Angels starting lineup: 2 encouraging, 1 discouraging takeaway this season

May 24, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) celebrates
May 24, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) celebrates / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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The 2023 Los Angeles Angels were built with two very clear strengths in mind. One was starting pitching. It's safe to say that 52 games into the season, the rotation has significantly underwhelmed. It does feel a bit better to say the bullpen has stepped up, but the rotation has certainly disappointed.

The other big strength this team was supposed to have was their lineup. The Angels finally surrounded Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani with actual MLB-caliber talent. Instead of pursuing one star, Perry Minasian went the depth route, and that's why the Angels are actually playing competitive baseball this season.

The Angels rank ninth in runs scored, eighth in home runs, and ninth in OPS. They've done this with Anthony Rendon missing a bunch of games and with neither Mike Trout or Shohei Ohtani really getting going offensively. There're a couple of reasons to be encouraged by what you've seen offensively from this Angels team, but there's also one very large discouraging takeaway.

Encouraging: The LA Angels have a deeper position player roster than they've had in years

We've seen all of the memes about the Angels being a two-man team with Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani surrounded by nothing. We've seen the stats about Trout and Ohtani doing historic things in Angels losses. The last eight seasons have been nothing short of frustrating.

This offseason, Perry Minasian went to change the look of this Angels team. Instead of signing a star like Trea Turner to hit at the top of the order, and give the Angels the best 1-4 in the majors but literally nothing else, he decided to build a team.

Hunter Renfroe, Brandon Drury, and Gio Urshela were all offseason additions, and have all made an impact.

Hunter Renfroe has been one of the better offseason additions in all of baseball, providing power at the plate and an incredible throwing arm in right field. Brandon Drury has had his moments and has had some huge hits as well. Gio Urshela plays steady defense and is hitting over .300.

In previous seasons it felt like the Angels had automatic outs. Guys like Andrew Velazquez playing every day providing absolutely nothing offensively. This season, it doesn't feel like that's the case. One through nine, this unit has the ability to score and drive in runs. It's not just Trout and Ohtani.