Here's something to be positive about today in the Halosphere: when it comes to lineup quartets in the majors, the Angels actually have a group of guys that ranks among the best in the league. Wait, what? So MLB.com has a piece that takes a dive into the numbers of each team's lineup core, and sees where they rank. The good news here is that the Angels have the 4th best quartet in MLB, which consists of Mike Trout(of course), Kole Calhoun, Albert Pujols and C.J. Cron.
The recent signing of Justin Upton by the Detroit Tigers is what spurred this little piece, and here's what they used to determine who had the most fantastic four in all of baseball:
To answer that question, we used the 2016 Steamer projections to figure out the best quartets for the upcoming season. Steamer, available at FanGraphs.com, uses a player's past performance and age to project his future statistics.
With the help of those numbers, here is a look at the top five lineup foursomes for next season, based on cumulative offensive runs (Off), a component of wins above replacement (WAR) that includes batting and baserunning value. Each player's weighted runs created-plus (wRC+), a park-adjusted offensive metric, also is included. Pitchers, you've been warned.
So there is their methodology, but looking at the top 3, i'm not sure you even need fancy metrics to figure out those no-brainers:
1. Chicago Cubs (96.8 Off)
Anthony Rizzo: 143 wRC+, 31.2 Off
Kris Bryant: 137 wRC+, 29.1 Off
Jason Heyward: 123 wRC+, 20.2 Off
Kyle Schwarber: 124 wRC+, 16.3 Off
2. Washington Nationals (76.5 Off)
Bryce Harper: 164 wRC+, 48.7 Off
Anthony Rendon: 116 wRC+, 11.9 Off
Daniel Murphy: 114 wRC+, 9.0 Off
Jayson Werth: 112 wRC+, 6.9 Off
3. Toronto Blue Jays (75.3 Off)
Jose Bautista: 137 wRC+, 25.2 Off
Josh Donaldson: 131 wRC+, 23.9 Off
Edwin Encarnacion: 135 wRC+, 21.5 Off
Troy Tulowitzki: 110 wRC+, 4.7 Off
Again, those are the usual suspects that you'd expect to see if you've been following baseball recently. But up next, at #4, are our beloved Halos:
4. Los Angeles Angels (73.0 Off)
Trout: 175 wRC+. 59.1 Off
Kole Calhoun: 108 wRC+, 6.9 Off
Albert Pujols: 116 wRC+, 6.3 Off
C.J. Cron: 103 wRC+, 0.7 Off
Even more than the Nationals, this is a top-heavy quartet. Trout's exploits go a long ways, as he is projected to lead the Majors in runs, RBIs, slugging percentage and wRC+ while finishing third in average, on-base percentage and homers. As usual, Pujols' health will be a major determining factor in how much of a force he can be behind Trout. If Pujols reaches his projection of 27 homers -- 13 fewer than he hit in 2015 -- he would pass Frank Robinson for ninth on the all-time list, with 587. Cron, entering his age-26 season, has mashed 27 homers in 657 career plate appearances but posted a .296 OBP.
So there's a little sunny optimism for 2016, I reckon, although like they said, Mike Trout is the x-factor hear and his gargantuan numbers could probably propel even the weakest lineup core to over-achieving heights. A healthy Albert Pujols and an improving C.J. Cron are going to be instrumental to not only proving this rosy prognostication correct, but also for the 2016 Angels chances at being competitive. Could be a bumpy ride, sure, but if these guys can do their thing, then we'll at least have plenty of entertaining games along the way.