This year’s non-roster invitees for the LA Angels have many familiar names, some of which have major league experience. Let’s look at the non-roster infielders who have a chance to make the Angels opening day roster.
The LA Angels have three non-roster infielders who have a shot to either make the 2017 opening day roster or see some MLB action in 2017. 2016 first round draft pick first baseman Matt Thaiss will see his first Major League Spring Training as will middle infielder David Fletcher. middle infielder Rey Navarro is in his second year with the Angels and same minimal big league action in 2015. These three players have a chance to see action with the Angels this season.
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The first player to note is 2016 first round draft pick Matt Thaiss. Thaiss played very well in the 67 games he played in Rookie Ball at Orem and in low Single-A Burlington. In 67 games Thaiss hit .292 with six homers and 43 RBI’s in 264 at-bats. His OBP was .361 as well and Thaiss stole three bases.
Thaiss is a left-handed hitter with some power and he can also play catcher as well which the Angels are very thin at that position so a potential call-up could be in the cards during the season if he continues to play well in the minors in 2017.
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The second player worth mentioning is middle infielder David Fletcher. Fletcher was signed in 2015 after attending Loyola Marymount University. Fletcher has hit .292 in two seasons in the Angels minor league system. Fletcher hit four home runs and drove in 77 runs in 167 games. Fletcher also stole 33 bases and .345 OBP with 98 runs scored.
I have seen Fletcher play multiple times in Single-A last season and he definitely has a lot of potential. Fletcher is ranked 8th best prospect in the Angel minor league system. The Angels are pretty strong up the middle with Andrelton Simmons and Danny Espinosa at shortstop and second base, and Cliff Pennington is the only official back-up at either spot at the major league level. With that being said Fletcher has a good chance of making the Opening Day roster or being called up during the season if he does well in the minors.
The final non-roster candidate that I believe will have a chance to make the Opening Day Roster or get called up is Rey Navarro. Navarro played in a handful games with the Orioles in 2015, 10 games to be exact. Navarro hitting .276 with one homer and three RBI’s in 29 at-bats.
With the Angels Triple-A affiliate, the Salt Lake City Bees in 2016 Navarro Navarro hit .227 with one homer and 13 RBI’s. He is actually known me for his glove and he could provide some defensive help if needed or if there are any injuries.
Overall the Angels are pretty strong at the corner infield spots, but up the middle the depth is not as strong so either Fletcher or Navarro could get a call-up during the season or even make the team out of Spring Training. Time will tell.