Who Will Back Up The Meat Of The Lineup?

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Updated: February 16, 2017

When the probable heart of the Angels’ lineup is examined for this upcoming year, one could easily make the argument that it is among the best the game has to offer. Frankly, one could likewise make the argument that it is the best in the game when they are performing at their best.

Kole Calhoun has been one of the most consistent hitters on the team the last few years. With respect to Albert Pujols, the man still has a colossal amount of power after all this time. And, last but not least, there’s another guy who is practically akin to the prime rib amidst this meat: Mike Trout. He requires no glossy explanation, for everyone who is not even a MLB buff knows the multitude of superpowers he possesses.

When this threesome is pored over, it is virtually guaranteed that their numbers will be on par with the high expectations put on them since they have proven it over and over again throughout their tenures. Even though Pujols, for example, is questionable for Opening Day, too, it is still fair to expect he will produce like he always has. The RBI totals are always generally right around 100 by the time the end of September comes, and it is difficult to expect much more because very few can say the same.

Beyond them, however, it is challenging to be 100% certain as to who will repeatedly back up the trio when it comes to the offensive output. The team was very spotty (at best) as a whole when it came to situations when there were RISP last year, and, without a doubt, more production is needed for the team to be higher up in the standings. There are several key players to be vigilant of in particular.

C.J. Cron is one name that comes to mind insofar as who could assume this role, for he demonstrated glimmers of it last year by virtue of knocking 16 balls out of the park and accumulating 69 RBIs. Cron’s health was not always up to speed, though. This therefore diminished, in some measures, what could have been.

Another name that stands out is the one Cron will plausibly be platooning with in 2017: Luis Valbuena. Last season, Valbuena’s OPS was a career best at .816, and the year before that, he achieved a career best in the home run department. Accordingly, Valbuena is another safe bet with regard to who can possibly be a reliable backup to the Angels’ stars.

One other player that is worth mentioning is the team’s defensive maestro, Andrelton Simmons. As 2016 progressed, his batting average steadily rose, making it the highest mark since his rookie campaign. In spite of this, the next step on the ladder needs to be taken when it comes to the power aspect of his game. No one needs Simmons to be like Mike, yet even the most minimal improvement in that neck of the woods would create better balance.

While Cron, Valbuena, and Simba are some of the keys, it does not invalidate the remainder of the guys on the club. Baseball is a team sport at the end of the day. For this reason, it is reasonable to expect contributions from everyone now and again. It will take a little bit of assistance from everyone in order to amplify the Angels’ hopes of making it back to the top of their division.

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