This has been the worst season of all-time for the LA Angels. The hits just never stop coming, and one of the worst was watching Tommy La Stella take a foul ball off his shin, effectively ending his season.
While the LA Angels haven’t shut down Tommy La Stella yet, and there’s a possibility of his playing in the final week of the season, their newest All Star was just another player lost to injury. La Stella stole the hearts of Angels’ fans as their newest slugger, and 2020 will be a comeback season to remember for La Stella.
A lifetime bench option, La Stella literally came out of nowhere to hit .300 while slugging the ball at an extreme rate. While doing this, he also played solid defense as both third and second base, making him even more valuable to the Angels. He was the perfect leadoff hitter to slot in front of Mike Trout.
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The Angels only have La Stella under team control for one more season, and he may wind up costing them an ample amount of cash to retain. While he isn’t a top third baseman in the league, a second season similar to his 2019 campaign could raise his price tag drastically.
Per Baseball Reference, La Stella was worth 1.7 WAR prior to his season ending. Before this year, in four years with the Cubs, he was worth a combined 1.1 WAR. He outperformed his entire career in just 78 games last year, and 2020 will perhaps double his career WAR again if he can stay healthy throughout.
La Stella is as valuable to the Angels as any hitter not from Millville. His ability to play both second and third allows the Angels flexibility with the rest of their lineup, especially considering Swiss Army knife David Fletcher is his running mate. The two combine to be one of the most versatile duos in the league, and rather than be competition for one spot, the create a beautiful harmony in the Angels’ infield.
2019 was the breakout year for La Stella. He became an All Star for the first time, and despite not being able to participate in the game, he’ll always have that recognition. The LA Angels haven’t had a non-Trout position player go to back-to-back All Star games since Torii Hunter in 2009-2010.
Next year, Tommy La Stella will be making sure that streak ends.