For the LA Angels the last two years have been a literal statistical black hole in left field. Between 2015- 2016, Angels left fielders hit for just a .214 AVG to go with a .277 OBP, all to the tune of a -0.9 WAR.
The LA Angels went out and acquired two buy low candidates, trading for Cameron Maybin and signing Ben Revere. The hope was to see if either could prove themselves in spring training, or at the very least, together offer a functional platoon.
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Through the season’s first 24 games the two left fielders have combined to hit .211-.279-.284. They have managed 4 SB and 13 R during that time, but still just a -0.1 WAR.
So, the question begs to be asked- is it time to pull the plug on the left field platoon? If that is the approach, then who gets the first crack at extended playing time in left field? Should the Angels scrap the whole set and look for a fresh body? Let’s give it all a look.
The current options: Cameron Maybin, Ben Revere, and Jefry Marte. Marte is currently platooning with CJ Cron at 1B while Luis Valbuena is on the shelf. First base itself, is another platoon discussion for another day.
Revere, to put it flatly, simply has not performed up to this point. With a .176-.200-.235 line, Revere has a long way to go to even justify being a bench piece.
Maybin has also been underperforming as well, slashing a .230-.319-.311 line. However, Maybin has done better in the last week, playing in 5 games to the tune of a .316-.381-.316 line, compiling nearly half of all of his offensive numbers during that time.
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Is there help elsewhere in the organization: Surely the “can’t so-and-so try left field” discussion will come up. Mark Trumbo, who was traded and has proceeded to play poor defense but put up far better offensive numbers, was the subject of similar discussions. It seems that CJ Cron is ripe for the same discussion. The Angels also have three left fielders at Triple-A Salt Lake currently hitting extremely well. However, each of them has not had much success at the major league level. Kaleb Cowart is hitting well above .300 and maintaining a fair K:BB rate at Triple-A. As well, he might warrant the same Trumbo type conversation. Unfortunately, Cowart has also underwhelmed at the big league level.
Do the Angels make a trade: For who? And with what? Any trade the Angels are likely to make for a left fielder would only net them a player similar to one currently on their MLB and Triple-A rosters.
The verdict: Cameron Maybin.The Angels need to give Maybin two weeks of consistent play. Give him a good 12-15 games and see what happens. Then re-evaluate the situation in left. The offense needs help. Kole Calhoun has struggled to get off to a strong start. In addition, Albert Pujols, while warming up, is a notoriously slow starter in his LA Angels tenure.
All things considered, giving Maybin the chance to to even be in the same range as his 2016 numbers when he hit .315-.383-.415 with 15 SB & 60-plus runs is the best option right now.