When the Angels first gathered for the 2020 season in February, the team’s greatest strength was its offense.
The star appears Mike Trout, not even a month away from receiving his third MVP trophy. He included a completely healthy Shohei Ohtani for the first time since 2018.
And among them stood Anthony Rendon, freshman winning the 2019 World Series with the Washington Nationals and signing a $ 245 million contract to play in Anaheim for seven years.
Soon before six months, passing the closure of spring training and the monthly break caused by the coronavirus outbreak. The three players still form the core of the Angels filling order. And they are producing very different results for a team that ranks among the worst in offensive production.
Trout returned home four times in the first four games he played after becoming a father and has a percentage of 0.928 on a plus-plus-reduction basis. Ohtani is hitting the ball back in the air, but he is hitting more than ever.
Then there’s Rendon, at the worst 12th start of his career. While his unbeaten streak lay at 28 plate appearances in Sunday’s 7-3 loss to the Texas Rangers, Rendon’s average beat fell to 0.103.
During his six years as a national team player, the only time Rendon struggled worse than the .265 with 12 games was in 2015.
This season, Rendon has four hits in 39 sneakers, including a doubles and a homer, and he has hit 12 times. Bright point in its filling line: 14 walks.
Rendon is the only Angel with at least 50 appearances on plates that tightens below .260 except for Justin Upton, who was transferred to a platoon last week.
Manager Joe Maddon does not think Rendon is feeling pressure to fulfill his contract, the biggest free agent deal given by owner Arte Moreno.
“He has that slow heartbeat,” Maddon said, referring to the serenity of the Rendon brand on the plate. “He looks the same to me.”
On the contrary, Maddon suspects that the small start of Rendon Angels’ career may be due to the outward nature of the 2020 season.
“I’m looking at his work and it looks good,” Maddon said. “You talk to Anthony, there is no BS. Straightsht is straight all the time and it would be hard to hide his feelings. So he feels better. I know the results are not there yet. … “He still accepts his walks, which I really love. He is not necessarily expanding. He has simply lost his footing.”
There is belief in the idea that Rendon only needs to change his time on the plate. Rendon is hitting the ball at a starting angle of 26.9 degrees. Generally, a starting angle between 25 and 30 degrees is associated with improved power numbers – but only if the hitter is able to connect his barrel to the ball. Rendon has struggled to find that sweet spot.
Maddon said late last week that Angels hitting coaches brought a solution to Rendon’s attention, but he did not clarify. Either way, the suggestion did not help the Angels avoid a series purge by the Rangers.
Rendon scored in three of his nine attacks in Arlington, Texas. He worked very deep charges. The six points he left in the game were easily handled by the defenders. Only one – Sunday’s sixth lunar east ball to center field that advanced Ohtani base runner, who doubled ahead of Rendon and eventually scored Angels’ third run – traveled beyond the infield.
A few hours ago, the Angels redistributed the baton in the lineup to not collect the four left-handers that started in the final of Sunday’s series. Rendon finished in fifth place in the fill order for the first time since 2017.
The move did little to change the fate of the Angels. They were hit in eight attacks with runners in the scoring position. They left nine at the base.
The problems extend beyond Rendon. But he is a key part of the puzzle that Maddon believes the Angels will gather properly.
“We haven’t put our whole game together yet,” he said. “And that’s part of why I feel so good about it.”