The LA Angels and their fans might have seen Sean Newcomb, their former top prospect, pitching in Game 3 of the NLDS for the Atlanta Braves on Sunday. While Newcomb has turned into a stud down South, the Halos are also quite happy with their return on that trade.
Andrelton Simmons the LA Angels third best player. Make no mistakes about it. Mike Trout is the best player in the game. Shohei Ohtani had a historical rookie year, and will cement himself as the second best hitter in 2018 as he rehabs from Tommy John.
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But who sits behind them in the Halo Hierarchy was cloudy. Justin Upton had a claim, especially after earning a long-term deal last offseason. Kole Calhoun also had a case as he consistently hit for contact and power all while playing Gold Glove defense. However, his up-and-down 2018 took him out of the running.
And now it is absolutely clear. Andrelton Simmons deserves the recognition. He is as important to the Halos as anyone not named Trout or Ohtani. In 2018, Simmons should have been an All Star, but the Halo fans failed to put him through on the Final Vote.
Simmons was his usual all-around self. He hit a career-high .292, while also driving in 75 RBI’s. He finished second on the team in WAR with a mark of 5.5 (per FanGraphs). His 11 home runs was a slight regression, but Simmons has pointed out he plans to add muscle this offseason to push the warning track fly balls over the wall.
Where Simmons truly shines though is on defense. He was second in the MLB in Defensive Runs Saved, but was still rated as the overall best defender in the MLB. Defense was Simmons’ best attribute when the Halos traded for him. It was Billy Eppler’s first big move as GM, and he had enough faith in Simmons to trust the offense would come along.
It did, needless to say.
Simmons has made improvements each year, and at 29 years old, does not seem like he is slowing down at all. Halo fans can expect to see a power increase in 2019, as Simmons continues to become a more and more complete ballplayer.