3) Patrick Sandoval
We know the bullpen is in bad shape, but the rotation has an argument for being in even worse shape. Yes, there's some talent there, but no proven high-end starters to speak of. Ohtani was this team's ace, but he's gone. It's time for someone else to step up.
The ideal scenario would be the Angels finding a way to add a frontline arm, but with few options left, who knows if that'll happen. With that in mind, it's up to the players who are already here to take a step forward. Patrick Sandoval is the one Angels fans should look at first.
We've seen Sandoval put up quality numbers before. He had a sub-3.00 ERA in 2022, leading many to believe he could be on his way to solidifying himself as a frontline starter for this Angels team alongside Shohei. Not only did he fail to do so in 2023, he took a major step back.
Sandoval saw increases in his walk rate and home run rate while striking out fewer hitters. He was worse in just about every way you slice it, and seemed to let games get out of control whenever things got tough. It was never easy watching this southpaw pitch in 2023. Now that he's 27 years old and with a new pitching coach, perhaps we can see Sandoval improve in a big way.
He has every chance to be this team's Opening Day starter. He's going to have to pitch like he deserves that honor if the Angels are going to be competitive in 2024.