Shohei Ohtani will make the Angels more of a threat to the Astros if he is as good as advertised.
The Houston Astros finished 21 games ahead of the second place team in the AL West. Thankfully, the second place team was not the Texas Rangers. The Rangers were one of the final teams who Shohei Ohtani had interest in, but he wanted to stay on the West Coast. While some fans gave Ohtani grief for not wanting to play for the Yankees, instead he chose the Angels.
The Angels have one of the best players in the game in Mike Trout. As good as he has been in his young career, Trout had only been on one playoff team in 2014. After making his debut in 2011, the Angels have not had a winning record in two seasons. One of those seasons was the 2016 season, where they played well at the end of the season versus the Astros.
In the past, Garrett Richards has dominated the Astros. He showed signs of returning to form at the end of the 2017 season. Mike Shoemaker and Tyler Skaggs are the leading people in the rotation. They needed some more star power in the rotation, which Ohtani can offer. Ohtani wants to see how he can fare against the best players in baseball.
What to do with Ohtani?
The Angels could use a six-man rotation with Ohtani getting starts. While the upside of Ohtani is through the roof, he is still an unproven prospect until he proves otherwise. This will be an exciting story to watch to see how the league adapts to Ohtani on the mound and at the plate. This move will make Albert Pujols have to play defense, with Ohtani needing to be the DH to bat during the game.
With Trout, Ohtani, and Pujols on board, the Angels could put up a better record versus the Astros. This was not the case in 2017, where the Astros were 12-7 versus the Angels. The question will be where does Pujols get to play and does he improve his OPS? That takes C.J. Cron out of the lineup unless he plays the outfield.
To keep up with the Astros in 2018, the Angels might need to add another starter. Ohtani and Richards will be great, but they need to piece together the rest.
If Ohtani is as good as advertised, he could be the one player to turn the organization around. Baseball is a team game, but they already have one of the best in Trout. The Angels are the team in the AL West that scares me, but if the Mariners can stay healthy…
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***