One of the gaping holes on the Los Angeles Angels roster from last season was finding a third outfielder. Taylor Ward had earned a spot following his fantastic 2022 season, and Mike Trout is, well, Mike Trout.
Rather than running it back with unproven players, the Angels decided to make a trade for former Brewers outfielder Hunter Renfroe.
Renfroe has made his impact felt in a huge way on both sides of the ball. He's been not only one of their best offseason additions, but one of the better additions in all of baseball.
LA Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe listed as one of the best offseason additions according to MLB.com
The list of ten players in this article on MLB.com features ten different players who changes teams. We see some obvious names like Sean Murphy, Nathan Eovaldi, and Luis Arraez, but sneaking in at number ten is Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.
Manny Randhawa of MLB.com writes:
"It seems Renfroe has taken this whole “Mike Trout lookalike” thing pretty seriously. Renfroe and Trout are both 31 years old. One is 6-foot-1, 230 pounds. The other is 6-foot-2, 235 pounds. And yes, their faces look a lot alike, too. But Renfroe appears to have decided that since he's now patrolling the same outfield as the three-time AL MVP, he might as well play more like him, too.- Manny Randhawa - MLB.com
Trout has 20 extra-base hits so far this season (10 homers) and Renfroe has 19 (10 homers). Renfroe’s hard-hit rate is a career-high 48.1 percent, while his walk rate is up over last season and his strikeout rate is down. He’s contributed defensively, too, with the latest example coming in the ninth inning Thursday, when he threw the Orioles’ Adam Frazier out trying to stretch a single into a double. The Angels held on to win, 6-5. Then he helped the Halos win Friday with the bat, going 3-for-4 with a go-ahead single in the seventh inning of a 5-4 victory over the Twins."
Randhawa cites Renfroe's ability to contribute on both sides of the ball. While his defensive metrics are subpar, we've seen his throwing arm in full display. His throw in the game Randhawa talks about in Baltimore is one of, if not the best throw we've seen all season, at least taking the situation into account.
At the plate, Renfroe is slashing .261/.312/.473 with ten home runs and 29 RBI. He's just one home run shy of the team lead, and three RBI shy of the team lead. Yes, even on a team with Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani on it, Renfroe is among the team leaders in home runs and RBI.
The outfielder has played in all but two games this season, hitting fourth or fifth just about every night. His consistency in simply showing up and being a power threat has absolutely helped this team even when he's not hitting.
The trade looked great at the time and he continues to justify it. He might not be leading the NL in batting like Luis Arraez or throwing complete games like Nathan Eovaldi, but the Angels wouldn't be where they are now without Hunter Renfroe.