Another Luis Rengifo defensive gaffe has to have Angels, Ron Washington on alert

Luis Rengifo's defense (or lack thereof) is becoming a constant issue for the Angels to deal with.
Los Angeles Angels v Cincinnati Reds
Los Angeles Angels v Cincinnati Reds / Jeff Dean/GettyImages

Given the state of the Los Angeles Angels roster, they have to at least be thankful that Luis Rengifo is healthy and producing at the plate. Through 28 games played this season, the switch-hitting Rengifo is slashing .330/.378/.462 and has shown no ill effects from the bicep tear that ended his 2023 season prematurely.

His defense, however, has left a lot to be desired this season. One mistake such as the one that Rengifo made against the Reds a couple weeks ago is forgivable, but his defense has been exceedingly poor basically all season with his latest blunder coming on Friday during the Angels' shutout win over the Guardians on Friday.

Luis Rengifo's latest defensive blunder adds to concerns with his defense

The Angels simply aren't a good enough ball cub, especially with Mike Trout out, to give the opposing team free outs. For those that didn't click the link above, Rengifo simply forgot how many outs there were in the inning and didn't attempt to turn what would have been an inning-ending double play. The play ended up not mattering as the Angels' pitching staff was untouchable on Friday, but these are the sorts of mental mistakes that will cost LA in close games that they can't afford to lose.

A top-level view of Rengifo's defense this season isn't much kinder. His -4 Outs Above Average this season is at the bottom of the scale league-wide as is his defensive value overall. When an infielder basically doesn't have any range to speak of (which is a problem of his that pre-dates this season) and has a middling arm that can't make up for it, it is not a recipe for success.

There is some hope with Rengifo, however. First, he is hitting really well at the moment, so the Angels can probably live with him not being a Gold Glover. The Angels also have the perfect manager for such a player in Ron Washington, who is very well known for his abilities as an infield defense coach. While he probably can't turn Rengifo into a defensive wizard, fans can probably expect the Angels' coaching staff to make him put in a lot of work towards becoming at least passable.

At this point, LA just has to hope that Rengifo improves in the field. They can't afford not to have his bat in the lineup with their offense hanging on for dear life and all of the injuries they are dealing with. That said, if another infield option presents itself who can hit and not be embarrassing in the field, which could be the case once Michael Stefanic returns, Rengifo's playing time could be in jeopardy.

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