Before the Los Angeles Angels’ comeback win over the Washington Nationals in the final game of their three-game series, L.A. added some necessary outfield depth with the addition of the veteran Juan Lagares on a Minor League deal.
The Angels recently sent Jo Adell down to Triple-A after struggling early in the 2022 season. His .231/.242/.431 slash mixed with his incredibly poor defense was enough to prompt the front office to make that move.
With the recent emergence of Brandon Marsh, a platoon with Lagares against southpaws could deepen the Angels lineup and create more plus-matchups. Lagares spent 112 games with L.A. last season and is now back with the organization.
Lagares is an above-average defender whose skill-set can be maximized in a purely matchup-based role. In 2021, he posted .739 on-base plus slugging and a 97 wRC+, and although that is around league-average, is still useful to spell players who are worse off against lefties.
In his full body of work last year he had a 115 wRC+ with runners and scoring position and is a former gold glove caliber player in 2014.
The move also provides a right-handed bat to help replace David Fletcher, who was recently placed on the injured list. Fletcher could be out for quite some time, so brining in extra, Major League ready depth is a significant move.
Marsh would be okay in leadoff spot
Their Angels’ offense really started to take off once Shohei 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.