Angels star shortstop Andrelton Simmons has been out two weeks because of a Grade 3 ankle sprain, and it doesn’t appear he’ll be back anytime soon. While Simmons has progressed to swinging a bat, there is still no timetable for a comeback, Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com tweets. Meanwhile, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register points out the type of sprain Simmons is dealing with tends to require an eight- to 12-week absence. If that holds up, Simmons won’t grace the Angels’ lineup again until at least late July.
The 29-32 Angels have gone 7-7 without Simmons, a defensive virtuoso and solid hitter who exceeded the 5.0-fWAR mark in each of the previous two seasons. Simmons added 1.2 fWAR to his career ledger in 195 pre-injury plate appearances this year, batting .298/.323/.415 (100 wRC+) with three home runs and five steals on six attempts. Along the way, the 29-year-old posted the majors’ third-lowest strikeout rate (7.7 percent, trailing only teammates David Fletcher and Tommy La Stella) and third-highest in-zone contact percentage (98.0). Simmons, Fletcher and La Stella are among many Angels who have been almost incapable of striking out this year, which explains why the Halos own the majors’ best K rate as a team (16.3 percent).
The Simmons-less Angels have mostly deployed Fletcher at short, La Stella at third and Luis Rengifo. Assuming Fletcher and La Stella continue to perform well, they seem likely to divide their time between third and second once Simmons comes back. However, a return from injuried infielder Zack Cozart could complicate matters.
The infield’s not the only place where the Angels’ lineup is battling injuries. They’re also without big-hitting left fielder Justin Upton, who hasn’t played this season on account of sprained toe. The 31-year-old is progressing toward a rehab assignment, though, according to Jeff Fletcher. While Upton produced another quality offensive campaign in 2018 – his first full season with the Angels – David Fletcher, Brian Goodwin and Cesar Puello have done well in his stead this year.