Angels Round Table Discussion: Around The Halo
By Joshua Lea
The excitement is in the air, baseball season is on our collective doorsteps. There’s something about spring time, Americans game, and the overall feel of baseball season that is second to none. For the Los Angeles Angels, this season is a means to wipe the slate clean. No one is focusing on the teams recent struggle with injuries, ultimately leading to a missed opportunity for the wild card spot last season. This season, there is hope, Manager Mike Scioscia has even compared this group of guys to the 2002 World Championship Angels team. As the season continues to approach with plenty of questions left unanswered, we’ll go around the table and answer some of the top questions heading into spring training.
After the fall of the Michael Saunders trade, who should be the starting left fielder this season?
David Rice (@calfladave22): Whoever plays the best during spring training should start. Match-ups should also play a role; so, you could have Daniel Nava and Craig Gentry alternate between match-ups not platooning. Platooning can cause a reverse affect with a situation of one player becoming more dominant throughout the season causing the other player to be less sharp in case of injuries.
Ben Cardone (@ben_cardone): Nava and Gentry should platoon. Nava has a career .787 OPS against right-handed pitching (just .586 against left-handed) and Gentry has a career .720 against left-handed pitching (.632 against right-handed). That should be a significant improvement over the awful left field production that the Angels got in 2015.
Joshua Lea (@joshualeaa): Ultimately, i would see one guy start and have a battle of positions preceding the starting job. This is a “wait and see how spring training goes” answer. I like Gentry more because of his offensive upside versus Nava. I’m not a platooning guy, i think platooning is more analytics that have overtaken all of sports. I can see where its effective but it doesn’t provide a game by game answer.
Mitch Quesada (@mitchTquesada): To be predictable, whomever plays better this spring. But that’s a boring answer and even I think it’s no fun so I’m going to say Gentry. Gentry adds a stolen base repertoire that Nava doesn’t provide. Gentry has swiped at least 13 bags four times in his career including a career-high 24 in 2013 and 20 the following season. Gentry isn’t power hitter (though neither is Nava for that matter), Gentry is slightly better at getting on base and the Angels need baserunners to open up better RBI opportunities for themselves.
Grant Avise (@WestCoastBias87): I’m not a platoon guy at all. I think part of the problem Angels catchers have had offensively the past 10 years, is that they don’t get the luxury of getting comfortable and settling into an everyday role. With that said, I say let Nava start the season as the everyday left fielder. He’s a switch hitter so he’s more versatile as the game goes on.
Christoph Ludwig (@LudwigChristoph): Nava and Gentry should form a platoon, with Nava starting against righties and Gentry starting against lefties. Nava is a switch hitter, but performs much better from the left side, hitting .281/.377/.409 for his career. Gentry performs much better against lefties, hitting .274/.354/.366 for his career against southpaws. Both are roughly league average defenders, so the team won’t suffer in that regard. The platoon should be an improvement over last season’s historically bad output, but it’s hard to see a scenario where the two combine for more than league average numbers, and even that is pushing it.
Next: Rounding out the final pitching spot