Anthony Rendon will give the Angels the middle-of-the-order bat they needed
Earlier this week, we touched a bit on Albert Pujols and what the aging slugger may have left in the tank. While the future Hall of Famer has been good for 20+ home runs and 80+ RBI over the course of the last three or so seasons, he’s been a far cry from the player he once was. He’s graded out as below replacement level with the bat for in each of the last three seasons and has essentially created a hole in the Angels line-up.
Likewise, Justin Upton was slowed nearly all of 2019 with a right-knee issue, and only managed a .215/.309/.416 batting line with 12 home runs, 40 RBI, and a wRC+ of 92 in 63 games last season. Coupled with Pujols’ decline and the late start for Shohei Ohtani, that put a lot of pressure on Mike Trout to carry the lineup on a nightly basis.
The addition of Anthony Rendon solves a major problem there for the Angels.
Rendon has been a 6.0+ fWAR player each of the last three seasons, achieving a career-high 7.0 while finish third in the National League MVP vote in 2019. With a 162-game average of .290/.369/.490, 24 home runs, and 97 RBI, Rendon has shown the ability to be a run producer in the major leagues.
However, it goes deeper than that.
In 887 career at-bats in the three-hole of the line-up, Rendon owns a wRC+ of 142, and ISO of .251, and a weighted runs above average (wRAA) of 64.0. If you move him to the four-hole, Rendon continues the mashing to the tune of a similar wRC+ of 142, a .224 ISO, and a wRAA of 24.0 over 344 at-bats.
In other words, Rendon is a proven threat in the middle of the line-up and is an ideal bat to slot in behind Mike Trout. Moving Trout to the two-hole, then following with Rendon, Ohtani, and Upton may be the ideal build for an Angels line-up that will be decidedly more dangerous in 2020.