After winning six of their last seven games, the Los Angeles Angels possess one of MLB’s best offenses with Mike Trout back to looking like an MVP, Taylor Ward on the path to becoming a household name and Brandon Marsh in the midst of his own breakout season.
The Angels ranked No. 1 in MLB in team on-base plus slugging (OPS), No. 4 in home runs, and rank No. 2 in hits. Even with their incredibly productive start, last year’s MVP, Shohei Ohtani has struggled to start the season. His .236/.284/.416 slash isn’t a problem because of how the rest of the offense has picked him up, which is a pleasant surprise for the Angels.
However, their offense really started to take off once Ohtani was dropped from the leadoff role and the job was given to Ward, who has more than met expectations while working as a catalyst at the top of their order. Although Ward has filled in nicely in the leadoff role, it’s unclear how long his hot streak will continue.
If Ward does begin to slump, Marsh may be the best man for the job with his power, speed and on-base ability. Leading off is also a role the former top prospect would be comfortable in, he said via Sam Blum of The Athletic:
“I’ve hit leadoff my entire life,” Marsh said when asked about being comfortable in that role. “Wherever the guys want to put me, I’ll find a way to make it fit. But leadoff — I’ve been a leadoff hitter since high school coming through the minors.”
In 17 games this season, Marsh looks like an improved version of himself with a wOBA of .378. He received a message of the need to perform from manager Joe Maddon prior to the season, so his start to 2022 bodes well for his development moving forward.
Still, Marsh will need to reduce his strikeouts and continue to use his legs on the basepaths if his game isn’t solely predicated on slug.
Ward makes history against Guardians
The Los Angeles Angels took over first place in the American League West with their 9-5 win over the Cleveland Guardians on Wednesday thanks to a unique performance from Taylor Ward.
Ward became the second MLB player in the modern era to have a double, a triple, a grand slam and 4+ runs scored in a single game. The only other player to accomplish the feat since 1958 was Roger Maris.
The Angels’ outfielder fell a single short of hitting for the cycle, but still had a day to remember while leading his club to a victory.
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