LA Angels: It’s been a season of breakouts for the Halos
Coincidentally, the top contributors to the Angels’ resurgence these last few months are all promising 27-year-olds.
Several young LA Angels have flourished since becoming everyday players.
Perhaps not quite unexpected, the meteoric rise of Shohei Ohtani becoming the frontrunner for American League MVP wasn’t exactly a given back in April. While we all knew he was destined to be a star, no one could have predicted he would so quickly morph into the best hitter in the league and an elite starting pitcher.
Of course he hasn’t been doing this alone.
Hands down the Angels’ biggest breakout player this year is Jared Walsh. His ascension from promising rookie to All-Star has been nothing short of spectacular.
Since replacing Albert Pujols at first base, he’s grown into one of the best power hitters in all of baseball. Having already mashed 22 home runs and owning a .911 OPS, if he keeps this up, Walsh may very well sneak onto a few MVP ballots by season’s end.
Oh, and he’s played the Halos’ best defense at first base in a long time.
Similarly, Taylor Ward has also filled in nicely after being promoted to an everyday player. He’s played a crucial part in bringing stability to an injury-ravaged outfield.
After a sluggish start, Ward has since molded into a fine player. Already blowing past his career highs in hits (44), doubles (12), home runs (seven), and RBIs (28), all while drastically cutting down on his strikeout rate (23.7%), he has proven that he can produce as an everyday member of the lineup.
Then there’s the red-hot David Fletcher. Currently riding a 21-game hitting streak, he’s produced an incredible .417/.437/.524 slash line in that span.
Yet somehow, having the longest hitting streak in the majors this year isn’t even the most impressive thing about Fletcher’s performance.
On a team that ranks near the bottom of the league in most defense metrics, Fletcher’s defensive prowess has been a godsend. With a 1.4 dWAR and six DRS, he may very well be one of the best and most underrated defensive second basemen in baseball.