LA Angels: PECOTA rankings project Halos to earn Wild Card spot

Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) /

It’s hard to believe, but we are officially one week away from the start of spring training. Regardless of what the Angels did or did not do this offseason, the return of baseball itself brings excitement.

Adding to the anticipation is the release of the annual PECOTA rankings from Baseball Prospectus. The Halos are projected to finish second in their division and fourth overall in the American League.

I feel like most fans did not see this current group as a playoff contender, but these rankings say otherwise. The West is viewed as the weakest division among AL teams. Oakland, Seattle, and Texas are all projected to finish with a record below .500.

The opportunity of a division title is certainly there for the taking. The Astros will still be a threat but have not done much to improve their team from a season ago.

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Only the NL Central has spent less than the AL West in offseason additions.

General Manager Perry Minasian has addressed all of the team’s needs with low-risk cost-effective moves. The Angels additions lead me to believe they are playing it safe for 2021.

Are the Angels playoff bound in 2021? The latest PECOTA rankings seem to believe so.

A best-case scenario involves the Halos competing, and they can acquire an impact player at the trade deadline rather than now. Worst-case, the Angels fall out of contention and begin selling their one-year rentals for a head start on 2022.

Maybe owner Arte Moreno and the front office are not as confident about winning a pennant, rather than winning the division. That is the only reason I see for Minasian’s hesitation to make a big splash right now. Maybe it’s finances, but the Halos currently have ~$18 million on their payroll before hitting the luxury tax penalty.

I’m a big believer once a team gets into the playoffs, anything can and will happen in October. The competition is tougher outside of the AL West, but that’s not to say the Angels don’t have a fair chance in a five or seven-game series.

This current Angels group might be good enough for their projected ~87 wins, so think about how much better they can be with one or two impact additions.

It appears the Halos are done adding to their starting rotation, but an elite reliever for the backend of the bullpen can make them a legitimate contender. A true ace can then be added at the trade deadline if needed.

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This current Angels team is good, but if there is an opportunity to make them great, why not?