February is finally here and LA Angels Baseball is just around the corner.
After having their worst season in manager Mike Scioscia‘s 17-year tenure the LA Angels are anxious to turn the page and start anew in 2017. Angel fans have many things to look forward to and the possibility of again being in the playoffs.
When the 2016 season ended for the LA Angels most fans were very thankful that it was over. While I agree that 2016 was very hard to watch at time for the Angels and definitely frustrated me, I still had a feeling of optimism going into the off-season and for the now soon-to-be upcoming 2017 season.
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First of all, I saw a lot of growth from some players which I think will carry over into this upcoming season. Although Mike Trout is hands down the best player in baseball he does have a few things he can improve upon (I know, Shocking).
In 2015 Trout hit the most home runs in a season of his career bashing 41 bombs. However, it wasn’t all good as he struck out 158 times and also drove in only 90 runs and had an under .300 batting average for only the second time in his career. Trout also stole a career low 11 bases in 2015 as well.
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In comparison in 2016 despite hit only 29 home runs, Trout drove in 100 runs. Even more encouraging was Trout’s batting rose to .315 and his strikeouts went down to 137. Even better Trout stole 30 bases and walked a career high 116 as well as establishing a career high OBP of .441. These are some of the reasons Trout won the AL MVP award for the second time in his career despite playing for a team with a losing record.
I expect Trout to continue to do more of the same in 2017 which is good news for Angel fans.
Another encouraging sign was the return of Tyler Skaggs to the mound. While he was inconsistent, Skaggs still showed signs that he will be ready to return to form in 2017 which is good news for the Angels who have two pitchers out until 2018 due to UCL tears in their elbows.
Garrett Richards and Matt Shoemaker are both on the mend and look to be ready for the start of the season. Both Richards and Shoemaker had serious injuries as Richards had a UCL tear in his right elbow and Shoemaker had a skull fracture after being hit in the head with a line drive. Both players have progressed well and look to be on track which will be important for the Angels if they want to make a playoff run.
The emergence of young players such as C.J. Cron and Cam Bedrosian. Cron just built upon his solid 2015 finish and put together a very good season despite missing six weeks with a broken hand. Bedrosian finally lived up to the potential many said he had and produced a breakout season. Both should be ready to go and follow-up their 2016 performances.
The play of Andrelton Simmons and Yunel Escobar were also bright spots as both had very good seasons in hitting and were solid in the field (Simmons more than Escobar). With another year of strong play and newcomer Danny Espinosa added to the mix it will increase production of all involved.
Finally the play of players signed during the season. Jefry Marte had a breakout season as did reliever Deolis Guerra. Marte hit 15 homers and drove in 49 runs. Guerra put together a solid season in the bullpen as did J.C. Ramirez and they will all three be back with the Angels this season.
In addition to all of these strong performances the additions of Danny Espinosa, Martin Maldonado, Cameron Maybin, and Ben Revere along with pitchers Jesse Chavez and now Bud Norris. All of these upgrades will enhance the Angels team for 2012.
So all in all there is a lot to get excited about. Let’s Play Ball!!!