For the millionth season in a row, the Angels are not hitting in April. Surprised? I think the last time this team had a good offense in April was 2004… I think. I’ll have to check that. Right now the Angels are sputtering out of the gates with the bats. However, if one is panicking, which I’m not, there are some facts to assess before jumping ship.
The Halos came into Tuesday night’s game with an 86 OPS+ as a team. For those of you who aren’t equipped with this knowledge yet, or don’t understand it, 100 is leave average. In 2014, the offense had an OPS+ of 109. In 2013, it was 110. In 2012, it was 112. These numbers are very high. Any team that gets above about 105 is going to have a very productive offense. The best are often at 108 and higher. The worst, however, are usually at 95 or lower.
Historically, the number the Angels have now would put them in the bottom ten all-time. But those offenses had players who didn’t have much on base ability at all. We like to say there’s a difference between what’s on paper and what happens on the field. But that applies more to staying healthy, and a rather weak team having a bunch of guys with career years. Last season, no one outside of Garrett Richards and Matt Shoemaker had career years. And those two are pitchers.
The closest to a career season was Chris Iannetta. Other than that, the Angels basically got career average seasons from everyone but Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. But even those two were well above average. Pujols had a 125 OPS+, which is good.
Mike Trout was at 169, by the way. But he’s Mike Trout.
What does all of this mean? Well, as I’ve pointed out many times, all nine regulars in the Angels’ starting lineup had an OPS+ over 100. Even Erick Aybar. And in 2015, the Angels have almost all of those players back, and still have eight regulars with OPS+ over 100. Second base is the one position that is still pending in that area, because there is no established regular as of yet.
Although, Johnny Giavotella does have an OPS+ of 124 right now.
With all of that being said, the Angels offense is due to come roaring back to a league average 100, and then beyond that. But it doesn’t always happen overnight. Last season it took until about mid-May for that to occur. There are a lot of players off to really slow starts right now. We’re talking hitting around .200, and even lower. All it takes for some of those guys is a 4-for-4 game to get back on track. But that’s not going to happen all at the same time. They’ll just have to ride it out.
This will be a very productive offense over the course of 162 games. And the very low averages, that are way below this team’s talent level, are a time bomb waiting to explode. This team is filled to the brim with players who know how to get on base, how to take the extra base, and can hit for enough power to change games very quickly if needed. The only thing that will put this Angels offense in the history books with the lowest of OPS+ would be catastrophic injuries to guys like Trout, Pujols, and Kole Calhoun. Other than that, the Angels will be one of the top offenses in the Majors again.
We just have to wait for them to hit their stride… again. And we’ll have to wait for the big hot streak until late May or June… again. But when that happens, this will be a fun ball club to watch… again.