A Look Into Second Base Options for the Future of the Angels
By Justin Gideon
Angels Second Basemen of the Future: Luis Rengifo
A former under-the-radar minor-leaguer in the Mariners and Rays organization made a name for himself after being acquired by the Angels as a PTBNL in exchange for first basemen C.J. Cron in 2018. Immediately after joining the Halos organization, the switch-hitting infielder surged through the minor leagues, starting in A+ and finishing as a Salt Lake Bee, the Angels AAA farm team. He compiled a slash line of .299/.399/.452 across three levels.
In April of 2019, Rengifo was called up after (stop me if you’ve heard this before) then third baseman Zack Cozart landed on the injured list. Since his debut, his offensive success from the minor-leagues has not translated to the major league level, amassing a career slash line of .220/.311/.332.
This season, Rengifo has logged the most games at second base (23), a large portion of which during Fletcher’s temporary move to shortstop. It seems right now that Rengifo has the upper-hand in the second base competition should Fletcher shift to shortstop permanently.
Rengifo may not be in the competition for much longer, however. The Angels may choose to trade him this upcoming offseason. They have already proven a willingness and desire to move him for the right price, as evidenced by this past offseason. Surrounding the dumpster-fire Red Sox-Dodgers trade that would send Mookie Betts to the Dodgers, contingent on that trade being completed, the Dodgers also had another trade lined up that would send Joc Pederson and Ross Stripling to the Angels in exchange for Rengifo. The original trade fell through and Angels owner Arte Moreno kiboshed the impeding Rengifo trade. It is unclear as to why, perhaps because he was upset and impatient about waiting for the Betts’ trade to be completed, or that he has a soft spot for Rengifo. If the latter is true, Rengifo might factor into the future competition for second base.
While Rengifo’s minor league success has earned him major league opportunities, he has not seized on them. If the Angels elect to keep him, and he continues to provide sub-par offense, he will most likely fill a bench-role.