Analyzing the 2021 Dynasty Offensive Landscape: The Los Angeles Angels

March 3, 2021

Hey, it’s Mike Trout’s team.

The national media complains every year because they want to watch Trout but his team plays late-night games on the West Coast.

They don’t like that!

Mike Trout is boring!

This team is boring too!

They should be better!

Mike Trout!

That just about covers my synopsis of how I think the world views the Los Angeles Angels. While they’re wrong about mostly everything, some of those things do have some underlying truths.

This team is pretty boring, and they should be better. Maybe they will be in 2021? Let’s take a look:

Catcher

Kurt Suzuki, Max Stassi, Anthony Bemboom, Juan Graterol, Jack Kruger, Gustavo Campero, Harrison Wenson, Keinner Pina, Anthony Mulrine, Michael Cruz, Ty Greene

Kurt Suzuki has been very average for a very long time. Since he turned 30 he’s put up a .267/.325/.414 line with an OPS of .730 and an OPS+ of 99 over an average of 96 games [59.26%] a year. Last year, he put up a .270/.349/.396 with an OPS of .745 and an OPS+ of 99 over 33 games [55.00].e’s great for a real baseball team, but terrible for your fantasy one. Stassi quietly had a very good offensive year in the shortened 2020 season and was an excellent post-pandemic year sleeper. Both of these combined will make one nice hitter, but using up two rosters spots to do it is tough. Suzuki is going in the mid-20s and Stassi around #30 overall at catcher and given their output and playing time, these are both about right.

It’s just you’re buying high floor and low ceiling here, without any sort of injury you’re going to be in a 50% timeshare and you’re going to be left wanting more. The upside is there for both Suzuki and Stassi if they were to get 80% of the starts, but it’s just not going to happen. That’s what Kurt Suzuki does.

First Base

Jared Walsh, Albert Pujols, Matt Thaiss, Ibandel Isabel, Mitch Nay

Jared Walsh is an interesting player. He’s the first “2-way” player since Brooks Kieschnick that is capable of starting on offense and relieving out of the bullpen. Walsh’s power stroke was very apparent in 2020 when he hit 9 homers in only 108 PAs. No one is expecting him to keep up a 50-HR pace over a full season. But, as a 1B getting drafted outside the top 25 at first, there is a ton of value to be made if he can keep up 75% of that home run pace.

Keischnick did both of these things during his career, but he never did both well at the same time.

With Pujols unlikely to threaten Walsh in the short or long term, and Matt Thaiss yet to show any signs of exiting quad A purgatory. Walsh is the type of asset I want to own in every league at his price point. Isabel and Nay are both non-prospects and there is no depth at 1B.

Walsh has far more job security than meets the eye. Buy him before his price course corrects.

Second Base

David Fletcher, Luis Rengifo, Franklin Barreto, Jack Mayfield, Phil Gosselin, Jahmai Jones, Jose Rojas, Kean Wong

David Fletcher deserved and got MVP votes. He’s the 2B29 off board today. The math on these two things doesn’t add up.

Fletcher will serve as a super-utility guy as he qualifies at 2B, 3B, SS, and OF and is coming off a .319/.376/.425 triple slash with a 121 OPS+.

I’m just not sure why he’s getting drafted behind guys like Chris Taylor and Garrett Hampson who aren’t even guaranteed playing time the Fletcher is.

This one really makes less sense than Jared Walsh’s ADP. Rengifo’s spot starts will see Fletcher supplant others at different positions, which maintains his flexibility. It’s a crime he’s being taken this low and there is so much profit to be found here it’s insane. Buy.

Third Base

Anthony Rendon, Kevin Maitan, Jose Verrier

Rendon is the boring superstar on this team, not Trout.

“Every Day Anthony” simply clocks in and clocks out a top 10 fantasy season. He also plays elite defense, 65+ XBHs, .900+ OPS and a 135+ OPS+ all as quiet as a mouse.

Today, he is very quietly getting drafted in the back half of the first round. He is going off the board as the third 3B after Manny Machado and Jose Ramirez. And you could make an argument that he should go higher.

As you know from my San Diego Padres preview, Machado is my clear-cut #1, but I think Rendon is the #2. Their offense is just like Rendon, quietly very good and unlike Ramirez, Rendon has plenty of protection in the lineup.

If you take Ramirez, I understand it, but I give Rendon the slight edge. Yes, he’s getting older as he enters his age 31 season but OBP kings tend to age very well and I’m not worried about him losing a step at 3B. Like the rest of this infield, buy.

Shortstop

Jose Iglesias, Livan Soto, Jeremiah Jackson, Luis Aviles, Ray-Patrick Didder, Michael Stefanic

Jose Iglesias isn’t getting drafted in the top 40 at SS. Normally, I enter these positional write-ups with an overview of a player’s skill, but how the hell is Iglesias not getting drafted in the top 40 at his position?

He hit .373/.400/.556 over 150 PAs in Baltimore. Baltimore. He’s moving to a far better lineup, and even with the obvious recession that is coming off that line, he’s going to go hit for average and score runs while playing every day.

Why isn’t anyone investing in him?

Yeah, Livan Soto and Jeremiah Jackson are coming but you don’t need to invest highly in Jose. This is crazy. I don’t know why it’s happening. Fix it. Buy it just like you’re buying every other IF on this team. Please.

Outfield

Mike Trout, Dexter Fowler, Justin Upton, Jo Adell

The same theme that applies to the rest of the team applies to Mike Trout, he’s getting under drafted.

He’s boring!

No one really wants to own him because he’s just going to be very, very, very good. Everyone already knows he’s elite, and everyone drafting today is looking for a reason to take the shiny new toy over the greatest toy this game has ever seen.

Mike Trout is 29. He’s the greatest player we’ve ever seen and is locked into his prime.

He has the highest floor I have ever seen in a player in his prime. Draft him higher.

Justin Upton and Jo Adell are both getting drafted around the 90th OF off boards and that’s…. still kind of low?

Adell obviously has a boatload of upside but is also likely to spend most of the season in the minors and is giving everyone Byron Buxton vibes. Upton is a poor man’s Trout who is in active decline at age 33. Both are worth drafting, but passing on both for being on opposite sides of the spectrum of what you want for the 2021 season.

Dexter Fowler isn’t getting drafted in the top 125 which seems too low, although a case could be made that he is not locked into a roster spot, let alone a starting spot.

Bench Outfielders

Juan Lagares, Jon Jay, Scott Schebler, Jo Adell, Brandon Marsh, Taylor Ward, Brandon Lund, Jordyn Adams, Gareth Morgan, Torii Hunter Jr., Orlando Martinez, Izzy Wilson, Brendon Davis, Brandon White, Caleb Scires, D’Shawn Knowles, Trent Devaeaux, William Holmes

Lagares/Jay/Schebler are all NRIs who offer low even value to the Angels and might break Opening Day with the club but don’t have any fantasy value [Schebler could sneak some value in if he starts hot, but it’s not Top 125 OF draft worthy].

Brandon Marsh is the name that I want to keep an eye on. With the rest of the outfield’s starting spot not set in stone and in flux due to performance, the Angels #2 prospect might make a name for himself sooner rather than later.

If you need yet again another guy on this offense for me to hype up for being undervalued, there are few guys available that late who have the upside and staying power that Marsh can give on a team as offensively talented as the Angels.

Designated Hitter

Shohei Ohtani

Ohtani does not qualify anywhere but your utility spot. Which, definitely hurts his value as he does not play every day and was terrible last year.

He’s entering his age 26 season and isn’t getting drafted in the top 200 offensive players.

I had no idea I was so high on the Angels but every single player on this offense is at worse being accurately drafted. 7 out of 9 starters are going under drafted and there are even reserves who have upside worth rostering.

Ohtani is no different, but him for that low of a price. Their offensive talent is here but because the Angels are perceived as being boring, people are looking the other way.

Win your league as a boring team, it’s okay because flags fly forever.