The Los Angeles Angels are lucky enough to have Mike Trout, universally considered the best player of his generation with some difference, and Shohei Ohtani, baseball’s most exciting player and a bonafide two-way star in a time in which that’s a rare occurrence.
Yet, the Angels haven’t had Trout on the active roster since May because of a troublesome calf strain.
That has left Ohtani to lead the team as it looks for a place in the 2021 playoffs.
The Angels Are Average, At Best
The problem is that the Angels are, quite frankly, a mediocre team, especially when Trout has to miss time.
The pitching is incredibly and painfully underwhelming, and Los Angeles failed to address it in a meaningful way both before the season and after the trade deadline.
And if you thought the Angels needed more bad news, left-hander Patrick Sandoval, one of the few reliable starting pitchers outside of Ohtani, will probably miss the rest of the season with a physical ailment.
The lack of planning, awareness, urgency, and overall talent makes the Angels an average team, at best.
The Angels are currently 62-61, 7.5 games behind the second Wild Card spot occupied by the Oakland Athletics.
Now, imagine where the Angels would be without Ohtani.
If you think about the fact that the Angels would not be even close to being above .500 without Ohtani, he is clearly the Most Valuable Player as well as Player of the Year.
— John Taylor (@HalosFanMontana) August 20, 2021
They would probably be among the worst teams in the American League.
The Leading AL MVP Candidate
If Ohtani got injured and didn’t play any more games in the 2021, he would still be the favorite for the American League MVP award.
He has been so dominant as a hitter and as a pitcher that there is no contest, with all due respect to Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who has had an MVP-worthy season.
But Ohtani has been dominating on an average team, which is actually kind of sad because we would all love to see him shine in the postseason.
This is his fourth season with the Angels, and he still has no playoff games under his belt.
It’s unfair that the ownership and front office haven’t been able to field a competitive team for this baseball phenom to play meaningful October games.
He has been the team’s best pitcher and hitter, if that’s possible.
On the mound, his ERA is all the way down to 2.79 in exactly 100 innings.
In 18 starts, he has a 1.06 WHIP and 120 strikeouts, mainly because he is capable of reaching triple digits with his fastball and throws a mean splitter that misses bats with ease.
At the plate, he has also been an absolute star.
In 412 at-bats, the Japanese star is hitting .272/.367/.648 with a 1.015 OPS.
How a guy is capable of having a 1.015 OPS and a 2.79 ERA over a meaningful sample size is beyond us.
He also leads the league with 40 home runs, and has a legitimate shot at hitting 50 bombs if the Angels give him the playing time.
The Angels have two of the best players in the entire league and still won’t even come close to making the playoffs. Ohtani and Trout deserve better.
— Matthew Lownes (@LownesMatthew) August 19, 2021
The reality is, unfortunately, that he plays for a team that likely won’t make it to the playoffs.