Can Angels build a winning supporting cast around Mike Trout?

Mike Trout has become a superstar despite being on some less than stellar Los Angeles Angels teams. Is this the best lineup he’s ever been a part of?

There isn’t much argument that Mike Trout is this generation’s best MLB player. That’s why it’s such a shame that the Los Angeles Angels have made the playoffs just once since Trout broke through in 2012 and have yet to win a postseason game.

There are various reasons why the Angels haven’t been winning despite having the game’s elite player. Last year, the pitching was awful, and while they were thought to be in on Gerrit Cole, they had to settle for adding Julio Teheran and Dylan Bundy to the starting rotation.

Instead of making big headlines with the rotation, the Angels instead landed the big offensive free agent prize this past offseason in Anthony Rendon. The former Washington National instantly changes the look of the Angels’ offense, which leads us to ask: Is this the best lineup that Mike Trout has ever been a part of?

One thing we can say about Trout’s time in Anaheim is that he’s always had Albert Pujols as a supporting player. Now 40 years old, Pujols is not the all-around hitter he once was, but he still has the ability to do damage at the plate.

Now, in addition to Pujols, Trout also has Rendon, Shohei Ohtani, and Justin Upton as a supporting cast hitting behind him. Rendon has emerged as one of the game’s most dangerous hitters, while Ohtani, after battling injuries, appeared to be on the verge of really breaking out in America before play was halted. It’s hard to know what the Angels were going to get out of Upton, as he was injured for much of last year, but if healthy he has the ability to hit 30 home runs over a full season.

Trout and Pujols have never had a threesome like that to back them up. 2014 was the Angels’ highest-scoring offense in the Trout era, and even then they didn’t have a single player besides Trout post an OPS of at least .800. I would argue that the closest the Angels have come to having three players with the kind of run-producing potential they have now would be in 2012, Trout’s rookie season, when they had Mark Trumbo, Kendrys Morales, and Torii Hunter all have nice seasons.

That is to say, assuming the lineup stays healthy, this should be the Angels’ best lineup in the Trout era. Trout and Pujols certainly haven’t had a proven player of Rendon’s caliber in their lineup since 2012, while Ohtani could be right up there in terms of being a difference-maker. Also, imagine how dangerous the lineup will be if Tommy La Stella picks up where he left off after his hot start to 2019.

One wild card in all this is super prospect Jo Adell. It was expected that he would arrive in the majors sometime this year. If he can have an impact at the major league level this year, it would make the Angels’ lineup that much more dangerous.

One thing that may be missing from this year’s Angels’ offense is a high-average hitter like Howie Kendrick from Trout’s early days. If the team can find one or two more table-setter-type hitters to go along with all the thump in the middle of the lineup, watch out.

The Angels’ pitching still doesn’t figure to be spectacular, but when play resumes, they may be able to outslug opponents with a potent lineup like they could have now. It will be fun to watch Mike Trout & Co. try to score some runs once play gets going again.

Next: Baltimore Orioles: 5 prospects to watch as the Orioles continue their rebuild

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