2018 Los Angeles Angels
2018 Los Angeles Angels / Franchise: Los Angeles Angels / BR Team Page
Managed by Mike Scioscia
There was one undeniable point of focus at the start of the 2018 Los Angeles Angels season: Japanese signee Shohei Ohtani. He was trailed by a horde of reporters during all of spring training as, already a huge star in Japan, he was attempting to become the first prominent two-way player in the major leagues since the days of Babe Ruth. His spring results were pretty bad, but when the regular season got underway, he was all that had been promised - and more. he singled on the first pitch thrown his way when starting at DH on Opening Day, march 29th, won his first game as a pitcher with a solid start against the Oakland Athletics on April 1st, then homered in three consecutive games the following week before retiring the first 19 batters he faced in winning his second start on April 8th. His superhuman performance contributed to the Angels getting off to their best start since 1982, as they won 9 of their first 12 games. They were leading the majors with 79 runs, 128 hits and 20 home runs at that early point.
However, the Angels could not capitalize on their hot start, and they quickly faded away as it was the Seattle Mariners and the unexpected Athletics gave the defending champions Houston Astros a run for their money. One of the big disappointment was that Ohtani quickly was sidelined by an elbow injury which prevented him from pitching until September, and after one start that month, he was told that he would require Tommy John surgery. His hitting was strong however, when he was able to be in the line-up as the DH. The contributions of other who weer counted on to provide offensive firepower, namely Albert Pujols, Justin Upton, Zack Cozart, Kole Calhoun and Ian Kinsler, was a disappointment however. Cozart was lost for the year to an injury, and Kinsler was traded before the end of August. The team's best all-around player turned out to be SS Andrelton Simmons.
On September 11th, the Angels almost managed to pull off a no-hitter on a bullpen day. Facing the Texas Rangers, a combination of pitchers did not allow a hit until rookie Isiah Kiner-Falefa singled with one out in the 8th off Blake Parker. Erstwhile closer Jim Johnson had started the game, only his second career start, and five pitchers had followed him to the mound before Parker gave up the first hit. The Rangers managed another hit that inning, but lost the game, 1-0, with rookie Ty Buttrey recording the save.
It should be pointed out that while there never was an official announcement, the Angels began dropping the "of Anaheim" part of their name in 2017 and by the start of the 2018 season, the unwieldy Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim was no longer used in any official capacity by the team.
Awards and Honors
- All-Star: Mike Trout
- AL Rookie of the Year: Shohei Ohtani
- AL Gold Glove: Ian Kinsler (2B) and Andrelton Simmons (SS)
- AL Silver Slugger Award: Mike Trout (OF)
- 2018 Topps All-Star Rookie Team: Shohei Ohtani (DH)
- Wil Leitch: "Why the Angels' 6-man rotation won't last: Eppler, Scioscia hoping to offer smooth transition for new ace Ohtani", mlb.com, February 22, 2018. 
- Bob Nightengale: "How the Angels worked this weird winter to perfection", USA Today Sports, March 7, 2018.