Los Angeles Angels Yunel Escobar a pleasant surprise.
By Grant Avise
The Los Angeles Angels had a pretty solid two years of third base play with veteran David Freese manning the hot corner over the past two seasons. However,with Freese’s contract expiring the Angels were looking for an upgrade.
The Los Angeles Angels offense struggled last season. Even with the likes of Mike Trout doing Mike Trout things and Albert Pujols hitting 40 bombs and driving in 95 runs, the Halos still missed the playoffs. Albeit not by much but they still sat at home watching instead of playing.
Most people in the baseball universe equated the Angels missing the playoffs to the table setters hitting in front of Trout and Pujols. Trout hit 41 homers and drove in 99 runs, which seems impossible to have so many RBIs when the guys in front of you aren’t getting on base.
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New general manager Billy Eppler, knew that the top of the order had to be addressed and promptly went to work. One of his first moves was trading hard-throwing right-handed reliver Trevor Gott to the Washington Nationals for converted shortstop to third baseman Yunel Escobar.
Escobar was coming off of a career year at the plate. He hit .314 and had his best on base percentage since 2009 with the Atlanta Braves at .375. Escobar also addressed the hole in their defense, left by David Freese who left for free agency.
Escobar hasn’t had the exact same numbers as he did last year but he is still impressing in his inaugural season with the Halos. He is hitting .306 with 3 homers and an on base percentage of .362. His slugging percentage is the exact same so far as it was at the end of last season at .415. He’s getting on base for the big hitters, which is what he was brought to Anaheim for.
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Where he has struggled this season, which has been a bit of a surprise has been his defense. He is a career .977 fielder with more than 1,000 games coming at shortstop and now over 200 at 3rd. He’s getting to balls but has made some wild throws over to first. He has a strong arm, however and exceptional hands.
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Escobar left Sunday’s game after he took a rocket grounder off of his left wrist from Huston Astros’ Marwin Gonzalez. He has been out of the line-up Monday and Tuesday against Detroit but is expected to be back on Wednesday. Although the Los Angeles Angels offense has been hot in the last two games with Escobar sitting out, the Angels will welcome him back when he is ready.