Angel fans entered the off season wondering who will play left field for the team in 2016. Hunkered down in front of our screens, refreshing MLBTR like mad people, we've gradually seen a decline from "Angels in on Jason Heyward" to "Angels could be interested in Charlie Blackmon." In between those two Arte dropped a lump of coal in our stockings by stating he's probably out on the remaining big ticket items like Justin Upton and Yoenis Cespedes.
On the surface, the Charlie Blackmon trade makes sense. He will make far less money than Upton or Cespedes, he's under club control for two years, and he hits left handed. Plus, his career slash line is .288/.336/.437, not all that much different from Cespedes' .271/.319/.486 on the surface. The likely cost, is Nick Tropeano.
But there are a few key reasons Blackmon is not the answer to our problems.
Reason #1: The Big A is not Coors Field
You can most easily tell this by the presence of the gaseous substance known as "air" in the facility. Not just any air, but the dreaded marine layer air where home runs go to die. See, in the thin air of Denver, Blackmon is a beast, to the tune of a .334/.386/.501 slash line. But, in not-Coors Field, where the Angels play, he's a career .241/.283/.370 hitter.
That is replacement level offense which can likely be replicated using a Nava/Gentry platoon.
Reason #2: Nick Tropeano
Yes, fans tend to overrate their own players and prospects, but that is not the case here. Nick Tropeano has been a top prospect in both the Astros and Angels systems for a reason, he's good. Plus, he's controllable through the 2022 season. In a vacuum, he's likely to provide far more value than Blackmon over his controllable years.
However, we do not exist in a vacuum. We exist in a very real world in which there are very legitimate concerns about how much Jered Weaver has left in the tank, how well CJ Wilson and Tyler Skaggs recover from injuries, and what we have in Matt Shoemaker.
In short, not only is Nick likely the more valuable asset simply based on projections, but he's even doubly important to an Angels pitching staff that is going through quite a transition.
But wait, maybe I'm wrong?
Hats off to TurksTeeth here for these findings:
1. He has historically done just fine over his career in the pitcher's parks of Dodgers Stadium (.299/.346/.402) and AT&T Park (.287/.340/.345) where he plays frequently in the NL West. (Though it's still only about 200 PAs between them)
2. He hit quite well in the Texas League (.297/.360/.484) in a park environment that generally suppressed runs (though it was league-neutral in terms of HR).
But I wouldn't bet on it.
878 career plate appearances outside of Coors Field is a solid sample size and his defensive ratings are clearly average. Overall, he'd be a decent fourth outfielder for a minimal free agent contract, but he's not going to improve the Angels much more than what we already have, if at all, and doesn't justify trading young, controllable pitching.