The Los Angeles Angels will get themselves a new second baseman this offseason whether it's a prized possession like Brian Dozier or a sonic boom coming off one surprisingly productive year like Ryan Schimpf. One guy they're rumored to have interest in right now is St. Louis Cardinals' second baseman Kolten Wong. Now an afterthought in Baseball Heaven, Wong is someone the Cardinals should move on from. The Angels, meanwhile, must set expectations higher.
Why trade for Wong when there are proven guys out there? Or, from a different perspective, younger players with more promise? There is no huge list of second basemen available, but there are plenty better suited for the Angels than Wong.
A veteran like Chase Utley is a good choice if they want to regroup and make another attempt next season or at the trade deadline for someone new. Utley will surely take a one year deal. I don't particularly like Brandon Phillips anymore, but he does seem like a stronger choice than Wong because he has at least gained plenty of experienced in the MLB and could mold into the Angels’ lineup well.
Kolten Wong is one second base option the Los Angeles Angels should stay away from.
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So far in three MLB seasons Wong has slashed only .248/.309/.370 with some okay power and good speed. His career 85 OPS+ is a bit alarming particularly because he has never reached 100 in any of the three years he has played as a regular. Wong is even a slightly below average fielder in some regards so without the bat to back him up, I can’t see why the Angels would have any interest.
At 26-years-old, Wong is a player that I do think needs a change of scenery. However, the bright lights of Los Angeles (or Anaheim if you want to be really specific) may not help. Instead, Wong is a better candidate to head to a bad team rather than one who needs him to step up and hit immediately.
Billy Hamilton has burned a lot of catchers and cleats in his day. However, one thing he has also burned are the Cincinnati Reds. His terrific speed got him to the MLB. Beyond that, Hamilton has done very little other than become an eight-hole hitter with great wheels.
So, to see the Texas Rangers interested in Hamilton strikes me as odd. Maybe they just think he can get them Broadway tickets to the theatrical performance of the same name. Or, perhaps, the Rangers aren't afraid of Hamilton hurting them the same way Shin-Soo Choo did. Like Hamilton, Choo played for Cincinnati before joining the Rangers. His time in Texas has been tarnished by injuries. It's hard to believe Hamilton, even if healthy, will accomplish much more than Choo ever did. Hamilton has battled injuries too and has thus far in his short MLB career slashed a rather weak .248/.297/.334.
For all the praise Hamilton gets too, he has never even led the league in stolen bases. He’s averaging over 100 strikeouts per 162 games and for two straight seasons has failed to play in 120 games. To put it bluntly, Hamilton is not a very good player.
The Texas Rangers should not trade for Billy Hamilton as there are plenty of other options out there for 2017.
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The Rangers certainly do want a center fielder of high caliber abilities to start the 2017 season with. Re-signing Ian Desmond is probably the preference, but they may always have something new in mind.
Desmond is more of a left fielder anyway. Hamilton is a center field carbon copy. If the kids from Weird Science created a center fielder on a computer and forgot to add in a bat, he'd probably turn out a lot like Hamilton. A decent defender too, Hamilton does have what many good center fielders should yet not enough to really make the Rangers much better.
There are far better options out there for the Rangers. Hamilton and his one-dimensional abilities are not what they should target. Far too much offense was lost this winter. Rather than get a speed demon still figuring out how to hit, the move they make should be one for some greater balance. Signing Dexter Fowler or taking a risk on Carlos Gomez is far better than making a trade for Hamilton whom I suspect the Reds will still sell high.
I saw an article a few days ago, which listed the most untouchable young players in baseball. The background of the piece was about the young players in baseball with the upside to acquire an ace like Chris Sale. I agreed with many on the list such as Andrew Benintendi and Alex Bregman. Then there was Texas Rangers' second baseman Rougned Odor whose presence came as a surprise.
Is Odor really that untouchable in trade talks? Is his potentially really that astronomical?
When I think of Odor I don't see the superstar others do. I value OBP a lot. This ability to draw walks is not a weapon Odor has shown thus far in his brief MLB career. Instead, Odor has made a name for himself with some incredible power.
Is Rougned Odor really among the most untouchable young players in baseball?
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Last year, Odor put up some jaw dropping numbers; and yes I chose my words wisely there. He managed to secure himself 33 home runs over the course of the season. Odor also added 14 stolen bases and another 33 doubles. All of this was great except his slash line was a rather one-dimensional .271/.296/.502. Odor struck out 135 times over the course of his 632 plate appearances while drawing just 19 walks all season long. The lack of plate discipline is somewhat worrisome for a 22-year-old. Drawing walks can help a guy get out of a slump. The inability to do so puts all the pressure on his swing.
OPS+ has become one statistic I look at heavily these days. At 105 last year, Odor actually dropped 2 points from the year previous mostly because of how he failed to get on base regularly. His WAR, another favorite of stat junkies, was a reasonable 2.4. Good yet not great, Odor’s status as untouchable probably has a lot more to do with his age. I think because he never exploded onto the scene like Bryce Harper or Mike Trout we fail to notice how young he really is. The guy is young enough to be the son of some MLB players if they were friskier than your average teenager.
As someone who hit well for average in the minor leagues and stole bases regularly, I do believe we haven’t seen exactly what Odor will become. Untouchable is still a lofty label to put on him, though. So far, Odor has left me not-so-impressed. With any luck, he’ll become more than a young kid swinging for the fences in every at-bat.