The Los Angeles Angels called up 1B/OF utilityman Ryan Aguilar for their series against the Toronto Blue Jays due to the vaccination status of Taylor Ward. Angels interim manger Phil Nevin was hoping to give him opportunities in that series, but he ultimately went just 2-for-11 with a double and six strikeouts before being sent down to Triple-A.
Aguilar had been raking at the Double-A level, but had never once made an appearance at Triple-A with the Salt Lake Bees. So when he was called back up to the Angels this week — still not appearing in a game for the Bees — it came as somewhat of a surprise.
Then, he received the start in left field on both Friday and Saturday night against the Houston Astros, while Jo Adell was relegated to the bench. Adell has not played particularly well in recent days either, but Aguilar went 0-for-6 with five strikeouts over the two games.
Nevin explained the decision to start him in back-to-back games, saying that it had nothing to do with Adell and more about Aguilar’s unfair travel schedule, according to J.P. Hoornstra of The O.C. Register:
“When we sent Aggie down last Sunday, he didn’t get an opportunity to do anything all week,” Nevin said. “With the travel … he wasn’t able to get into Salt Lake where they were. He was called up on Thursday so he couldn’t play that night. I didn’t want him to sit for seven days knowing he’d play (Saturday).”
“I didn’t want him to sit that long,” Nevin said. “That’s why he played (Friday) night.”
While this appears to be a courteous decision by Nevin, it is also somewhat head-scratching. It’s not being suggested that Aguilar is a bad player by any means, but the 27-year old has never faced Triple-A pitching before, let alone Major League pitchers like Lance McCullers Jr. and Luis Garcia.
Adell — although struggling — has been shown to have some success against good pitching this season. Consistency has been a massive issue, but the flashes of brilliance have been there.
September is absolutely a time for experimenting when it comes to teams out of the playoff picture. However, doing so at the expense of a 23-year old that is already struggling to reach his highest upside may not be a wise decision in the long-term.
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