What to Expect From Angels Right Fielders?


In 2013 Kole Calhoun put up terrific numbers over 58 games at the end of that season. That led to a lot of hype from many Angels fans who could see his grit and abilities. But, like his big numbers in the minors, scouts and analysts kept undervaluing him. Last season he did what he always has, produced despite expectations. This year fans and “experts” alike have no reason to doubt the Angels right fielder will be amongst the best at that position in the game.

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An ankle injury put Kole on the DL last April and limited him to 127 games. Despite the shortened season he put up a WAR of 4.6. That’s an All Start level of production. Mike Scioscia recognized his potential for reaching base and plugged him into the leadoff spot allowing Mike Trout to slide into the number two hole. While only producing five stolen bases, Kole still managed to be a productive leadoff man. He scored 90 runs and managed to keep his OBP nearly identical between right-handed or left-handed pitching. His power was a bit surprising as he launched 17 long balls and looks to be a legit tool which won’t subside at this point in his career.

Calhoun’s offense is extremely well rounded with no major upsides, but without any holes either. His defense is much the same. A strong arm lends itself to right field where he had nine assists in 2014. Both UZR (5.7) and RngR (3.1) reflect favorably on his game and fans know he gives it his all every night. Last year he was simply one of the most complete players on the field.

2015 will be his age 27 season, a year many analysts consider to be a baseball players prime. If he can maintain his health he should easily be expected to play in 150 or more games. He did slump a bit towards the end of the season last year and we should see early on this season if pitchers had found a weakness to exploit or whether he was merely slumping or tired by seasons end.

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Backing up right field will belong to Colin Cowgill and Matt Joyce. Cowgill had sort of a breakout last season when he got a chance as both Calhoun and Josh Hamilton were injured. He showed that he is at least an average hitter with his 98 OPS+ and a good defender in all three outfield positions. He also is a slightly plus runner and a good bet to even improve on his abilities all around as he’s only 28-years-old and only has 687 plate appearances under his belt. Joyce was brought on to be the primary DH but has extensive experience at right field. Offensively he is much like Calhoun; a well rounded player who has above average power and on-base skills. Defensively he isn’t as gifted having produced slightly below average advanced fielding stats but doesn’t look to hurt a team there, especially if he’s only serving as a backup.

Given the youth and abilities of the Halos primary and backup right fielders, the position should be a highly productive one on both offense and defense. Calhoun and perhaps even Cowgill will bat from the leadoff spot and give plenty of opportunities for Trout to drive them in. If injuries occur the droopy in production shouldn’t even be a huge detriment to the team.

Over the course of the season and combining all who will man the position I expect a dWAR of 2 and a batting line of .270/.340/440 from right field.

Next: All Angels Team: Right Field