He is striking out at a pace reminiscent of another era, comparable to the career marks of players with names like Klondike Douglass, Irish Meusel and Cupid Childs.
Andrelton Simmons entered Saturday striking out once every 24.36 plate appearances, leading baseball during a season in which strikeout totals have soared.
“He’s really a contact hitter,” manager Mike Scioscia said of his shortstop. “He’s taken it to the nth degree in his first couple hundred at-bats this season.”
Simmons struck out Friday to end a streak of 90 plate appearances without doing so — the fourth longest in franchise history. Scioscia called the accomplishment “extraordinary.”
In his first 268 plate appearances, Simmons had 11 strikeouts, not even half his total of 25 walks. He even had more doubles (12) than strikeouts.
“He just keeps getting more and more intelligent in the batter’s box,” general manager Billy Eppler said. “He’s got an above-average ability to manipulate his swing and create bat-to-ball contact.”
On Saturday, Scioscia referred to his bullpen as being “kind of an eclectic group.” The Angels might soon add another rather interesting piece.
They claimed Hansel Robles off waivers from the Mets, the right-hander remembered in New York in part for his habit of briefly pointing at balls hit into the air off him. Some of those balls sailed for long home runs.
Robles was optioned to triple-A Salt Lake, but, given all the moving parts at the end of the Angels’ bullpen, could be promoted soon.
“He’s got a good arm and has some velocity to his fastball,” said Eppler, who also noted Robles’ slider and changeup. “We’ll get him in the fold and see what he can contribute.”
Robles has 229 strikeouts in 208 career innings but also surrendered seven home runs in 16 appearances this season.
To make room on the 40-man roster, the Angels transferred backup catcher Rene Rivera (knee) to the 60-day disabled list. The team’s plan is to activate him after the All-Star break.
“It’s just a pragmatic look at where he’s going to be,” Scioscia said of Rivera’s situation, “and how much time he’s going to need.”