LA Angels The Good, The Bad, and The Second Half Preview
By David Peng
THE OUTFIELD / DH:
The absolute strength of the team. The broad shoulders of The Best Player In Baseball continue to carry the bulk of the offensive load, but Mike Trout actually has a bit of help right now. Shohei Ohtani and Justin Upton are healthy again after missing most of the first half of the season. Ohtani, in particular, has proven that his bat is no fluke. Thrown into the #3 slot in the lineup behind Trout without a Spring Training, he struggled through most of May, but the Angels started to turn around when Ohtani found his swing: since that May 24th loss, Ohtani is hitting .329/.361/.657, and over his last 39 games, he’s been one of the ten best hitters in baseball. Upton’s return has helped offset Brian Goodwin‘s cooling off. Perhaps most surprisingly, Kole Calhoun has bounced back to have an actual productive half-season. Though he’s hitting just .237, his OBP/SLG splits are at a reasonable .323/.475, dramatic improvements from last season, when it looked like he was completely finished.
There’s very little depth out there. With Goodwin ailing, the Angels called up free agent Jarrett Parker, who is 0-12 thus far, and can’t be expected to get much better than that. Goodwin’s the only other centerfielder on the 40-man roster, which means the Angels are going to have to ride Trout, and ride him hard. If the season isn’t going well, Ausmus will have to find people and reasons to give Trout a day off every once in a while.
All four of Trout, Ohtani, Upton, and Calhoun are producing at reasonable levels, and Upton can even be expected to improve. Trout’s the main engine here, of course, but this group is a formidable group of bats. Health permitting, they’ll keep hitting. They will hopefully continue to be the strength of the team.