Angels Coaches Continuing To Push Baserunning, Despite Lack Of Results
MLB: Cleveland Guardians at Los Angeles Angels
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels are among the worst teams in the Major Leagues. They have the fourth-worst record in baseball and the second-worst record in the American League. So by that logic, it is unsurprising that the Angels rank in the bottom tier of baseball in several key stats. And one of those is their baserunning, where they have been easily the worst team in the league.

The Angels lead all of MLB with 25 outs on the bases this season, 10 above the league average of 15. They are third in the Majors in caught stealing, getting called out on 21 stolen base attempts this season. However, the two teams with more caught stealing — the Cincinnati Reds and Tampa Bay Rays — both have significantly more stolen bases.

With that, the Angels are giving away opportunities to stay in games, evidenced by two caught stealing and a poor stretch attempt by Luis Rengifo in what wound up being a one-run loss to the Cleveland Guardians on Sunday.

But Ron Washington and the Angels coaches are not going away from the run game, even with the poor results. Washington believes the players have to make these kinds of mistakes in order to learn and become a better running team, according to Sam Blum of The Athletic:

“If you want to be a running team, you have to run,” manager Ron Washington said. “They have to learn how to do it. It’s something they’ve never done.

“The mistakes that we’re making on the basepaths, they’re not coaching mistakes. They’re decisions that the players are making.”

First base coach Bo Porter echoed this sentiment, saying that the reward outweighs the risk, especially if natural improvement comes.

“If you’re not pushing the envelope and playing it safe, you’re probably not going to make mistakes,” Porter said. “But you’re also not going to make plays that actually give you a better chance to create run-scoring opportunities. It’s a fine line.”

This philosophy directly opposes what former manager Phil Nevin preached in 2023, with him saying that the Angels roster was not built to run and he has no interest in forcing it. And while neither strategy is inherently right or wrong, Washington’s method is clearly leading to more mistakes and missed opportunities. It could also have a greater reward on the back-end on an individual level.

Only time will tell if Washington and his coaching staff were correct to approach baserunning in this way.

Ron Washington can’t figure out Angels home struggles

The Angels went winless over Memorial Day Weekend, suffering a three-game sweep at the hands of the Cleveland Guardians.

Perhaps the issue, shockingly, is that the Angels returned home. The Angels only have four series wins this season, and all have come on the road. The Angels are 6-19 at Angel Stadium this season and 14-14 away from it.

Usually, teams heavily reliant on youth perform better at home than on the road. But the Angels are bucking the trend by being a .500 team away from Anaheim and holding by far the worst home record in the Majors this season.

Washington, for one, cannot figure out why the Angels are having this issue.

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