The LA Angels are less than two weeks away from Spring Training. They have done more than enough this offseason to contend for a playoff spot, and now we take a look at how each position group is shaping up heading into Spring Training.
The LA Angels middle infield spots were extremely unbalanced . On the left side, Andrelton Simmons was the game’s best shortstop for the majority of the season. On the right side, however, the team saw a handful of poor performances at second base all year long. However, the Angels will boast one of the better middle infields in the league come 2018.
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Everyone knows Simmons at this point. The Angels traded for the game’s best defensive player in Simmons back in 2015 and he has been nothing but a highlight reel since. Apart from being a wizard at shortstop, Simmons also put it together at the plate in 2017. He became an all-around threat as he hit 14 home runs and 38 doubles while averaging .278. He slowed down to end the season, but if he can play the entire season like he did in the first half of 2017, Simmons will be a serious MVP candidate.
Second base was a sad story for the Angels last season. Danny Espinosa did not last long before being optioned then released. Kaleb Cowart got off to a blazing start after earning the starting job, but cooled down dramatically shortly after. The Halos traded for Brandon Phillips at the deadline, but he hit just .255 during his time in Anaheim.
Now, the Halos have Ian Kinsler. The long-time rival of the Halos has finally joined the team in pursuit of a playoff berth. Stuck on the rebuilding Tigers, he waived his no-trade clause (which originally included the Halos) and came to the West Coast in search of a bounce back year, which is exactly what the Angels are betting on.
At 35 years old, Kinsler hit .236 last season in Detroit. However, he has always played better throughout his career when playing in the AL West, and especially in Anaheim.
Kinsler and Simmons both have good odds of improving off their 2017 seasons. While they’re at very different stages in their career, with Simmons entering his prime and Kinsler on the tail-end of his career, they are both equally vital for the Angels playoff hopes in 2018.