AL West Preview: Los Angeles Angels

TEMPE, AZ - FEBRUARY 24: Shohei Ohtani
TEMPE, AZ - FEBRUARY 24: Shohei Ohtani /

To our friends over at Halo Hangout, this will be my best attempt to stay as unbiased as possible. The Angels off-season is considered a win by most experts, and i have to agree. Shohei Ohtani was obvious prize of the off-season, without a doubt.

Ohtani, 23, Had many suitors that made moves to acquire International sighing money to get him. The Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers and our beloved Seattle Mariners seemed to be the favorites when the Angels swooped in. He was a 2-way player in Japan, Hitting .332 with 8 HRs and 31 RBI. Though he only pitched in 5 games in 2017, his career pitching stats have got to have Angels fans everywhere ecstatic. He pitched to a record of 10-4 with a 1.86 ERA over 140 innings, while striking out 174.

He is considered the #1 prospect in all of the baseball on Look for Ohtani to get regular at-bats at DH this season.

Ohtani was not the only top prospect to sign with the Angels in the off-season. Kevin Maitan came over from the Atlanta Braves. Major League Baseball dropped the hammer on the Braves, after an investigation was launched on the signings of international free agents. In the investigation, it was found that the Braves had packaged signing bonuses to multiple International Free Agents, tried to sign a 14-year-old player and gave extra benefits other than signing bonuses.

The penalties issued to the Braves were Losing 13 International Free Agents, a 2018 3rd round pick, loss of international free agency money through July of 2021 and they are forbidden to sign the now 14-year-old Robert Puason. When those 13 players became available, the Angels landed Maitan, the #87 prospect in all of baseball, according to

You can’t have an article of the Angels without mentioning the best player in baseball, Mike Trout. The two-time MVP is entering his 8th season, and this maybe the most talented roster he has been apart of. If he can stay healthy for the whole season, he will be in the talks for his  third MVP. With Trout in center, the Angels will have Justin Upton in left, with Kole Calhoun in right. Upton had a career reviving season in 2017, and is looking for a repeat performance in 2018.

The Angels infield looks a lot different in 2018, with the key additions of Ian Kinsler and Zack Cozart. Kinsler, traded from Detroit in December, saw a massive drop in batting average in 2017. His .236 avg was his career worst, but he still hit 22 Home runs. Cozart came over as a free agent from the Cincinnati Reds. A shortstop by trade, Cozart will be playing third because Shortstop is taken by Gold Glover Andrelton SImmons. Cozart was an all-star in 2017, slugging 24 home runs for the Reds.

The pitching staff will be anchored by Garrett Richards. Richards has not been heathy the past few seasons, but when he has pitched, he’s pitched at an all-star level.  If this team expects to be in playoff contention, they will need to stay healthy. It maybe a cop-out, but it is true. Richards, Trout and Cozart have missed a lot of time over the past few seasons.

Next: AL West Preview: Oakland A's

I believe this team will be in contention for a wild card in the AL, but as it is constructed, i do not believe they will make the playoffs. There seems to be holes in the pitching staff, but starting pitching and bullpen. Does that sound familiar Mariners fans?