Must-Start Angels in the Outfield

These two Angels outfielders should start in most all fantasy lineups.

For years, the Los Angeles Angels featured two of fantasy baseball’s, and baseball in general’s, best hitters in their lineup on a nightly basis.

So it goes when Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani are entrenched at the top of your team’s batting order.

However, while neither currently maintains a spot at the top of, or in, the lineup in general thanks to Trout’s current placement on the injured list and Ohtani now playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the early portion of the season has shown us that the Angels aren’t without a pair of impact fantasy options.

Both of whom, Jo Adell and Taylor Ward, play the outfield, giving the Halos a potentially dynamic top of the order and outfield in general once Trout returns.

And while Adell and Ward won’t replicate, or come close to, Trout and Ohtani’s production at their respective peaks (few hitters, relatively speaking, in history can or have), there’s plenty of fantasy potential in the Angels outfield. Fantasy potential to the point where Adell and Ward need to be started on a weekly or daily basis depending on league format.


Jo Adell


A few weeks ago, Jo Adell was a deep league waiver wire option, who despite some strong quality of contact metrics, wasn’t playing a regular role with the Angels. Or rather, he wasn’t playing every day.

That was April 27.

Since then, with Trout on the injured list and Aaron Hicks having previously been designated for assignment, Adell has moved into a regular, everyday role for the Angels and continued to produce.

He’s sporting a 15.6% barrel rate in 66 plate appearances during that span, adding five home runs and a pair of stolen bases in the process while hitting .217 with a .262 on-base percentage.

Overall, for the season, he’s batting .248 with a .304 on-base percentage, seven home runs, and seven stolen bases in 113 plate appearances.

And while the combination of home run and stolen base production certainly draws the eye – and is a key fantasy factor here – Adell has a chance to be even more impactful moving forward.

Here are three numbers, and I promise these are both related and crucial.

Seven, 16, and 22.

Six is the number of players with a higher average bat speed than Adell (at 76.5 MPH), per Statcast. (Quick aside, of the 44 players to average 74 MPH or better in terms of average bat speed, Adell has is tied for the seventh shortest swing length, also per Statcast.)

15 is the number of players with a better xwOBA (.389) than the Angels’ outfielder.

And 22 is the small group of hitters who have so far topped Adell’s 14.7% barrel rate, a metric that sits in the 92nd percentile league-wide.

The last real part of the equation is that Adell has also seen his xwOBA rise by .135 points over his last 100 plate appearances, going from .255 to .390, per Statcast. The more time passes, the more his surface-level numbers are going to start to catch up to the quality of contact metrics. In other words, a hot streak is coming at the plate, and if Adell’s ability to contribute at an above-average rate in terms of both home runs and stolen bases is any indication, he has a very real chance of producing like a top-50 or top-75 player for an extended period of time.

Even for the rest of the season.


Taylor Ward


The only thing that really isn’t ideal about Jo Adell’s stats and splits right now is that he’s routinely being hit in the bottom half, and often bottom third, of the Angels lineup despite having one of the better xwOBA (and barrel rates) in the league.

Taylor Ward hasn’t had that issue.

A staple in the top half of the Angels lineup, Ward has hit third in every game he’s started since April 15. Before that, he hit fourth in each and every one of his 2024 starts.

Overall, the 30-year-old is batting .265 with a .318 on-base percentage, seven home runs, and a pair of stolen bases in 178 plate appearances, while adding 24 RBI and 25 runs scored. The outfielder is just one of 20 batters so far to have at least 24 of both this season.

But like Adell, it’s what Ward is doing from a quality of contact standpoint that points to more production coming.

The 30-year-old has logged a .373 xwOBA so far, with a 12.3% barrel rate. He’s also sporting a .526 xSLG with chase rate (19.9%) and whiff rate (19.2%) metrics under 20.0%.

And if you have a keen memory for underlying data per season in Taylor Ward’s career and those numbers seem familiar to you, it’s because they sort of are. Or, at the very least are extremely similar to what the 30-year-old has done in the past. If anything, Ward has been even better than the 2022 season, which was a career-year for the veteran.

Taylor Ward in 2022 and 2024

Ward hit .281 with a .360 on-base percentage, 23 home runs, and five stolen bases for the Angels that year, adding 73 runs scored and 65 RBI in the process. And while he won’t be hitting alongside Trout and Ohtani every day, the former should return eventually, and players like Adell should give the Angels lineup just enough depth to sustain quality fantasy counting stats for the team’s best hitters in the top of the order.

In other words, Ward and Adell should be perfectly fine moving forward despite a less-than-effective run-scoring lineup around them. In fact, both should be more than fine moving forward if they keep making the quality contact they have so far.

There’s a very real chance both finish the year within the top-100 overall players in fantasy. You’ll want to have them in your lineup before then.


Photos by Icon Sportswire | Featured Image by Justin Redler (@reldernitsuj on Twitter).

Ben Rosener

Ben Rosener is baseball and fantasy baseball writer whose work has previously appeared on the digital pages of Motor City Bengals, Bleacher Report, USA Today, FanSided.com and World Soccer Talk among others. He also writes about fantasy baseball for RotoBaller and the Detroit Tigers for his own Patreon page, Getting You Through the Tigers Rebuild (@Tigers_Rebuild on Twitter). He only refers to himself in the third person for bios.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login