Ron Washington walks back his questionable LA Angels lineup plan for 2024 season

The Angels' batting order is still very much in flux at the moment.

Feb 16, 2024; Tempe, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels manager Ron Washington smokes a cigarette during a
Feb 16, 2024; Tempe, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels manager Ron Washington smokes a cigarette during a / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

When the Los Angeles Angels hired Ron Washington to be their new manager, the hope was that he could change the entire culture surrounding the team. He brought with him a very long and storied track record of clubhouse leadership, player motivation, tactical creativity, and being arguably the best coach of infield defense the league has seen in years.

With creativity is going to come some experimentation, and Wash had initially put a fascinating plan for the Angels' lineup out there not too long ago that involved batting Nolan Schanuel at leadoff. The move makes sense from a pure numbers perspective, but it also would place a lot of pressure on a guy who just got drafted last year and has 132 plate appearances in the big leagues to his name.

However, it seems as though Washington has thought better of those initial lineup plans for the Angels, revealing on Thursday that he is now leaning more towards a 2024 lineup plan that doesn't have Schanuel at the top.

Ron Washington continues to tinker with Angels' lineup plans

Again, Wash is still getting to know this team, and over the course of the spring, he is going to make changes and alter his plans based on the guys the Angels decide to carry on the roster and what he is seeing in camp. While there are going to be some constants in terms of who will be playing every day, Washington clearly is willing to use the pieces LA has in a variety of ways in order to achieve the best result.

As for his latest lineup projection, there is a lot to like. It is certainly bullish to slot Anthony Rendon in at cleanup, and one wonders what the Angels do in the other 100 games that Rendon probably won't play in for some reason, but there are certainly merits to moving Schanuel down in the order a spot and having Trout bat third. Batting Moniak or Rengifo at leadoff is a somewhat bold choice, given that neither player has the lengthiest track record of performance, nor is either player great at getting on base at a high clip, but they are both coming off decent seasons in 2023 and could work out just fine at leadoff if things break right.

Ultimately, the biggest takeaway is that it is clear that Washington is still working through how to best use the tools at his disposal. He isn't going to make changes just to do something, but Wash certainly doesn't appear to be wedded to any specific plans just yet, as he continues to get to know the players and how to best use them. Given that, this probably won't be the last time that we see him change his mind.

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