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The 2016 Angels weren't a bad offensive team. They were right around the average, and had solid or better production from first and third base, right field, designated hitter, and, of course, center, where Mike Trout roams. The 2017 Angels, though? Mike Trout is it, and that's not hyperbole.
Center field is the only position on the Angels where they are producing at even an average rate, that's entirely Trout's doing. His line for the year is .343/.464/.741, with all but three games played in center. As a team, the Angels are at .307/.432/.639 at the position, so you can see how poorly his replacements have played in their nine total contests there.
This kind of performance is nearly everywhere else on the diamond. Looking at positionally adjusted OPS+, so you can compare how the Angels are doing to the league average at each position, the next-best offensive position for the Angels so far this year is pitcher. Shortstop is close to average, at a 93 OPS+ (where 100 is average), but with Yunel Escobar on the DL, that figure isn't as high as it used to be.
They've been horrific at first, which resulted in C.J. Cron being optioned to Triple-A on Monday. Albert Pujols has had a better May than he did April, but you wouldn't call what he's done this month good. The Angels aren't carrying the day with pitching, either, as they have a below-average staff to go with their poor offense, but they have managed 11 one-run wins so far in 19 attempts to keep them afloat.
Something needs to change, and given how 2016 went for the lineup, maybe time is all that they need to fix it. With AL West rivals the Astros the first team to 30 wins in the majors, though, maybe time isn't something anyone out west has.
- The Pirates have had just about everything go wrong for them in 2017, and now there are Gerrit Cole trade rumors. Grant Brisbee looks to see if they should give in and rebuild, or play the waiting game with the core they have.
- Zack Greinke struck out 12 batters on Monday, and you can watch the full dozen in 12 seconds. Greinke currently leads the NL in starts, innings, and strikeouts, so it might be safe to say he's back.
- The Yankees have installed "The Judge's Chambers" to honor Aaron Judge, their extremely large dinger machine.
- Former Red Sox and Cubs World Series champion David Ross might be a Dancing with the Stars champion soon, too, as he's in the finale.
- A professional swing instructor broke down the changes to Yonder Alonso's swing over at Athletics Nation.
- The Red Sox reportedly sent scouts to the White Sox to watch Jose Quintana and Todd Frazier. Acquiring Quintana seems like a long shot given the Sox need rotation depth more than another stud, but impending free agent Frazier would likely help at third.
- Speaking of trades, what moves should the Yankees look to make before the deadline?
- Anibal Sanchez has been in the majors since 2006, but he's also been awful for the last three years and is still owed millions, so he was optioned to Triple-A on Monday.
- Russell Carleton wonders how long you can keep a secret in baseball, given the game's tendency to turn new discoveries into the status quo.
- Craig Kimbrel is back to being Craig Kimbrel.
- At Hardball Times, you can read this feature on how full plate coverage isn't necessarily better.