Around the Halo: Are the Angels in trouble?
The spring training roster has some new players and some familiar ones, who’s been the biggest surprise thus far?
Rice: There have been a few nice surprises so far for the Angels this Spring. I really like what I have seen from Rafael Ortega. He has good speed and has shown the ability to get on base at a high rate. Rey Navarro has shown great glove work at multiple positions. Ji-Man Choi has also shown some signs of being a viable option off the best with some pop and so has Jefry Marte. The platoon Nava and Craig Gentry has also looked very good so far.
Lea: After yesterdays game versus the Dodgers, i would say Pujols. He played well as a DH, getting some RBI’s and showing no signs of lingering issues concerning his foot. He has said on numerous occasions he wants to be ready for opening day. His rehab has gone swimmingly, let’s just hope there are no set-backs on the horizon.
Avise: For myself it’s Ortega on the position player side and Nick Tropeano on the pitching side. Ortega has shown a lot of good things defensively and offensively. I don’t think he’ll make the opening day roster but wouldn’t be surprised if he was one of the first minor league call-ups. Tropeano has come out and pitched very well. He pitched two perfect innings in his Cactus League debut. He’s someone I didn’t think had a chance to make the opening day roster but with C.J. Wilson having shoulder tendinitis, Tyler Skaggs coming off Tommy John surgery and Shoemaker not pitching well to start the spring, Tropeano looks to be in line to earn that 5th spot at least for now.
Ludwig: The biggest surprise, in a good way, has to be the left fielders, Nava and Gentry. Nava is batting .600 with hits from both sides of the plate and has also looked good defensively, making a nice running catch on Sunday against the Royals. Gentry, meanwhile, is batting .462 and stole a base Tuesday against the Diamondbacks. It’s still very early, and a lot of their at bats have been against minor league pitching, but they appear to be on the right track.
Cardone: Lots of the newcomers have been already impressive. Ortega’s gotten two opportunities to show off his exceptional arm from right field and has been aggressive on the base paths as well, Choi has displayed his power, Nava and Gentry have both been very impressive at the plate. If Nava and Gentry can hit like the way they have been in the regular season, Angel fans will quickly forget the disappointment that many felt this off-season.
Quesada: No question, it has to be Nava. The 33-year-old who hit .194 last year is off to a scorching hot start this spring, notching eight hits in 13 at-bats (.615 BA) to go with five RBI and a pair of walks. Nava looks like he wants the starting left field job for himself and he’s been fun to watch. Last week I was weary watching him bat expecting a quick out, but at this point he’s been just as productive offensively as Trout and Calhoun and looks comfortable with his swing and approach in the box. Hopefully he doesn’t cool off and if he stays this hot, Mike Scioscia will have to seriously consider him as the team’s left fielder on April 4.
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