2024 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers & Busts: Los Angeles Angels

Sleepers and Busts for the 2024 Los Angeles Angels

For the past six years, the Angels tried and failed to put a winning team around Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. 2023 started out promisingly in Anaheim, leading to several trade-deadline additions – such as Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez – to bolster the team’s playoff hopes. But the wheels fell off in August, and by the start of September Giolito, and Lopez (among others) were placed on waivers and claimed by other teams. With Ohtani sitting out the final month of the season due to injury, the Angels sputtered to a 73-89 finish.

Now with Ohtani, arguably the team’s best hitter and pitcher, signed away to the crosstown rival Dodgers, the Angels will be banking on a healthy Trout and the improvement of their younger players to return to the postseason for the first time since 2015. So far it’s been a quiet offseason in Orange County; relievers Adam Cimber, Luis Garcia, Adam Kolarek, and swingman Zach Plesac are the only players Perry Minasian and Co. have inked to big league deals. While this roster isn’t teeming with intrigue, there are a few guys who could be under-the-radar steals for your fantasy team, while there are others who might not quite live up to expectations.




Anthony Rendon


2023 Stats (183 PA):  .234 AVG | .361 OBP | .318 SLG | 23 R | 22 RBI | 2 HR | 2 SB

From about 2015 to 2019, it felt like Anthony Rendon was one of the most underrated players in the sport. After a slashing .319/.412/.598 and leading the Washington Nationals to their first World Series title during his walk year in 2019, Rendon stepped more firmly into the mainstream. That offseason he signed a seven-year, $245 million deal with the Angels. While he started strong in the pandemic shortened 2020 season, the Angels certainly would like to have that contract back as injuries and general decline have sapped Rendon’s production significantly. Underperforming his contract – as well as having some prickly moments with fans and the media – has generally soured public perception of Rendon. However, there is still some real upside here for fantasy owners willing to take a flyer.

A bet on Rendon is a bet on, above all else, his health. That feels like a risky proposition considering that he has only appeared in 148 games from 2021-2023 combined (that’s an average of just a little over 49 per season) and did not set foot on the field after last year’s all-star break. But Rendon is entrenched as the Halos starting third baseman heading into 2024, and, barring another injury, should be in line to play a lot more than he has over the past couple of seasons.

Though Rendon has not made the most of the innings he has actually played during his Angels tenure, much of his lackluster numbers can be attributed to poor batted ball luck. After never recording a BABIP below .300 in any season of his career going into 2020, Rendon hasn’t even BABIPed above .270. Some of this is because Rendon no longer hits the ball as hard as he used to; at his peak in 2019, he had a 46.1% hard-hit rate while over the last three years that number is just 39.2%. However, even with his regression in batted ball quality, his expected statistics tell the story of someone who has been snakebit by bad luck. His xWOBA’s from 2021-2023 have been relatively strong.

2021 .240 .264 .310 .345 .267 .288
2022 .229 .270 .314 .370 .258 .295
2023 .238 .275 .314 .354 .268 .304

Rendon almost certainly will not find the fountain of youth and recapture the form he had with the Nationals, but I would expect his 2024 offensive numbers to shake out a lot closer to his expected stats over the past couple of seasons than his actual results. Projections systems seem to buy that he can; STEAMER gives him a 114 wRC+ projection that ranks 11th among all third basemen. That level of offensive production would be very valuable to have on your roster, as long as (fingers crossed!) he finally stays healthy.


Chase Silseth


2023 stats (52.1 IP): 3.96 ERA | 1.28 WHIP | 56 K | 4 W

Silseth, an 11th-round draft pick in 2021, pitched solidly in 2023, albeit in only eight starts. With Shohei Ohtani out of the mix, Silseth figures to start the year in the rotation, providing him with the opportunity he needs to rack up innings. When he did take the big league mound in 2023, Silseth pitched well through a combination of generating a lot of balls on the ground (48.9 GB% ) and above-average strikeout stuff (25.3 K%) with a five-pitch arsenal.

The two areas where Silseth will need to improve in order to be more than a backend starter are his walk and home run prevention, but there are reasons to believe he can do both in 2024. In ’23, Silseth had an unusually high 24.3 HR/FB%, well above the league average of 15.3%. Generally speaking, we should expect all pitcher’s HR/FB to normalize and regress to the mean, and the stat can be very noisy from year to year. In 45 AAA innings, Silseth’s HR/FB ratio went the complete opposite direction, checking in at a mere 4.3%, a good indication of just how random that stat can be. A change in flyball luck from really bad to even average can take away a lot of runs from a pitcher’s ERA – it turned Corbin Burnes from a bust into a Cy Young award winner a couple of seasons ago. While Silseth may not reach those heights, odds are he’ll allow homers at a much lower rate in the upcoming campaign.

Silseth gave up free passes at a below-average 11.8% last season, but those numbers are somewhat skewed by his eight relief appearances. As a reliever, Silseth really struggled to find the plate, walking hitters at more than double the rate he did as a starter. In fact, Chase Silseth the reliever looked like a completely different pitcher than Chase Silseth the starter.

Outing Type K% BB% xFIP
As SP 29.9% 8.4% 3.28
As RP 14.9% 17.9% 5.48

A lot of the time we think that we can just put starters in the bullpen and that their stuff will play up in shorter stints. Silseth is an example of where the opposite happened. It’s tough to say exactly why this was the case; it’s certainly plausible that it’s just small sample noise. Yet, I think that it’s more likely that Silseth is simply better suited as a starter. As a reliever, he seemed to try to do too much, causing him to throw out of the zone and attempt to induce more chases. The graph below and to the left is a heatmap of Silseth’s pitches thrown as a reliever compared to the one on the right which is him as a starter. The difference is stark, with the starter heatmap showing a pitcher with superior command and a much clearer plan of attacking the zone.

As a full-time starter, Silseth should build off what he established in 2023. If his starter-only numbers from last year become his baseline, he has the makings of a very valuable pitcher.




Mickey Moniak


2023 stats (323 PA): .280 AVG | .307 OBP | .495 SLG | 35 R | 45 RBI | 14 HR | 6 SB 

Moniak’s breakout last season was one of the most exciting storylines for the Angels last year. After having struggled in his first several cups of coffee in the big leagues with the Angels and the Phillies, who traded him to Anaheim for Noah Syndergaard, Moniak posted a very solid 114 wRC+ in 2023, putting himself firmly in the team’s plans for 2024. Moniak would probably be getting more buzz if not for a late-season slump – he slashed an incredible .308/.338/.646 in the first half before cooling off significantly after the all-star break.

Despite the solid seasonal numbers, there are several bright crimson flags when it comes to Moniak that makes me think he’ll struggle to replicate his big year in 2024. First and foremost is that he is essentially a platoon bat. Phil Nevin was reticent to have Moniak face lefties last season, with the outfielder getting the vast majority of his PAs against right-handers and slashing a meager .222/.246/.302 in his limited chances versus southpaws. If Moniak is forced into facing lefties more often due to the Angels’ lack of outfield depth, his rate stats will likely plummet; if he’s shielded from them, his counting stats will be capped by a lack of opportunities.

Even Moniak’s numbers facing righties look concerning when projecting his future performance, namely his putrid plate discipline. In 2023, Moniak walked in just 2.8% of his PAs while striking out a whopping 35.0% of the time. It was good for a 0.08 BB/K rate, easily the lowest of anyone with a least 150 PAs last year. Looking at his more granular plate discipline data does not paint a sunnier picture – he is in the top 1 percentile in Swing%, yet the bottom one percentile in Contact%! Yikes!

Moniak swings a ton, yet makes very little contact. When he does swing it’s often at balls, yet he still lets more called strikes go than almost any other hitters. It’s about as scary a plate discipline profile as can exist. For a player like this to succeed they need to really, really, really make the rare contact they do make count. Moniak did that last year, posting a very strong 12.4% barrel rate and a .465 xwoBACON, but the chances of him having a .397 BABIP two years in a row are slim no matter his batted ball quality. And that “CON” part of xwoBACON is a key component – it doesn’t matter how good the contact is if it’s barely happening. I’d expect Moniak’s final 2024 line to look a lot more like his second half of last season than his first.


Patrick Sandoval


2023 stats (144.2 IP): 4.11 ERA | 1.51 WHIP | 128 K | 7 W

After a really strong 2022, Sandoval took a step back last season. A lot of his numbers went in the wrong direction, most concerningly his BB% and K%; both numbers were comfortably below average in 2023 at 11.3% and 19.6% respectively. The decline in Ks puts Sandoval at the whims of the BABIP gods; though he has historically induced a lot of grounders and weak contact, it’s a riskier profile to bet on than a reliable bat-misser. In fact, Sandoval’s expected statistics indicate that he has had favorable results over the past few seasons compared to what a combination of his K and BB rates and contact quality allowed would have projected.

2021 .288 .291 3.62 3.55
2022 .294 .303 2.91 3.69
2023 .318 .331 4.11 4.72

Sandoval also attacked batters differently last season compared to 2022. Each of his three highest usage pitches – his slider, changeup, and four seamer – saw their zone rates rise in 2023 but their chase rates dropped. The latter was particularly notable on the slider, which went from a 43.9% chase rate down to 35.9%. That’s the difference between a great punchout pitch and an average one. If hitters aren’t fishing for his pitches as much, he doesn’t have the power velocity to beat hitters in the zone consistently.

Sandoval is still a very solid pitcher, and I think that he should be able to replicate his 2023 results. But if you’re drafting the Sandoval in hopes of getting the sub-3.00 ERA arm he was in 2022, there’s a good chance you’ll have buyer’s remorse.

One response to “2024 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers & Busts: Los Angeles Angels”

  1. Dale winston says:

    They need to out and Matt champen for 3rd base and Witt Merrifield for 2nd base and trade for Corbin burns randon can do maybe he be able to play more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login