Who do the LA Angels Bench When Yunel Escobar Returns?
The LA Angels have benefitted immensely from great third base play as of late. Luis Valbuena has been so good that he may require the Angels to keep Yunel Escobar on the bench.
The LA Angels are in the midst of the tightest American League Wild Card race in recent memory. The Halos and Twins have been neck and neck for over a week now. The Angels are finally getting healthy, and will be getting a key contributor back in Yunel Escobar for the home stretch.
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Escobar was sent to the disabled list with an oblique strain early this month. Valbuena has filled in admirably, hitting .313 with five big flies and twelve RBI’s. After an awful first half of the season, Valbuena has turned into the type of player that team’s need for playoff runs. He can not be taken out of the lineup with the way he is performing.
When Escobar returns, Valbuena could be slotted at first base. However, CJ Cron has been playing exceptionally over the past month as well. He is hitting .284 with five home runs and 13 RBI’s. He is not on quite the tear that Valbuena is, but he has also been vital to the lineup.
The battle is really between Cron and Escobar. Escobar has hit .274 on the season, and has definitely shown a decline this season in his offensive ability. However, he has still put up better numbers than Cron over the entire season.
The Angels could potentially use a platoon approach with the two. Cron hits .250 against both LHP and RHP, while Escobar’s batting averages balloons to .343 against lefties and just .246 against righties. However, this would restrict either of them from gaining momentum.
Statistically, the Angels should bench Albert Pujols. However, every fan knows that will not happen, as he continues climbing the all-time ranks while bringing in mass revenue.
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It will be interesting to see what manager Mike Scioscia does with the three corner infielders. Fortunately, he cannot go wrong with any of them, as they can all still contribute this season as the Angels eye the playoffs.