The Los Angeles Angels are off to a 7-5 start this season and are tied for first in the AL West with the Texas Rangers. The Angels have won three of the first four series they've played in, and have done so mostly with the formula we expected.
The starting pitching with the exception of Jose Suarez and one start from Tyler Anderson and Reid Detmers has been quite good. The lineup led by the likes of Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout rank eighth in all of baseball in runs scored.
While they've been winning the way we expected them to win with the stars and the rotation leading the way, there have been some pleasant surprises that have helped the Angels get off to a good start.
3. LA Angels INF Gio Urshela looks like a legitimate starting shortstop
Gio Urshela won the starting shortstop job in Spring Training after swinging the bat well and looking competent at shortstop. This has translated into the regular season.
Urshela leads the team with 15 hits and is hitting .341 to begin the season. He only has two extra-base hits (both doubles), but he's hit for some power in the past. That will come. He's ninth in the American League in batting, which is pretty good considering he hits seventh or eighth most nights for this team.
While he's been better than expected at the plate, his pleasant surprise comes from his defense. Urshela is known as a great defender at third and has shown that as an Angel, but he's made every play at shortstop and just looks steady out there.
Urshela ranks in the 83rd percentile in outs above average this season according to baseball savant and has played six errorless games at shortstop.
I assumed David Fletcher would have to start a large chunk of games because of the uncertainty defensively, but Urshela thankfully has been serviceable as Fletcher has just one hit in 15 at-bats.
He's not the long-term solution there, but Urshela has been more than the Angels could've asked for to begin 2023.