Angels' Updated Lineup After Anthony Rendon Contract Signing

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorDecember 12, 2019

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 30:  Anthony Rendon #6 of the Washington Nationals hoists the Commissioners Trophy after defeating the Houston Astros 6-2 in Game Seven to win the 2019 World Series in Game Seven of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Angels signed free-agent third baseman Anthony Rendon to a seven-year, $245 million contract Wednesday, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

Rendon, who is entering his age-30 season, just helped the Washington Nationals win their first World Series in franchise history with 34 home runs, 126 RBI, 44 doubles and a 1.010 OPS in 146 games. The lifelong National also made his first All-Star Game and finished third in the NL MVP voting.

The third baseman is now heading west to an Angels team that sports one of MLB's best lineups with him in the mix. Of note, the combination of 2019 American League MVP Mike Trout and Rendon near the top of the order will be a herculean task for pitchers to work through on a daily basis.

Here's a look at the Angels' projected lineup as it stands alongside some analysis.

          

Projected 2020 Angels Batting Lineup

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1. 2B Tommy La Stella

2. CF Mike Trout

3. 3B Anthony Rendon

4. DH Shohei Ohtani

5. LF Justin Upton

6. 1B Albert Pujols

7. RF Brian Goodwin

8. SS Andrelton Simmons

9. C Max Stassi

     

Analysis

Tommy La Stella should return to the leadoff spot after a fractured tibia shortened an All-Star campaign. The ex-Chicago Cub posted 16 home runs, 44 RBI and a .295 batting average in just 80 games. His .346 on-base percentage was third among regulars behind Trout and David Fletcher.

Trout will undoubtedly head back to his home at second in the lineup. All he did last year was win his third AL MVP award thanks to a 1.083 OPS alongside 45 homers and 104 RBI.

The aforementioned Rendon should follow Trout, giving the game's best player excellent protection at the dish. He hit third for the Nats.

Shohei Ohtani, who was second on the Angels with a .848 OPS, is the best candidate at cleanup. He's hit 40 home runs in 210 games over two big league seasons.

The pop continues in the middle portion of the order with Justin Upton and Albert Pujols rounding out the top six.

Upton, 32, hit 12 home runs in an injury-shortened season that lasted just 63 games.

Pujols' power stroke stayed alive in year No. 19 with 23 more home runs, giving himself 656 lifetime. He'll be 40 years old in January.

The rest of the lineup has some moving parts.

New Angels manager Joe Maddon can opt to put shortstop Andrelton Simmons or right fielder Brian Goodwin in the seventh spot and can't go wrong either way, but the guess here is the outfielder gets the higher position coming off a productive 2019 where he had 17 home runs and a .796 OPS.

Goodwin is in line to start in right field after the Angels declined Kole Calhoun's 2020 option and made him a free agent.

Simmons, a defensive superstar, should hit ahead of catcher Max Stassi, though he may miss the beginning of the season with a hip injury, per Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic.

It would be stunning to see anything but improvement for the Angels after a 72-90 campaign last year. Injuries hit the batting lineup hard with numerous players missing huge chunks of the season, but everyone should be good to go plus the addition of one of the game's best hitters in Rendon.

Caesars Sportsbook listed the Angels as 20-1 favorites to win the World Series after the signing. Only eight teams are higher than them on the odds ledger.

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