Mike Trout deserves better. This isn’t a matter of poor luck as some teams have had. The Los Angeles Angels built a poor team around Trout and Albert Pujols. The front office of Jerry DiPoto built this team around power and contact pitching. DiPoto is off to the Seattle Mariners and Billy Eppler is left with a mess. The biggest weakness of the Angels in the first half of 2016 is their inability to hit home runs, while their pitchers can’t prevent them.
For the case of Trout I have constructed a new stat, home run differential. This is to demonstrate that Trout and Pujols are not to blame. In the first half of 2016 the Angels hit 84 home runs while allowing 117. They hit the second fewest in the American League and allowed the third most in the AL. The Angels and the Kansas City Royals are the only two teams close to each other in these standings. The Angels are -33 home runs and the Royals are -35. The difference is that the Royals aren’t last in their division.
Trout isn’t the reason this is going on, though. He is second to Adam Jones in home runs while playing center field. Not too much of the blame should land on Pujols, either. The Angels are in the middle of the pack in the AL for DH home runs. The rest of the team is the problem. After Trout and Pujols, only C.J. Cron and Kole Calhoun have double digit home run totals. After that it’s a home run wasteland.
The pitching isn’t much better. Former staff ace Jered Weaver has allowed 21 home runs in the first half of 2016. He is probably ready to be moved to a National League team. All four of the other healthy starters have allowed double digit home runs. The bullpen is not without blame, but the starting pitchers have really put the Angels in a hole.
The Angels are a talented team when healthy. Every year that Trout is in Southern California, there is hope of a World Series run. It’s time for the Angels to look to next year and start looking for some pitchers that don’t give up so many long balls.