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Five alarming defensive trends

Issues for five teams, including the Angels and Yankees

Originally Published: April 21, 2013
By Scott Spratt | ESPN Insider

It's always dangerous to draw too many conclusions based on the first few weeks of the baseball season. However, with the added wild-card spot and parity across the sport pulling more teams into the mix for the postseason, contenders can't wait too long in addressing their apparent weaknesses for fear of costing themselves a few wins that could prove to be the difference over the course of the full season.

These five defensive situations were causes for concern at the start the season, and the first few weeks have done nothing to dissuade that concern.

1. The Los Angeles Angels' team defense

For a team that finished third in its division and failed to reach 90 wins in 2012, the Angels had a surprising number of team strengths, highlighted by their defense. Only the Blue Jays and Braves had more defensive runs saved (DRS) than the Angels' 55 a year ago, and their outfield was the catalyst: Mike Trout was an elite defender as a rookie and combined with Peter Bourjos to save 30 runs in center field alone. In addition, Torii Hunter, Mark Trumbo and Vernon Wells were solid contributors in the corner outfield spots.

The Angels are under a lot of pressure to succeed in 2013, and they are off to a 6-10 start, primarily because of poor defense. So far, the Angels' defense has cost them 16 runs, the worst mark in baseball, and their outfield has inverted from their biggest strength to their biggest weakness. The poor starts for Trout and Bourjos -- they have combined to cost the Angels three runs so far this season -- will likely turn around. However, Josh Hamilton is another matter.

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