2) The Angels starting rotation broke out, particularly Patrick Sandoval and Reid Detmers
For years, the Angels biggest flaw on the field had been their pitching, particularly their starting pitching. The Angels tried to improve that by signing Noah Syndergaard and Michael Lorenzen to one-year deals. Neither pitcher was great, so it'd be reasonable to expect the Angels pitching to flounder once again. However, the other pitchers on the staff really stepped up.
Shohei Ohtani was one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. He led the league in K/9, had a 2.33 ERA, and a 172 ERA+. He brought his walks down from 3.0/9 in 2021 to just 2.4/9 this past season. He made 28 starts and qualified for the ERA title for the first time, throwing 166 innings. He finished fourth in the AL Cy Young race and second in the MVP balloting. I can't wait to watch him pitch in Oakland on Opening Day.
Patrick Sandoval had never made more than 14 starts in a season heading into the 2022 campaign. He ended up being a full-time member of the staff, making 27 starts and posting a 2.91 ERA. There're improvements to be made, but a sub-3.00 ERA is obviously excellent. Sandoval has a chance to be one of the better third starters in all of baseball behind Ohtani and Tyler Anderson.
Reid Detmers made five starts in 2021 and did not look good. He earned a full-time spot and was really good for a majority of the season. He posted a 3.77 ERA in 25 starts and got even better as the season went along, as he had a 3.36 ERA in the second half while striking many more batters out and doing a much better job limiting the home run ball.
Even Jose Suarez, a guy who looked lost in the first half looked really good down the stretch. He comes with his flaws as well as he struggled against the elite teams and struggled the second and third time through the order, but as a fifth or sixth starter he's capable.
The Halos were sixth in rotation ERA and ninth in team ERA in all of baseball. With additions like Anderson and Estevez and growth from young pitchers like Sandoval, Detmers, and Suarez, it's reasonable to expect the Angels to be towards the top with their pitching once again.