The Los Angeles Angels made a splash after the 2019 season by signing Anthony Rendon to a 7-year $245 million contract hoping he could help them get back to the postseason after he was an important part of the Washington Nationals winning their first World Series.
But after a fairly productive 2020 season where Rendon posted an OPS+ of 150 in the shortened season, his time was cut short last year with season-ending hip surgery. The injury bug caught Rendon throughout the 2021 season and didn’t let go, which caused him to go on the injured list three times prior to the hip injury.
The rash of injuries even left Angels manager Joe Maddon confused and disappointed that Rendon lost a year of his prime due to mounting injuries.
After a successful mid-summer surgery set Rendon up for a healthy 2022, he carried that momentum into Spring Training, but his availability over the course of this season will vary based on how his body responds, via Sam Blum of The Athletic:
Maddon said it’s possible Anthony Rendon will be given regular rest this season as he returns from hip surgery last summer. Rendon has had each of the last two Sundays off. Maddon said that off-time could be reduced later in the season.
Rendon batted .240 with a .712 OPS in his 58 games this season, his worst offensive numbers since 2015. His walk rate was one of the lone bright spots for him last year and his 95 wRC+ was the worst of his career. Regular rest and evaluations on Rendon should be key in making sure numbers like that do not become the norm.
Although his production has not matched expectations, his presence alone might be having an impact on the early success of the Angels’ lineup and why they’re on top in many important offensive categories.
Another teammate continues to improve
The Angels have plenty of top-end star power with Mike Trout, Rendon, and perhaps the biggest star in sports, Shohei Ohtani. But they also have another, a more unlikely star on their hands in first baseman Jared Walsh.
In 393 plate appearances against right-handed pitchers, Walsh batted .333 with a .994 OPS, hitting 19 home runs, batting in 68 runs, with an OPS+ of 172. But his splits vs. lefties provided a large sample of his deficiencies with a .170 batting average, .565 OPS, and an OPS+ of 51.
This led manager Joe Maddon to implement a platoon situation and for Walsh to continue working with Jeremy Reed, who is currently the Angels’ hitting coach, on how to improve his viability against lefties.