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Angels mid-season offense & fielding report

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Offense has been pretty good this year, while defense has surprising not been all that great

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

ClarOffense has been decent most of the season (with some flashes of awesomeness), but only enough to put the Angels pretty solidly in the middle of the pack.  Back-end starting and relief pitching + middle of the pack at best hitting, plus back of the pack fielding has led to the Angels being one of the worst teams in baseball in 2016.

The Angels lead in two of the categories below which are least strikeouts by batters and highest percentage of softly hit balls.  Most of the season, the Halos led GDP as well, but the Blue Jays just barely took that top spot.

If Eppler and Scioscia's people aren't seeing the problem here, I'm not sure sure what to do.  You have a whole bunch of guys who are making contact but it's soft and they are grounding into tons of double plays which is killing the offense when it does get going.  Contact and putting the ball into play isn't everything.  Sometimes those swing and miss guys who hit the ball hard when they make contact can be an asset.  It's a balance, and one that Eppler took to an extreme by bringing all these contact dudes to add to the guys we already had making soft contact.  Simmons, Perez, Gentry, Cunningham, and Ryan are all leading the Angels in soft contact, and you can throw in Ortega and Cunningham for guys that don't make a lot of hard contact.

Category Total Place Total for 1st Team in 1st
HR 84 14th 137 Orioles
Runs 403 8th 490 Red Sox
Walks 265 8th 347 Blue Jays
SB 34 11th 68 Astros
AVG .268 6th .292 Red Sox
OBP .327 6th .359 Red Sox
WAR 11.5 6th 20.5 Red Sox
GDP 84 2nd 87 Blue Jays
Ks 524 15th 825 Astros
Hard hit % 29.8% 10th 34.0% Astros
Soft hit % 20.3% 15th 17.3% Indians
Errors 58 2nd 62 Twins

Also interesting, and I'll delve into that a bit more, is the fact that the Angels picked up defensive wonder Simmons, have a gold glove right fielder, a near gold glove center fielder, and yet have the 2nd most errors in all of baseball.  Is that the effect Escobar has?  Yes, partially..  The Angels are also 9th in double plays turned with 184.  At 276, the Rangers lead the pack.  Of course, double play balls are also a product of pitching.

Grading the offense was tough and some of these guys could probably go up or down a notch.

Grade
Player AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP Errors
A+ Trout, M 323 68 104 21 2 18 58 58 71 15 1 0.322 0.425 4
A- Escobar, Y 315 37 100 21 0 3 27 23 42 0 2 0.317 0.365 13
B+ Calhoun, K 337 55 97 15 3 10 47 37 66 2 3 0.288 0.362 4
B Cron, C 259 34 72 16 1 11 50 17 41 1 2 0.278 0.333 3
B- Petit, G 120 17 33 10 1 2 14 7 29 0 0 0.275 0.318 3
B- Simmons, A 201 20 54 12 1 1 18 9 16 2 1 0.269 0.296 8
C+ Giavotella, J 287 37 77 17 1 6 26 10 29 3 3 0.268 0.292 5
C+ Bandy, J 65 7 18 3 0 2 11 5 9 0 0 0.277 0.329 1
C Soto, G 64 9 17 3 0 3 7 5 16 0 0 0.266 0.319 0
C Pennington, C 58 8 16 2 1 1 6 6 16 0 0 0.276 0.344 0
C- Nava, D 88 8 22 3 0 1 10 8 22 0 0 0.250 0.330 0
C- Pujols, A 334 34 83 11 0 15 60 38 42 4 0 0.249 0.324 2
C- Ortega, R 122 17 29 5 0 1 9 6 16 4 3 0.238 0.273 3
C- Marte, J 105 14 23 4 0 5 13 6 28 0 1 0.219 0.272 2
D Robinson, S 65 14 14 1 0 1 7 10 15 2 1 0.215 0.329 0
D Perez, C 186 17 38 11 0 4 23 8 35 1 0 0.204 0.235 3
F Gentry, C 34 2 5 1 0 0 2 3 6 0 0 0.147 0.237 1
F Choi, J 24 0 2 1 0 0 0 8 7 0 1 0.083 0.313 0


Escobar hits the ball well, but his ceiling is an A- at best with all those errors. In fact, Escobar leads all fielders in the American League with his 13 errors.  Also surprisingly, Trout and Calhoun both have 4 errors which puts them in 3rd place for the most errors among AL outfielders.  Only Ian Desmond and JD Martinez have more outfield errors than those two.  Considering his limited big league time, it's impressive that Rafael Ortega leads the Angels in OF assists with 6.  He's certainly giving Calhoun a run for his money in regards to arm strength and assists.  While we are on the topic of errors, defensive wiz kid Simba has the 14th most errors in the league with 8, and he is 8th among short stops.

Jett Bandy and Carlos Perez both throw out around 40% of would-be base stealers, but Bandy has earned himself a spot much higher on the chart thanks to his .277 AVG and .329 OBP.  Of course he only has 65 AB, but when was the last time an Angels catcher hit over .275?

Other notable hitters are Mike Trout who is having yet another career year, Escobar, Calhoun and Cron.  Those guys have put up some pretty good numbers this year.  Simmons is coming around and Giavotella seems to go hot and cold often.  Pujols could maybe have a lower grade, but he does have 15 home runs.  I was close to giving him a D+, and considering how much money he makes, anything below a B is pretty horrible.

I still think Ortega and Marte have some potential and we have seen some signs of it, but they haven't been strong enough to garner a higher grade (or batting average).  Gentry (who is coming back soon, yay?), Choi, and Robinson have all been pretty horrible at the plate, but at least Robinson is also good at drawing walks and he's pretty damn speedy.

So, at C+ grades or higher, you can fill the following positions:  CF, RF, C, 2B, SS, 3B

That's actually not too bad - or rather it wasn't before Cron got a broken hand.  Now you are seeing a hole at two big offensive spots (1B & DH) as well as left field which is a surprise to nobody.

I don't think the Angels need to or can do much for the offense after the break.  If all these players click, we can expect probably about the same amount of offense in the second half, even without Cron.