SSG Baseball Postseason Preview: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Today is the first article in a series recognizing the success of each of the playoff teams in the SSG OOTP baseball league for 2020. The first team to qualify for the postseason is the SSG Angels. As of today, the Angels have a robust 96-46 record leading the AL West by 16.5 games. Their magic number to clinch the division title for a second straight season. They are led by the best starting rotation in the big leagues, with the best ERA in the AL. At the beginning of the season, the strength of their veteran leaders was obvious; Gerrit Cole, Steven Matz, Garrett Richards and Braden Shipley could probably each be aces on most major league teams.  The big surprises have come at the back-end of the rotation.The six man rotation has been a necessity for the Halos due to the success of second-year breakout star Derrek McGriff (2.91 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 188.2 IP) and the recent call-up of rookie Marc Collins (3.98 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 122.0 IP in AAA this season), one of their top prospects.  Meanwhile the Angels’ bullpen has the 4th best ERA in the AL. The relief core is led by Mike Morin (2.30 ERA, 62.2 IP), Andrew McKirahan (2.19 ERA, 53.1 IP), Kevin Jenkins (2.48 ERA, 80.0 IP), and rookie Mrinal Shivaprakash (2.52 ERA in 35.2 IP). The offense has a lot of firepower of its own as well: they are second in the AL in runs scored, OPS, WAR, home runs, and stolen bases. Left fielder Aaron Judge was added at the trade deadline, and in 20 games since then he already has 5 home runs. Mike Trout has been great as always hitting 31 HR and posting a .429 OBP and .611 SLG. The big story has been Ed Lee. The Angels had a logjam in right field to start the season so they moved Lee to the DH spot, where he has thrived with 40 HR, and a 133 wRC+. The Angels currently have the best record in the SSG league. They’re 6.5 games better than the next best division leader and will in all likelihood be playing the winner of the wild card game in the ALDS. Division rival Seattle, who snapped their playoff-less streak in 2019, are 9.5 games up for the second wild card spot and would make for an intriguing opponent in the divisional round. The Angels’ stellar rotation will make them hard to beat in the postseason. The SSG Angels are managed by GM Mike Lowe. Congratulations to him and the team. Watch for more of these season recaps as more teams clinch postseason berths. As of today, the Red Sox and Blue Jays are both the closest, with magic numbers of 6 for at least a wild card spot.