Angels' in-season pickups outperforming regulars is a glaring issue

What's gotten into Kevin Pillar, Carson Fulmer, and other Angels' additions?
Los Angeles Angels outfielder Kevin Pillar
Los Angeles Angels outfielder Kevin Pillar / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Angels did not invest heavily in free agency this past winter. Reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani exited stage-right, and GM Perry Minasian spent most of the offseason sitting on his hands. The Angels did come to terms with reliever Robert Stephenson, but the right-hander suffered an injury during spring training and will miss the entire 2024 season.

But since Opening Day, the Angels have added a number of players to the active roster. With several players landing on the IL and others underperforming, the Halos needed some reinforcements. The club brought in Kevin Pillar, Hunter Strickland, Cole Tucker, Carson Fulmer, and Luis Guillorme among others.

Surprisingly, the majority of players that Minasian has brought in since the 2024 season began have outplayed the regulars on the roster. Where Brandon Drury and Mickey Moniak have failed, Pillar and Tucker have found success. Amidst the struggles of Jose Suarez and Matt Moore are the outstanding outings from Strickland and Fulmer. What is going on?

Angels' in-season pickups have greatly outperformed the regulars

Most Angels fans might be shocked to know that Fulmer (167) and Strickland (162) lead the team in ERA+. Though Fulmer has walked more batters than manager Ron Washington would prefer, the right-hander has limited the damage and kept the ball in the yard. That's more than Suarez and Carlos Estéves can say for their performances this season.

It's a small sample size, to be sure, but the trio of Pillar, Tucker, and Willie Calhoun all have a higher OPS figures than Logan O'Hoppe, Taylor Ward, and Zach Neto. So this begs the question — how poorly is this Angels roster constructed?

LA is getting major contributions from cast-offs and has-beens. That's no disrespect to what the Fulmer, Pillar, and Tucker have done this season, but none of those players were receiving major league offers this offseason. The best regular in the Angels lineup has been Jo Adell, who has long since been tossed aside as a first-round bust.

The Angels organization is obviously flawed when it comes to scouting, drafting, and developing players. The reliance on retreads is not going to bring fans to the ballpark or push the Angels into playoff contention.

While the individual stats from some of the Angels' in-season additions are intriguing, it's still not resulting in wins. Outside of taking two of three from the Pittsburgh Pirates last week, the Angels haven't won a series since sweeping the Miami Marlins on April 3.

The one plus, perhaps, is that if these veterans continue to produce, the Angels could have some sought-after trade targets at the July 30 deadline.

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