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Three Great Los Angeles Angels Storylines for 2020

Anthony Rendon

The 2020 Major League season is on hold right now due to COVID-19 and Los Angeles Angels fans must be disappointed because we haven’t seen any regular-season games with Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon in the same lineup.

We also haven’t seen whether Albert Pujols will inch closer to the 700 home runs and 700 doubles club too before his contracts run out with the club in 2021.

These are great storylines for the Los Angeles Angels and their fans and one hopes that the regular season will get going soon.

Major League Baseball’s website has the following disclaimer on it. “MLB will keep fans updated on decisions regarding plans for the 2020 schedule in the days and weeks ahead,” the league stated in a release. “The Clubs remain committed to playing as many games as possible when the season begins. We will continue to monitor ongoing events and undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts, and urge all baseball fans to follow suit. MLB extends its best wishes to all the individuals and communities who have been impacted by the coronavirus.”

Until then we’ll just have to imagine what will unfold. Now on with the story.

Anthony Rendon

Rendon’s move to the Angels was big offseason news because of the seven-year $245 million dollar contract he signed and the fact that Rendon left the World Series-winning Washington Nationals.

The Nationals had an extensive list of free agents though and with their desire to sign Stephen Strasburg amongst others and Rendon’s decline of an offer from the team, his days in Washington were numbered.

In 2019, Anthony Rendon’s had a .319 batting average, 34 Home Runs and 126 RBI’s to go with a 6.4 WAR. That did not garner him the National League MVP though. Still, those are great numbers and would enhance pretty much every American League West Lineup.

The really interesting dynamic about Anthony Rendon’s move to the Angels is how he should help Mike Trout.

Trout has been walked over 110 occasions between 2016-2019 and opponents intentionally put him on first base at least 12 times a year in that span. With Rendon around him, those numbers should go down. He should also provide Trout with more protection in the middle of the order and that could help Trout at the plate too. That’s a scary thought considering the MVP season Trout had in 2019.

Mike Trout

With the 2020 season delayed until further notice, Mike Trout is surely missing out on another season in his prime.

Trout was the American League MVP in 2019 with 45 Home Runs, and a .291 Batting Average but his OPS of 1.083 was a telling stat to go along with his WAR of 8.2.

On-base plus slugging (OPS)

On-base plus slugging (OPS) is the sum of a player’s on-base percentage and slugging percentage. The best OPS players will score near, and sometimes above, the 1.000 mark. Trout had an OPS of 1.083 in 2019. Christian Yelich was just that much better in the 2019 season at 1.100. Anthony Rendon was 6th last year with an OPS of 1.010.

Trout is currently 8th overall in lifetime OPS for players who have at least 3,000 plate appearances through the end of the 2019 season. The company he is in is legendary, to say the least.

1. Babe Ruth, 1.1636
2. Ted Williams, 1.1155
3. Lou Gehrig, 1.0798
4. Barry Bonds, 1.0512
5. Jimmie Foxx, 1.0376
6. Hank Greenberg, 1.0169 
7. Rogers Hornsby, 1.0103 
8. Mike Trout, 0.9999

Wins Above Replacement

Wins Above Replacement (WAR) is one of those baseball statistics that gets thrown around a lot these days and put simply is the means by which to determine how valuable a player is to his team.

A 6.4 WAR Player like Rendon means that he is worth +6.4 wins to his team while another player with a 3.5 WAR is only worth +3.5 wins. Rendon then is likely to be the more valuable player of the two.

WAR estimates a players value to date. A 6 WAR player might really be worth between 5.0 and 7.0 WAR, but it is pretty safe to say they are at least an All-Star level player and potentially an MVP.

Trout’s 2019 WAR was 8.2 meaning that without him the Angels would have lost 8 or more games if he wasn’t in the lineup. That’s too simplistic a way of thinking though. The real number is likely much higher for the three-time MVP winner as no player in the league could have replaced him save for maybe a player like a Cody Bellinger or Christian Yelich. It’s just too scary to think about how many games the Angels would have won without him.

Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols broke into the majors in 2001, immediately making an impact, winning the Rookie of the Year. That’s 19 seasons ago.

The aging Albert Pujols and his role on the Angels might be limited now, but he is closing in on 700 Home Runs and 700 Doubles. That’s a huge milestone.

The frustration that fans feel with Pujols is palpable as his huge 10-year $254 million contract hasn’t yielded what many expected, namely a World Series title in California.

He is on the decline for sure but still has a career .300/.379/.549 hitter with over 3,200 hits and 2,000 RBI. Those are Hall of Fame-worthy stats alone.

Pujols has a legitimate chance to be the first 700/700 player in baseball history. It could be tough though as the 2020 season won’t be 162 games as expected. Even with a full 2021 season, his age and health will also play a factor in getting to this accomplishment. His contract does as well. It is due to expire at the end of the 2021 season and is not likely to be renewed.

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