Warning - some of the below info may cause the reader to go "duh" and say "I could have told you that".
In short, the bullpen issues, second base, and left field hole that we were all worried about before the season started became a reality and are reflected directly in all the stats (duh) and standings. You take those big holes and throw in a decimated pitching staff and it pretty much means Mike Trout is the only reason the Angels didn't lose 100 games this year. That and maybe Mike Scioscia - because he is the best - amiright?
Let's take a look at some of the actual data.
What stands out here? In terms of OPS, outside of Mike Trout, the Angels don't really have a lot of high ranking guys. That's not normally a bad thing if you have a bunch of guys near the average. For the Angels - Catcher, First Base, Third Base, Shortstop, Right Field, and DH were all pretty close to average and not too much to be concerned about.
The big obvious holes are there at second base and left field and the gaps there are huge. In the PH spot the Angels are a bit behind as well which probably speaks to the lack of bench depth.
OPS doesn't take into account all factors, so let's take a look at WAR by position and include the pitchers here.
|Position||WAR||Rank||Median WAR||2015 Rank|
A few things stand out in this table. First - the Angels only dropped one spot in WAR ranking for starting pitchers in 2015. Last year they finished a game short of a wild card spot so it's hard to say you can blame all the problems on starting pitching injuries this year, despite what you hear from Billy Eppler and Mike Scioscia.
The Angels got worse in a few areas from 2015 to 2016: Starting pitching (1 place), Relief Pitching (2 places), Second Base (2 places), and Left Field (no where to go but up).
While we saw some areas get worse, we saw some improve as well: Catcher (2 places), First base (2 places), Short Stop (4 places), Right Field (2 places), DH (1 places), PH (8 places).
Jett Bandy has had a pretty good year behind the plate and Geovany Soto contributed as well (when he was healthy) to some improved production from the catching spot. C.J. Cron helped bump up stats at first base, and Albert Pujols has had some pretty good runs to help out the numbers at DH (and first base to some extent). Jefry Marte, who has put up a 1.2 WAR this year, is also factored in to those first base and third base numbers. Andrelton Simmons is the obvious bump at short stop.
Having a negative WAR for any position is just plain painful - especially a key spot like left field.
What does WAR mean?
"If this player got injured and their team had to replace them with a freely available minor leaguer or a AAAA player from their bench, how much value would the team be losing?"
Well, that means that losing our left fielders would actually ADD values to the team Can we play without a left fielder? Trout's got it covered. Let's just bat 8.
There is a lot of debate about how valuable or not WAR really is in measuring a player or a team. But I leave you with this - The Angels rank 12th in WAR this year. Guess who ranks on the top of the list in team WAR for 2016 in the AL?