It should come as no surprise to Angels fans that the offense is in a bit of a slump as of late. Just how bad are the Angels doing? Let’s take a look at two player’s stats since the All-Star break and play a little game of guess the player. I have chosen two players whose stats line up decently well:
Player A: .282 AVG, .337 OBP, 2 HR, 9 RBIs, 28.4% K%, 121 wRC+
Player B: .234 AVG, .317 OBP, 5 HR, 13 RBIs, 29.3% K%, 115 wRC+
The stats of Player A and Player B are very similar, due to this being a small sample size of the last month of games, with Player A outperforming Player B in almost every category across the board. With an eye test you would think Player B seem is the Adam Dunn type player that either swings for the fences or strikes out doing so.
Both players are striking out at a K% rate that is well above the league average for the season of 20.7%. The concern here is that Player B is mostly swinging and missing at balls in the zone, with an O-Swing% (balls outside the strike zone) of 23.8%–a mark right at about the league average. This means that Player B is swinging and missing at a lot of strikes rather than putting good pitches in play. Player B is also striking out at a rate well above his career rate. Player A is striking out at a rate consistent with his career average and is swinging at balls out of the zone at about the league average. This isn’t so say this is a good thing, but rather that this sort of play is expected out of Player A.
Are you still with me? Good, here comes the fun stuff. Player A’s wRC+ is above what he has been averaging for the year and is producing about 21% above the league average offensively. On the other hand, Player B’s wRC+ is 15% above the league average offensively, but is about 80 percentage points below what he has produced throughout the season. To sum this up, Player A has less home runs and runs batted in than Player B but Player A’s offensive numbers seem to be improving since the All-Star break. The opposite holds true for Player B.
To make this game a little easier, I’ll give you a few more hints on who these players are. Player A is in his 31-year-old season while Player B is in his 23-year-old season.
When one of the best players in the Major Leagues is being outperformed by a role player over a month of games, there is obviously a huge cause for concern, especially coming upon the most important time of the season. However, it isn’t just Trout that is being outperformed by David Freese–it’s the entire Angels team. The Angels were able to do well enough when Trout was slumping earlier in the season to win ballgames due to role players stepping up and getting timely hits. The problem here is the Angels team, as a whole, have been producing very pedestrian numbers. Only three players are above the league average mark of 100 for wRC+ and four everyday players (counting the catcher platoon of Chris Iannetta and Hank Conger as one player) are above 20% K%. Only time will tell if the Angels can break out of this slump in time for October.
Rusty Handler is a graduate of the University of Southern California where he was a college wrestler that never lost his love for the game of baseball. He kept his passion for the game, and the Angels, going by learning sabermetrics through sports analytics courses at USC and the amazing power of Google. He now considers himself in the running to be the successor to Jerry Dipoto for General Manager. You can follow him on Twitter (@rhandler33) where he tweets his thoughts on anything sports related, mostly the Angels.