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2018 Angels and their inability to hit left handed pitching

What’s the deal with these terrible splits?

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Seattle Mariners Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images

The 2018 Angels have the 2nd worst batting average in all of baseball against left handed pitching. They are only hitting .220 compared to the Astros (who are first) at .277. The Mets bring up the rear with .217 AVG - just a hair lower than the Angels dismal performance.

In addition to the 2nd worst average, the the Angels have the worst BABIP vs. lefties which is .247. Their BABIP is .282 vs righties which is also below average, but a large improvement over their lefty numbers.

As expected, this also affects their run production which is 25th in all of baseball in terms of wRC+ at only 85. Compare that to their 7th place and 105 wRC+ against right handed pitching. The Angels are also 27th in slugging vs. lefties compared to 8th overall against righties.

So, what’s the deal? GDP rate is nearly the same against either. Walks and K rates are almost the same. Line drive, ground ball, and fly ball rates are almost the same (as a team). Some of the numbers that ARE different enough include their soft contact rate against lefties that is about 2 points lower than against righties. The Angels also have about 3 point increase in their hard hit ball rate against righties. Not huge numbers, but a minor difference.

Let’s take a look at player performance versus lefties and righties and maybe that will give us a better picture.

Stats vs. Lefties (min 50 PA)

Basic Stats PA 1B 2B 3B HR R RBI BB SO GDP AVG
Basic Stats PA 1B 2B 3B HR R RBI BB SO GDP AVG
Mike Trout 85 13 5 1 5 12 8 14 19 1 0.338
Andrelton Simmons 100 21 2 0 3 9 8 13 4 3 0.306
Jefry Marte 53 7 2 1 3 6 8 2 12 1 0.255
Martin Maldonado 69 11 3 0 1 7 6 4 18 0 0.246
Justin Upton 78 12 0 0 2 8 6 9 25 1 0.203
Chris Young 51 4 2 0 3 7 8 3 10 0 0.191
Ian Kinsler 84 11 3 0 1 6 1 3 7 3 0.185
Zack Cozart 61 4 4 0 1 4 6 5 6 2 0.173
Albert Pujols 80 8 1 0 3 6 7 5 15 3 0.162
Kole Calhoun 54 5 0 0 0 4 3 6 9 2 0.106
.
Advanced PA BB% K% BB/K OBP SLG OPS ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+
Mike Trout 85 16.5 % 22.4 % 0.74 0.447 0.648 1.095 0.31 0.404 0.449 195
Andrelton Simmons 100 13.0 % 4.0 % 3.25 0.4 0.435 0.835 0.129 0.291 0.368 139
Jefry Marte 53 3.8 % 22.6 % 0.17 0.283 0.51 0.793 0.255 0.278 0.335 116
Chris Young 51 5.9 % 19.6 % 0.3 0.255 0.426 0.68 0.234 0.176 0.293 87
Martin Maldonado 69 5.8 % 26.1 % 0.22 0.309 0.344 0.653 0.098 0.326 0.289 84
Justin Upton 78 11.5 % 32.1 % 0.36 0.295 0.29 0.585 0.087 0.286 0.267 69
Zack Cozart 61 8.2 % 9.8 % 0.83 0.246 0.308 0.554 0.135 0.167 0.241 51
Albert Pujols 80 6.3 % 18.8 % 0.33 0.213 0.297 0.51 0.135 0.158 0.223 39
Ian Kinsler 84 3.6 % 8.3 % 0.43 0.214 0.259 0.474 0.074 0.192 0.209 29
Kole Calhoun 54 11.1 % 16.7 % 0.67 0.204 0.106 0.31 0 0.128 0.158 -6
.
Batted Ball BABIP GB/FB LD% GB% FB% Pull% Cent% Oppo% Soft% Med% Hard%
Mike Trout 0.404 0.71 30.8 % 28.8 % 40.4 % 46.2 % 34.6 % 19.2 % 17.3 % 48.1 % 34.6 %
Jefry Marte 0.278 0.82 20.5 % 35.9 % 43.6 % 43.6 % 25.6 % 30.8 % 23.1 % 56.4 % 20.5 %
Chris Young 0.176 0.5 27.0 % 24.3 % 48.6 % 56.8 % 27.0 % 16.2 % 32.4 % 40.5 % 27.0 %
Justin Upton 0.286 1.36 25.0 % 43.2 % 31.8 % 34.1 % 38.6 % 27.3 % 11.4 % 43.2 % 45.5 %
Albert Pujols 0.158 1 20.0 % 40.0 % 40.0 % 43.3 % 31.7 % 25.0 % 18.3 % 41.7 % 40.0 %
Andrelton Simmons 0.291 1.67 12.2 % 54.9 % 32.9 % 50.0 % 31.7 % 18.3 % 22.0 % 41.5 % 36.6 %
Martin Maldonado 0.326 1.23 34.1 % 36.4 % 29.5 % 33.3 % 33.3 % 33.3 % 15.6 % 46.7 % 37.8 %
Zack Cozart 0.167 0.54 24.5 % 26.5 % 49.0 % 53.1 % 18.4 % 28.6 % 20.4 % 40.8 % 38.8 %
Ian Kinsler 0.192 0.74 20.3 % 33.8 % 45.9 % 39.2 % 36.5 % 24.3 % 20.3 % 50.0 % 29.7 %
Kole Calhoun 0.128 1.46 17.9 % 48.7 % 33.3 % 41.0 % 33.3 % 25.6 % 12.8 % 43.6 % 43.6 %

Some of these guys aren’t hitting against lefties much and for good reason. Take a look at that Calhoun number, or Kinsler, or Cozart. Of special note is one Albert Pujols who has the 2nd worst BABIP and AVG on the team when it comes to hitting lefties and he players pretty much EVERY DAY.

Also of note is Justin Upton who is hitting only .203 against lefties with a painful .290 SLG. Both Pujols and Upton play every day and are large contributors to the Angels poor performance against lefties.

Surprisingly enough - Upton, Pujols, and Calhoun have the highest hard hit numbers on the team but it shows you that hitting the ball hard doesn’t always lead to success - especially if you are hitting into shifts and hitting LOTS of ground balls (they have the 3 highest ground ball rates after Simmons).

Mike Trout, you will see in the table below, is one of the few guys on the team (at least among regular starters), that hits lefties better than righties (31 points higher on his AVG).

Stats vs. Righties

Basic Stats PA 1B 2B 3B HR R RBI BB SO GDP AVG
Basic Stats PA 1B 2B 3B HR R RBI BB SO GDP AVG
Shohei Ohtani 114 16 8 1 7 22 20 12 29 1 0.317
Andrelton Simmons 238 49 15 2 3 34 33 14 11 5 0.314
Mike Trout 325 42 13 2 20 56 42 66 61 4 0.307
Albert Pujols 283 47 14 0 11 28 42 12 37 7 0.268
Justin Upton 309 43 10 0 15 39 42 35 79 8 0.257
Martin Maldonado 195 28 11 0 4 17 26 9 48 3 0.239
Zack Cozart 192 25 9 2 4 25 12 14 36 5 0.233
Ian Kinsler 252 28 12 0 10 30 22 20 24 7 0.221
Luis Valbuena 221 29 6 0 8 19 28 12 75 2 0.208
Kole Calhoun 208 27 4 1 6 23 19 11 50 6 0.195
Chris Young 77 6 0 1 3 10 5 8 27 1 0.152
.
Advanced PA BB% K% BB/K OBP SLG OPS ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+
Mike Trout 325 20.3 % 18.8 % 1.08 0.457 0.614 1.07 0.307 0.331 0.441 189
Shohei Ohtani 114 10.5 % 25.4 % 0.41 0.389 0.624 1.013 0.307 0.385 0.424 178
Justin Upton 309 11.3 % 25.6 % 0.44 0.346 0.464 0.81 0.208 0.301 0.348 125
Andrelton Simmons 238 5.9 % 4.6 % 1.27 0.359 0.441 0.8 0.127 0.319 0.344 122
Albert Pujols 283 4.2 % 13.1 % 0.32 0.304 0.442 0.746 0.175 0.276 0.319 105
Zack Cozart 192 7.3 % 18.8 % 0.39 0.313 0.378 0.69 0.145 0.273 0.305 95
Ian Kinsler 252 7.9 % 9.5 % 0.83 0.294 0.407 0.701 0.186 0.206 0.304 95
Martin Maldonado 195 4.6 % 24.6 % 0.19 0.297 0.367 0.664 0.128 0.305 0.293 87
Luis Valbuena 221 5.4 % 33.9 % 0.16 0.249 0.353 0.602 0.145 0.278 0.259 63
Chris Young 77 10.4 % 35.1 % 0.3 0.25 0.318 0.568 0.167 0.189 0.253 59
Kole Calhoun 208 5.3 % 24.0 % 0.22 0.236 0.318 0.554 0.123 0.227 0.241 51
.
Batted Ball BABIP GB/FB LD% GB% FB% Pull% Cent% Oppo% Soft% Med% Hard%
Shohei Ohtani 0.385 1.39 23.6 % 44.4 % 31.9 % 38.9 % 37.5 % 23.6 % 8.3 % 45.8 % 45.8 %
Mike Trout 0.331 0.8 22.4 % 34.4 % 43.2 % 39.6 % 34.4 % 26.0 % 14.1 % 39.6 % 46.4 %
Justin Upton 0.301 1.25 18.8 % 45.0 % 36.1 % 45.6 % 35.1 % 19.4 % 15.2 % 39.8 % 45.0 %
Chris Young 0.189 0.59 12.5 % 32.5 % 55.0 % 61.0 % 24.4 % 14.6 % 43.9 % 29.3 % 26.8 %
Luis Valbuena 0.278 0.8 18.2 % 36.4 % 45.5 % 48.5 % 26.9 % 24.6 % 13.4 % 47.8 % 38.8 %
Kole Calhoun 0.227 1.67 16.3 % 52.4 % 31.3 % 42.9 % 34.0 % 23.1 % 15.0 % 51.0 % 34.0 %
Albert Pujols 0.276 1.02 25.0 % 37.9 % 37.1 % 44.8 % 39.7 % 15.5 % 20.3 % 37.9 % 41.8 %
Ian Kinsler 0.206 0.9 17.2 % 39.2 % 43.6 % 44.1 % 34.8 % 21.1 % 18.1 % 49.5 % 32.4 %
Zack Cozart 0.273 1.12 20.0 % 42.2 % 37.8 % 50.7 % 30.9 % 18.4 % 16.9 % 47.1 % 36.0 %
Martin Maldonado 0.305 0.91 18.3 % 38.9 % 42.7 % 48.5 % 27.3 % 24.2 % 18.2 % 53.0 % 28.8 %
Andrelton Simmons 0.319 1.63 21.3 % 48.8 % 30.0 % 49.3 % 35.6 % 15.2 % 20.9 % 41.7 % 37.4 %

Shoehei Ohtani tops this list. He only has about 40 plate appearances against lefties but the numbers are not good. Trust me, you don’t want to see them.

Simmons, Pujols, Upton, Cozart, Kinsler, Valbuena, and Calhoun all have much better numbers against righties than lefties. Just look at that AVG column and wRC+ column in the lefty and righty tables above and you will see the HUGE differences. Against lefties, the team has 4 guys with a 51 or lower wRC+ and against righties, no one other than Calhoun has a wRC+ of 51 or lower.

The pictures isn’t completely clear, but if Pujols and Upton, at the very least, don’t improve against lefty pitching - this trend will continue. Over their careers, both of these guys have better numbers against lefties than righties. But not in 2018. We are talking about your every day #3 and #4 hitters who are 211th and 255th in MLB in terms of wRC+ against lefties. You are gonna have some really bad games with those numbers.