Angels vying for individual awards as they host AL West-leading Astros
The Los Angeles Angels will host the Houston Astros Monday night in Anaheim, Calif., and while the Astros are in position to win the American League West and go to the playoffs, the Angels have been reduced to playing for individual postseason awards.
Pitcher/DH Shohei Ohtani is in the running for the AL MVP award, but he’s not the only Angel player vying to win individual accolades. Second baseman David Fletcher, according to Angels manager Joe Maddon, should be a lock to win a Gold Glove.
“I’ve not seen a body of work better than him in a season,” Maddon said. “And I’ll say this, he’s the best infielder (in the majors). I like (A’s third baseman Matt) Chapman. Him and Fletcher have been the two best infielders I’ve seen this year. But don’t tell me there’s a player, both leagues, who plays that position better than (Fletcher). Anyone trying to make that argument anywhere, come see me.
“I want to get this out there right now before people start voting because it would be an absolute shame if anybody thought there was anybody better than him at that position.”
The Gold Glove awards are voted on by managers and coaches, though they can’t vote for members of their own team. Additionally, a percentage of the vote involves the SABR Defensive Index (SDI), which calculates a number of defensive metrics.
The most recent SDI rankings released three weeks ago had Fletcher ranked No. 5 among second baseman, but Maddon wasn’t buying it.
“Those numbers can be so off, so skewed, so biased,” Maddon said. “There are many things with those numbers I don’t agree with, quite frankly. You know if a defender is good by watching or not. You don’t need a metric, you don’t need a number. It’s something you have to see. So that would be an absolute sham if that number influences who wins. That’s just my opinion.”
Right-hander Jaime Barria (2-3, 4.93 ERA) will start for the Angels, coming off a no-decision in his last start, also against the Astros, when he allowed one run and four hits in four innings.
For his career, Barria is 1-4 with a 4.47 ERA in 11 games (10 starts) against the Astros.
Left-hander Framber Valdez (10-5, 3.26 ERA) will start for Houston, coming off a rough outing Sept. 10 against the Angels, even though he got a victory because the Astros won the game 10-5.
Valdez gave up five runs (four earned) on six hits and five walks in five innings. Control has been an issue for Valdez at times, as he has walked five or more in four of his 19 starts. Overall, he’s walked 50 in 116 innings.
Monday’s game will also be Valdez’s first since he cut his left index finger last week while shagging balls in the outfield during batting practice. It forced him to miss a start, but Astros manager Dusty Baker is counting on Valdez to be ready.
“Knock on wood, that’s big,” Baker said.
Valdez is 5-3 with a 4.56 ERA in 10 career games (six starts) against the Angels.
— Field Level Media