Losing Mike Trout will be a huge blow to the LA Angels’ production over the next few weeks.
That being said, the LA Angels cannot rush their top prospects into the big leagues again.
When news came out that Mike Trout would miss the next 6-8 weeks with a calf strain it was not hard to hear the groans of Angel fans everywhere. Most of the fanbase has already been in panic mode as the team has not been performing up to expectations after a good start to the season. Going 7-3 in the first ten games, the team has steadily fallen under .500, being five games back as of Wednesday morning.
Usual narratives have taken place; the starters cannot go deep in the game, the bullpen has struggled after being overworked, and injuries have heavily taken their toll. This year another area of concern for the team haiks been the team’s defensive performance, having the most errors in the league while putting up the worst fielding percentage (both entering Wednesday’s game). While the baseball world was in a buzz due to the release and subsequent signing of Albert Pujols with the Dodgers, the Angels have now been generating news with the injury to Trout.
It is never easy to pick out his best season but Trout has been in possibly his finest form this year coming off of the shortened 2020 campaign. In the first month and a half the Angels star is currently putting up the highest average (.333), on-base percentage (.466), and OPS (1.090) in his career. While the team has welcomed Anthony Rendon back, along with having Shohei Ohtani leading the league in home runs, Trout’s production will never be outmatched with no logical way to replace it.
While Trout is on the mend for the next month and a half look for players to step up and get their opportunity to fill in. Players like Juan Lagares, Taylor Ward, and Jose Rojas are already getting their share of extended reps while guys like Jon Jay and Scott Schebler will also likely see opportunities in the coming weeks. While the veteran core will be tested, the Angels also have two important pieces of their future in Triple-A right now. Those two pieces are Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh.
Marsh and Adell have long represented the future of this Angels team and the thought of them playing the corner fields with Trout sandwiched in between is an exciting concept for fans everywhere. The two of them have gotten the opportunity to start their 2021 campaigns after the delay to the start of the minor league season. While both players have started well, the Angels in no way should pull the trigger and call them up just yet.
Angels must avoid stunting the development of their two future stars.
It has been well-documented that Jo Adell struggled when he joined the Angels last. Going into the season as MLB.com’s #6 overall prospect, Adell looked over-matched at times, hitting .161/.212/.266 with only three homers and a gaudy 55 strikeouts. Over a 162 game season that equates to about 13 homers along with about 234 strikeouts (yikes). Adell had also struggled in the field, making the highlights for the wrong reasons. This led to Joe Maddon stating that the 22-year old outfielder would get proper time to develop in Triple-A, only getting 121 at-bats prior to this season at the highest minor league level.
Brandon Marsh is a bit of a different case as he never reached the Triple-A level as he was prepared to debut with the Salt Lake Bees in 2020 before the cancellation of the Minor League season. While all reports from the team’s alternate site were positive, the team decided on holding off on Marsh’s debut for another time. After seeing Adell’s struggles the team may not have wanted to repeat this with their other prized prospect.
Now with Trout’s injury there could be some incline to call one of the young fielders up as the opportunity has presented itself. However, looking at the early returns in the season, it may be best to wait before making the call-ups.
Marsh suffered a shoulder injury during spring training this year which forced him to start the season at extended spring training prior to reporting with the Bees. Because of this he has only played in six games thus far. Early returns have been good. In 22 at-bats, the 23-year old outfielder has hit .273/.448/.545 with a double, triple, and homer to go along with a stolen base. He has also walked seven times in comparison to only nine strikeouts.
Adell on the other hand, has shown the flashes of his talent, hitting .231/.298/.519 with four homers over 52 at-bats. While the power numbers have been there he still needs to work on his patience at the plate as he has only walked five times in comparison to 21 strikeouts. While his defensive play has shown improvement from last year, it is important that Adell’s bat progresses to the level needed to be the star he has been touted as.
It will be important to keep an eye on the progression of both Marsh and Adell as the Triple-A season continues. Both of them are on the cusp of joining the big league team. Both players are getting much needed reps to continue their development, though the offense isn’t the Angels biggest priority. Having the players reach their potential is imperative for the continued success in the future.
While losing Mike Trout is a major blow for the Angels, the team does have veteran replacements who can fill in for the time being. If the organization is smart they will let their top young prospects continue to develop in the minors and focus on the future.