The Los Angeles Angels came into the 2023 season looking to improve what wound up being a bottom-six offense in the league last season. The Angels were 25th in runs scored despite rostering two of the best players we've ever seen. Injuries played a role for sure, but the lineup wasn't close to deep enough.
This season, instead of focusing on one big-time free agent like Arte Moreno wanted, the Halos focused on building a deep lineup surrounding Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout. At various points this season, the offense has been outstanding, particularly in their 25-1 rout in Colorado.
Their offense is fifth in all of baseball in OPS but is eighth in runs scored mainly due to their struggles with runners in scoring position. For the Angels to do better in the second half, their situational clutch hitting must improve. For now, let's take one last look back at the first half. We've done it with starting pitchers and relievers, and now it's time to grade the position players. We're only looking at those with at least 50 plate appearances.
LA Angels position player first half grade: Shohei Ohtani
I mean, what is there to say? Shohei Ohtani was solid on the mound pitching at an all-star level, but he was absolutely superhuman at the plate. He'd be the front-runner in the MVP conversation even if he didn't throw a single pitch, that's how insane he's been.
Ohtani is slashing .302/.387/.663 with 32 home runs and 71 RBI. He's tacked on 15 doubles, a league-leading six triples, and 11 stolen bases. Ohtani leads all of baseball with his 32 home runs while being the only player with an OPS over 1.000. He's second in the AL in RBI and sixth in batting, so the Triple Crown, while unlikely, is still within reach.
Ohtani has a whopping 181 WRC+ which leads the majors and would be a new career-high for the superstar. His 4.3 fWAR as a position player ranks second in baseball despite being a DH.
What we're witnessing this season is something we're never going to witness ever again. Savor it. Enjoy every second. The team has struggled, but let's not forget who got them to their high-water mark of eight games over .500. Ohtani went on a super-human run to win them games.