2021 Los Angeles Angels
The Angels failed to make the postseason in each of the six past seasons while trending further down the standings in 2019 (72-90) and 2020 (26-34). Their lack of pitching was the problem last season (5.09 ERA – 26th). Los Angeles finished ninth in runs scored (294) and 10th in home runs (85). They won their only World Series appearance in 2002. In the team’s 60-year history, the Angels made the postseason in 10 different years.
In free agency, Los Angeles signed SP Jose Quintana and C Kurt Suzuki. They acquired SP Alex Cobb and OF Dexter Fowler in a pair of deals in early February.
The Angels addressed the ninth inning by trading for Raisel Iglesias for RP Noe Ramirez and IF Leonardo Rivas. The bullpen structure behind their new closer has some massaging to do in 2021 if Los Angeles wants to lock down games from the 7th to the 9th inning.
The offense's core is built around two studs – 1B Mike Trout and 3B Anthony Rendon. Both 1B Albert Pujols and OF Justin Upton are on the downside of their careers. Upton has a better chance to contribute in 2021. Los Angeles may have found something in OF Jared Walsh, who flashed late in 2020.
SS Jose Iglesias was added via a trade with the Orioles to replace SS Andrelton Simmons. The Angels moved on from RB Hansel Robles and SP Julio Teheran.
Both SP Andrew Heaney and SP Dylan Bundy have the talent to give Los Angeles good innings when healthy. Bundy emerged in 2020 as a top tier pitcher after battling home runs with the Orioles. SP Shohei Ohtani struggled as a batter last year while being a disaster on the mound. The Angels need him to be the stud they expected pitching when they signed him before the 2018 season. SP Griffin Canning also has talent, but he may have just as much injury risk.
If LA can land Bauer and he pitches at an elite level, the starting rotation structure falls in a much better competitive range. Their offense can’t be top tier based on the low ceiling of their starting players at 2B and SS. The Angels have enough on the roster to have a winning record if their pitching staff stays healthy.
1. 2B David Fletcher
Fletcher improved his approach in his three seasons in the majors (strikeout rate – 10.9 and walk rate – 8.7) while showing growth each year in batting average (.275, .290, and .319).
His average hit rate (1.333) remains in a light-hitting area. A run at 10 home runs would be a lot to ask for at this point in his career. In his minor league career, Fletcher did have 60 steals over 1,386 at-bats.
He finished last year with a jump in his HR/FB rate (7.9 – 3.6 in his career), but Fletcher had the lowest fly-ball rate (20.7) of his career, leading to a spike in his ground ball rate (54.3).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: With 20+ steals, Fletcher would be tolerable as a fantasy owner when adding his edge in batting average and projected neutral value in runs. This season he has an ADP of 224 as the 21st second base option. I only see a one-trick pony (batting average).
2. OF Mike Trout
The threat of missing time over the summer due to an expected baby and the threat of Covid led to Trout sliding in July drafts.
His stats projected over 550 at-bats came to 113 runs, 47 home runs, and 127 RBI. Trout had fade in his batting average (.281) over the past two seasons (.312 and .291), but his contact batting average (.392) remained high. He still takes plenty of walks (14.5 percent) while having a regression in strikeout rate (23.2).
Trout repeated his strength in his average hit rate (2.143) thanks to a high HR/FB rate (23.0) while adding more loft to his swing (50.3 percent fly-ball rate).
His loss of steals led to Trout finishing 2020 16th in SIscore (2.27) compared to eighth the previous season.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Fantasy owners haven’t seen his best season in home runs or RBI, but the Angels still don’t have a great supporting cast around him. Trout may regain some of his lost stolen bases, but it can’t be counted on when evaluating his preseason value. His ADP (6) works if he hits .300 with 110 runs, 45 home runs, and 110 steals. I’ll bet on the over with a full season of at-bats while expecting double-digit targets.
3. 3B Anthony Rendon
In his first season, hitting behind Mike Trout, Rendon struggled with runners on base (RBI rate – 14) while also seeing a drop in his contact batting average (.342 – .379).
The weakness in the Angels’ lineup below the third spot of the batting order was highlighted by Rendon’s lower run rate (32 – 46 in 2019). His average hit rate (1.741) moved back to his stats in 2017 (1.771) and 2018 (1.736) after moving forward in 2019 (1.874).
Rendon finished with his highest walk rate (16.4) of his career while maintaining a low strikeout rate (13.4). He continues to have a fly-ball swing path (43.7 percent) with a mid-level HR/FB rate (13.0).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: In his second season in Los Angeles, Rendon should regain some of his lost value in four categories. He has an ADP of (43) in the early draft season. Finding a high average bat as the fourth piece to a fantasy team allows a fantasy owner to gain an edge with an early ace. Rendon had the eighth highest SIscore in 2019 (7.39), pointing to him being a value in 2021. I’ll set the bar at .310 with 90 runs, 25 home runs, and 90 RBI.
4. OF Jared Walsh
It would be a lot to ask for Walsh to make the jump from 99 career major league at-bats to a full time clean up hitter for the Angels.
Over five seasons in the minors, Walsh hit .301 with 85 home runs and 311 RBI over 1,715 at-bats. His growth in his swing came in 2019 at AAA (.325 with 36 home runs and 86 RBI over 382 at-bats). He showed the ability to take walks (9.8) in the minors with some risk in his strikeout rate (24.1).
With Los Angeles, Walsh blasted nine home runs with 26 RBI over 99 at-bats while lowering his strikeout rate (13.9). His average hit rate was strong in 2019 at AAA (2.113) and with the Angels (2.207).
Even with success power last year, Walsh hit a high number of ground balls (48.3 percent) with an impactful HR/FB rate (28.1).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: His short sample size with Los Angeles brings some risk when adding in his ADP (205). His power looks real, but pitchers may figure him out with more at-bats, leading to a much higher strikeout rate. At the very least, Walsh should earn full-time at-bats based on his success vs. lefties in 2019 (.359 with nine home runs and 31 RBI over 128 at-bats) and 2020 (.324 with one home run and six RBI over 34 at-bats). I see .280 with 80/25/80 at his floor in 2021.
5. OF Justin Upton
The early sign to get off the Upton bus came in mid-February of 2019 when he suffered tendinitis in his right knee. He teased fantasy owners in mid-March after returning to game action. About a week later, Upton sustained a toe injury in his left foot, costing him 11 weeks of the season.
His bat didn’t look right all year, which led to only a slight spark in August (.200 with four home runs and 22 RBI over 80 at-bats). Over his other 139 combined at-bats, he only eight home runs and 18 RBI.
In 2020, Upton hit his way out of the batting order over his first 13 games (5-for-46 with two home runs, five RBI, and 19 strikeouts). From August 8th to August 30th, the Angels only gave him 31 at-bats (.161 with one home run, four RBI, and 10 strikeouts). His bat was at least serviceable in September (.286 with six home runs and 13 RBI over 70 at-bats)
His strikeout rate (25.9) almost matched his career average (25.5), with a step back in his walk rate (6.6 – 10.2 in his career).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: No one will fight for Upton this season. He has plenty of experience, but Upton only hit .210 over his last 366 at-bats with 21 home runs and 62 RBI. This season his ADP (390) points to waiver wire value in 12-team leagues. He still has a 30-home run swing if he stays healthy and receives a full season of at-bats.
6. DH Shohei Ohtani
Last season was frustrating for anyone drafting Ohtani. After suffering a right forearm injury in early August, he appeared to have the green light for full-time at-bats over the last eight weeks.
Ohtani finished with regression in his strikeout rate (28.6) and a much weaker contact batting average (.282 – .415 in 2018 and .401 in 2019). The Angels only gave him 47 at-bats in September (.191 with two home runs and six RBI) while not having any other injury.
His swing path continues to deliver a high ground ball rate (49.5), but Ohtani did finish a career-best in his fly-ball rate (33.0). Despite a strong HR/FB rate (26.7) in his career, it declined in back-to-back years (29.7, 26.5, and 20.6).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: The Angels need him in the starting rotation, which almost limits his at-bats to four to five games per week. Ohtani may also sit against some left-handed pitching. Over his three years in the majors, he hit .269 with 133 runs, 47 home runs, 147 RBI, and 29 steals over 863 at-bats. With 400 at-bats, Ohtani has a chance at a neutral batting average with 60 runs, 25 home runs, 60 RBI, and double-digit stolen bases. His ADP (235) has his pitching priced in.
7. 1B Albert Pujols
With one season left on his contract, Pujols still has visions of hitting 700 home runs (needs 38). The loss of 102 games in 2020 due to Covid most likely cost him a chance of catching Babe Ruth (714 home runs). He needs 198 RBI to finish with the most in baseball history.
For the fourth straight season, his contact batting average (.268) finished under .300. His slow foot speed is part of the issue and the reason his production has been low in runs since 2017.
Pujols continues to have a high RBI rate (18) while holding value in his average hit rate (1.765). Last year he hit a ton of infield fly-balls (23.1 percent) while posting his lowest HR/FB rate (11.5) of his career.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Pujols is a fading star who is motivated to hit home runs at the end of his career. He barely takes walks any more (5.5), which is another strike to his ability to score runs. He is going to struggle to hit 20 home runs, and 70 RBI may be a reach. Pujols is only a bench player at this point of his career with tons of batting average risk. His ADP (581) puts him in the free-agent pool in almost every fantasy format.
8. C Kurt Suzuki
After playing well in a split role at catcher over three seasons (.272 with 120 runs, 48 home runs, and 163 RBI over 903 at-bats), Suzuki lost his power stroke in 2020 (two home runs and 17 RBI over 111 at-bats).
His average hit rate (1.467) came in well below 2019 (1.838) while seeing a rise in his strikeout rate (14.7 – 11.8 in his career). Suzuki played the best against left-handed pitching (.345 with one home run and eight RBI over 29 at-bats).
He’s had a fly-ball swing path (43.2) over the past four years, but Suzuki had a sharp decline in his HR/FB rate (4.9 – 16.0 in 2019).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Decent C2 in deep leagues if Suzuki can get most at-bats for the Angels at catcher. With 400 at-bats, I could see 50 runs, 15 home runs, and 50 RBI, but I won’t fight for him on draft day even with a low ADP (429). I would take the under on his playing time even with LA having weakness with their catching depth.
9. SS Jose Iglesias
From 2013 to 2017, Iglesias hit .276 with 196 runs, 15 home runs, 138 RBI, and 30 steals over 1,696 at-bats. He flashed a bump in speed in 2018 (15 stolen bases) while playing well enough in 2019 (.288 with 62 runs, 11 home runs, 59 RBI, and six steals over 504 at-bats) to earn playable fantasy stats for the first time in his career.
Last year he got off to a fast start in RBIs (24 over 142 at-bats) with an elite RBI rate (27). Iglesias finished with a much higher contact batting average (.398) than his previous high (.334).
In August, he missed 10 games with a quad issue. His average hit rate (1.491) was a career-best. Iglesias had a jump in his HR/FB rate in 2018 (18.8) and 2019 (16.7) while coming up short in 2020 (5.3).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: There is more here than meets the eye. I don’t expect an impact year in any category, but Iglesias may finish with a career-high in runs, home runs, and RBI. His batting average has a chance to be a slight asset. His ADP (461) points to only an injury cover if he does play well in 2021.
OF Dexter Fowler
Over the last three seasons, Fowler hit .218 with 123 runs, 31 home runs, 113 RBI, and 14 stolen bases over 866 at-bats. He had only a bench opportunity in 2020 (.233 with four home runs and 15 RBI over 90 at-bats).
The Cubs gave Fowler plenty of chances to prove his worth in 2019. He finished the second-highest at-bats (487) of his career, which led to the most home runs (19) and RBI (67) in his 12 seasons in the league.
His RBI rate (16) has been over the league average over the past two seasons, with a slight bump in his contact batting average (.339).
He continues to take plenty of walks (9.9 percent) with a career-high and fading strikeout rate (27.7).
His hard-hit rate (27.4) doesn’t have a pulse despite setting a career-best in his HR/FB rate (17.2).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: His experience ranks above the Angels’ young players, but Fowler only has the look of a bench player in 2021.
OF Joe Adell
In 2019, Adell caught a bad break in March when he suffered a left hamstring and a right ankle injury on the same play. His first appearances in the minors came on May 24th at High A. After success over six games (7-for-25 with two home runs and five RBI), LA pushed him to AA.
He played well over the next two months (.308 with eight home runs, 23 RBI, and six SBs over 159 at-bats), earning him a call up to AAA (.264 with no home runs and eight RBI over 121 at-bats).
Adell looked overmatched at AAA based on his strikeout rate (32.6) and lack of power (AVH – 1.344). With no minor leagues in 2020, the Angels gave him 124 at-bats. His contact batting average (.290) came in well below his minor league career (.414) while posting a tremendous strikeout rate (41.7).
Over his three seasons in the minors, he hit .298 with 35 home runs, 143 RBI, and 30 stolen bases over 904 at-bats. His walk rate (7.6) comes in just below the league average (8.2), with risk in his strikeout rate (25.4).
The Angels drafted him 10th overall in the 2017 MLB June Amateur Draft.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Adell isn’t ready for the majors, which means a couple of months at AAA at the minimum. Once he reaches the majors and controls the strike zone, Adell has a 20/20 skill set with some risk in his batting average early in his career. Fantasy owners will fight for him drafts based on his early ADP (392).
OF Brandon Marsh
Los Angeles envisions Marsh as their future centerfielder once Mike Trout transitions to a corner outfield position. Both his glove and arm grade as top assets while his bat is trailing as far as approach and power.
Over three seasons in the minors, he hit .287 with 21 home runs, 159 RBI, and 43 steals over 1,061 at-bats. His average hit rate (1.442) regressed after a push to AA in 2019 while having a high contact batting average (.388).
Marsh will take walks (10.7), but his strikeout rate (24.3) needs work.
Last year Marsh didn’t receive any at-bats.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: In 2021, he’ll start the year at AAA after success at AA in 2019 (.300 over 360 at-bats with seven home runs, 43 RBI, and 18 stolen bases).
OF Taylor Ward
Ward came through the Angels’ system as a catcher while working his way to the majors via third base and outfield over his last two seasons at AAA.
The Angels selected Ward in the first round (26th) in the 2015 MLB June Amateur Draft.
Over five seasons in the minors, Taylor hit .296 with 63 home runs, 267 RBI, and 35 steals over 1,789 at-bats. His bat made a step forward in 2018 (.349 with 14 HRs, 60 RBI, and 18 steals over 375 at-bats) between AA and AAA with follow-through in 2019 at AAA (.306 with 102 runs, 27 home runs, 71 RBI, and 11 steals over 421 at-bats).
His strikeouts rate (16.9) showed strength with a top of the order walk rate (13.6) in the minors.
With Los Angeles over parts of three seasons, Ward only hit .214 with seven home runs, 22 RBI, and four steals over 271 at-bats. His path to more playing time will come when he lowers his strikeout rate (32.2).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Ward is an improving player with the hit tool to make a push toward the majors if he makes better contact. His approach is strong enough to bat leadoff in this lineup if he makes batter contact. I’d like to see him pick up a catcher mitt as the Angels have the weakest batting options.
Max Stassi (C): Stassi will compete for at-bats at catcher for the Angels. He flashed power in 2018 (eight home runs and 27 RBI over 211 at-bats) for Houston, but he hit only .126 with 74 strikeouts (29.6 percent).
After struggling in the majors in 2019 (.136 with one home run and five RBI over 132 at-bats), Stassi played much better for the Angels last season (.278 with seven home runs and 20 RBI over 90 at-bats).
Over 10 seasons in the minors, Stassi hit .247 with 92 home runs, 345 RBI, and 12 stolen bases over 2,380 at-bats.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: I don’t see him beating out Kurt Suzuki for the majority of catcher at-bats for Los Angeles. Stassi does have power, but his struggles making contact lead to slumps and lost playing time. A possible flier as a C2 in deep leagues (ADP of 386).
1. SP Shohei Ohtani
Over five seasons in Japan, Ohtani went 42-15 with a 2.52 ERA and 624 strikeouts over 543 innings. His best season came in 2015 (15-5 with a 2.24 ERA and 196 strikeouts over 160.2 innings).
In his first action in the majors in 2018, Ohtani flashed electric upside in three starts (three runs over 21 innings with 32 strikeouts). He allowed two runs or fewer in five of his first eight games, leading to a 3.18 ERA, .196 BAA, and 57 strikeouts over 45.1 innings.
His command trailed vs. lefties (13 of 22 walks over 90 at-bats). His AFB (97.3) was an edge in velocity, but batters hit .382 against his four-seamer. Ohtani had an exceptional split-finger (.036 BAA) and a plus slider (.140 BAA). He also threw a low-volume curveball.
Ohtani missed all of 2019 with TJ surgery. He was expected to be healthy last year, but his pitching season ended after two games with a right forearm issue. Fantasy owners knew something wrong when he issued eight walks over 1.2 innings, leading to seven runs and three hits.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Los Angeles expects Ohtani to be healthy in 2021, and they want him to pitch one game a week. There is an electric upside in his arm, but managing him may not be worth his price point. I’d rather own him at a discount, after rostering him on many teams last season. I’ll lower his bar to 125 innings with a chance at a sub 3.00 ERA and 150 strikeouts. Ohtani is an automatic avoid if his arm has any negative news in spring training.
2. SP Dylan Bundy
After regressing over four seasons with the Orioles (38-45 with a 4.69 ERA and 602 strikeouts over 612.2 innings), Bundy found his groove in Los Angeles (6-3 with a 3.29 ERA and 72 strikeouts over 65.2 innings)>
He cleaned up his issue with home runs (0.7 per nine – 1.7 in Baltimore). Bundy also posted the low walk rate (2.3) and highest strikeout rate (9.9) of his career. More of his struggles with walks came against left-handed batter (13 of 17 walks over 138 at-bats), but he did pitch against righties (.196 BAA) and lefties (.217 BAA).
Surprisingly, his AFB (90.4) was the lowest of his career. Batters struggled with his split-finger fastball (.228 BAA), slider (.193 BAA), and four-seam fastball (.232 BAA). The difference in his failed years was his fastball's location and growth in his split-finger pitch value.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Bundy will be tempting in 2021, but he won’t be cheap (ADP of 117) as the 38th pitcher drafts. The question came on betting his short sample size last year or his struggles in Baltimore. I’ll temper my expectations based on him never pitching over 175 innings and his fastball decline.
3. SP Andrew Heaney
For the third straight season, Heaney underachieved in ERA (4.46). Over this span, he went 17-19 with 4.42 ERA and 368 strikeouts over 342 innings. His WHIP (1.231) in these games paint an ERA closer to 3.70
Home runs allowed have been a problem in his career (1.5 per nine – 1.2 in 2020). His walk rate (2.6) and strikeout rate (9.5) have been in a favorable area since 2017.
Heaney struggled over three starts in the middle of August (14 runs and 25 base runners over 14 innings with 16 strikeouts), and his season ended with a dull four games (5.56 ERA and 1.368 WHIP).
He throws a sinker as his fastball, which came in at 91.8 MPH compared to 92.6 MPH in 2019. His curveball (.203 BAA) is an edge with a serviceable changeup (.242 BAA).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: In his seven seasons in the majors, Heaney has been a losing investment each year due to crooked stats or missed time because of an injury. He throws strikes, and batters will swing-and-miss at his pitches when on top of his game. There is just as much risk as reward as a mid-tier starter with an ADP of 210 in the early draft season. Don’t dismiss a 3.50 ERA with 200 strikeouts when 32 starts (only once in his career has Heaney pitched 180 innings), but I’d rather roster him at a discount.
4. SP Jose Quintana
The excitement of Quintana’s arm left the building after 2016. Generally, a move to the National League helps a pitcher’s value after success in the AL.
Over six years with the White Sox, he had a 3.51 ERA and 890 strikeouts over 1,055.1 innings. With the Cubs over four seasons, Quintana went 33-23 with a 4.24 ERA and 420 strikeouts over 439.2 innings.
In 2020, Quintana started the year on the injured list after having left thumb surgery in early July. In September, a lat issue cost him more playing time. He finished with only 10 innings pitched.
He regained his walk rate (2.4) in 2019 and 2020 with a career average strikeout rate (8.2).
Over 13 starts from April 11th to June 16th in 2019, Quintana posted a 3.29 ERA, 1.213 WHIP, and 61 strikeouts over 76.2 innings. On both sides of this run, he gave 16 runs and 22 baserunners over 7.1 innings. His arm was serviceable over his next 11 starts (3.08 ERA and 63 strikeouts over 64.1 innings), but Quintana had a sellout feel in September (11.09 ERA and 2.250 WHIP over 18 innings).
His failure in 2019 came against righties (.290 with 22 HRs over 527 at-bats). He has a fading fastball (91.6 MPH) with only one pitch of value (curveball – .244 BAA).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Lefties tend to have nine lives. Quintana should be better than a backend inning eater, but he has a lot to prove this season. His ADP (482) dropped nearly 185 spots from 2020 with no real change in his game. Start the bidding at 4.00 ERA and 150 strikeouts while having a chance to regain his lost form. For reference, his career resume (3.73 ERA) is much better than Andrew Heaney while having a lot less injury risk and a much lower price point.
5. SP Griffin Canning
The Angels drafted Canning in the second round of the 2017 MLB June Amateur Draft. Over three seasons at UCLA, he went 19-13 with a 2.99 ERA and 301 strikeouts over 291.1 innings. His arm had the most value in his junior season in 2017 (2.34 ERA and 140 strikeouts over 119 innings).
Griffin pitched great at AA (1.97 ERA and 49 strikeouts over 45.2 innings) over 10 starts in 2018. After a promotion to AAA, he struggled over 59.0 innings (5.49 ERA and 64 strikeouts).
In 2019, Griffin dominated in three starts at AAA (two runs over 16 innings with 17 strikeouts). After three starts with LA, he had a 5.65 ERA and 19 strikeouts over 14.1 innings. Griffin helped fantasy owners over his next eight games (.323 ERA and 44 strikeouts over 47.1 innings).
His arm didn’t look healthy in July (8.15 ERA), which led to two trips to the injured list with an elbow injury.
Last season Canning battled a right elbow injury early spring training that would have cost him the first half of the season. He battled his command (10 walks) and home runs (4) over his first four starts (4.442 ERA over 18.1 innings). Canning finished the year with much better results over his last seven games (2-0 with a 3.79 ERA and 38 strikeouts over 38 innings).
His curveball (.170 BAA) and changeup (.186 BAA) were top pitches, but Canning lost the feel for his slider (.297 BAA). His AFB (93.0) was 1.3 MLH lower than his rookie season.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: I don’t trust his right elbow, and I expect Canning to have TJ surgery early in his career. Even with progression over short innings in 2020, his ADP (305) fell 81 spots from last year in the high-stakes market. His lower price point does remove some of his downside risk. Canning is more of a coin flip that I will avoid this draft season.
SP Alex Cobb
Over three seasons with Baltimore, Cobb went 7-22 with a 5.10 ERA and 148 strikeouts over 217.0 innings. Home runs (1.7 per nine) have been a problem with a low strikeout rate (6.1).
He teased over his first four starts (2.75 ERA and 17 strikeouts over 19.2 innings) while finishing the year with success in two games (three runs over 13.0 innings with nine strikeouts). Unfortunately, from August 17th to September 11th, Cobb allowed five home runs over 19.2 innings, leading to a 7.32 ERA and 29 hits allowed.
He missed a pair of starts in early September with possible contact to Covid.
Both his curveball (1.79 BAA) and split-finger fastball (.179 BAA) had an edge, but batters drilled his sinker (.348 BAA). When at his best from 2011 to 2017 with Tampa, Cobb went 48-35 with a 3.50 ERA and 570 strikeouts over 700.0 innings. His walk rate (3.1) was above his career average (2.6).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: He is only an inning eater who needs to fix his home runs allowed problem at this point of his career. The change to the Angels does give him a deep flier feel if he earns a starting job and his arm is more productive.
SP Patrick Sandoval
After dominating at A ball in 2018 (7-1 with a 2.49 ERA and 71 strikeouts over 65 innings) and pushing his way to High A and AA (1.54 ERA and 74 strikeouts over 58.1 innings), Sandoval tripped up at AAA in 2019 (6.41 ERA) with regression in his walk rate (5.2).
In his minor league career, he walked 3.4 batters per nine innings with an edge in his strikeout rate (10.4).
Over the last two seasons in the majors, Sandoval went 1-9 with a 5.33 ERA and 75 strikeouts over 76 innings. He improved his walk rate (2.9) in 2020, but Sandoval served up 10 home runs over 36.2 innings.
His AFB (93.0) was about the league average while flashing a plus changeup (.192 BAA), slider (.183 BAA), and curveball (.143 BAA).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Sandoval needs more time at AAA to work on his command in and out of the strikeout zone. His tease season came in 2018 over four levels of the minors (11-1 with a 2.06 ERA and 145 strikeouts over 122.1 innings). I’m a fan of pitchers with good changeups, so Sandoval is a player I’ll follow in 2021 while understanding he’ll have disaster downside in some starts early in his major league career.
SP Reid Detmers
With minimal games played in college baseball in 2020, Detmers only made four dominating starts (3-0 with a 1.23 ERA and 48 strikeouts over 22 innings.
The previous year, his arm made a significant step forward (13-4 with a 2.78 ERA and 167 strikeouts over 113.1 innings). Over his final 23 games, he walked 2.6 batters per nine with an electric strikeout rate (14.3).
Detmers offers a low-90s fastball while relying on his plus curveball to get strikeouts. To succeed in the majors, he’ll need more zip on his fastball and develop his changeup.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Last summer, the Angels mentioned that Detmers had a chance to pitch in the majors late in the season. With that thought process in mind, he may move quickly through the minors while reaching Los Angeles over the summer. With minimal information from 2020, a fantasy owner needs to keep a close eye on his progress this year.
CL Raisel Iglesias
After a down season in 2019 (3-12 with a 4.16 ERA, 89 strikeouts, and 34 saves over 67 innings), Iglesias looked sharp in his 22 appearances last season (2.74 ERA, 31 strikeouts, and eight saves over 23 innings).
He finished with a career's best walk rate (2.0) while inching up his strikeout rate (12.1). In 2018 and 2019, Iglesias gave up 24 home runs over 139 innings (1.6 per nine), but he solved that problem last year (one home run allowed over 23 innings).
His AFB (96.6) was a career-high. All four of his pitches (four-seam fastball – .205 BAA, slider – .227 BAA, changeup – .200 BAA, and sinker – .143 BAA) were tough to hit.
Over the last four seasons, Iglesias went 12-23 with a 2.95 ERA, 292 strikeouts, and 100 saves over 238 innings.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Fantasy owners like his growth in 2020, leading to a rise in his ADP (87) as the fifth closer drafted. Iglesias has the talent to strike out 100+ batters with over 70 innings pitched. His floor should be 35 saves with an edge in ERA and WHIP.
RP Ty Buttrey
Buttrey allowed a run or more in three of his first four games, but his stats (3.00 ERA, nine strikeouts, and four saves over 18 innings) were on track at the end of August.
After two disaster outings (six runs and six baserunners over one inning) in his first two appearances in September, he finished the year with a 6.14 ERA over his final 7.1 innings while allowing three home runs.
Over his first two years with the Angels, Buttrey went 6-8 with a 3.86 ERA, 104 strikeouts, and six saves over 88.2 innings.
He lost his strikeout ability in 2020 (6.2 batters per nine innings) with regression in both his walk rate (3.1) and HR/9 rate (1.4).
His AFB (96.5) still had plenty of velocity, while his two secondary pitches (slider – .231 BAA and changeup – .191 BAA) graded well. Buttrey lost his way due to command of his four-seam fastball (.314 BAA).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Los Angeles has weakness in their bullpen behind their closer, which requires Buttrey to regain his previous form. He has a streaky arm with the talent to rebound with better command. Buttrey has no fantasy value in 2021.
RP Mike Mayers
Mayers had no business in the majors from 2016 to 2019 when he went 3-3 with a 7.03 ERA and 1.698 WHIP over 80.2 innings.
Over his seven seasons in the minors, Mayers posted a 3.48 ERA and 443 strikeouts over 525.1 innings while doing more of his early work as a starter.
Last year the Angels received some surprising innings from him (2.10 ERA and 43 strikeouts over 30 innings). His success was driven by a much higher strikeout rate (12.9) and an improved walk rate (2.7).
His AFB (94.4) came in lower than his best season in 2018 (96.7 MPH). Mayers added a cutter (.177 BAA), which proved to be his missing link to get batters out. His slider (.217 BAA) and four-seam fastball (.150 BAA) was also tough to hit.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: If Mayers can build on his 2020 growth, Los Angeles would be thrilled. The addition of his cutter unlocked his command and confidence. At this point in his career, he is only a low end closer in waiting with more bad than good on his career resume.
2021 Fantasy Baseball Team Outlooks