Photo by Sporting News
After an abundance amount of at-bats and innings pitched in Arizona’s Cactus League, it’s crunch time for Angels new manager, Brad Ausmus. He will make the final decisions on who cracks the final roster, come Opening Day for the Angels.
Angels Projected Roster
C- Jonathan Lucroy, Kevan Smith
1B- Albert Pujols, Justin Bour
2B- David Fletcher, Tommy La Stella
SS- Andrelton Simmons
3B- Zack Cozart
OF- Justin Upton, Mike Trout, Khole Calhoun, Peter Bourjos
SP- Trevor Cahill, Matt Harvey, Tyler Skaggs, Felix Pena, Jaime Barria
RP- Cody Allen, Ty Buttrey, Justin Anderson, Cam Bedrosian, Noe Ramirez, Dan Jennings, Hansel Robles, Luis Garcia
IL- Shohei Ohtani, Michael Hermosillo, Andrew Heaney, JC Ramirez, Nick Tropeano, Keynan Middleton, Taylor Cole
It’s no secret, the Angels weak spot on the roster is in their pitching department. Their lack of depth in the starting rotation and their bullpen has been the piece that’s held them back the last couple seasons. Though, they were active in free agency bringing aboard some new arms by signing Trevor Cahill, Matt Harvey, Cody Allen and Dan Jennings. They more than likely will start the season with six pitchers on the injured list. If they can get those arms to full health, they may be able to piece together a quality rotation down the stretch and make a push for October.
The Angels lineup rounds itself out pretty nicely. Having Mike Trout in the heart of the order will obviously help generate some offensive production. Trout, Upton and Pujols will hit in the middle of the order, serving as the team’s top run producers.
Angles new catcher, Jonathan Lucroy will have a tremendous impact on the Angels pitching staff as he will be in charge of calling the games behind home plate. Lucroy earned a tremendous amount of high praise last season for his influence on the Oakland A’s pitching staff. Also, his days with the Milwaukee Brewers, he was known across the league as one of the best pitcher framers among catchers. He also possesses a veteran leadership in the clubhouse, which will help mold the younger players.
Khole Calhoun will start the season as the club’s starting right fielder, even after scuffling during his 2018 campaign. Although, Angles top prospect Jo Adell is knocking on the door for his opportunity with the big league club. Adell is ranked as baseball’s 14th best prospect according to MLB Pipeline. Adell went down with an injury during spring training, but it’s not expected to be an issue long-term.
Andrelton Simmons will patrol the Angels infield with his four gold glove awards in his back pocket. Simmons is known around the league for his flare on defense, but his hitting has really shown growth since the Angels acquired him from the Atlanta Braves. Last season Simmons was awarded the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year award. He also batted .292 on the season to go along with his stellar defensive performance.
Unlike last season, where the Angels went with a bullpen by committee after Keynan Middleton went down with an injury. Cody Allen will fill the role as the team’s closer, locking down the ninth inning. Allen brings the Angels an established ninth inning arm, who has experience in the playoffs (including the world series).
Check out Mike Trout’s press conference here
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