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Los Angeles Angels 2023 Mid-Season Report

The Angels have struggled mightily recently, which brings Shohei Ohtani back into trade speculation, but the Halos might have other ideas.

Just when it seemed the Los Angeles Angels had things figured out, the walls came crashing down.

On June 18, the Halos were flying high, eight games above .500, ahead of the Houston Astros in the standings and in the playoff picture. They entered a two-game Freeway Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a better record than their chief competitor for fans. The trials began there, with both games ending up as identical 2-0 losses. Next, the Angels lost a series at Coors despite beating the Colorado Rockies 25-1 in the middle game. They seemed to figure things out again when SP/DH Shohei Ohtani added two home runs to his major league lead in the same game where he pitched one-run ball into the seventh inning in a win over the Chicago White Sox on June 27. The Angels maintained a decent 44-37 record. Since then, the wheels have fallen off, and not just because Los Angeles has lost nine of ten entering the All-Star Break.

OF Mike Trout is expected to be out until August. C Logan O’Hoppe, INF Gio Urshela, 3B Anthony Rendon, and 2B Brandon Drury are stuck on the injured list as well. OF Taylor Ward is also dealing with health issues. A few weeks ago, the suggestion of trading Ohtani seemed boneheaded. With the Angels now below .500 and fourth in the AL West, it might be a necessity. What went right, what went wrong, and what can be done to right the ship?


Shohei, Shohei, Shohei. He’s the major league leader in home runs and the Angels’ leader in nearly every statistical offensive category. If you visit the ESPN Angels batting stats page, Shohei’s face is the only one pictured across all five “Team Leaders” categories. Across the stat counts, the only two metrics where Ohtani is not the leader are doubles (though he holds a 19-hit XBH lead) and strikeouts (that’s his SO count as a batter, so not exactly a leaderboard where he’ll try to move to the top).

What’s slightly concerning about this is that Mike Trout has been noticeably uncompetitive for Ohtani’s spot as the king batsman. Every offensive number of his, while still productive, is below his career average. This isn’t inexplicable, considering Trout has set a ridiculously high standard for himself, but the Angels need him to be superhuman if they want to make a run at the postseason. 

Some smaller-name bright spots include Brandon Drury and OF Mickey Moniak. Drury was amid an All-Star-caliber season before being snubbed from the roster and going down with shoulder inflammation, but he’s expected to return after the break. Moniak, in a 38-game sample this year, has been fantastic, and he could challenge struggling outfielders like Taylor Ward and OF Hunter Renfroe for starts.

The Angels offense has not been a problem this year, as they are top ten in the majors by averaging 4.87 runs per game, a massive improvement over last season’s paltry 3.85 mark. Power is the name of the game for the Halos. They are top five in MLB in slugging percentage, dingers and, as a result, OPS.


While the offense has been fiery, the pitching has been shaky, bottom ten in the majors with a 4.42 team ERA. That hasn’t stopped Shohei from ruling the mound, leading the starting staff in wins, quality starts, innings pitched, strikeouts, WHIP and, adversely, walks allowed. His 3.32 ERA is the best on the team among qualified pitchers. It’s also the worst, and that’s because he’s the only qualified pitcher, a threshold that requires starters to pitch as many innings as the team has played games. 

The other starters in the rotation haven’t been workhorses this season. SPs Griffin Canning, Patrick Sandoval, and Reid Detmers have all been league-average, holding ERA+ marks of 96, 100 and 103, respectively. Detmers was on a positive trajectory, firing four consecutive quality starts, all with one or fewer runs allowed, before the Dodgers knocked him around for seven runs in his final start before the All-Star Break. SP Tyler Anderson has struggled more significantly, putting up a 5.25 ERA so far, more than double his mark in last season’s All-Star campaign with the other LA team. Anderson’s 15-win campaign with the Dodgers in 2022 shot his price tag up for free agency, and the Halos can only hope he will play up to the 3-year, $39 million contract they gave him.

RPs Carlos Estevez and Matt Moore headline the bullpen for Los Angeles, leading the team in saves (21) and holds (12), respectively. Estevez’s 1.80 ERA campaign, along with his perfect save percentage, made him the Angels’ third All-Star alongside Ohtani and Trout. Other than Estevez and Moore, though, the bullpen has been lackluster, with a group ERA that’s 19th in the majors.

Halos Hopeful or Hapless?

Despite the fact that only four teams in the AL have worse records than the Angels, they’re just five games out of a playoff spot because more than half of the American League teams are in that five-game separation. However, the Halos’ presence in the AL West, looking up at and often playing against powerful clubs like the Texas Rangers, Astros and Seattle Mariners, could make earning a playoff berth very difficult. 

With the playoffs unlikely, should Los Angeles consider dealing Ohtani and getting one of the most expensive return packages in MLB history? Arte Moreno is reportedly unwilling to do so, but, with Trout and 13 other Angels on the IL, July could get ugly. Would that change his mind ahead of the August 1 deadline? In mid-July, this looks like the flawed team many expected before the season.

If the Angels stay the course, a couple of improved contributions could be the boost they need for a run. The first is Trout, who is more than capable of exploding and putting the Halos on his back down the stretch. Another more statistically predicted spot for improvement is with Tyler Anderson. Anderson, despite a rough season to this point, has an xERA 7 points lower than his actual ERA, a FIP 61 points lower, and a BABIP 24 points higher than his career average. All of those metrics hint at an improvement, especially considering Anderson was a Cy Young contender just a year ago.

Many pundits and fans are quick to write off the Angels in 2023, especially because the squad started hot before falling apart last season. But there’s so much on the line this time around, with a player in the GOAT conversation about to slip away. Will it be that the more things change, the more they stay the same, or is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Stay tuned!

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