Now that baseball is back, what should fans be expecting from the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels this season?

Now that football is over, it’s time for baseball to take over! 15 teams are in Florida playing in the Grapefruit League while the other 15 are in Arizona playing in the Cactus League to kick off the preseason. Spring training is where teams get to practice and play exhibition games before the regular season starts. It’s a great time to get a good feel for newly acquired players and move players around to try different positions.

The Los Angeles teams head to the desert for spring training. Both teams lost and gained valuable players over the off-season with one name sticking out for both: Shohei Ohtani.

Los Angeles Angels

With the loss of Ohtani to the Dodgers, the Angels are out a pretty big player leaving Mike Trout to hold down the fort offensively. The Angels acquired seven pitchers, one outfielder and one infielder all in hopes to make up for some of the power lost during the off-season. Most of these contracts are for one year. Additionally, the Angels got a new skipper. Ron Washington, formerly the third base coach for the Atlanta Braves, was signed in November 2023.

Currently, the Angels have a 2:1:3 score in the Cactus League. You can see that they have some struggles offensively without Ohtani at the plate. A lot of players are going 0-3 in their at-bats but there are quite a few notable players who are going 2-3 or 3-3 in their at-bats. Aaron Hicks, Jo Adell, Zack Neto and Hunter Dozier are all in Phoenix and crushing it in the batter’s box but are not on the active roster. Dozier is new to the Angels and has proven he deserves a spot on the active roster, instead of the minor league roster, with a few solid at-bats including a double and a home run in the same game. With Ohtani gone, players need to step up their offense and that’s what these guys are doing.

On the other hand, they seem to be holding down the fort on the mound. Pitchers that catch our eye are Nick Jones, Joel Hurtado, Travis MacGregor, Adam Kolarek and Guillermo Zuñiga. Zuñiga is the only one on the active roster, the rest of the pitchers are non-roster invitees but are doing a great job defensively. Kolarek is a pitcher who can hold the game lead with strikes using a sinker pitch, the kind of pitcher that can help add some wins to the final record.

Based on what I’ve seen from this spring training, it doesn’t look like the Angels will see the postseason nor will they have a great record. They’re still figuring out what to do and who to bring up to fill in for the loss of Ohtani. I think it’s going to be a 71-91 record, and that might be too generous. It’s hard to say who the MVP will be when I can’t see a consistent and promising lineup.

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers are that one team that is always a safe option to root for and with the recent additions to the lineup, even more so now. The Dodgers acquired the two-way player, Shohei Ohtani, back in December for $700 million for 10 years. They also acquired Japanese pitcher, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who has two no-hitters while only being 25 years old, for 12 years for $325 million. They also re-signed many fan favorites for an additional year including Jason Heyward, Joe Kelly, Clayton Kershaw and Enrique Hernandez, all of whom opted for free agency at the end of 2023. Many other players were either picked up, traded and acquired by the Dodgers, the majority of them were placed on the minor league roster.

So far the Dodgers are 5-1 in the Cactus League and while spring training games don’t have any real effect on the regular season, it’s safe to say that this is just a taste of what we can expect from the Dodgers come March. All eyes were, of course, on Ohtani even before exhibition games started. Coming off of a great season with the Angels and elbow surgery, everyone wanted to know what he could do in Dodger blue. While he can’t pitch because of his elbow surgery, he can still be a designated hitter. He played in the 6th game of the spring training against the Chicago White Sox where in his first two at-bats he struck out and grounded out into a double play. It wasn’t until his third at-bat when he went for a two-run home run on a full count.

Yamamoto pitched in the 7th game of spring training against reigning World Series Champs, the Texas Rangers, where he struck out his first batter with five pitches. Ideally, you want 15 pitches per inning, so pitching 19 in your MLB debut is great, even if it is just a spring training game.

One notable player is having their spring training come back after being out since the 2023 season because of a spring training game injury. Gavin Lux was forced to miss all of the 2023 season when he tore his ACL and LCL in his right knee in an exhibition game against the San Diego Padres. In his first game back to baseball, he was the designated hitter against the Padres where he walked, struck out and singled in his three at-bats. He played his first game as a position player at shortstop on Feb. 28. He didn’t get any action but told SportsNet LA, “Everything felt good and that’s kind of the last box I needed to check off… It’s been therapeutic honestly. It was fun to get back out there and play some defense.”

The Dodgers are a little easier to predict a record and an MVP. The Dodger lineup has always been consistent with MVPs and players who can deliver a promising season but with the recent addition, I think that the MVP will 100% be Shohei Ohtani. They will win 100 games and potentially more if Shohei isn’t restricted to only hitting.

The Dodgers have a two-year streak of getting stuck in the National League Divisional Series but by bringing in all these great players with great coaches and managers, they are 100% looking to break the curse. The Dodgers play the San Diego Padres on March 21st in South Korea to kick off the regular season. It’s going to be exciting seeing both teams this year and how these lineup changes will impact their game.