The Angels held their first full-squad workouts this week and that means Spring Training has arrived.
The Angels play their first 2 games this Saturday as they have a split-squad against the Chicago White Sox and Kansas Royals.
Now is a good time to look at the two most intriguing battles to look for this Spring.
The first battle is the 5th spot in the starting rotation. The rotation is scheduled to have LHP Andrew Heaney, RHP Dylan Bundy, RHP Griffin Canning and RHP Julio Teheran with Two-Way Star RHP Shohei Ohtani (likely missing the first month and a half) slotting in at the 6th spot once he returns to pitch.
The Angels could potentially make a trade to get someone, but Arte Moreno stated this week that they wanted a top of the rotation pitcher, not a 4 or 5 starter.
5th Rotation Spot
LHP Dillon Peters
Peters was acquired from the Marlins on November 18′ and was used quite a bit last season due to injuries. He pitched in 17 games last season with 12 of those being starts and held a 5.38 ERA. He will more than likely serve as depth for the Angels.
RHP Felix Pena
Pena was the Angels’ most dependable starter last season and that came to an end after he tore his ACL while covering 1st base in early-August. He appeared in 22 games with 7 of those being starts (He pitched with an opener in nearly all of those games he didn’t start) and had a 4.58 ERA. Pena will likely be in the bullpen as a swingman since he did very well when he had an opener.
RHP Jaime Barria
Barria expressed much frustration with how he was handled for his 2nd year in the big leagues. He made it known he did not like pitching with an opener and was told he made the Opening Day roster before the Angels acquired RHP Chris Stratton (Stratton took Barria’s place on the roster). Barria appeared in 19 games with 13 of those being starts and he held a 6.42 ERA in 2019.
LHP Jose Suarez
Suarez had a similar issue with the opener that Barria had and also had issues with tipping his pitches. He pitched better down the stretch, but like many other young pitchers for the Angels, he was called up before he should have been due to the decimated rotation. He held a 7.11 ERA in 19 games with 15 of those being starts last season.
RHP Matt Andriese
Andriese was acquired from the Diamondbacks in mid-January and has the ability to be a swing-man like Felix Pena. He appeared exclusively out of the pen last season and held a 4.71 ERA in 54 games.
LHP Patrick Sandoval
Sandoval might be the favorite to earn that final spot in the rotation but is still quite young much like Jose Suarez. He appeared last season but had an innings limit so he did not get deep into games at all and held a 5.03 ERA in 10 games in 2019.
The other intriguing battle has two positions involved and that is 2nd Base and Right Field. These two position are not the same, but it does involve 1 player who can play both positions.
OF Brian Goodwin
Goodwin was a spectacular waiver claim for the Angels last season and he proved that he could play all 3 outfield positions and had the ability to come off of the bench. He is currently projected to be the Right Fielder, but he has quite the competition even though he had a good season last year.
INF/OF David Fletcher
Fletcher has not only made himself a fan favorite since debuting in June of 18′, but new Angels Manager Joe Maddon has repeatedly stated he loves David Fletcher. Maddon even mentioned he could play David Fletcher in Right Field and Tommy La Stella at 2nd. Fletcher will likely be playing all around the field in case of injuries and occasional day-offs for the regular starters.
OF Jo Adell
Adell is not only the Angels top prospect but is one of the top 3 prospects in the game of Baseball. He is currently projected to make his debut sometime this season and if he has a good Spring he could be the starting Right Fielder.
INF Luis Rengifo
Rengifo, who was rumored to be traded to the Dodgers a couple of weeks ago is now in camp and ready to fight for a spot with the big league club. He is a lot like Fletcher but does not have experience playing in the Outfield in the big leagues even though he spent some time there in the minors.
INF Tommy La Stella
La Stella impressed many in his first year with the Angels as he was an All-Star and had career highs in nearly every category before his season got cut short on July 2nd.
Featured Image: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill