Angels player props: Regression looming for Shohei Ohtani
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While we await news on the upcoming MLB season, we're sifting through the best player props by team to find preseason value on some of baseball's biggest names. Today, we break down the Los Angeles Angels, who need some offensive firepower around Mike Trout if they want to snap their five-year playoff drought.
|Tommy La Stella
Andrelton Simmons (.275)
After three years batting above this mark, Simmons slipped back to .264 - just short of his .268 career average - in an injury-shortened 2019 season. A career-worst 32.3% swing rate at pitches outside the zone a year ago follows a negative trend line for the defensive-minded shortstop, so his days of hitting above .270 may be over.
Anthony Rendon (.285)
Rendon's average has climbed each of the last five years, peaking at .319 during his MVP-caliber performance in 2019. Will the move from D.C. to California derail his momentum? Rendon was a .321 hitter on the road last year and has batted a career .333 in Angel Stadium, so he should be able to sustain his success in his new home.
David Fletcher (.280)
Fletcher improved his average from .275 in 2018 to .290 in his sophomore season behind improved walk, strikeout, and contact rates. At 5-9, his diminutive size aids his excellent contact percentage within the strike zone, which should translate to another strong campaign in 2020.
Mike Trout (.300)
Trout's third MVP season in 2019 was actually his first campaign batting below .300 since 2015, which coincided with his lowest BABIP (.298) since his rookie year in 2011. His contact rates were near his career averages but resulted in a disproportionately high number of line drives. Chalk it up to bad luck and bet the over with confidence.
Shohei Ohtani (.285)
Will Tommy John surgery have any effect on Ohtani's offensive output? He hit .285 and .286 in his first two years in the majors, but both efforts came with sky-high strikeout rates, unusually high averages for balls in play, and seemingly unsustainable hard-hit rates. The safer bet here is to play the under, especially with lingering injury concerns.
Tommy La Stella (.280)
La Stella has played more than 80 games just once in six years, although he boasted the best average of his career (.295) in another shortened season in 2019. A career-low strikeout rate (8.7%) was a major boost a year ago, but is it sustainable? There are too many questions here to expect another career year from the 31-year-old.
C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.