Theft now part of grand design
HOUSTON — The Angels stole 10 bases over the weekend in Houston, more than any iteration of the team had swiped in a threegame series since the franchise’s founding in 1961.
Cameron Maybin stole six bases. Eric Young Jr., Andrelton Simmons, Ben Revere and Danny Espinosa each stole one. The record was a product of a club focused on obtaining offense wherever possible, absent traditional power sources.
The Angels are on pace to steal 137 bases this season, more than the 125 they stole the last two years combined.
“Personally, I love it,” Young said. “We’re creating a lot of pressure on the other team. There’s multiple guys running, it’s not just one person running. We’ve got a lot of guys, and it’s going to put pressure on the defense, maybe force their hand.
“They might make same errors. They might hang a pitch in the zone and hitters can take advantage of it, which we were able to do this road trip.”
Simmons is on pace to set a career high for steals this month. He has eight for the season, two shy of the career-high 10 he stole last season, his first with the Angels.
But it is Maybin’s total, in particular, that’s eye-opening. His 19 steals in 46 games represent a 67-steal pace over a full season. Maybin, 30, entered 2017 averaging 27 steals per 162 games. Draft day
The Angels will pick 10th overall in the 2017 MLB draft, which begins Monday. They will also select at No. 47, before the third through 10th rounds occur Tuesday. The remaining 30 rounds will take place Wednesday.
It will be Matt Swanson’s first time supervising a draft. The Angels hired him as amateur scouting director last August after he developed a sterling reputation for spotting talent as a St. Louis Cardinals scout. Short hops
Right-hander Doug Fister threw 89 pitches over 52⁄3 innings Sunday for triple-A Salt Lake. He walked two and struck out one. His fastball was most often clocked at 89 mph, according to an attendee. Fister, 33, could soon be deemed ready to make a major league start. . . . Dozens of Japanese media members attended the series to cover the Astros’ Norichika Aoki, who is approaching 2,000 career hits between the majors and Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball.
After sitting at 1,998 for several days, he doubled and singled Sunday to reach the mark. The game was paused to honor his achievement, which earned him automatic induction into the Meikyukai, a type of Hall of Fame in Japan.