Astros Matchup vs. Angels
From now until Opening Day (assuming there is interest), I am going to publish the report card style matchups for the Astros vs. all of the teams in the MLB. From this Astros fans will get a deeper sense of how their team REALLY compares vs. the MLB. We will do this one team at a time, and I REALLY would like you all to use the comment section below for questions/ comments.
Staying in the AL West, we matchup with the Los Angeles Angels.
For these matchups I will use the current data from the Roster Resource pages of the Fangraphs.com website.
For these summary report cards we will evaluate based on the Fangraphs projected stats for 2023 and compare the result to the actual 2022 stats.
As we have discussed in the previous Astros Report Card Articles here is the grading scale for the position players.
To account for the value of defense a player can get a letter grade bump up or down based on their projected defensive WAR (or actual defensive WAR for 2022) for their primary defensive position.
For the pitchers we will use these two scales- one for 2023 based on projected FIP and the other for the 2022 actual FIP- data.
The Position Player Matchup- Astros vs. Angels
For the position players, we will evaluate by starting position and the bench based on the projected PA each bench player will get. For this I score the top FIVE key bench players and top THREE MiLB players,
The overall score will be based on the point values to the right. The differences are tallied in the columns to the right.
Overall Score = Starter Differences + Bench Differences / 2 + MiLB Players Differences /4
When a difference involves a player with less than 100 PA (or 20 IP for pitchers), I either excluded it or cut the difference in half.
Blank cells had ZERO PA or IP in 2022.
I included the players from 2022 that have left the team for informational purposes.
As you can see the Astros bats project to be better than the Angels bats. Tucker and Altuve provide the biggest advantages for the Astros while Trout represents a huge advantage for the Angels.
The Angels offense continues to be largely dependent on three or four key batters although the models do predict Renfroe will be a helpful addition and O'Hoppe to have a strong rookie season. The challenge for the Angels over the past two years has been how much time Trout and Rendon have lost due to injuries.
Overall, the 2023 difference is +3.25 for the Astros. The Angels are counting on their additions Drury, Renfroe, and Urshela to improve their offense which was 25th in scoring runs in 2022.
The Actual gap with these players in 2022 was even larger at +7. Remember this is not the actual 2022 gap it is the gap WITH the 2023 players how they performed in 2022 (as if Drury, Renfroe, and Urshela had been on the 2022 Angels.)
The Pitching Matchup- Astros vs. Angels
For the pitchers, we will evaluate the projected starting rotation PLUS a #6 starter and the bullpen based on the projected RP roles and then filling out the RP by projected IP (or actual IP for 2022). I score a staff of 14 MLB pitchers and the top SIX MiLB pitchers. This accounts for a typical usage of pitchers in the MLB in 2023.
Overall Score = Starter Differences + Bullpen Differences / 2 + MiLB Players Differences /4
The Angels adding Anderson was meant to improve the gap to the Astros pitching staff but it really does not appear to have helped much. The +5.75 gap for the Astros is driven primarily by their excellent bullpen. Pressly, Abreu, Montero, and Stanek all have 2- or 3-point advantages over their counterparts on the Angels.
The overall pitching gap calculates to +5.75 for an advantage to the Astros.
Overall Summary- Astros vs. Angels
This method says the Astros still have a decent advantage over the Angels. The gap is smaller than it would have been with the same players in 2022. The Angels are banking on players that have had injury issues not to have more in 2023 to compete. Urshela represents a multi position injury insurance policy as well.
I have a theory that the total gap between teams will be close to the win differential between those teams. That would put the difference between these two teams at 9 wins. That seems about right for me. If the Astros win 93 games and the Angels (IF they stayed healthy) win 84 games, would ANYONE be completely surprised? I wouldn't.
We will explore that theory as we work through the rest of AL West. Next up- the Seattle Mariners.
PLEASE COMMENT BELOW- with your questions and/or thoughts.
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