Fantasy Baseball

Lost in the Stars: Andrelton Simmons & Justin Upton


With all the storylines amongst the big names in Los Angeles, it’s rather simple for a few guys to get lost in the stars out west. You have got Mike Trout, baseball’s best player lighting up the league effortlessly. Albert Puljos seeking out his 3,000th career hit this season. Oh, and that one guy who came over from Japan – Ohtani? Yeah, he’s pretty exciting to watch also.

So where do the rest of the pieces fall into place for the 27-22 Los Angeles Angels? After a few years spent rebuilding and occupying the basement of the AL West, the boys in red have found themselves positioned in the playoff chase once again.

When you run out a starting line up with two sure-fire first ballot Cooperstown inductees on it, it’s easy for the glue guys to get forgotten about. One of the biggest reasons for the Angels success this season is credited to the play they are getting from their shortstop and left-fielder.

Andrelton Simmons & Justin Upton are not names that lead SportsCenter late at night, but they are integral parts to the whole in LA. The Angels are off to their best start in a couple of seasons and these two veterans are a driving force behind it.

Let us dig into the numbers and see just how much of a difference Simmons and Upton are making for their squad.

Lost in the Stars: Andrelton Simmons & Justin Upton

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Andrelton Simmons, SS, Los Angeles Angels

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We are all aware of just how magical Simmons can be on the diamond. For years, we have had the chance to enjoy the leather flashing plays that lead the highlight reel night in and night out. Simmons’ defensive WAR has put him in the top ten of his respective league each season since his rookie year in 2012.

The three-time Gold Glove recipient has arguably the strongest arm in the game and provides the range on a different spectrum of the level of possibilities. These things are all good and well, but let’s look at how the 28-year-old has transformed himself at the dish.

His current average is 0.328, good for sixth in the majors. Not just a one trick pony though, he boasts a 0.857 OPS with 28 runs batted in and five stolen bases sprinkled in. Simmons has only enjoyed a season with an OPS north of .700 just once in five full major league seasons.

Prime peak position

A big reason driving his success at this later stage in his career is his excellent strikeout rate. In 174 official at-bats, this season Simmons has just ten punch outs. To put how awesome that number is into perspective, in roughly the same amount of at-bats, fellow shortstop Trevor Story has 61 Ks.

While in no way am I saying that Simmons is comparable to Boston’s Mookie Betts, check the leaderboard in hits. The Halos’ infielder has only five fewer base knocks than the all-world outfielder.

He doesn’t get the recognition in real life or the fantasy world because of the star power that lights up LA, but Andrelton Simmons has turned himself into a very good baseball player entering his prime years on a competing ball club.

Justin Upton, OF, Los Angeles Angels

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A more well-known player than Simmons at this point in their respective tenures, Upton is still overlooked regularly. The truth is the 30-year-old outfielder has bounced around quite a few teams across the league.

He was with the Arizona organization for the majority of the beginning of his career before moving to Atlanta, San Diego, and Detroit. Not a super flashy player or someone who is must-watch television every time he comes up to the dish, but numbers don’t lie.

Going along with my business

In years in which he has played 125 games or more, he has failed to hit 26 or more home runs only twice. Three times throughout those seasons he belted 30 or more long balls.

Upton does not run wild on the base paths like he used to back when he stole 21 bags in 2011. However, he’s still good for a handful of swipes a season.

A tough combo to find when looking at power hitting outfielders, the stolen base numbers for many of those types of players are down. He is never going to win a batting title like his counterpart above, but owning Upton is still a rewarding business move.

Check out the rest of our great 2018 Fantasy Baseball content.

About Greg Benson

Follow me on Twitter at @Greg_Benson24. For all the latest news and best advice out there, like us on Facebook, Google+ and Instagram.

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