by Chris Camello / Nick Hamilton (@Chris_Camello) (@NickHamiltonLA)
ANAHEIM, CA – Now that the Los Angeles Angels are ready for Spring Training, Anthony Rendon has had time with his new team and teammates to get ready for battle this coming season. The focus for the Angels going into the 2019-2020 off-season was pitching. The team had one of the worst ERAs in the league last year.
Owner Arte Moreno was willing to back up the Brinks truck for free agent ace Gerrit Cole but was outbid by the New York Yankees. Rather than sign another starter or trade for one, the Angels used those resources on the best position player on the free agent market in All-Star third baseman Anthony Rendon inking him to a seven-year, $245 million deal.
Rendon had an MVP-caliber season hitting .319 with 34 home runs, 126 RBIs, and a sweltering 1.010 OPS. He then led the Washington Nationals to their first ever World Series championship showing the world he could perform on the big stage with one clutch hit after another.
The Angels are hoping his championship experience combined with his calm and cool demeanor will help them ascend out of the American League cellar.
Rendon has the opportunity to squeeze in between reigning MVP Mike Trout and Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani to form one of the more potent lineups in the AL.
Rendon can hit for power, but his offense isn’t dependent on the long ball. He’s one of the more well-rounded hitters in the game who’s always been a consistent run producer, often racking up RBIs via singles and doubles. He hit 44 doubles last season which tied Corey Seager for first in the NL.
That versatility on offense has been lacking from the Angels recently. While Trout has shown to manufacture runs, other hitters such as Justin Upton and Albert Pujols have relied heavily on home runs to contribute offensively.
The inability to put the ball in play often leads to numerous strikeouts, which is a quick way to stall an offense. A winning team must be able to score runs a variety of ways. The Halos are hoping Rendon’s well-rounded bat and calm plate approach will add some versatility to a lineup filled with free-swinging sluggers.
While pitching may be a concern, the Angels believe Rendon will lengthen their lineup while adding another dynamic. Hopefully, that’s enough to mask whatever pitching problems they may have this season.