Looking at the longshots that have a chance to make LA Angels roster
This morning I was looking at a nice story by Maria Guardado of MLB.Com where she listed all the Non-Roster Invitees to the LA Angels Spring Training camp that starts in 10 days. There are some familiar & unfamiliar names on the list.
So let’s look at some of the players that may have a shot to crack the LA Angels roster out of Spring Training. Today I’ll be focusing on the pitchers.
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Pitchers – The first name on the list is Cody Ege. He was a player who pitched the last month of the season with the Angels in 2016 as a left-handed specialist and did quite well. Ege came to the Angels signed off the waiver wire from the Miami Marlins. For the Marlins Ege could not get on track in limited action in April.
Ege appeared in five games with the Marlins pitching three innings and giving up four runs on eight hits compiling a 12.00 ERA. After spending the rest of the season in Triple-A both for the Marlins and Angels squad, Ege was called up to the Angels in the beginning of September.
Ege pitched 8.2 innings for the team in 13 appearances and was outstanding giving up only one run compiling a 1.04 ERA. Ege had nine strikeouts and only three walks and picked up his first Major League win on September 23rd in Houston. With the Angels not having anyone who solidified the lefty-specialist role with their performances in 2016 (Greg Mahle, and Jose Alvarez), if he performs well this Spring the role could be his.
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Another pitcher that caught my eye is another left-handed reliever named Kevin Grendell. Grendell has been in the minors since 2012 but has never made it past Double-A. However, on one of my many trips to the Inland Empire to watch the 66’ers play I watched him pitch a couple of times and he looked really goo out of the pen.
With the exception of his first couple of years in Rookie Ball, Grendell has a pretty good record (2-7 4.40 ERA in Rookie Ball). Grendell finished 2016 with a 5-5 record and a 2.64 ERA with 92 strikeouts in only 61.1 innings. I think that Grendell finally figured things out and could be ready for that jump to the Majors.
Bud Norris is the third pitcher that caught my eye on the list as he is an eight-year major league veteran. Norris has had a very mediocre career pitching for five different teams with only two seasons where he finished with an over .500 record and three years where he had an ERA under four.
Norris knows how to pitch and those years where he has been effective mainly in 2014 in Baltimore when he had a career high 15 wins and a career-low ERA of 3.65 he was outstanding holding hitters to a .242 batting average. Unfortunately since then Norris’ next two years have been forgettable at best and horrendous at worst.
In 2015 Norris pitched in 38 games with Baltimore and San Diego and finished with a 3-11 record and a 6.72 ERA. Last year Norris was 6-10 with a 5.10 ERA for the Braves and Dodgers which was not much better.
So the question is what do the Angels see in Norris to sign him to a minor league deal and inviting him to 2017 Spring Training camp. One word: POTENTIAL. Despite his career record of 62-78 in 231 games Norris has 1012 strikeouts in 1101.2 innings of work. If Norris could find himself this Spring, he could win a roster spot for the Angels maybe even be a fifth starter.
Next: Reasons to Love the 2017 Angels
We will see what happens in Spring Training as there may be a few longshots who make the Opening Day Roster such as a Jefry Marte last season. Stay tuned the next couple of days as I will breakdown the Non-Roster Invitees for Catchers and Infielders and then Outfielders.