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The Angels’ Offense Is Sick

A sign that your offense is not playing well:

Arbitrary endpoints aside, anytime three of your regulars rank third, second, and dead last in on-base percentage it is a bad development. Juan Rivera is just one of the trio diagnosed with the newly developed mysophobia (associated with all those base-inhibiting germs), but that fear is causing those with microphobia to go bananas over his on-base percentage.

Just last season, Rivera posted a 113 wRC+ — the second best figure of his Angels’ career – while reaching a career high in plate appearances. Rivera’s 2010 season bares more of a resemblance to his injured campaigns of 2007 and 2008 than 2009. As it stands, Rivera’s 85 wRC+ is identical to the 2008 season. Rivera is no longer hitting for the power that he is wont to do. His .147 ISO more than 10 points below his previous career low – which he established as a 25-year-old – and more than 30 points below his career average.

Rivera’s home run per flyball percentage has dipped below 10% of the first time in his career. At the same time, he’s hitting about as many infield flyballs as his career rate would suggest. Meaning that those looking for some proof that his bat has slowed have to look elsewhere for the proof; the same applies to his swinging strike rates and (for the most part) his run values by pitch breakdown.

A further part of that subtraction is married to a deflated batting average on balls in play. However, some of it could be skill decay too. Rivera is now 32. Not just 32, but 32 with a history of physical ailments prompting numerous trips to the disabled list. Such a package does not promote gentle aging, even if all players are master of their own DNA and generalizing is a bad thing.

Rivera is under contract for one more season for what appeared to be a reasonable rate ($5.25 million). Another season like this one, though, will have that contract looking dubious.