The Los Angeles Angels enter 2023 looking to improve on their 73-win season from 2022. It was a down year for the franchise, one that saw them finish third in the American League West behind the Seattle Mariners (90 wins) and the World Series-winning Houston Astros (106 wins).
The Angels have some way to go to make up those 33 wins on the Astros, but they will get a feel for their place in the divisional hierarchy early on. They start the season with a pair of divisional series on the road, first against the Oakland Athletics – a 60-win team in 2022 and then against the Mariners. The Angels head back to Angel Stadium for their home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday, April 7, before further April home series against the Washington Nationals, Kansas City Royals, and the Oakland A’s.
Here are three questions for the Angels ahead of the 2023 season.
Three Key Questions
Can the stars stay healthy?
Given the riches they potentially have in their lineup, it is almost scandalous that the Angels haven’t finished above .500 since 2015. The trio of Anthony Rendon, Mike Trout, and Shohei Ohtani is as good as any trio anywhere in the league. The problem is, they can keep them all healthy. Rendon has been particularly injury prone, with hip surgery in 2021 and a wrist surgery last season depriving the 32-year-old of a pair of seasons where he should be in his prime. If the three do stay healthy, a .500 season would be a disaster.
Is Hunter Renfroe the biggest steal of the offseason?
Renfroe his 29 home runs in 125 games last season. He has gone for at least 26 bombs five times in his career and 31 or more twice. Now he is in a lineup where Trout and Ohtani will receive the bulk of the attention from opposing pitchers. This puts Renfroe in an ideal situation where his bat doesn’t have to be THE bat in the lineup. Expect to see him thrive and have one of the most productive years of his career in 2023.
Who is the shortstop?
The Angels’ decision to not sign a shortstop this offseason was baffling. While the club is carrying six infielders that should see time during the season, not one of them is seen primarily as a shortstop. The two players that are most likely to be given the shot there are David Fletcher and Luis Rengifo. Fletcher is a solid defender at short but isn’t special enough there to cover for the fact his bat has disappeared over the past couple of years. Rengifo has a better bat, but you would never trust his fielding there, and – as a result – he has played less than 60 games at short in his career. Maybe there is a plan I am not seeing. Angels fans better hope that that is the case.