It's hard for Los Angeles Angels fans to realistically expect much from the team in 2024. The Angels went 73-89 for a second consecutive season to increase the losing season streak to eight, and just lost Shohei Ohtani to the Dodgers.
Sure, the Angels have improved their bullpen this offseason, but to say that the team looks as good or even better than last season's team would be naive. There're certain things to look forward to like progression from younger players and (hopefully) a healthier season from Mike Trout, but the Angels are nowhere near teams like the Astros, Rangers, and Mariners in the AL West.
While it's hard to trust that the team will do much of anything this season, Angels fans have every reason to trust these three players ahead of the 2024 season.
1) Griffin Canning
There's no denying that the Angels rotation is an absolute mess. They had a subpar group last season even with Ohtani, and have not made any meaningful additions while Ohtani departed crosstown. The Zach Plesac depth addition could've been worse, but he's most likely ticketed for the minors. Barring a shocking Blake Snell or Jordan Montgomery addition, this group that we saw finish last season is likely what we'll see come Opening Day.
It's hard to really trust anybody in the rotation. Patrick Sandoval and Reid Detmers are coming off such inconsistent seasons to the point where Angels fans have no idea what to expect. Tyler Anderson was as awful as anyone could've predicted in his first season as an Angel. Chase Silseth ended great, but he's far from experienced. The one starter it feels like Angels fans can rely on is Griffin Canning.
No, Canning is not an ace. He shouldn't even be the second or third starter that he will likely be on this Angels team. He is, however, most often good enough to keep the Angels in any given game. That can't be said about anybody else in the rotation as of now.
This past season, Canning's 4.32 ERA doesn't look all that special, but he allowed three runs or fewer in 17 of his 22 starts. He went at least five innings in all 17 of those, and in 20 of his 22 starts overall. He won't give many seven scoreless inning outings, but being consistently solid will absolutely play.
Angels fans can't really trust Canning's health as this past season was the first time he's made more than 17 starts in a season, but when healthy, Canning proved he can be trusted to pitch well enough to win games. With an improved bullpen, the Angels might have a better record than expected when Canning pitches.