Los Angeles Angels: 5 Flaws That Have Been Exposed This Season
Sitting at a current record of 13-18, the Halos are currently in the basement of the AL West, disappointing a lot of projections that had much higher hopes for LA.
There are several factors to attribute their slow start to and it's definitely not too late for the Angels to get their wake up call and get back on track.
Let's take a look at five areas of weakness, in particular, that have been exposed thus far this season.
5. Plate Discipline
This area of concern for the Angels has given them a lot of troubles on offense.
While they aren't doing so poorly in striking out at the plate (211 - 19th in the MLB), LAA has been horrid at being patient and drawing walks.
They are ranked last in the AL in walks drawn this season, getting a free pass to first only 73 times in 1,028 at-bats.
Walks can often be the difference maker in games and can be undervalued for the efficiency in a teams offense. When runners get on base even without a hit, the pitcher has to worry about them. It can also wear out a pitcher when a batter gets a walk after a long battle at the plate.
This issue may see some improvement if Albert Pujols gets back into his rhythm and draws more outside pitches but for now, it's a burden for the Halos' offense.
4. Getting on Base
Similar to the last issue, the Angels haven't been good at getting on base in general.
They are 27th in the Majors in on-base percentage (.295) which could be attributed to their low amount of walks but also their lack of hitting from the lineup.
Howie Kendrick is leading the team in batting average but is only hitting .282. The team is hitting a mediocre .247 which places them as the 17th best team in the MLB.
Again, this lack of production could be placed on the early struggles from Pujols, who is still only hitting .190 with just one home run since he signed his monster contract to come to the Angels. However, baseball is a sport which requires a team effort and teams can't simply be carried by one player all the time.
If their hitting does improve, the Angels are going to have base runners to drive in but as of right now, they may be hard pressed to get them.
3. Run Production
Each of these issues lead into another as without plate discipline to get on base, your team isn't going to be scoring a whole lot of runs.
That is what the Angels are experiencing as they are currently the third worst team in the AL in terms of runs scored (111).
Pitching for LAA has been great this season but the pitchers have not had a whole lot of support coming from their hitters. Obviously, Jered Weaver isn't going to throw no-hitters every night so that means that, at some point, the Angels will have to score more runs than their opponents do to win games.
If some players (Torii Hunter and Mike Trout) get into their groove, this team certainly has the capabilities of some big-time hitting. For right now, however, they will have to use their solid starting pitching and lights-out relief as a crutch.
2. Albert Pujols Is Indeed Human
The Machine no longer?
Possibly the greatest hitter of this generation has been struggling all season since coming to Anaheim and it took 110 at-bats for him to hit his first homerun in an Angels uniform.
Could this be another case of a player signing a huge contract only to under-perform and make the team's general manager question his decision? I'm going with a no.
Pujols is a great hitter and he hit a bad slump, but he's too good not to break out of it and return to his normal ways. All of this is good and jolly, but right now he still has a lot of work to do. With only 23 hits in 117 at-bats this year, he will need to get going to fuel the rest of this struggling Angels offense.
Even more of a cause for concern than Pujols' troubles is the teams overall lack of consistency.
The Angels have won consecutive games just three times this season and they have lost or split seven of their nine series so far. It's worth noting that one of those series wins was a sweep against the lowly Minnesota Twins.
If this team wants to start winning, they have to be better at playing at a consistently high level so they can get hot and go on streaks.
The Angels should be able to take care of business against teams like the A's and Mariners, but the Rangers are playing some of the best baseball in the MLB so far, so they need to gather some momentum if they want a shot at the division title.