The Los Angeles Angels haven’t had much continuity in the past five years or so, besides Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani dominating headlines, or underwhelming results on another lost season. But one wrinkle to their current club is the report between two teammates, Luis Rengifo & José Suarez, and how their roots are tied further than just the big leagues.
Growing up in Venezuela, the Rengifo and Suarez resided in Valencia, one of the largest cities in the nation. The two of them lived minutes apart, but now share the same space as major leaguers.
Rengifo is quietly enjoying the best statistical season as an MLB regular, slashing .274/.304/.433, with 11 home runs and 40 RBI, both career-highs as of Sept. 9. Meanwhile, Suarez is also in his fourth season with the Angels, and is replicating much of what his 2021 year had to offer, a 3.77 ERA, a FIP of 4.01 and an improved 8.79 strikeout rate.
The Angels have been looking for comradery around their major league roster for a long time, and these two have been through it at the major league level, but have their ties built in from their childhood days, via Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register:
“He knows me very well,” Suarez said. “I trust him. He knows me. He knows when I don’t feel well. He knows when I don’t feel well mentally. I talk to him often. It’s something I don’t have with my other teammates. He’s like my brother.”
The two made their debuts for the Angels in 2019, and on June 2 of that season, Suarez tossed 5.2 innings, earning his first win as his offense racked up 13 runs, including Rengifo’s first major league home run. Rengifo expressed his feelings from that day and what it means for him to continue playing with a childhood friend.
“Unbelievable,” Rengifo said. “I remember the interview. I was so happy for him because he made his goal of pitching in the big leagues and I hit my first homer. It was so special. You could see his face and he was so happy. A lot of emotions.”
Rengifo was nearly a part of a trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to the 2020 season, but after Angels owner, Arte Moreno, nixed the deal, he’s remained with the team and is slowly blossoming as a swiss-army knife type of player.
Jo Adell hoping to learn from Luis Rengifo’s breakout
From April 7 to June 10, Jo Adell posted a 34.5% strikeout percentage, but in 87 plate appearances, he was able to log a 93 wRC+. After his return to MLB, he has reverted to his old ways and continues to scruffle.
The Angels have been careful not to keep Adell in the same position for too long if he is slumping. Another player on their roster who has endured a similar path is utilityman, Luis Rengifo.
In three seasons, Rengifo posted a combined wRC+ of 67, but this year in his age 25 seasons, he has a 108 wRC+ and is enjoying his best statistical year. Adell could benefit from a similar turnaround in what could soon be make-or-break territory.
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