By Will Thompson, Angels Correspondent, Wed, Feb 18th 1:20am EST
Mike Scioscia may be considering moving Mike Trout to the third spot in the batting order. Trout batted second in all but seven of his at-bats in 2014. The health and performance of Josh Hamilton also would affect Scioscia's decision. (Source: MLB.com
Fantasy Impact: Surely the first thought in the minds of fantasy owners is, "How much further will his stolen bases drop when he's batting third?," as Trout has declining SB totals of 49, 33, and 16 from 2012-14. Two factors likely affected his 2014 total: Kole Calhoun is not the typical speedster at leadoff to give Trout an open second base, and, with a healthy Albert Pujols batting third all of 2014, Trout's green light may have been dimmed due to strategy. Trout managed 20 SBs from the second slot in 2013 but made up for a gimpy Pujols, who routinely hit into double plays. Pujols would move to fourth if Trout drops to third, leaving a question mark for now at the second spot. Kole Calhoun is a virtual lock to continue at leadoff in 2015, so Trout will likely be running behind Erick Aybar, Matt Joyce, Howie Kendrick's replacement at 2B, or even a surprise in Kyle Kubitza. Aybar has shown better numbers in the second half of the lineup, Joyce doesn't profile in speed or patience as a #2 hitter, and 2B could become a revolving door with an unproven group of names. If former Braves prospect Kubitza can bring the speed and OBP (minus a few Ks) from AA last season, the Angels might have two lefties at the top of the lineup for Trout to knock around the bases. Trout remains the top pick; the expectation here is that he will be in position to exceed his 2014 performance.