The Los Angeles Angels made the decision to sign Aaron Hicks to a one-year deal. Thanks to the Yankees owing him another $19 million for the next two seasons, the Angels got him on the league minimum which is an absolute no-brainer.
Hicks adds some more depth to an outfield that appeared to be complete and that raises some questions about the future of several of the outfielders on the team. We know Mike Trout isn't going anywhere, but it feels like Taylor Ward, Mickey Moniak, and especially Jo Adell are more expendable now.
While what the Angels do with their outfielders remains to be seen, we know Hicks is going to be in a fourth outfielder type of role, and thanks to his outstanding numbers against left-handed pitching (.970 OPS in 2023 and .758 OPS in his career) he'll likely play most often against southpaws. With Hicks' insertion, here's what the Angels lineup will likely look like against left-handed pitchers.
Predicting the Angels lineup against left-handed pitchers with Aaron Hicks
1. Nolan Schanuel - 1B
2. Mike Trout - CF
3. Brandon Drury - DH
4. Anthony Rendon - 3B
5. Logan O'Hoppe - C
6. Aaron Hicks - RF
7. Taylor Ward - LF
8. Luis Rengifo - 2B
9. Zach Neto - SS
While it might be strange to see the only left-handed hitter in this lineup, Nolan Schanuel, be leading off, the rookie had a .379 OBP against southpaws in limited action this past season and is just an on-base machine. He should and presumably will be leading off against everybody.
The rest of the lineup includes names you'd probably expect, but the order isn't one Angels fans would necessarily agree with. Having Trout and Drury, the team's two best hitters, hitting second and third is a no-brainer, but most Angels fans (myself included) would not like to see Anthony Rendon in the cleanup spot. The reality with that is, when healthy, Rendon is almost certainly going to be hitting either third or fourth in any lineup, at least to start the season.
This lineup has incredible versatility with a pair of switch-hitters who also happen to excel against left-handed pitching in Hicks and Rengifo. While this should be their lineup against southpaws, the Angels should be fine against most righties too trotting out these nine players.
While the lineup lacks enough middle-of-the-order punch, it is deep one through nine with quality players who can really grind out at-bats. Players like Schanuel, Trout, Rendon, Hicks, Ward, and Neto all have strong plate discipline and see tons of pitches when they come up to the plate. It should be fun to see all of them at once against left-handed pitchers.