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The need for a legit leadoff hitter?


WeatherWonk

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I keep coming back to a legit leadoff hitter, with an OBP over .350 and above average speed, being what this lineup REALLY needs. Someone to pair with Trout's unbelievable OBP numbers. Someone who will make pitchers think twice about pitching around Trout. A player who can get us on the board in the first inning on a semi-regular basis. We were 18th in runs scored in the first inning this year. That's not acceptable, IMO, with a guy like Trout up every first inning. Overall, we were exactly league average in runs scored. 15th out of 30 teams, 721 runs scored. I cant imagine that the new manager will live with Calhoun leading off.

Oh sure, it would be nice to add yet another big bat to the lineup. But, honestly, wouldn't a lot of contending clubs be content with a lineup of Trout, Ohtani, Upton, Simmons,  lefty bat/Pujols, the "real" Calhoun in the middle? I have to add Pujols because he isnt going away. But if he was hitting sixth and platooning with someone who can hold their own, well...............

Anyway, how important do you think a legit leadoff hitter is in the whole scheme of things that the Angels need to upgrade, offensively? More important than another big bat? Less important? Maybe grade both on a scale of importance from 1-5, with five being very important.

While we're at it, maybe include a FA or a potential trade piece that we could acquire to fill this role.

Pitching upgrades are another subject. How do we score more runs, if the pitching is only so-so?

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Im not even sure what that means anymore, so much about the game has changed.  
I still feel like speed has a place there, getting on base is good of course but being station to station runner seems to just clog and rely on other people and multiple hits to make anything happen.  The stolen base is rapidly going the way of the dodo bird it would seem due to its value is the so-called advanced stats. 

6 minutes ago, Angel Oracle said:

He would cost a lot in trade, not yet being arb eligible, but how about Merrifield?

Or groom Rengifo to take that role in the next year? 

He would be an ideal fit considering our roster requirements, can literally play all over the field.  Far less power vs lefties but still solid averages. 

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24 minutes ago, WeatherWonk said:

I keep coming back to a legit leadoff hitter, with an OBP over .350 and above average speed, being what this lineup REALLY needs.

So does nearly every team in baseball. So if you've got a lead on one of these guys how about posting where he is and what it would take to get him.

Now if you'd like to think out of the box then internally Ohtani actually fits in nicely as a leadoff hitter. His .361 OBP percentage and speed makes him ideal for the role. Follow with Trout then Upton and your starting the game off with speed, OBP and power. 

Most will want Ohtani following Trout for "protection" but it seems the league is not caring who is after Trout, he is the biggest threat regardless of who bats behind the best player in baseball. 

Internally Simmons is a second choice but he really doesn't like that role. Then there is the possibility of Fletcher improving in his leadoff skills. Although not the fastest runner he is smart and would play more like a young Kinsler without the power. 

Bit if you want someone from outside the organization, good luck. The few with an OBP over .330 are pretty much glued to their current team. 

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2 minutes ago, Blarg said:

So does nearly every team in baseball. So if you've got a lead on one of these guys how about posting where he is and what it would take to get him.

Now if you'd like to think out of the box then internally Ohtani actually fits in nicely as a leadoff hitter. His .361 OBP percentage and speed makes him ideal for the role. Follow with Trout then Upton and your starting the game off with speed, OBP and power. 

Most will want Ohtani following Trout for "protection" but it seems the league is not caring who is after Trout, he is the biggest threat regardless of who bats behind the best player in baseball. 

Internally Simmons is a second choice but he really doesn't like that role. Then there is the possibility of Fletcher improving 9n his leadoff skills. Although not the fastest runner he is smart and would play more like a young Kinsler without the power. 

Bit if you want someone from outside the organization, good luck. The few with an OBP over .330 are pretty much glued to their current team. 

Great post and I was thinking of Ohtani in the lead off spot as well.  There is no such thing as protection for Trout just like there was no such thing as protection for Vlad, but for different reasons.  Vlad couldn’t be protected because the only way to pitch around him was to intentionally walk him.  With Trout, he is the very best player in the game and there is no one playing that you wouldn’t rather face, so how do you protect that?  

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Luis Rengifo, it should be his job to lose at 2B. He gets on base, he steals bases, he hits for a high average (good contact) and he isn't a slappy middle infielder either, he's got some pop. 

I know David Fletcher is a fan favorite, but he doesn't walk enough for me to hand him the job. The fact that he can play 2B, SS and 3B, I think Fletcher should be the opening day utility infielder. Also, trade Cozart. He must have some value as he provides gold glove type D at SS and 2B and his contract isn't bad. 

If I'm the Angels, I would focus on getting some thump from RF and C, along with adding a RP and maybe two good SP's. 

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18 minutes ago, Sean-Regan said:

Merrifield is the only guy I know who’d qualify for what you’re looking for. I have no idea if he’d be available or how much he’d cost. If the price is Adell/Canning, pass. If something along the lines of Marsh, Suarez, Jones - players like that - get it done, I’m all in. 

The Royals don't have much incentive to trade him.  He's not arbitration-eligible for another year.  He's cheap, good, and under control.

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Calhoun had a .327 obp from the leadoff spot this year (285 pa).  .332 for his career. 

Cozart was .331 in a small sample this year.  

The Ohtani idea is interesting but he seems to have a knack for driving guys in.  Maybe that will even out.  I know Trout can't be protected, but Upton was miserable at driving him in this year.  

I think Rengifo will be taking that job soon.  Probably by mid season.  

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3 minutes ago, Chuckster70 said:

 Also, trade Cozart. He must have some value as he provides gold glove type D at SS and 2B and his contract isn't bad. 

 

He's owed $25M over the next 2 years.  For a glove-first guy (with the exception of the freakish 2017 numbers), that's still pretty expensive.  Would you want him on your team at this point?  Obviously not, since you're advocating trading him.  ;) Not sure he'd get much value in trade.

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There are free agents out there that fit the bill. Andrew McCutcheon. John Jay. Jed Lowrie's OBP has been .360 and .353 the last two seasons. Maybe the Chapman effect? Michael Brantley. They are out there. These guys could spell Trout in CF, too. Who is our CF replacement? Michael Facking Hermosillo? Come on, we have to do better than that if winning is 'HUGE" to Trout.

I think Ohtani's power would be wasted at leadoff, the same way Trout's would be. I disagree that Trout will continue to be pitched around IF we have someone on base ahead of him, 35 to 40% of the time. This assumes Trout bats second, where he belongs, with that OBP.  You still pitch around Trout with a guy on base who's a lefty with a .361 OBP and as much power as Trout? Bring it on!!! I like the chances of Ohtani and Upton doing serious damage. 

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3 minutes ago, jsnpritchett said:

The Royals don't have much incentive to trade him.  He's not arbitration-eligible for another year.  He's cheap, good, and under control.

They've also told him they don't intend to trade him, FWIW.

3 minutes ago, Dochalo said:

The Ohtani idea is interesting but he seems to have a knack for driving guys in.  Maybe that will even out.  I know Trout can't be protected, but Upton was miserable at driving him in this year.  

Upton definitely had a fluke year with RISP - he's been extremely solid (great at times) going back five years prior. Just shitty luck.

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The Angels seem to have enough bats behind Trout.   There isn't a single hitter in major league baseball that would cause a pitcher to throw around Trout, but putting Ohtani and Upton behind him is enough of a deterrent that they at least pause when considering it.  But Trout needs someone to drive in.  I mean Trout hits 40 HR's a year, leads the league in walks, leads the league in OBP, and will even steal 20-30 bags a year, yet he's not driving in 100 runs. 

So yeah, we do need someone in front of him.  I'd prefer they trade Calhoun and whoever the new RF is, maybe Jon Jay or someone is the new leadoff hitter.  Lifetime OBP of .352. 

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Also, I've ranked Rengifo pretty high on my top prospect list, but I just don't see him unseating Cozart and Fletcher in the infield.  He'd have to hit GREAT in AAA which isn't hard to believe, but both Fletcher and Cozart would need to be injured or bad enough to require replacement.  Not to mention, what if Jahmai Jones turns the corner as many do in their age 21 season?  Suddenly Rengifo has to hold off someone with Jones' power, speed and athleticism. 

So I don't envision Luis Rengifo taking over the starting 2B spot and running with it.  I think he'll either get the Tony Kemp (astros) treatment where he's kept in AAA until an opening comes and then runs with it, which takes a few years, or he'll be traded.

I do picture Rengifo being a starting 2B/SS somewhere in the major leagues.  I'm just not sure it'll be in Anaheim. 

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10 minutes ago, jsnpritchett said:

The Royals don't have much incentive to trade him.  He's not arbitration-eligible for another year.  He's cheap, good, and under control.

He’s also 29, which may not fit into their rebuild window (assuming they’re rebuilding, I don’t actually have a clue what’s going on with them). But, yeah, I don’t know if they would move him or not, or if they did what the cost would be. 

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8 minutes ago, Glen said:

It would be nice to have this imaginary guy followed by Ohtani and Trout in the lineup.

Do it, Eppler!

Once you start looking, at even the FA list, they are no longer imaginary.

I dont know how expensive McCutcheon would be but he has above average speed, high OBP, decent power, decent glove.

This doesnt even consider trade options. 

Imagine it!!! MAGA. Make Angels Great Again!!!!

 

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