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Barring a Seismic Shift, the Los Angeles Angels Will Continue to Freefall

The Joe Maddon Era for the Los Angeles Angels didn’t get off to the raucous start that Halo fans would have hoped.

Mike Trout by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY SA-2.0

Barring a Seismic Shift, the Los Angeles Angels Will Continue to Freefall

Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

The Joe Maddon Era in Anaheim didn’t get off to the raucous start that Halo fans would have hoped. Instead of bringing new life to the Angels, the same old problems reared their ugly heads.

Sure there were bright spots this season, but in order for the Angels to get Mike Trout a World Series ring they’re going to need to change how they operate. A new General Manager is a great step in the right direction, but the issues may be more under the surface than we thought.

2020: Record: 26 – 34

2020 Finish: 4th in the AL West, 11th in the American League

Surprises in 2020

Yes, David Fletcher was fantastic in 2020. Hitting .319 is a feat regardless of the season length. However, the biggest surprise of 2020 has to be Dylan Bundy return to form.

Bundy was selected 4th overall in the 2011 June Draft by the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles passed up on Francisco Lindor, Javy Baez, Anthony Rendon, José Fernandez, and Sonny Gray, to pick Bundy who seemed to be an Ace in the making.

However, the promise of Bundy becoming an elite pitcher like Trevor Bauer and Gerrit Cole, who were taken before him in the same draft, the Orioles saw Bundy crater.

The biggest issue surrounding Bundy was his home run numbers. Those numbers came into full view during a game in 2018, where he gave up four home runs without recording an out. That season Bundy would lead the league in home runs allowed with 41, or a home run every 4 innings.

The 2019 season proved to be a stable year for Bundy and the Orioles capitalized and sent him to Anaheim for four prospect, only one of which breaks the Orioles Top 30.

And at this moment, with a journeyman career staring him right in the face, Dylan Bundy showed up BIG for the Angels. In his 11 starts Bundy went 6-3 with a 3.29 ERA and 1.036 WHIP. Most notably. Bundy halved his HR/9 mark from the previous season and saw his k/9 increase by almost a full point. That’s good stuff.

The Angels haven’t had the greatest rotation over the last few years, so having a veteran like Bundy who has been through the worst of his career, is invaluable. While it totally makes sense for Salvador Perez to be named the 2020 AL Comeback Player of the Year, I’d give it to Dylan Bundy. The man has arrived, and he’s ready to go.

Disappointments in 2020

Unlike Dylan Bundy, Jo Adell was not ready to go in 2020. The Angels highly touted outfield prospect struggled to find his footing in the majors. In the offseason, Joe Maddon opined that Adell definitely needed more time in the minors, and that was music to no one’s ears.

The Angels were banking on Adell being a productive member of the lineup in 2020. It’s one of the reasons they let Kole Calhoun go in free agency last year. The Angels were clearing a logjam for Adell, but he might be creating one for himself.

However, perhaps there’s some hope at the end of this tunnel. Is it possible that the removal of fan pressure for Adell in a shortened 2020 season created a vacuum for his lack of success? Maybe that’s a stretch, but no one likes seeing a prospect falter in their debut season, especially said prospect.

Looking Ahead to 2021

It’s tough to say that things will get better for the Angels in 2021. You have to consider that they still have the same issues they did from last season and the season prior. The Angels rotation is a mess, and their lineup is all over the place. Aging vets like Justin Upton and Albert Pujols can’t contribute like they used to. With a young core begging to take control, the Angels are in a bit of a tight spot.

That tight spot gets a little bit tighter by the lack of a rotation that performs at the major league level. Perhaps the Angels can snag a big-name free agent, or make a deal at the deadline. I’m not talking a signing like José Quintana. It’s going to take more than one guy to bring the Angels to the Promised Land.

Regardless, this team is a bit all over the place, and that’s not ideal for Los Angeles.

Projected 2021 Finish: 77-85, 4th in the AL West

Justin Colombo is a 2017 Broadway Show Softball League All-Star at 3B/SS. He's essentially the Manny Machado of the Kinky Boots team. Justin has been writing about Baseball since he was a little kid. Now that being an actor in NYC has given him a lot of free time, in 2015 he decided to take his passion public and founded Three Up, Three Down as a way to express his love for the game. From there, Three Up, Three Down grew from a hobby to an obsession. After years of growth and one insult from MLB's Historian, Justin launched The Turf, a way to expand into all areas of the sporting world. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter. LET'S. GO. METS.

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