So – where does that put the LA Angels?
Would an investment into one of these middle infielders have been worth it for the LA Angels? The trio mentioned above of David Fletcher, Matt Duffy, and Tyler Wade have been underwhelming. Fletch has spent the majority of the year on the shelf with a hip injury and has been transferred to the 60 Day IL, while Duffy has dealt with injuries himself; only having played 17 games thus far, having been inconsistent while on the field.
Wade on the other hand has provided spurts of impressive speed and great defense, pushing him to the positive fWAR category at 0.2 and 76 wRC+, essentially the same as Story, and better than Semien and Baez both.
That trio however couldn’t have possibly helped the Halos win like they have up until this point – insert Andrew Velazquez and Luis Rengifo. Claimed off waivers on November 5, 2021, Velazquez played a below league average bench role with the Rays, Orioles and Yankees from 2018-2021. With the Angels however, Velazquez has been simply unbelievable on defense. He has put on highlight reel level defense on a nightly basis, leading to a 5.0 DefWAR, and an 0.4 fWAR overall. Although he leaves a lot to be desired at the plate, Velazquez has saved four defensive runs (DRS).
Rengifo on the other hand, has only played nine games, but has provided a great offensive boost for the Angels off the bench, slashing .304/.385/.348 through 27 PA along with a great glove on defense, leading to a 0.2 fWAR.
Overall, these numbers and standings are going to look completely different come the All-Star break, let alone the end of the season in September. However, at least 40 games through the season, the Angels have received phenomenal defensive play from their middle infielders, and just enough offensive input to make the $35.1M owed to Correa, $32.5 owed to Seager, $23.3 owed to Story, $23.3 owed to Baez, $25M owed to Semien, and $15M owed to Taylor look like good financial decisions from the front office.