LA Angels: Three Biggest Bounce Back Candidates for 2020
By Vincent Page
The LA Angels 2019 season was one filled with injuries and disappointment. If the team wants to be successful in 2020, they’ll need to stay healthy, and have a few players return to form in the process.
And for the LA Angels, these three players – whose 2019 seasons were largely lost to injury – are going to be huge for their 2020 playoff hopes. If they can stay healthy and play like they have in years past, this Angels team can be truly dangerous.
There might not have been a more disappointing Angels player than Justin Upton last season. After losing nearly the entire first half of his season to turf toe, Upton was outrageously streaky when he was playing. His season also ended early due to tendonitis in his knee.
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It goes without saying that a normal Justin Upton in the Angels’ lineup gives them a huge edge. His bat, which will be right in the middle of the lineup with Anthony Rendon in tow, will create one of the best upper-halves of a lineup in the entire MLB. His defense is obviously shaky, but there’s no doubting how much Upton can provide to this Angels’ offense as their third (or fourth) best hitter.
After being flummoxed by ankle and foot injuries intermittently during the 2019 season, Andrelton Simmons is set for a huge comeback in 2020. As a defense-first player, Simmons relies on his athleticism to make a huge impact on the game. His defense remained elite in 2020, but there seemed to be a slight step back. Whether that’s due to age or his injuries, Simmons has something to prove next year.
The real hit came on offense for Simmons. Being in and out of the lineup caused some obvious inconsistencies for Simmons. Nearly every offensive stat took a dip, but I have no worries about Simmons’ ability as long as he can stay healthy for the Angels. As long as he does that in 2020, he’ll ascend back among the elite shortstops in the MLB, and earn a pricy contract if the Angels don’t extend him prior to the season starting.
Yes, we saw Shohei Ohtani have great success at the plate in 2019. While it wasn’t quite what his rookie season was, Ohtani was still an elite all-around hitter. However, we all know the Angels (and the fans) severely missed him on the mound once a week. And 2020 could be a historic season for Ohtani.
While we don’t know exactly how the Angels will utilize Ohtani, there’s no understating how vital he’ll be to the Angels’ postseason hopes. Having a true ace on the mound once a week gives the Angels a huge boost and an advantage they didn’t have in 2019. If he can show any semblance of what he was on the mound in 2018, Shohei Ohtani will be one of the most pivotal players in the entire MLB next season, and could be an MVP candidate if everything breaks right.