Anthony Rendon solidifies third base for the Angels
If there was one position on the diamond where the Los Angeles Angels have seen as much turnover as they have on the pitching mound, it has been at third base. Since 2014, the Angels have used 27 different players at the position, and that included multiple seasons of work from both David Freese and Yunel Escobar.
David Fletcher saw the bulk of the work there in 2019, making 90 appearances (74 starts) at the hot corner, and in all fairness to Fletcher, his work there was solid. In 665.1 innings at third, Fletcher graded out positively with a 7.4 UZR/150 and six defensive runs saved. However, his Range Runs above Average (RngR) came in at a -0.6.
Over the course of his career, Anthony Rendon actually grades fairly similar at the position as Fletcher, with a UZR/150 of 6.8 and an average DRS of 4.4. However, his 2.0 RngR is a positive upgrade over Fletcher in the role.
So if Rendon brings similar defense to the table at third, how does this help the Angels from that standpoint?
By having a stabilizing defensive player at third base, the Angels are able to slot Fletcher back into the middle infield. While he won’t unseat Andrelton Simmons at shortstop, Fletcher’s play at second base is significantly better than his work at third. In 600.1 innings of work at the keystone, Fletcher owns a lifetime UZR/150 of 11.0 and averages of 7.0 in DRS and 1.25 in RngR.
By bringing in Rendon, the team not only adds a long-term piece to the revolving door at third base, but it ultimately betters the overall team defense as well.