The Angels have had a lot of players competing in Spring Training as outfielders. This glut of outfield depth has helped the Halos go from having the worst
Major League farm to having the 9th best minor league system in all of baseball. The starting outfielders are set with Justin Upton in left field, Mike Trout in center, and Kole Calhoun in right. But there’s an opening for a backup outfielder and there are plenty of candidates making an effort to get on the Opening Day roster for 2019. Who are they?
Here’s a list of all of them and how well they are doing up to this point in Tempe, Arizona.
- Angels 2014 7th round pick Bo Way has had a few at bats (2-for-3).
- 27-year old non-roster invitee Cesar Puello, who came up in the Tampa Bays organization, is 6-for-21 (.286) with three RBIs.
- 25-year old Dominican Jhoan Urena, who had been in the New York Mets minor league system from 2012-2018, has gone 3-for-11 (.286) with one run batted in and one stolen base.
- Angels 11th round pick (2016) 24-year old Brennon Lund is 3-for-14 (.214) with three RBIs.
- Angels 27th round pick (2017) 23-year old Brandon Sandoval is 1-for-5 with three walks.
- Torii Hunter’s son Torii Hunter Jr., a 23rd round pick in 2016, is 1-for-6 with a couple of RBIs and two runs.
The Future is a Few Years Away
- 21-year old Cuban prospect Orlando Martinez, who came to the U.S. last year and had a great start to his minor league career in Rookie ball and A ball (.305/.354/.432), has had 8 at bats but has gone hit-less in all of those at bats.
The Future is Now or Next Year
- Angels #1 prospect Joe Adell has been hot going 7-for-19 (.368). If he continues hitting well in the spring, he will be called up in September and probably won’t look back. This will put pressure on Kole Calhoun to perform or expect him to be traded in July.
- Angels #3 prospect Brandon Marsh has a double and four RBIs in 15 at bats (.267). Most likely, he will be competing for an outfield spot in 2020. The Angels might make him a starter in 2021 especially if the they can’t extend Mike Trout when Trout is eligible to become a free agent.
The Backup Favorites
Jarrett Parker cleared waivers in March 2018 while with the San Francisco Giants, but was released after that according to general manager Bobby Evans. Parker entered the spring 2018 with the Giants with no minor league options remaining and was designated for assignment after San Francisco told him he wouldn’t make the team. The Giants also had a packed outfield at Triple-A with the likes of Steven Duggar, Mac Williamson, Chris Shaw, and Austin Slater coming up. The Giants allowed Parker to try to find another opportunity to prove himself somewhere else and let him go in order for him to become a free agent. The 29-year-old was supposed to have a shot at winning the left field job a year ago, but a broken clavicle destroyed his 2017 season. In 135 career games with the Giants, Parker hit .257 with 15 home runs.
However, Parker has been making some noise this spring by going 6-for-14 (.429) with two home runs, two doubles, and six runs batted in. He’s also scored seven times.
But an even bigger surprise is Peter Bourjos, who started his career with the Angels in 2010 and spent four years with the organization. Since then he has bounced around with four other teams: St. Louis (2014-205), Philadelphia (2016), Tampa Bay (2017), and Atlanta (last season). Last year, he was only given 44 at bats and produced a .205/.239/.364 slash line.
This spring, Bourjos seems to be happy reuniting with his original team and the numbers seem to show it. He’s batting an astounding .524 (11-for-21), has three doubles, one triple, two home runs, nine runs batted in, and eight runs scored. He’s making a strong case to be the backup outfielder and at this point, he’s the clear favorite.
So if Peter Bourjos gets the nod as the backup outfielder, what happens with Jarrett Parker if he continues to swing the bat well? There’s one other bench spot left as a backup designated hitter and Parker could be vying for that position. But let’s not assume anything at this point.
Featured Image: Peter Bourjos/ NBCsports.com