Instead, they brought in outfielders like Daniel Nava, Craig Gentry, Todd Cunningham, and Rafael Ortega, hoping to form a solid platoon. That’s the name of the game when management finds its backs up against the proverbial luxury-tax wall.
Many people were skeptical with this decision, thinking the Angels offense needed a much bigger boost. However, Daniel Nava and Craig Gentry are proving people wrong and showing signs of returning to their old selves.
Nava has essentially locked down the second spot in the Angels lineup (against right handed pitchers), as he has hit an impressive .462 this spring, with an OPS of 1.357.
Nava was a very productive hitter for the Red Sox in 2013, hitting .303/.385/.445, and scoring 77 runs for the World Series champions. In 2014, he struggled to replicate his strong season. Last season, Nava battled injuries and suffered a total loss of productivity at the plate, hitting just .194.
Going into the regular season, he feels 100 percent healthy and has certainly shown that so far in spring training.
Mike Scoscia feels that Nava is the perfect man to hit in front of Yunel Escobar, and behind Mike Trout thanks to his career .358 OBP. The Angels are counting on Nava to be as close as possible to the 2013 version of himself.
Then there is Craig Gentry, who will most likely start in left field against left-handed pitchers. Gentry will probably hit sixth, with Kole Calhoun moving from fifth to second and C.J. Cron moving from sixth to fifth.
Gentry has played just 120 games the last two seasons with the Oakland A’s, spending time in Triple-A and battling injuries.
From 2012-2013, Gentry was at his best with the Texas Rangers. He hit a combined .292/.370/.389, and stole 37 bases.
The Angels are hoping Gentry can return to his 2012-13 form, and consistently get on base. So far in spring training, Gentry has hit .341, while playing solid defense in left field.
The Angels got the worst production out of left field in the big leagues last year, which really held back the offense. Nava and Gentry are almost a sure bet to at least be an upgrade over last season’s left-field production. We won’t really know how this platoon will play out until the season starts, but so far in spring training, there are plenty of reasons for Angels fans to be optimistic about the situation.
Both players who will man left field for the Halos this season have a respectable track record, and will provide a consistent presence on base ahead of the heavy hitters in the lineup. There’s nowhere to go but up for the Angels in left field this year, and Daniel Nava and Craig Gentry are certainly pointed in the right direction.