There are many fascinating stories to cover thus far in the young 2017 season. How long will Garrett Richards be out? Why do the Angels always start slow in April? Have Mike Trout, Andrelton Simmons, and Kole Calhoun robbed hits yet? One of the more interesting ones, however, is the painful, ongoing curse of left field.
This offseason, Cameron Maybin (who had a .383 OBP and 15 steals last year) and Ben Revere (who had a career .280 BA and speed aplenty) were acquired to fix exactly that: to provide production where there previously wasn’t any.
Well, it’s April 24 of the 2017 season and left field production hasn’t exactly been a bright spot.
.181/.244/.265, 49 wRC+, -0.3 fWAR
One explanation is that it’s still early: Maybin and Revere are facing slow starts, as the Angels typically do each year. They will certainly improve as the year progresses. But what if they are unable to fulfill their potential because they are being used incorrectly?
Coming into the season, these two were legitimate starting options. Maybin was said to have the starting job, while Revere’s playing time would be TBD. 25 games into the year and that does not look like the case.
Maybin has played in 56% of games, Revere in the other 44%. I don’t believe the problem lies in their ability, but rather their inability to develop consistency in the batter’s box.
These are talented players. But playing a starter intermittently doesn’t do much for anyone’s confidence. Ben Revere might actually be better off the bench in late-game, pinch running situations. Letting Cameron Maybin the keys to the starting position might not be ideal, but it’s the best the team can do right now. If the Angels are out of it by the deadline they will have to reassess where they are, and I’m sure they would much appreciate a strong return for at least one.
This isn’t to say that platoons or timeshares don’t work entirely, because that’s not true. These players are too good to be playing this bad, and it’s time to mix it up by not mixing it up. Giving one of the two the full-time job is in the team’s best interest; it’s understandable that Mike Scioscia is trying to satisfy both veterans, but we have seen this play out before and it almost never ends well. For a manager that’s all about roles, it doesn’t make sense that the team’s two outfielders don’t know theirs.