Why the Angels SHOULD re-sign Tommy La Stella
There is a lot to be said about the adjustments that Tommy La Stella made heading into the 2019 season and what those meant toward his development from an afterthought to an All-Star. However, there were questions about whether those changes were sustainable or simply a fluke outburst.
The 2020 season, in all its shortened glory, has made answering some of that a bit difficult, but when these 60 games have come and gone, it will be the task of the Angels to determine if another small sample size is enough to justify a longer-term commitment.
After hitting .295/.346/.486 in 2019, La Stella is off to a .268/.400/.439 start in 2020. The home runs are down, with the infielder hitting just a single bomb on the season, but many of the other metrics that helped produce the jump in performance are similar or better this season.
2019: 43.2% Hard-hit, 33.2% Fly-ball, 44.7% Sweet-spot, .476 xSLG
2020: 39.5% Hard-hit, 39.5% Fly-ball, 36.1% Sweet-spot, .438 xSLG
While the home runs are down this season, La Stella appears to be on a similar track to his 2019 campaign. That at least profiles La Stella as having a chance to duplicate his breakout given a similar opportunity to do so.
So how does that go into consideration in the Angels decision to retain La Stella after the 2020 season?
If La Stella can maintain his current bat-to-ball abilities with the increased power, even if it is marginally lower than his 2019 season, then he would have shown a level of dependability that he hadn’t in the past. Coupled with his ability to play around the infield, La Stella could be in high demand this winter.