Despite dropping a disappointing three-game set to the Texas Rangers Monday through Wednesday, the LA Angels still sit eight games above .500, at 24-16 through 40 games in the 2022 season. Currently, that would put them as the #4 seed in October, behind the AL East leading New York Yankees, AL Central leading Minnesota Twins, and AL West leading Houston Astros.
The list of things that have gone right for the Angels this season goes on and on, starting with the vastly improved starting pitching, to the emergence of young homegrown outfielders Taylor Ward and Brandon Marsh, and finally to everyone’s surprise, the decently consistent middle infield play.
It was no secret that the Angels desperately needed some stability at the middle infield positions coming out of the 2022 off-season. In 2021, the Angels ranked 28th in MLB in overall SS WAR at exactly 0.0. For reference, 18 other teams in MLB had an overall SS WAR rating of 3.2 or higher. Similarly, the Angels ranked 28th in MLB in overall 2B WAR at 0.4. 17 other teams had an overall 2B WAR rating of 3.0 or higher. Between 2B and SS, the Angels experienced close to a 6 win swing in their overall lose record when compared to the league average.
With a star studded middle infield free agent crop that included Carlos Correa, Marcus Semien, Javier Baez, Corey Seager, Chris Taylor, and Trevor Story, the mood around Major League Baseball was that the Angels would address this glaring hole, and sign one free agent from this rich list.
However – Perry Minasian and the Angels' front office had other thoughts, and decided to lean on the well-known David Fletcher and new acquisitions Matt Duffy and Tyler Wade. Although the sample size is about 1/4th of the entire 2022 season, let’s take a look at how that decision has played out, and what the Angels would look like, had they signed one of the free agent studs: