The Los Angeles Angels made a few moves in the offseason to establish solid depth in their infield, mainly in the form of Gio Urshela via trade and Brandon Drury on a mid-range contract.
The need for utility players across Major League Baseball is high, but acquiring two in one winter is an absolute steal for general manager Perry Minasian. After playing with four different franchises since 2015, Urshela is set to debut for his fifth with the Angels.
“I am really excited to be with him,” Urshela said of Plantier. “I learned a lot with him in 2018.”
Since 2018, Urshela has posted a 117 wRC+ with a .459 slugging percentage. He’s quietly been one of the more underrated bats for the role he fills, and Plantier invested in him during their time with the Toronto Blue Jays:
“Gio tapped into his athleticism as a hitter,” Plantier said. “It’s always the player that makes decisions and Gio made really good decisions. He worked on things that were good for him. He was able to own what he was doing. He’s a good athlete and he figured it out.”
Urshela graded out in the 82nd percentile in expected batting average and the 74th percentile in strikeout percentage, two qualities the Angels lineup needs after posting the worst team strikeout rate in all of baseball. He credits Plantier with the improvements to his game:
Urshela said Plantier mostly helped change his approach, getting him to pull the ball with a little more power into the gaps instead of simply spraying it to the opposite field.
The Angels are sure to count on Urshela a fair amount this season, mostly using him in a pure utility role around the diamond.
David Fletcher returning to Angels from injury
A once pesky, but steady presence in the Angels lineup, David Fletcher appeared in just 101 games last season, underwhelming in the games he did play in. Posting a .255/.288/.333 slash in 2022, he directly mirrored his performance from 2021 in terms of on-base plus slugging.
With Fletcher returning to the lineup, they gain a valuable piece to their club.
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