Angels hitters to watch in 2020: Tommy La Stella
If there is one player on the Angels that opposing teams are unlikely to overlook, it will be the guy projected to hit at the top of the team’s lineup. But how do you sleep on a guy that has already produced one season as an absolute surprise?
For Tommy La Stella, that’s kind of a loaded question.
La Stella spent the first five seasons of his MLB career in role player purgatory. After seeing 360 plate appearances as a rookie, he was unable to garner much playing time over the next for seasons. That was until the Angels gave him an opportunity to be an everyday player in 2019.
La Stella capitalized on the opportunity last season, hitting .295/.346/.486 in 321 plate appearances. However, it was the increased power stroke that caught everyone’s attention. The infielder increased his hard-hit rate by more than 10% over his career average, resulting in a career-best 16 home runs (previous high was five).
The reason teams may sleep on La Stella a bit is the fact that he was out from July 2nd through September 27th after fracturing his right tibia on a foul ball. Without the full season to see if he could sustain his production or a prior track record of that level, there will be doubts about whether he can pick up where he left off.
The Angels have David Fletcher to pop in should La Stella regress, but even his track record of production wouldn’t replace the work of the 2019 La Stella.