Baseball

The Angels need more than just new pitchers to improve their pitchers

With a record of 62-64, the Angels face the possibility of losing for the sixth consecutive season, which will rival the Angels in the 1971-77 season, which is the longest less than 0.500 season in the history of the team.Natural, no Mike Trout And Anthony Rendon Almost the whole year’s health is the biggest cause of the Angels’ trouble in 2021, even though the club once again failed to get a consistent result from its pitchers. Entering Monday’s game, the Anaheim pitcher’s ERA was 4.70, tied for the seventh highest score of any baseball team.

Both the rotation and the bullpen have the same responsibility for these struggles, but when looking at the list on the roster, there are actually quite a few pitchers enjoying the season from stable to great. Otani Shohei And Ressel Iglesias Has always been outstanding, and likes Patrick Sandoval, Alex Cobb, Mike Meyers, Jose Suarez placeholder image, And Steve Chischek All quality numbers have been delivered. Several pitchers did not perform well to balance better arms, but the Angels are not without pitching talent-shouldn’t they be better than this?

The real problem is not just the bottom line figure of 4.70 ERA. Although it is difficult to oppose the Los Angeles team’s addition of one or two important pitching upgrades this winter, the team’s problem is not only pitching, but also anti-run. The Angels’ pitching may not be very good, but there is no doubt that the defense in 2021 is very bad.

Halos ranks 29th out of 30 UZR/150 (-7.3) teams and 27th in defensive points (-29) and above average outs (-6). The result is that the collective score of the Angels pitcher is 0.302 BABIP, ranking fifth among all baseball teams. In addition to the team ERA category, the Angels pitcher actually ranks in the top half of the league with 4.14 points in SIERA, and ranks 15th among 30 teams.Anaheim has one of the larger gaps Any team Between their pitcher team’s wOBA (.320) and xwOBA (.309), and the pitcher team is also doing solid work Limit hard contact.

Since finding a good defense is usually cheaper than finding a good pitch on the open market, the easiest way for the Angels to keep running in 2022 may be to tighten their gloves. Considering that Halos seems to have most of the position player portfolio in 2022, and Otani has a designated hitting point in the lock, there are some challenges in this regard.Looking at the fixed position in the infield, it is safe to assume that the Angels will line up Max Stasi At least half of the playing time on the catcher, Jared Walsh At first base, David Fletcher At second base, Rendon returned, hoping to be healthy at third base.

Among this group of people, only Stasi has a good defensive performance in 2021, and he has been one of the best receivers in the game for several years, both in terms of his offboard work and the frame of the court.Due to Kurt SuzukiHis defensive data has never been particularly impressive. The halo can make Suzuki a free agent and add a defensive-first substitute behind Stasi. His offensive breakthrough is likely to win him most of next year’s catching tasks. .

There is nothing special about Walsh as a first baseman, but he is more suitable for first base than an outfielder, and Walsh’s bat definitely has a place in the lineup. Depending on your favorite defensive metric, Fletcher’s 910 2/3 innings on the cornerstone this season are either pretty good (+4 DRS), average (0 times above average) or below standard (-5.3 UZR/150) ). Considering that Rendon has been a strong defender for most of his career, his below-average data this year is probably due to his injuries, and he will return to normal in 2022.

This makes shortstop an obvious loophole, ironic since the acquisition Jose Iglesias placeholder image The last offseason should be a move to strengthen defense. In contrast, Iglesias’ normally strong glove work has dropped significantly, as he has -17 DRS and -8.9 UZR/150 in shortstop’s 935 2/3 innings. OAA Rate Iglesias is completely average, but even that represents a decline, and it’s definitely lower than the Angels’ expectations Get Iglesias from the Orioles.

Since the 2021-22 free agent roster is flooded with star shortstops, the Angels’ obvious move will be to sign another high-stakes player and bring one of these headlines (i.e. Trevor’s story, Carlos Correa, Corey Seagal, Marcus Seed Company, Christelle, Javier Baez) To Anaheim. However, since Trout and Rendon locked a long-term deal, Justin Upton Due to the arrears of $280,000 in 2022, and the need to extend Otani’s funds in the future, the Angels may not have the budget to add another major contract to the lineup.

Among the main names, Baez may be the most promising candidate. Baez is struggling in the sector in 2020 and is roughly the average batsman in the league this year, providing a not-so-good platform when he enters the free agency market. It is not impossible for Baez to accept a one-year pillow contract to rebuild his value in 2022, so that he can re-enter a free agent market, which is not so important for famous shortstops. Baez and Angels coach Joe Madden knew each other well during the Cubs days, so Baez can see Anaheim as a good place to rediscover his stroke. It is worth noting that both OAA and UZR/150 indicate that Baez’s defense has declined from 2020 to 2021, although at the right price for a one-year contract, Baez may be a risk that angels are willing to take.

If it weren’t for a bigger name, Los Angeles might try to get another low-cost, glove-first option, as they did with Iglesias last winter. (Even reuniting with Iglesias himself is not impossible, although at best it may be a part-time option.) Sign a player like this Jonathan Villa It can increase the Angels’ overall bench versatility, because the team can mix and match Fletcher and Villar in any midfield position.

Although Anaheim fans may reject the idea of ​​letting all these major shortstops pass, the Angels can still benefit from the 2021-22 shortstop course in a more indirect way. For example, if a team that already has a good shortstop decides to create a sensation by adding a new player, the Angels can step in as a trading partner to acquire the former shortstop.

Speaking of the outfield, the Angels will have Trout, Upton and highly respected youngsters Joe Adel And Brandon Marsh Are queuing regularly, and Taylor Ward Provide some extra depth. From the standpoint of pure glove work, the ideal daily alignment is to have Marsh in the middle of the midfield, while Trout moves to the corner outfield position and will only act occasionally in the midfield (or if the horse Even playing a more important role in his normal midfield work) is not ready for prime time).

According to DRS and UZR/150 data, Trout’s outfielders have been below average in four of the past five seasons. After a calf injury, Trout was injured for most of the 2021 season. In theory, switching to a corner kick helps protect his leg, and since Marsh seems to be able to handle the midfield, Changing positions may be the smartest move to both improve the Angels’ defense and help Trout stay on the court. The simplest time-sharing vacation is to let Marsh hit the ball with the left hand against the opposing left-handed. Whenever the Angels face the left-handed starter, the Angels will get Upton/Trout/Adel’s outfield alignment.

After experiencing some very unstable outings as a rookie in 2020, Adel at least looks okay with a small sample of outfield work this year. In the past three seasons, Upton has largely been a substitute player, and he has not been a decent left fielder for many years. Since his huge salary is difficult to move in the trade (and Upton has no trade protection), he can still play a role if Adel or Marsh can’t get on track in a major league pitching game.

The defensive substitute is of great significance to the Angels, so the team can look forward to bringing back a familiar face Juan Lagares. Los Angeles watching Dexter Fowler Before ending his season due to an ACL tear in early April, as another veteran in the outfield, if Fowler’s recovery is coming, the Angels can also reconsider his cheap contract.

(In order to solve the inevitable Ohtani problem, Maddon publicly stated that if Ohtani devotes himself to this position, he can easily handle regular field work. Although we have learned not to count Ohtani into anything, there seems to be no angel The team may increase Otani’s workload and injury risk, making him more than just a replacement outfielder late in the game.)

How do you improve defense with most of the same players? Install a new shortstop, a new part-time/substitute catcher, get Rendon and Trout back, and then change the alignment of the outfield, which may be needed to transform the Angels’ defense from poor defense to at least average Of. Even with a good team defense, Halos is likely to not only have a winning record, but also still have a chance to make the playoffs.

Between the lack of consistent pitching and the injury problems that have appeared in the Halos rotation almost every season, the club should take a broader approach to the problem of how to control the opposing lineup. To be fair, general manager Perry Minasian seems to be trying to do this by landing in Iglesias, but after what appears to be another non-playoff year, it still needs More.The Angels have not signed a free agent starter for almost a full decade and signed a multi-year contract (since CJ Wilson December 2011), so if the team plans to continue to buy only second and third line starters, Anaheim will need better defensive efforts to make up for it.

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