The Los Angeles Angels got out to a fast start offensively in 2022 with Shohei Ohtani, Anthony Rendon, Mike Trout, Brandon Marsh and Jared Walsh leading their power surge, but an element that is catching teams off-guard is their speed.
The Angels are among the top tier MLB rankings in home runs, RBI, total bases, on-base plus slugging, which was mostly expected, but they are also among the top teams at stealing bases, and that is exemplified by Tyler Wade.
Wade won’t light up the box score with his power numbers as he only has six homers in over 450 at-bats, but he felt underutilized during his tenure with the New York Yankees because he takes a ton of pride in his ability to wreak havoc on the base paths.
After stealing 21 bags and posting a career-high on-base percentage last season with the Yankees, he explained that his skill set isn’t the flashiest, but can be valuable when used correctly, via Sam Blum of The Athletic:
“I don’t hit you 30 homers, but I can steal you 30-40 bags,” Wade said. “So that’s my way of creating runs. And I take pride in that. And I know (manager) Joe (Maddon) loves that. Having a staff and an organization that likes my style of play, it’s nice.”
The ability to disrupt the flow of a game simply with the threat of speed can be enough to create more opportunities for the rest of the team.
Wade is also among the fastest players in baseball, currently ranking 16th in sprint speed among players with at least five attempts with a 28.8 feet per second top speed, so he is sure to put extra pressure on defenders:
“I know how hard it is, as a defender, when guys are aggressive,” Wade said. “Me, knowing what type of speed I have, if I can put that type of pressure on people — I know that makes them feel very uncomfortable.”
However, even with as fast as Wade is, the Angels have three other players who rank ahead of him in sprint speed, with Trout (29.9 ft/sec), Jo Adell (29.6) and Marsh (29.0) all ranking in the top 15 players. It is a tool the team has not had for quite some time, and one they are looking to utilize this.
Another Angels player feeling at home
Syndergaard’s career has been made from the rotation, and that’s where Lorenzen envisioned himself as well after agreeing to sign in L.A. with a guaranteed spot as a starter. He had only started 26 career games dating back to 2015, and 21 of those came in his rookie season.
But with a pitch mix like Lorenzen has, he felt best utilized in more than just a relief role which he had been during most of his big league career.