LA Angels News

LA Angels looking at potential 4th outfielders in Spring Training

By Ryan Falla
TEMPE, AZ - MARCH 12: Danny Espinosa
TEMPE, AZ - MARCH 12: Danny Espinosa /
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The Angels are going into 2018 with one of the best outfields in baseball; consisting of the future Hall of Famer Mike Trout, Perennial power hitter Justin Upton, and the always dependable Kole Calhoun. One of the more important aspects in building a powerful roster is the foresight to apply competent back-up with the potential to excel. The LA Angels will be scouting out potential 4th outfielders during Spring Training among a trio of candidates.

In 2018 the LA Angels will field one of the most exciting outfields in baseball with Upton, Trout, and Calhoun. Not only do they provide some of the best offense amongst the entire team, their defense is force to be reckoned with. With each starting spot sealed you would think the Angels are completely set in their outfield set-up going into 2018.

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However, one of the bigger aspects of fielding a dominate roster is providing competent backup to provide proper rest for the starters. A backup must provide peace of mind and energy to whomever they relieve, thusly it is one the more pressing matters in Spring Training to determine who will be best for the 4th outfielder position. Amongst the trio of players looking to crack into this spot is Eric Young Jr, Micheal Hermosillo, and Rymer Liriano.

Eric Young Jr can be considered the safe option given his success in 2017, his talent has already matured so there is no hand-wringing over “will he or won’t he?” regarding a development track. The same cannot be said regarding the next two options.

A .220 career hitter, though only across two seasons, leaves a lot of room for improvement. Liriano can drive the ball, though concerns have popped up regarding his vision following his 2016 Spring Training injury in which he took a pitch to the face and shattered multiple bones in his face. Liriano has been touted for his natural power and high-energy level of play, and given his encouraging slash of .289/.370/.507 against LHP and innate power there will be plenty of opportunity for him to slug his way to a job with the Angels big leagues.

On the other hand, you have the securely developing Michael Hermosillo. Drafted in 2013 by the Angels, the 23-year-old outfielder has provided comfort in his development track. In 2017, Hermosillo recorded 533 Plate Appearances across three levels of Minor League ball while hitting a comforting .267/.366/.397. His athleticism is top-notch, also being a former football recruit before being drafted by the Angels.

Hermosillo’s 119 runs scored amongst 25 doubles secured his talent as a must-have for the Angels, and if there’s any indication on his future with the Angels it would be their protection of him during the recent Rule 5 Draft. Finding a spot on the 40-man roster is no small feat; it’s almost a given that his 40-man spot will allow him big league time with the Angels if not some other club. Unlike Liriano, Hermosillo doesn’t see much of a split between his numbers against LHP and RHP (.272/.368/.368 against.265/.365/.407), which adds greatly to his stock as a reliable 4th outfielder.

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Sure, his power may not be as hopeful as Liriano’s, nor has he accumulated the experience of Eric Young Jr. Yet, what he does have is the consistency and youth to develop into an everyday starter. It may not be this season, but the development track he’s on will take him there very soon. The experience he can gain playing relief would be invaluable to his future as a major leaguer, though there is a lot to be said about patience. He is only 23 years of age, so he may end up seeing just a little more development time. This is under the implication that Liriano or Eric Young Jr. provide solid enough Spring Trainings, because if he blows them out of the water there’s no doubt he will see big league time in 2018.

There is a lot to consider regarding the Angels 4th outfielder in 2018; a proper relief core is essential to a teams long-term success. The only question is, what flavor do the Angels crave more? The reliability of Eric Young Jr, the power potential of Rymer Liriano, or the possible future in Michael Hermosillo.

Regardless, it’s going to be a fun Spring Training.

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