Los Angeles Angels Position Outlook: Outfielders. Who will star?
The Los Angeles Angels are nearing Spring Training. With the roster coming into shape, it’s time to evaluate the team by position group.
This is the third of a five-part series in which I will evaluate the 25-man roster and top prospects for the Los Angeles Angels. This one is all about the outfield.
Cameron Maybin, LF, R/R
Mike Trout, CF, R/R
Kole Calhoun, RF, L/R
The Angels made a plethora of small moves, but their most notable one was trading for left fielder Cameron Maybin. Maybin has played for a handful of teams throughout his career, and has now landed in Anaheim. He has had a solid career so far, posting a .259 batting average over ten seasons. 2016 appeared to be Maybin’s most promising year yet, but injuries derailed his season. He still finished with four homeruns, 43 RBI’s, a .315 batting average, and 36 walks to 69 strikeouts in 94 games.
He was having an above-average year, and the Angels hope he can continue that as their everyday left-fielder. Maybin is also a threat on the basepaths, as he swiped 15 bags in 2016. In the field, Maybin brings plus athleticism and will make the Angels outfield one of the best in baseball, defensively. Alongside Trout, it will be hard to drive the ball into the left-center gap as both are excellent at cutting off line drives and preventing extra base hits from them. If Maybin can stay healthy and perform as he did last year, trading for him will prove to be well worth it and the Angels may find themselves with a playoff berth.
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The man in centerfield needs no introduction. Mike Trout has outplayed his previous self every season since entering the big leagues. In his second MVP season, Trout hit .315 with 29 big flies, 100 RBI’s, and 30 stolen bases. He also hit a career-high in walks with 116. This, along with his reduced strikeout numbers (137 in 2016 compared to 158 in 2015) show significant improvement with his plate discipline. He is no longer swinging at everything, but making the pitcher target the lower part of the strike zone, which happens to be Trout’s best area.
It was also pleasant to see Trout back to stealing bases as he stole more bases in 2016 than in the previous two seasons combined. Trout’s numbers are even more impressive when you take into account the talent (or lack-there-of) around him. With replacement level players getting consistent playing time, Trout was still able to put up MVP-caliber numbers.
In the field, Trout had become a true five-tool player as his arm strength has improved with each season. While he still lacks an elite arm, he more than makes up for it with his fielding. Trout has an excellent reaction time, elite speed, and takes nearly perfect routes when tracking balls. Not to mention his taking away of homeruns are some of the best robberies since Bonnie and Clyde. Fans should expect nothing less than another MVP-type season from Trout as he aims to bring home some hardware for the team and not just himself.
Next to Trout we have Mr. Old Reliable himself in Kole Calhoun. Angel fans have not seen this much consistency since Howie Kendrick was traded. Fans know what to expect from Calhoun. In 2016 he hit .271 with 18 homeruns and 75 RBI’s. Those are all close to his career-average, and Calhoun has shown no signs of digression yet, but entering his age 30 season it would not be abnormal for his numbers to go down a bit.
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However, Calhoun always teases fans with a breakout season. Calhoun could digress but he could also reach an All-Star level of play in 2017. In the field Calhoun makes up for his limited range and athleticism with all-out hustle and instincts. It is not rare to see a handful of Calhoun defensive gems each month, and that kind of play is what keeps him as a fan favorite.
Jefry Marte, OF, R/R
Ben Revere, OF, L/R
The Angels made it a point to add depth this offseason, and they have two guys who will do their jobs when called upon. Marte was a highlight of the Angels’ season last year, as Billy Eppler showed his ability to find diamonds in the rough with guys like Marte. Marte hit .258 with 15 and 44 RBI’s in a rotational role last year. He was also very reliable in the field, which should get him some late-inning playing time this season.
The Angels made a point to bring in a left-handed hitting outfielder this season, and Ben Revere was their guy. Revere had a down year for the Nationals, hitting .217 in an injury-plagued season. However, at 28 years old Revere is entering his prime and should be excellent in a bench/pinch hitting role. Revere boasts a .285 career average, so there is hope that the Angels have made the kind of move that can make a team’s season.
Next: Top Los Angeles Angels Prospects
To read about the Angels top outfield prospects, click here.