Los Angeles Angels: What’s on their post-lockout to-do list

Apr 15, 2020; Anaheim, California, USA; General overall view of the Los Angeles Angels logo at Angel Stadium of Anaheim amid the global coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY NETWORK
Apr 15, 2020; Anaheim, California, USA; General overall view of the Los Angeles Angels logo at Angel Stadium of Anaheim amid the global coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY NETWORK /
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WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 17: Trevor Story #27 of the Colorado Rockies throws the ball to first base against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on September 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 17: Trevor Story #27 of the Colorado Rockies throws the ball to first base against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on September 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Angels need to upgrade at shortstop

FanGraphs’ Roster Resource has Tyler Wade projected to be the club’s starting shortstop in the upcoming campaign, splitting time with Jack Mayfield. Simply put, if the Angels are looking to contend as soon as possible, this cannot be the configuration they go with at short.

Free agent shortstop Trevor Story is still out there. If Perry Minasian is serious about spending the money necessary to put together a contender, he should seriously consider bringing Story aboard. In 2021, the Angels had Jose Iglesias penciled in as the starter over the course of the season and, while the club could look to bring him back at a cheaper rate than Story, Iglesias just doesn’t bring the thump and star-power that Story does.

You don’t need me to tell you about Trevor Story as a ballplayer. In his six-year career as a member of the Colorado Rockies, he hit 158 home runs across 745 games, hit .272 with a career .340 OBP, .523 SLG%, and a .523 OPS. Story has a career OPS+ and wRC+ of 112 and a .336 BABIP as well. Now, his game is not only offensive. He has a career 10.6 dWAR, good for 15th amongst all active players and fifth amongst active shortstops, behind defensive stalwarts Andrelton Simmons, Brandon Crawford, Nick Ahmed, and Carlos Correa.

The one argument against signing somebody like Trevor Story, is the dreaded “Coors Effect” on his offensive stat-line. The Coors Effect is best defined as the uptick in player’s offensive performance while playing in Colorado and having Coors Field be his home field over the course a full season. Batted balls tend to carry farther in Colorado due to the altitude and pitches end up having different/lessened movement, making them easier to hit.

In 375 games at home in his career, Trevor Story hit 95 home runs and drove in 279 with a batting average of .303 and a .369 OBP, .603 SLG%, and .972 OPS across just under 1,600 at-bats. In 370 games on the road, Story hit 63 home runs and drove in 171, a batting average of .241 with a .310 OBP, .442 SLG%, and .752 OPS across 1,544 at-bats. There is no denying the fact that that is somewhat alarming.

While it’s hard to argue against the Coors Effect, Trevor Story offers more value than it may look like. Not only is he currently in the 89th percentile in sprint speed, making him a serious threat on the bases, but he has borderline-elite defensive talent and hits the ball harder than anyone. While playing in Colorado undoubtedly helped him lift the ball more, there are more than enough reasons to believe that his home/road splits will normalize in a non-Coors environment on a full-time basis.