Los Angeles Angels: Halos hoping things go up for Upton in 2020by B.J. Martin October 14, 2019 0 comments
Getting a healthy season next year from Justin Upton could be the biggest addition to the Angels’ lineup this off-season.
The Angels spent most of the past decade with their left-field position occupied by inconsistent performers. That seemed to change on Aug. 31, 2017, when the Los Angeles Angels acquired four-time All-Star Justin Upton from Detroit for the final month of the season. Two months later, on Nov. 2, the Angels re-signed Upton to a five-year, $106 million contract, giving the Angels a long-term solution in left field.
Upton did not disappoint in his first full season in Anaheim, hitting 30 home runs and driving in 85 runs during the 2018 campaign. Entering 2019, with fellow outfielder Mike Trout extended with a 12-year contract, hopes were high for Angels having Upton, Trout, and Calhoun to complete one of the best outfields in all of baseball. That all changed during the Freeway Series against the Dodgers when Upton slid hard for a foul ball and a collision gave him severe turf toe, which would keep him out of the Angels’ lineup until June 17.
When Upton returned, he continued to deal with injuries throughout the season until the Angels finally shut down his season in September as Upton dealt with a knee injury. Upton’s streak of three straight seasons with 30 or more home runs ended but the 32-year0old slugger would seem to be motivated to return stronger and healthier to camp in 2020.
A healthy and rejuvenated Justin Upton in the Angels’ 2020 lineup will be necessary for the Angels to provide protection for Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani throughout the year. The Angels currently have control of Upton, Trout, Brian Goodwin, Michael Hermosillo, and prospects on the verge of breaking into the Angels outfield in Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh. This depth should grant Upton the opportunity to settle into more days as a designated hitter in the later years of his current contract.
The Angels want a healthy and productive Justin Upton in their lineup every day.
Angels This Week
Joe Maddon was interviewed Monday by Angels and remains the favorite to take over as the Angels’ next manager in the coming weeks. Maddon’s 31 years in the Angels’ organization and roots in Orange County still seem to make the most sense for both parties. Still, the Angels reportedly followed up the Maddon interview with additional meetings with John Farrell, Buck Showalter, and Padres hitting coach Johnny Washington. If the Angels were to somehow fail to land Maddon, I would expect the interviews to possibly expand to include additional candidates.
Angels Down in The Farm
Austin Warren has made a very strong impression this Arizona Fall League in the first four weeks of the season. The right-handed middle-reliever has a 2.16 ERA in six AFL outings in which he has recorded 11 strikeouts while walking only two batters in eight-and-a-third innings pitched. This outstanding performance comes after Warren had a great season that saw him strike out 63 California League hitters in just over 43 innings with a 3.30 ERA before he was promoted to Double-A. He didn’t miss a beat after the promotion, completing his first 14 games at Mobile with a 2.57 ERA and limiting Southern League hitters to a .218 opposing batting average.
The 23-year-old Warren was drafted by the Angels in the sixth round of the 2018 MLB draft out of UNC-Wilmington and quickly rose from Rookie ball Orem to Low-A Burlington, striking out 38 hitters in his first 27 professional innings. Warren features a low-90s fast ball and a slider in the mid-80s, and if he continues to sharpen his changeup and overall skills at Double-A and Triple-A next season, he could find his way to the Angels’ bullpen in 2021.