If Tommy La Stella was still playing for the Cubs, he would be tied with Javy Baez for the team lead in homers (11) and would be second in OPS (.998) and third in batting average (.301).
But La Stella is not on the Cubs anymore, as they traded him to Los Angeles over the winter. There, the former pinch hitter extraordinaire is now serving as the leadoff man in front of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani in the Angels lineup.
La Stella had 4 hits Wednesday, including his 11th homer of the season. Trout only has 9 dingers to date.
Even more incredible: La Stella has more homers (11) than strikeouts (8) this season. He's the only player in baseball who can make that claim.
That puts the 30-year-old La Stella on track for 41 homers and 94 RBI this season to go along with a .301/.388/.611 slash line. Strangely, he's also only on pace for 8 doubles, as he has just a pair of two-baggers to date.
To say that power is surprising would be an understatement. La Stella already has more homers in L.A. in 2019 than he hit in his entire career prior to this season — 10 HR in 396 games (828 at-bats).
He only hit 9 dingers in four seasons with the Cubs, though he also made just 95 starts in that span while spending most of his time serving as Joe Maddon's main offensive weapon off the bench.
The Cubs have already seen La Stella this season — back in mid-April when the Angels came to town. Fans and former teammates welcomed him back with a video tribute and much of Cubs nation has been following his success all year, including his big game Wednesday:
Bunch of Cubs were watching La Stella’s last AB with game on the line. Down 2 w 2 on 2 out. Before first pitch, Javy: “Homer for sure.” (He singled)— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) May 15, 2019
La Stella became something of a fan favorite with the Cubs, who traded him away for minor-league pitcher Conor Lillis-White in November amid a roster and budget crunch this winter.
Maddon has enjoyed seeing La Stella pad the stat sheet and even made a joke Wednesday in Cincinnati about why we never saw this kind of power output in Chicago:
Tommy La Stella had 4 more hits (including 11th homer) today and now has a .998 OPS for Angels.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) May 15, 2019
What on earth was Maddon doing keeping La Stella on the bench in Chicago?
"Really horrible managing on my part," Maddon said with a laugh. "No, that's awesome. Really good stuff."
La Stella still has one more game at Wrigley this season, as the Angels are set to return to Chicago on June 3 to make up the game that was snowed out back on April 14.