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Baseball's Worst: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Left Fielders

ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 07:  Vernon Wells #10 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim rounds the bases after hitting his second inning two run home run against the Cleveland Indians on May 7, 2011 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Adam BernacchioAnalyst IIIJune 9, 2011

As we continue across the diamond to find baseball’s worst positions by team, it’s time to head to the outfield.

I don’t think when the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim acquired Vernon Wells and the $86 million remaining on his contract this winter they thought they would have the worst producing left fielders in baseball, but they do.

Not only has Wells struggled in left field, but all the other guys Mike Scioscia rolls out there have struggled as well.

 

Left Fielders

Vernon Wells

Bobby Abreu

Howie Kendrick

Reggie Willits

Alexi Amarista

 

Major League Rankings*

AVG: 30th (.159)

OBP: 30th (.208)

SLG: 30th (.262)

HRs: Tied for 27th (4)

ISO: 25th (.103)

wOBA 30th (.210)

WAR: 30th (-1.2) 

 

Analysis

So far the Angels-Wells marriage hasn’t gotten off to the best start. He’s been hurt, and when he has been on the field, Wells has been brutal.

Wells is hitting .184/.230/.312 on the season with four HRs, but he is striking out 21.4 percent of his plate appearances, which is a career high. He looks more like the Wells from 2007-2009 rather than the Wells who had a huge year in 2010.

It seems like left field is a black hole for the Angels. Even Kendrick, who is having a solid season, has struggled at the plate when he has played left field.

Kendrick is hitting .304/.370/.492 on the season, but as a left fielder, he is hitting just .256/.341/.410 in 44 PAs. Scioscia would be wise not to put him in left anymore this season.

The bright spot for the Angels in left has been Abreu. Abreu is more of a DH these days, but he is hitting .390/.444/.649 as a left fielder. 

 

The Future

Things will get better for the Angels in left as the season moves along. Wells will see his .159 BABIP improve as the season continues. There’s also a good chance Wells will eventually figure out how to hit right-handed pitching. Last year, Wells hit .291 against righties and this year he’s hitting just .162 in 110 PAs.

There’s a good chance that even if Wells does turn it around this season, it won’t be as a left fielder. It looks like Peter Bourjos‘ ship has sailed. Bourjos is hitting a pedestrian .241/.299/.377 on the season and just .213 since April.

Scioscia could move Wells back to center and put Abreu in left full time. It might hurt the Angels defensively, but the Angels need the offense.

The Angels are hanging around in the very mediocre AL West with virtually no production from their left and center fielders. If Wells can get back on track, then the Angels will not go down quietly as the season moves on.

*Stats were compiled prior to Wednesday’s games

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