During their exhibition game against the rival Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels second baseman Tommy La Stella put on a show.
It’s easy to forget just how good Tommy La Stella was for the Los Angeles Angels in 2020. After all, he missed nearly the entire second half of the season after breaking his tibia just before the All-Star game.
For those that needed a reminder, La Stella provided on Tuesday night.
Facing the rival Los Angeles Dodgers in the team’s second exhibition game of summer camp, La Stella put on a show for fans that are excited to see baseball back. It started at the top of the second inning when La Stella turned on a 93 MPH fastball from Dodgers’ pitcher Josiah Gray and taking the 2-1 offering into the rightfield bleachers.
However, Tommy La Stella was not done there. He showed that he’s no slouch with the glove either, pairing with all-world fielder Andrelton Simmons on an unconventional 6-4-3 double-play.
Despite La Stella’s heroics and home runs by Albert Pujols and Brian Goodwin, the Angels dropped the game to the Dodgers, 6-4.
La Stella enters the 2020 season on a mission to prove that his breakout 2019 campaign was not a fluke. Despite the injury, that cost allowed him to play just 80 games a season ago, La Stella produced a .295/.346/.486 slash line with a career-best 16 home runs and a 122 wRC+. The home run total was six more than he had hit during his prior 396 games.
He’ll have his work cut out for him. On top of a shortened season due to the coronavirus shutdown, La Stella is also slated to be in a timeshare arrangement at second base with team sparkplug David Fletcher. The arrival of Anthony Rendon at third will limit opportunities elsewhere in the infield, so playing time will be determined by who carries the hot stick.
If his play on Tuesday night is any indicator, La Stella is not content. That’s good news for the Angels, who will be looking for everyone to be clicking when the season starts on Friday in Oakland. The team is looking to surprise in 2020, and La Stella will be a big piece of that puzzle.