Do you remember the drama of the pre-season? When Bobby Abreu was demanding his everyday playing time? At the time the Angels outfield consisted of Peter Bourjos, Torii Hunter, Vernon Wells, Mark Trumbo, Mike Trout and Bobby Abreu.
Now they’ve got a semi similar situation coming up with a player, the big difference is attitude. Vernon Wells has been out for a while now because of a broken thumb but has already said he’s willing to do whatever is asked of him. The Angels will have Wells, Hunter, Bourjos, Trumbo and Trout all ready for the outfield but how will they divide up that playing time? Will the different lineups every game start showing up again or will Scioscia stick with what seems to be a pretty productive and consistent top five or so in the lineup?
Let’s take a quick look at what each of these players has done to earn their share of playing time…
Mark Trumbo- Trumbo’s played almost 317 innings in the outfield so far with one error. He leads the team in home runs, RBI’s and is second in batting average and doubles. His plate selection has vastly improved this year as he’s batted 225 times and already walked 19 times and all of last year he walked only 25 times in 539 at bats.
Torii Hunter- Hunter is third in batting average, averaging a walk every ten at bats and as usual has played stellar defense in right field. If he didn’t have the off field issues at home and have to get back into the swing of things like he did he’d likely be hitting over .300 right now.
Peter Bourjos- Bourjos is the best and most exciting of these guys to watch in the field. He is a phenomenal fielder in just about every sense of the word. He covers more ground than probably any other outfielder in the league. The problem is that he isn’t getting enough playing time to work his way out of his hitting slump and with Trout out there he probably isn’t going to get that time. Bourjos isn’t walking much and he is striking out almost three times for every ten at bats which could be acceptable if he was averaging more than two hits during the other seven of those at bats.
Mike Trout- Not only is Trout leading the team in hitting and an electric fielder, he also leads the league in stolen bases. I often wonder why he ever is at first within a few pitches to the next hitter when that does happen. He’s also 3rd in doubles and hits on the team and like Trumbo he has great pitch selection which is getting him a walk almost every ten at bats too.
Vernon Wells- Wells wasn’t faring too much better than Bourjos in the hitting department when he got injured although he was striking out less frequently. He did seem to be making some progress at the plate before his injury but with Hunter, Trumbo and Trout doing so well at the plate and Bourjos being a better fielder it seems like Wells might have a tough time getting back out there.
Is it possible that Wells may see some time at DH or that ultimately Morales might lose at bats to get Wells into the lineup? To me that doesn’t seem to farfetched because Wells is easily a much quicker base runner and also has power in his swing not to mention that statistically Morales isn’t doing that much better than Wells was.
Of course as the Angels move ahead in the season we do know that Wells still has a while before he will be back. He hasn’t resumed any baseball activities like holding and swinging a bat or gripping and throwing the ball and we all know that sometimes things like this have a way of taking care of themselves with other injuries and such. Not to mention that like Hunter, when he missed time, it may take a bit for Wells to get back into the swing of things and be productive like he seemed on the path to do and if Trumbo, Hunter and Trout all continue to be as productive as they are right now that may be a really hard thing to do.