Virtually nothing about the 2013 Los Angeles Angels offense went as expected.
No way would Josh Hamilton turn in his worst season as a professional right after singing a five-year, $125 million deal with the Halos. No way would Albert Pujols play like a man with half of his skill and have his season cut short by an injury. No way could Mike Trout possibly keep up the ungodly pace he set in 2012. Or so we thought.
The Angels had ideas of their own, and the offense somehow, despite all manner of haphazard detours and inconsistency, managed to rank third in the AL in batting average with .264.
What slumps the Halos have endured cannot be laid solely at the feet of Hamilton (.248, 21 home runs, 76 RBIs) and Pujols (.258 in only 99 games). The Angels always seemed to come up short in the clutch, a problem that was admittedly exacerbated by their lackluster bullpen. Moreover, they missed out on the offensive contributions of Peter Bourjos, who was hitting .333 before he was sidelined at the end of June with an injury that cost him a month and a half of playing time.
But you have to give credit where credit is due: Mike Trout has continued to be unreal, batting .324 with 26 home runs and 93 RBIs to go along with 33 stolen bases earned through his lightning-fast speed on the basepaths. Mark Trumbo, despite his low .234 average, still leads the Angels with 34 home runs and 99 RBIs.
Los Angeles even stumbled upon some diamonds in the rough like J.B. Shuck (.290, 20 doubles), who would probably be in the Rookie of the Year conversation if the Angels were contending for a playoff spot.
Make no mistake: offense was not this team’s problem, despite the high-profile underachievement of Pujols and Hamilton. Once a healthy Pujols returns to the lineup next year, the Halos’ offensive attack will be even more potent, and that will make them a dangerous team once again.