Ah, the LA Angels, where instead of enjoying a time where there’s three solid outfielders, we spend our time worrying about who will be benched when Justin Upton returns.
It’s an interesting debate for the LA Angels and their fans. With two outfielders performing well, albeit in different ways, but eventually only having one starting spot for them, it has split the Halo fan base.
In a two-part series between Benny Bam (see his argument for Kole here) and myself, Halo Hangout will be looking at whether Kole Calhoun or Brian Goodwin should hold onto the starting spot upon Upton’s return.
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While there is still roughly a month or so until they’ll have to decide, I am firmly apart, nay, the leader, of the Brian Goodwin for Starting Right Fielder campaign.
Obviously there is still time for things to change, but as of right now Brian Goodwin, per FanGraphs wRC+, is a top 16 hitter in the American League. However, he has slowed down recently and if regression towards the mean continues, this entire debate could be for naught.
Just as likely is a Calhoun breakout. We saw last year that Calhoun can shake awful starts to be solid during the summer, and it wouldn’t be a surprise this season.
Now that I’ve hedged my stance enough, Goodwin cannot be taken out of this Angels lineup right now. His combination of contact, power, and speed are vital to this lineup. Once Upton returns, the bottom half of the Halo lineup looks much better with Goodwin there rather than Calhoun.
While Calhoun has the edge in terms of power, Goodwin is no slouch in that category. The real question comes on defense. Obviously Calhoun, even as his range has dwindled, is the clear winner there. Defensive metrics aren’t always reliable, but they back up Calhoun, as well as the eye test.
In theory Goodwin should be a solid defender, but he just makes too many mental mistakes to be considered reliable. So basically the argument here is between Goodwin’s defense and Calhoun’s offense.
If Calhoun heats up at the plate, the obvious go-to is Calhoun. However, if his average fails to climb much higher, it’ll be tough to continue playing him. The Angels have said over and over they want to be contenders for the playoffs, so production has to matter here.
I will throw this out there. Obviously Albert Pujols, when healthy, has been a mainstay in the lineup since his arrival in Anaheim. However, having Goodwin or Calhoun learn first base on the fly could prove to be extremely beneficial for the Angels.
However, if we’re talking Angels in the outfield, Upton, Trout, and Goodwin are the Holy Trinity.