Los Angeles Angels: Will Mike Trout and Co. Win the AL West?

The 2020 MLB season is set to begin on Thursday and there will be plenty of buzz surrounding each division, including the American League West. Can the Los Angeles Angels surprise some folks and capture the division crown for the first time since 2014?

The Halos have missed the playoffs in 10 of the last 11 seasons and have been wasting the talents of future Hall of Famer Mike Trout.

Fans of the Angels haven’t seen a World Series champion since 2002 when the club beat San Francisco in seven games.

Back then the franchise was known as the Anaheim Angels (1997-2004). They ended up transitioning to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2005-2015). Of course, they dropped the “of Anaheim” part of their name before the 2016 campaign.

It’s time for the Angles to become winners and step one has to be capturing the AL West.

Here are a few reasons why the club can clinch the division this year.

Division Doubts

The AL West isn’t the best division in baseball.

The Seattle Mariners are rebuilding, the Texas Rangers need to get better offensively and in the bullpen, and the Houston Astros fired both their GM and manager in the offseason because of a cheating scandal.

Houston also lost starting pitcher Gerrit Cole, who signed a mega-deal with the New York Yankees in free agency.

The Oakland Athletics should win the division, but they don’t have great starting pitching.

The AL West is up for grabs to some extent and during a shortened season who knows how many surprise teams will come to the forefront.

Break Out the Bats

The Los Angeles Angels need to rely on their powerful batting order so that they can win enough games this season.

The Halos will enter their first season with Joe Maddon as their manager.

The former Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago Cubs skipper has been to two World Series (1-1) and is arguably the best skipper in the MLB.

With Maddon leading the way that should help an Angels’ lineup that includes Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, Justin Upton, and Albert Pujols.

Mike Trout launched a career-best 45 home runs last season and tallied 104 RBIs to go along with his .291 batting average.

Trout already has three MVP awards and seven Silver Sluggers.

I would expect him to help the Angels push for a playoff spot, especially since the club doesn’t have much to brag about pitching-wise.

More on the Sticks

Last year, Rendon hit .319, smashed 34 homers, and drove in 126 runs for Washington as they won their first Fall Classic in franchise history.

There’s no question the third baseman packs a punch and will give Trout a consistent running mate.

Pujols had 23 dingers and 93 ribbies last season and Upton appears to be healthy after dealing with knee issues last year.

Upton collected 12 homers and 40 ribbies in 63 games in 2019.

Final Thoughts

The Los Angeles Angels should be able to rely on big hits to carry them for most of the season.

Normally that wouldn’t be the case, but because there’s only 60 regular-season contests instead of 162 it’s okay for them to do so.

Many fans will be watching to see how Shohei Ohtani performs after dealing with a knee injury last season.

I expect him to be a key cog in the Halos’ lineup and rotation. He’ll be a nice boost for a club full of veterans and a rotation that includes Dylan Bundy, Julio Teheran, and Andrew Heaney.

How far will the Angels go in 2020? Leave a comment below.

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