3 keys to the Angels breaking the postseason drought
3. The Angels need players who struggled to bounce back
The Angels had plenty of players who have been good in the past take a step back in 2022. They need them to be better this season for them to get back to October baseball.
Jared Walsh looked like a guy who could hit 25 homers in his sleep after the 2021 season he had. Walsh was an all-star, had an .850 OPS and a 127 OPS+. He then struggled mightily this past season, slashing .215/.269/.374 with 15 home runs and 44 RBI in 118 games. We know the injury played a big role, but we also have no idea how good he'll be in 2023. The Halos need the Walsh of old to come back.
The catching situation is up in the air right now, and part of the reason for that is the awful season Max Stassi had. Stassi had a 103 OPS+ in 2021 while ranking in the 84th percentile in pitch framing. He had a 62 OPS+ last season while ranking in the 40th percentile in pitch framing according to baseball savant. He was putrid at the plate and even took a step back defensively. Stassi is going to play a lot to begin the season whether Logan O'Hoppe is here or not. He simply must be better.
The Angels brought in two relievers last offseason in Aaron Loup and Ryan Tepera to try and improve the bullpen. Loup and Tepera weren't horrible, but they didn't meet expectations either. They both struggled mightily when the Angels were collapsing. The Halos won't need them to pitch as many high leverage innings because they brought in Matt Moore and Carlos Estevez, but they'll still need improved seasons from both of these guys.