The LA Angels haven’t been the most stable team at with their leadoff place in the lineup around the past several a long time. 2018 was especially bad with the middling Ian Kinsler and battling Kole Calhoun manning the the vast majority of games at leadoff.
For the LA Angels, there hasn’t been a great deal of an growth pertaining to leadoff choices via cost-free company or other signifies of acquisition this offseason, but is it feasible that’s for the reason that the Angels already have the guy for the job ready in the wings?
In 2018 the Angels noticed Kole Calhoun hit leadoff for 64 games when Ian Kinsler manned the placement 53 moments. Kinsler held down the place with a bad .301 OBP till he was shipped off to Boston. Calhoun didn’t commence hitting leadoff somewhat frequently till June and took around the place complete time in August.
Even with Kole Calhoun lighting up pitchers in July (.322/.378/.759) and coming a little bit down to earth in August (.274/.345/.453) he nevertheless didn’t charge as a prototypical leadoff guy during his time. His substantial K charge (133 K’s/53 BBs) keeps him from becoming a legitimate table setter and his deficiency of action on the base paths limitations his operate scoring potential.
Kole Calhoun is more suited for a base of the purchase hitter, 6th or 7th, where he can make use of rather reduced strain at-bats when nevertheless becoming in a placement to knock in operates. 2018 rookie infielder David Fletcher had some truly fantastic appears to be like during his time with the ballclub, but yet again his skillset doesn’t scream leadoff hitter. He’s not a significant walker and specified that he has to restrict his strike-outs closely to counteract his limited walks. On that exact same note, David Fletcher isn’t the form of hitter to whiff a ton and he has good pace out of the box. He has the potential to be fantastic as a leadoff guy but his means to set killer strain on pitchers and opposing defenses is yet to be observed.
The genuine magic lies with Angels top rated prospect Luis Rengifo, a fast-footed shortstop/infielder whom they acquired via trade prior to the 2018 period. Rengifo totally blew up the Angels MiLB ladder by dominating all of A ball by means of Triple A instantly soon after coming into the method.
What specifically is in his skillset that screams killer leadoff guy? For instance, that whole idea of putting killer strain on pitchers and opposing defense is anything Luis Rengifo excels at. Across 2018 Rengifo nabbed 41 complete bases, all at the age of 21. It isn’t really hard to consider that Rengifo will experienced into an even more refined base-stealer specified the speed of his improvement and present-day means.
Putting Rengifo at leadoff is essentially putting a knife to the throat of the opposition and permitting them nick by themselves with the tiniest blunder. Luis Rengifo can totally start some critical bleeding in the opening times of a baseball match with his huge-ranging means. His strike-zone command is already looking phenomenal as he walked 75 moments to 75 strikeouts in 590 Plate Appearances, when it arrives to pitching to a leadoff hitter there isn’t a great deal more compact a margin for mistake than that.
On top rated of that Rengifo is heading to blaze by means of the basepaths if (or when) he will get on. Which is the fantastic model of leadoff hitting, do the job the pitcher for the quite first out of the match and upcoming thing you know you have an athlete who can just take 41 bases on you standing at first. All of a sudden you simply cannot pitch to the 2nd hitter appropriately for the reason that you’re becoming tag-teamed by soul-crushing strain, especially when you think about the 2nd hitter becoming Mike Trout.
What’s good about Rengifo is his amazingly strong bat, especially for a leadoff hitter. In 2018 Rengifo roped 30 doubles and 13 triples. His pace is a enormous aid to individuals ability figures confident, but at the conclude of the day Rengifo is in a position to sq. up and generate pitches continuously. All over again, this is many thanks to his killer strike-zone command which allows him to zone in on the pitch he can do the most hurt with and assault it. His means to prevent pitchers pitches and assault the pitches he wants simply cannot be understated, across 2018 his slash line sat at .299/.399/.452 in 2018.
If it wasn’t apparent by now there is enormous operate scoring means from Rengifo. 2018 noticed him appear all-around for 109 operates scored now visualize this software of expertise with Mike Trout hitting driving him. Rengifo can simply translate if not much better his figures with Trout providing him the prospect to rating seemingly endless operates. It doesn’t just take a great deal to get Rengifo in scoring placement, it can be argued he’s already in scoring placement from 1st specified his pace and means to steal next on a whim. It also doesn’t just take a great deal to get Trout bringing operates in, this mixture of Rengifo/Trout is anything that will open up more opportunities than usual for each gamers to make.
There hasn’t been strong leadoff guy in Anaheim in a minimal little bit, but the combo of Rengifo/Trout may perhaps quite effectively be the finest 1-2 punch Anaheim will ever see. It doesn’t even conclude there, if you give Rengifo a quasi-leadoff guy in the 9th hole you are going to have even more potential for operate scoring specified Rengifo’s means to not just set the table, but strain pitchers out till he’s served up his fantastic pitch and knock in an RBI-XBH himself.
It’s not possible that we’ll see Rengifo affect frequently across 2019, especially with David Fletcher/Andrelton Simmons/Zack Cozart manning the infield. Rengifo is nevertheless in the developmental levels so there is no genuine rush to get him to the bigs, but if he proceeds his torrid speed he could be in line to see some significant league time in 2019. All in all I wouldn’t anticipate to see Luis Rengifo dominate the Angels leadoff place till 2020 to see him get there in 2019 and see sufficient time to make affect would possible be in the scenario of injury to a person of Cozart/Fletcher/Simmons.
In a very best scenario state of affairs we would see Cozart have a bounceback yr and settle in at leadoff in 2019, but if that doesn’t appear to fruition there is constantly the burgeoning Luis Rengifo ready to swoop In and steal not just the job, and not just our hearts, but the focus of the MLB in whole.