3 Angels players who need to get off to a strong start in the regular season
2. A healthy Jared Walsh is a big-time difference maker for the Angels
When Jared Walsh was healthy in 2021, he was an all-star. He hit 29 home runs, drove in 98 runs, had a 127 OPS+. He was a monster at first base.
Through the first three months of the season Walsh wasn't performing at an elite level, but a .765 OPS certainly isn't awful by any means. The problem is, once the calendar turned to July Walsh became an absolute shell of himself. He had 20 hits in his final 150 at-bats of the season with just two home runs and four RBI. He had a .421 OPS in that span.
Walsh obviously was playing hurt, and was shut down in late August. He underwent thoracic outlet surgery, and is healthy now. He's swung the bat well thus far in the spring, which is definitely encouraging.
A healthy Jared Walsh makes a real difference in the lineup. The Angels add a guy who can hit 30 homers and drive in 100 runs. Having this guy hit sixth or seventh in your lineup is absurd, and can make the Angels the offensive powerhouse they're capable of being.
Having Gio Urshela here is nice insurance, and Luis Rengifo can spell Walsh at first against southpaws. There aren't many Angels hitters better than Walsh against righties, and he is a key piece to this lineup when healthy.