Los Angeles Angels fans are hoping that the 2022 season will be the year in which the team makes it back to the playoffs for the first time since 2014.
As things stand now, that certainly seems like a realistic possibility.
Although the team is currently on a three-game losing streak, it has been a strong season so far for Los Angeles.
The Angels hold a 24-16 record and are just one game back of the first-place Houston Astros in the American League West.
The club owes its early-season success to a handful of players, and it definitely helps that they now have a trio of MVP candidates on their roster.
That would be Taylor Ward.
Bursting Onto The Scene
Ward was a first-round pick back in the 2015 MLB Draft.
He made his MLB debut in 2018.
His rookie season was very forgettable, as he batted just .178 with a .578 OPS, posting a -0.2 bWAR along the way.
Over the next three seasons, he appeared in a total of 119 games.
There were signs of improvement, as he registered a slash line of .250/.327/.410 and maintained a serviceable OPS+ of 100.
However, he still wasn’t living up to the expectations that always come with being a first-round pick.
This season, that has changed.
Ward has been perhaps the most unstoppable offensive player in all of baseball this year, and he leads the league in multiple major categories.
The 28-year-old currently boasts league-best marks in batting average (.375), on-base percentage (.488), slugging percentage (.721), OPS (1.209), and OPS+ (253).
He also has a very impressive bWAR of 2.1.
— MLB (@MLB) May 18, 2022
ANOTHER big homer for Taylor Ward. He knows this feeling all too well. pic.twitter.com/1BaDMTqpMj
— MLB (@MLB) May 12, 2022
Lately, he’s been even more dominant.
Over his last eight games, he’s batting .419 with an OPS of 1.307.
Ward has arrived, and if he keeps it up, he could be a superstar in the near future.
Most Exciting Roster In Baseball?
How many teams can say they have three MVP candidates?
The Angels now can.
Ward, Trout and Ohtani make up a lethal trio.
Trout is working on another spectacular season, as he’s slashing .320/.432/.689 and has a 2.7 bWAR.
Ohtani is having a somewhat slow start offensively, but he still has a solid OPS+ of 120.
More notably, he has been fantastic on the mound, pitching to a 2.82 ERA and 2.13 FIP over seven starts.
Overall, he’s got a bWAR of 1.7.
All three of these players project to spend the entire season in the MVP mix, and as things stand now, odds are that one of them will come out on top.
Of course, having another MVP award winner isn’t the ultimate goal for the Angels.
They’ve grown too familiar with the feeling of wasting MVP seasons from players on their roster.
If they want this season to be different, they’re going to have to take advantage of all of their talent and finally make the playoffs.
It’s a long season, but right now, they’re on track to do just that.