There haven’t been many consistent positives for the Los Angeles Angels this season after a stark decline. But since late June, they’ve received incredibly consistent production from utility man Luis Rengifo.
On Wednesday, the Angels completed a sweep of the Oakland Athletics, and Rengifo’s two home runs and four runs batted in had much to do with that outcome. His ability to shift between both middle infield spots has been great for Angels manager Phil Nevin, as he tinkers with the lineup based on availability and matchups.
But Rengifo’s bat has exploded since June 24. In his last 40 games, he’s posted a 135 wRC+ including 16 extra-base hits. His ability to limit strikeouts has shown a ton of promise for the 25-year-old, via Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“He’s been a shot in the arm for us,” said interim manager Phil Nevin. “His energy and his work ethic, guys feed off that. You’re seeing him in the cage and putting in the work. You love having him out there. He wasn’t here to start the season but it’s just a credit to him and what he’s done. He’s put in the work.”
Rengifo is entering his first year of arbitration in 2023 and if he continues to develop, the Angels will have another useful Swiss army knife-type player on their roster with holes in different areas.
“I feel comfortable,” Rengifo said. “I’m just going up there and trying to stay focused every time I take my at-bats. And just try to help my team.”
It’s easy to forget about the trade that didn’t go through that involved Rengifo heading to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2020 for outfielder Joc Pederson and right-hander Ross Stripling, and if not for Arte Moreno nixing the deal, he’d be a Dodger and their franchise might still be chasing their first ring since 1988.
José Suarez says Luis Rengifo ‘is like my brother’
The Angels took the series opener from the Oakland Athletics with a 1-0 victory thanks to the play of Rengifo and José Suarez.
The Angels starter pitched seven shutout innings while giving up just two hits and two walks. Suarez also struck out eight and earned his fourth win of the season.
Rengifo opened the scoring in the first inning with a solo home run off Athletics’ starter Cole Irvin and that was all either team was able to manufacture.
Both Suarez and Rengifo were born in Naguanagua, Venezuela a year apart and began playing together when they were about five or six years old, according to Rengifo. So those two combining to lead the Angels to a win was a special moment for both of them.
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