It’s not just the youngsters that are keeping the ship straight. While many of the Angels’ veterans have produced less than stellar results this year, several of them have stepped up big time to fill the void left by their counterparts.
The old guard are still doing their job for the LA Angels.
Though he started off slow and has been out with a back injury since June 23, Justin Upton has nevertheless been a standout since becoming the team’s primary leadoff hitter.
In 24 games hitting leadoff, Upton is hitting .326/.417/.576 with five home runs, three of which came in his first at bat of the game.
Set to return right after the All-Star break, Upton’s presence at the top of the order can’t come back soon enough.
Coincidentally, Phil Gosselin, who’s been filling in for Upton in left field, has also proven to be a valuable member of the team.
The steal of the offseason, Gosselin has been phenomenal in his super utility role. Considering all the injuries the Angels have sustained this year, having someone who can step in at a moment’s notice at first, second, third, and left field has been a huge help.
And if all that wasn’t enough, he’s also leading the team with a .318 batting average.
Then of course there’s Max Stassi.
What more does this guy need to do in order to be named the starting catcher? Where current starter Kurt Suzuki has struggled all season on both sides of the plate, Stassi has excelled in both regards, even winning an AL Player of the Week award in the process.
As a hitter, he’s suddenly emerged as one of the best offensive catchers in MLB. Among catchers with at least 100 plate appearances, Stassi is second in average (.312), third in on-base percentage (.390) and third in slugging (.523).
Likewise, his pitch framing abilities cannot be overlooked. With a score of 4.6 in Fangraphs’ pitch framing metric, Stassi sits at fourth in the entire league among catchers with at least 250 innings behind home plate.