Almost a week into the exhibition games of spring training, some of the storylines of the upcoming season are gaining clarity, and among them is the case for which teams might surprise us by making the postseason after missing it in 2017.

In the National League, the Phillies have a strong case thanks to their youth, and in the American League, the addition of a few key veterans has the Angels poised to make their own surprise run at the postseason.

In 2017, the Angels finished 21 games behind the Astros in the AL West and five games out of the wild card, but they remained in the playoff hunt until near the end of the season. This year should be different.

It’s not that their division will be any easier; that would require a serious implosion in Houston. Instead, they’ll carve a path to the wild card, though the field vying for that spot might be as tough as the AL West. However, the Angels didn’t miss the playoffs by much last season, and they have improved significantly. Much of that improvement comes from Shohei Ohtani, of course, but the greatest improvement will come from some of the new faces the Angels added around him. This could be the difference that helps the Angels return to the postseason for the first time since 2014.