Hunter Renfroe Proving To Be Valuable Acquisition For Angels
MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Los Angeles Angels
Apr 9, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels right fielder Hunter Renfroe (12) hits a two run home run against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The acquisition of outfielder Hunter Renfroe solved a few issues for the Los Angeles Angels outfield depth with an above-average defense player, but also one of the more undervalued right-handed bats in Major League Baseball.

Prior to the season, Renfroe was traded to the Angels, signaling he would spend his final year of arbitration with his fifth team in five years. General manager Perry Minasian sent three pitchers to bring in the 31-year-old veteran, pairing him up with Mike Trout and Taylor Ward.

With Ward shifting to left field, Renfroe has taken over as the Angels’ primary right fielder. He’s stabilized an outfield trio that struggled to solidify a core group that dealt with injuries and performance issues last season.

Through 10 games, Renfroe has posted a .928 on-base plus slugging, including three homers among his five total extra-base hits and nine runs batted in. Heading into play on Tuesday, he homered in three straight games, most recently with a third-inning shot against the Washington Nationals on Monday.

Without the benefit of the defensive shift, Renfroe is capitalizing on his newfound freedom to pull the ball, void of worry that a well-positioned defender is waiting. In his early sample size, he’s pulling the ball at a 57.6% clip, up from his career average of 44.6%.

Since 2018, Renfroe has slugged 130 homers, which ranks 20th in all of MLB during that span, and his consistent power output made him an attractive option for Minasian without a clear option within the organization.

Early dividends are proving to be game-changing in critical moments, and his game-tying double with bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth on Sunday is another box to check with his clutch ability.

Renfroe has found a home batting in the fourth or fifth slot in the Angels lineup, and now that Anthony Rendon is back from his four-game suspension, their collection of right-handed sluggers can be hell to run through. The caveat is that it’s still early and these sample sizes are too slim to project much, but in terms of who Minasian sought after in Renfroe—well he’s getting exactly who his statistics say he is and could be heading for a career year.

Angels optioning Andrew Wantz was tough decision

The Angels optioned Wantz to Triple-A Salt Lake to make room for Griffin Canning, who was activated off the 15-day injured list on Wednesday for his first start since 2021.

Wantz has been solid so far, posting a spotless ERA through five innings, with just one hit allowed and tallying six punchouts. Now in his third year with the club, the right-hander is proving to be both valuable to the big league roster and, unfortunately, a moveable asset because of his Minor League options.

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