The Los Angeles Angels are in the process of completing a deal that will bring over outfielder Justin Upton from the Detroit Tigers. Justin Upton will significantly bolster the Angels’ offense and it was very much needed. The biggest part of this deal is that we might finally see Mike Trout get to play some meaningful baseball in the playoffs again.
Outside of Mike Trout, the Angels only have one other player with more than 20 homers on the active roster and that’s the rapidly aging Albert Pujols. Despite the power, Pujols is just hitting .232 on the season and sports a negative WAR on the season. Once Justin Upton joins the team he will automatically become the leader on team in terms of home runs. He gives the team power it has sorely lacked.
As noted by Los Angeles Times reporter Bill Shaikin, the Angels have only produced 27 home runs out of their left field position since 2015. Upton has 28 home runs this season alone. His position? Left field. Upton produced 31 homers for Detroit last year.
The current left fielder for the Angels is Ben Revere and while he has a respectable .261 batting average, he has only produced one home run and 18 RBIs on the season while sporting a sub-.300 OBP at just .298 on the season. It’s likely and probably we will see Upton take his position. Upton is currently on pace for the best season of his career as his 28 homers are just three off his career high while his RBI total of 94 is just eight short of his career high of 102. His .904 OPS is also a career high.
Upton figures to be a middle of the order bat but that leaves a question as to who should hit leadoff for the Angels. We might see Trout in the role as it doesn’t look like the Angels have many other options since we’ll like see Revere losing his spot.
At the time of this trade the Angels are sitting a game back of the second wild card spot. Going into September the Angels will have six games against the Texas Rangers, three against the Athletics, six against the Mariners, six against the Astros, three against the Indians and four against the White Sox.
Those games against Texas will be key as the Rangers are currently chasing the Angels for the final wild care slot. Six games against the fading Mariners (losers of five in a row), four against the White Sox and three against Oakland should help the Angels hold their ground in the race but it might be too early to tell. The Rangers close out their season with games against Seattle, Oakland, Houston and Oakland again so they might have an easier stretch to close out the season.
The Angels are currently 12th in the American League in runs scored but we can expect that to improve with the acquisition of Upton. If the Angels can keep their pace of 4th best in the American League in terms of runs allowed then we can expect to see the Angels in the playoffs this October.
As for the Detroit Tigers? We can expect to see them sell off more pieces in the future as they transition toward a total rebuild.
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