When the LA Angels signed Andrew Velazquez in the offseason, it tipped their hand on how they wanted to field their infield for 2022. They weren't going to go after the big-name shortstops in free agency like Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, or any of the other huge free agent shortstops available.
They were going to go with cheap, depth/platoon guys who will at least contribute great defense to the team and tinker with the lineup to find the best offensive matchups for the middle infielders during the season. So far, the strategy has not proven to be too shabby.
The Halo middle infield has survived the David Fletcher injury and are just a half game out of first place in the AL West. Part of that is due to Velazquez really coming into his own on defense. Velazquez leads all of the Majors in Defensive Runs Saved. He already has FIVE on the year.
Even when Andrew Velazquez struggles with his offense, he is a wizard defensively for the LA Angels.
Andrew Velazquez has been terrible on offense for the LA Angels, hitting .128/.222/.154 (.376 OPS). He has found a way to play in 13 games, however, due to how special he is with the glove.
He's missed a total of just five out of 18 games for the Angels this year, and nobody even knew if he was going to stick on the big league roster. He was already a good defensive player, but he's unlocked a new level of defensive prowess with the Angels. The best part is that he isn't even only a shortstop.
That's what he's played with the Angels, but he also plays second base, third base, and any of the three outfield spots. He's going to continue having an impact on this team if he stays up. It is 100% true that Velazquez hasn't been able to hit this year. He has, however, given the Halos more than they had in mind when they signed him due to his elite defensive play this season.
Remember how dominant Noah Syndergaard has been for the Angels so far this season? Well, get this: Velazquez has matched his fWAR so far this season (0.5). Velazquez has made a difference.