3 players not named Trout or Ohtani who need to step up in Anthony Rendon's absence
The Los Angeles Angels will be without Anthony Rendon for the near future as he was placed on the Injured List yesterday. Rendon's absence will undoubtedly hurt the team as even with his diminished power Rendon had been having a very solid offensive season, but this injury also shouldn't ruin the Angels season as the other injuries have in years past.
With Rendon out, the Angels will obviously need even more from Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. The two superstars did step up last night as Trout had a pair of hits and Ohtani, despite a rough night on the mound, was a double shy of the cycle.
The entire team as a whole stepped up in Rendon's absence. The Angels scored nine runs on 17 hits in their victory in Baltimore. The Angels scored nine runs or more with Rendon on the Injured List last season a grand total of six times in the 3+ months he was out, so seeing them do it against a good team on the road on the first night without him was a good sign.
While that was definitely encouraging, these kinds of outputs shouldn't be expected every night, even when Rendon is healthy. The Angels will need a lot of help from their supporting cast to stay afloat without Rendon. It can't only be Trout and Ohtani. Here are three players who really need to step up.
1) LA Angels outfielder Taylor Ward needs to step up in Anthony Rendon's absence
With Anthony Rendon out, it's pretty safe to name Taylor Ward as the third-best hitter on the team. Hunter Renfroe is the big power bat, but when right, Taylor Ward gets on base a ton and is a huge asset to the Angels.
The Angels are 16-7 when Ward records a hit and are 4-0 when he hits a home run. Small sample size sure, but when Ward contributes, the offense looks very different.
A big reason for that is Ward is this team's leadoff hitter. When he gets on base in front of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, the team is far more likely to score a run. Last night Ward had two hits in his six at-bats and the team scored nine runs.
After a month-long slump, Ward has seemed to turn it around a bit in the month of May, hitting .320 with five multi-hit games in the 12 games he's played this month. He's raised his average from .208 to .244 in the process.
With Rendon out, the Angels need guys who can get on base. Rendon hadn't been hitting for much power, but he was getting on base at an extraordinary clip. When right, Ward does that. That's what the Angels need from him.