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Know Your Enemy: Los Angeles Angels

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Mike Trout’s really good, but the Angels are in fourth place...how can that be?

MLB: Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels
Fishing For Trout: Mike Trout is the best player in baseball, but the Angels have wasted yet another year of his greatness.
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Scrolling through Twitterverse today, I came across a tweet from the one and only Jason Benetti. Here it is...

The margin between Trout and the next-best position player since the 2012 season is exactly 25 wins (!). The current White Sox roster has a combined 6.7 WAR this season, while Trout boasts a 6.6 WAR by HIMSELF.

There’s really nothing Trout can’t do both defensively or offensively. He’s hitting .307 with an OPS of 1.055 and is 16-for-17 in stolen base attempts. His WRC+ is at an absurd 186, and he also ranks toward the top of defensive runs saved.

However, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has a problem with Trout’s rather reserved personality off the field. Manfred said last week “We are very interested in having our players more engaged in having higher-profile players and helping our players develop their individual brand. But that involves the player being actively engaged.”

Look, if you’re a casual baseball fan and can’t appreciate the greatness that is Mike Trout, I don’t know what to tell you. Trout shouldn’t be criticized for his low-key demeanor off the field, but rather applauded for it. He does plenty of charity work and can often be seen playing catch with young fans before games. Be better, commish.

As for the rest of the team, Shohei Ohtani and Albert Pujols have dominated the national headlines this season. Pujols recorded his 3,000th hit back in April and is having himself a pretty good year for his 38-year-old self. His hard-hit percentage, at 42.2%, is the highest it has been since 2010.

Ohtani suffered a UCL strain in early June, putting him on the DL for about a month. The Japanese star returned to the batting lineup, but may not throw for a while.

The Angels’ lineup is rather top-heavy, with Trout, Pujols, Ohtani and Justin Upton. The team has struggled to get much production from players like Kole Calhoun and Ian Kinsler to take some of the pressure off the sluggers.

The pitching staff somewhat echoes the batting lineup — it’s just about average. Injuries have really hurt this rotation. Ohtani’s recent injury to go along with Garrett Richards’ imminent Tommy John surgery have caused pitchers like Felix Pena (normally a bullpen arm) to fill the void.

Tyler Skaggs has turned in his best year of his career, boasting a 9.17 K/9 to go along with a respectable 3.10 FIP. However, the overall lack of consistency and health from the rotation has hurt their chances to catch the Houston Astros this season. Heck, they might end the year in fourth place with the surge of the Seattle Mariners and Oakland A’s.

Probables:

Monday, July 23: Lucas Giolito (6-8, 6.18 ERA) vs. Jaime Barria (5-6, 3.55 ERA)

Tuesday, July 24: Carlos Rodon (2-3, 3.56 ERA) vs. Felix Pena (1-0, 3.42 ERA)

Wednesday, July 25: James Shields (4-11, 4.26 ERA) vs. Tyler Skaggs (7-6, 2.68 ERA)

Thursday, July 26: Dylan Covey (4-5, 4.95 ERA) vs. Nick Tropeano (3-5, 4.58 ERA)