The LA Angels and their fans have gotten used to the annual “Mike Trout 4 MVP” campaign. However, 2017 has offered up a new candidate for the American League’s top honors, and he goes by the name of Simba.
The LA Angels are currently fighting off a handful of teams vying for the second AL Wild Card spot. If you told Halo fans that’s where the team would be after Mike Trout tore a ligament in his thumb in late May, they’d call you crazy. How could a team with a makeshift rotation and lackadaisical offense be contending for the playoffs?
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Andrelton Simmons, ladies and gentleman.
Now, this article could have been written at a better time, as Simmons is currently going through a 2-33 stretch over the past week and a half. However, even with his recent slump, Simmons is still hitting a career-high .293 on the season. He has 12 home runs to go along with that.
His offensive approach has improved rapidly since his arrival in Anaheim, as his consistent line drive mentality has also resulted in 29 doubles and two triples on the year.
Simba is currently second in the entire MLB in wins above replacement (WAR). His 6.03 WAR is second only behind Houston’s Jose Altuve, who sits at 6.89. While Altuve is the front-runner for MVP (deservedly so), Simmons has been a far better all around player than Altuve.
Simmons leads the league in defensive WAR, at 3.02. With the Angels rotation being so mediocre this year, the Angels defense has been extremely valuable. The outfield is led by Trout, but the team is led by Simmons. Simba’s defensive wizardry is one of the main reason’s Angels baseball is fun to watch, as night and night out he dazzles with his glove or arm.
Simmons was already snubbed from the All-Star Game after arguably being the best shortstop in the AL through the first half. While Altuve has his team positioned for a deep playoff run, Simmons has proven to be just as valuable to the Halos as Trout this season.
Consider this. Before 2017, the only Angels player most considered untouchable was Mike Trout. If you to ask the average fan that question now, Trout would be joined by Simmons. He has just been that amazing.