After Mike Trout Injury, Spotlight Falls on Pair of Angels Outfielders

With Mike Trout sidelined, Angels outfielders Jo Adell and Mickey Moniak will have an opportunity to live up to their potential.

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 27: Jo Adell #7 of the Los Angeles Angels hits a two-run home run run against pitcher Chris Paddack #20 of the Minnesota Twins during the second inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on April 27, 2024 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

With the Los Angeles Angels opening a six-game road trip on Friday in Cleveland against the Guardians, the franchise will use the change of scenery to fully embrace the latest chapter of the Mike Trout injury saga. Part of this next chapter of the Trout-less campaign will include seeing exactly how Mickey Moniak and Jo Adell respond to bigger roles.

Trout’s knee injury is not expected to keep him out of the lineup for the remainder of the 2024 season. However, the exact timing of his return is unclear after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.

While the injury doesn’t move the needle on the Angels’ chances of making the postseason in 2024, it does put a sudden stop to a season where Trout was leading MLB with 10 home runs.

That injury also pushes Mickey Moniak and Jo Adell more into the spotlight. With Trout out, an outfield of Moniak, Adell and Taylor Ward is expected to be a common sight in Anaheim, with newly signed Kevin Pillar providing a veteran backup as the fourth outfielder.

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It’s certainly a different-looking outfield than the Angels pieced together in spring training, with Aaron Hicks designated for assignment one day after Trout’s injury was announced. It’s also one that gives general manager Perry Minasian a chance to see exactly what he has in Adell and Moniak at a critical point in their careers. After all, both are arbitration-eligible beginning in the 2025 campaign.

Adell’s name has been synonymous with “potential” since he was selected 10th overall in the 2017 MLB draft. However, there has been little to show at the MLB level for the 25-year-old Adell, who simply had to make the team coming out of spring training with no minor league options left for him. So far this season, Adell has had his moments, slashing .290/.338/.565 and registering an OPS+ of 152.

However, he’s also been caught stealing an MLB-high five times and has had some head-scratching moments in the outfield (somewhere where his defense has often been questioned, and he currently holds a minus-1 Outs Above Average).

Despite Adell’s offensive numbers at the moment, the Angels don’t have the luxury of putting him in every night as the team’s designated hitter. This is an Angels team currently constructed to have him in the lineup and in the outfield.

While Adell has put up decent numbers at the plate, the 25-year-old Moniak has gotten out of the gate slowly, slashing .143/.194/.206 with an OPS+ of 15. Considering last season’s .280/.307/.495 numbers in 311 at-bats, it’s been a sharp drop in production for the former top overall pick in the 2016 MLB draft.

Moniak has also struggled at times in the outfield in 2024, joining Adell at minus-1 Outs Above Average.

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With Moniak expected to slot into Trout’s center field spot, the Angels are hoping that regular playing time will help Moniak ease back into a groove. The franchise saw that happen when Moniak got comfortable after being traded from the Philadelphia Phillies, and Angels manager Ron Washington believes that Moniak can find that comfort level again.

“Make contact,” Washington told reporters of what needs to happen for Moniak to click again at the plate. “He’s not making contact. Use the whole field. Be Mickey. Not that Mickey that hit 14 home runs and thinks he’s a home run hitter. The Mickey who, when he got drafted, he was putting the ball all over the place. And then occasionally he’ll catch a home run.”

In the aftermath of yet another Trout injury, a pair of Angels outfielders who have worn high expectations for their entire careers have the chance to flourish or flounder with extended playing time. On a team with no current superstars, watching the development of Adell and Moniak will provide plenty of storylines and discussion for Angels fans as the May schedule begins in earnest in Cleveland on Friday night.