The Los Angeles Angels finished the 2023 season with an identical record to the one they had in 2022. 73-89. This is obviously not what they had expected after seemingly pushing all of their chips in for one final run with Shohei Ohtani, but their second half collapse is one fans will remember for a long time. Especially if Ohtani leaves.
Now, all eyes are on 2024. The Angels hope to bring Ohtani back, but the franchise can still show signs of progress if these things happen during the 2024 season.
1) Young position players must continue to develop into building blocks of the team
It's not unfair to say that the chances of the Angels having success hinges on their young players improving. It might be unfair to expect that from them, but that'll be the difference for this team.
The Angels obviously had a ton of moments to forget in 2023 but also had some impressive debut seasons from rookies. Zach Neto looked like the spark plug this team was missing at shortstop. Nolan Schanuel got on base at a historic clip down the stretch. Logan O'Hoppe looked like baseball's next well-rounded catcher. That's just the position player side of things.
Chase Silseth looked like he could be a legitimate rotation piece in the second half of the season. Ben Joyce, Sam Bachman, and Jose Soriano all showed flashes of brilliance in the bullpen and can help the Angels a ton late in games.
The Angels also have several younger players who aren't considered rookies like Mickey Moniak who broke out in a huge way in 2023. How about Jo Adell? Can he take a step forward in 2024 and earn an everyday role?
Of course, the Angels are built around Mike Trout and hopefully Shohei Ohtani in 2024 and beyond. Outside of Trout, they have a team full of young guys with few exceptions. If those guys take meaningful steps forward who knows what the ceiling is on this team? If they don't, it'll be another long year in Anaheim.