A’s. While the A’s always overacheive and the Angels typically do the opposite, the Angels have more talent on paper (and maybe a better coaching staff?).
3.) The Angels have the two best players in the division in Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon, a young rotation, a two-way phenom, and a farm system on the verge of producing heaps of MLB talent.
It may be a wild prediction, but six playoff appearances for the Angels isn’t as outlandish and you might think right off the bat.
#4 Shohei Ohtani Wins a Cy Young and Silver Slugger
This one definitely has obstacles, but I could definitely see it happening for the Angels young star over the next decade. During his rookie year, Shohei Ohtani proved to the entire world that he has the talent to be a dominant two-way player in the MLB. Now fully recovered from Tommy John surgery as well as a knee procedure that ended his 2019 early, Ohtani is set to return to his two-way role in 2020. While the inning/at-bat total will always be working against him in season awards, Ohtani’s dominance may get to be too overwhelming.
Hey, if he can stay healthy for an entire season, who’s to say Shohei Ohtani can’t win both in one year?
#5 The Angels Bring a World Series to Anaheim
This is the one we care most about Angels fans. While a legitimate window to win the World Series may not be open quite yet, it will any year now. The Angels have their core of Trout, Rendon, and Ohtani in place. With Jo Adell on the way, they could quite possibly be fielding the best group of position players in the MLB as early as this season.
The pitching is the key question here, and despite history telling me it won’t happen, I do believe the Angels will find their ace eventually. Whether that’s via trade or in free agency in the coming years, once the Angels get that frontline starter to pair with Ohtani, their window will open.
Until then, they’re postseason contenders. But as 2002 taught us, once you’re in the dance, anybody has a shot to win it all.