Angels Getting Back to Speedy Ways.

Updated: March 7, 2017

Ask any Halo fan what he would consider to be the main tenet of a successful Mike Scioscia-led Angels team, and you’ll probably hear one answer popping up more than any other: Aggressive, speedy baserunning.

When the Angels were winning five division titles in six years, including three straight from 2007-2009, they were often doing it on the back of a fast, aggressive team that generally took the extra base more than any other team in baseball.

Those teams generated runs on the base paths, going first to third or second to home regularly, and Scioscia rarely ever saw an aggressive play on the base paths he didn’t like, regardless of the outcome. Those teams had the roster to back it up, with speedy players like Adam Kennedy, David Eckstein, Darin Erstad, Chone Figgins, Orlando Cabrera, and Erick Aybar reaching double digit stolen base totals with regularity. Even players like Vladimir Guerrero, Torii Hunter, and Bobby Abreu reached double digit stolen base totals in their time with the Halos. They were not only a fast team, but an aggressive and smart team.

As the years went on, however, the Angels lost those types of players, instead turning to players like Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Mark Trumbo, and Vernon Wells. The Angels had lost their way, and although they still attempted to play an aggressive style, that led to more outs than before.

Last year the Angels stole only seventy-three bases; for comparison,in 2007, the Halos stole 139, in 2008 they stole 118, and in 2009, they stole 148. In each of those division-winning years, the Angels never had less than four players with double digit steals, and in 2009 alone they had six players reach that total. Last year the Angels had two players with double digits, and only Mike Trout had more than ten.

It’s easy to make the correlation between speed and success for the Halos; the only thing that’s even close to being that important to Angels success is a strong bullpen, although that’s it’s own article entirely.

The Halos historically looked to wreak havoc on the base paths, and when they do, it’s led to very good things. So far this Spring, the Angels appear to be returning to those glorious days of old, running wild all over the diamond and stealing bases like it was going out of style, or was back in style.

The Angels not only upgraded their defense with this offseason’s additions, they also injected a serious dose of speed. Ben Revere, Cameron Maybin, and Danny Espinosa are all major upgrades on the base paths as much as in the field, and the Angels have looked to take advantage of those additions this Spring, with Espinosa even stealing home in yesterday’s game.

The Angels look to be a team ready to take it back to the way they used to play, and that kind of aggressive baserunning should be a welcome sight to any Angel fan that remembers how the team used to impact a game that way.

The Angels have upgraded multiple areas on this team, but putting speed and athleticism back in this lineup may be the biggest and most impactful addition they could have made. Expect an aggressive, smart team in the field and on the base paths. The Halos are fast again, and that’s definitely something to look forward to.

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