Plenty of hype surrounded the Angels second Spring Training outing this past Saturday; a game which featured the incredible hyped debut of Shohei Ohtani. In addition to the big debut from Ohtani were notable performances from many Angels up-and-comers. What level of confidence did the showings from players like Rymer Lirano or Michael Hermosillo bring to the club?
The LA Angels opened the Spring Training season with an electric weekend; not only did the Shohei Ohtani debut draw eyes from all over the country, but much of the supporting cast of Minor League up-and-comers put on showings worth discussing.
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First, we have to get the Ohtani debut out of the way. Yes, it was a mixed-bag showing in which Ohtani left in the 2nd inning with one out after throwing a total of 31 pitches. Ohtani was assaulted by Brewers Keon Broxton on a line drive bomb that tied up the game to 2-2. Ohtani may have been missing the strike zone frequently, but it was very clear this was simply a matter of being the first Spring Training game.
It seemed the pitching from competing squads improved come Sunday, a game which featured Angels ace-hurler Garrett Richards versus Brewers Bryan Mitchell. Richards wasn’t as sharp as Mitchell, as he gave up a bomb to catcher Austin Hedges to lead off the 2nd while Mitchell turned in a clean outing. However, Richards was far more electric in his outing, pulling in 3 K’s with only 1 BB; you could really see Richards going out on the mound with the intention to dominate. Very much a mentally fortifying game for the oft-injured ace.
On the offense side of things, Rymer Liriano, a competitor for a backup outfield spot, has shown a leveled-competency at the plate very early on. Over the weekend he has collected two hits and three walks in five at-bats. He could have had much more opportunity had he not been hit by pitches twice in Sundays outing against the Padres, a bit of a jarring and frustrating experience given his brutalizing injury two Spring Trainings ago with the White Sox, in which a hit-by-pitch did serious damage to Lirano and put him out for an entire year.
Michael Hermosillo showed a need for more development in his weekend outings, having up and down results. In four at-bats, Hermosillo pulled together a hit, a walk, and a strikeout; acceptable, yet his defense showed many kinks to be worked out. Hermosillo also had trouble with ball-tracking as he too was a victim of losing a fly ball. His defense seemed a half-step behind at times, regardless of that slight lull being from leisurely mental awareness or a learning curve it was too noticeable at times. Still, he had plenty of good showings at well, his strike-zone control and batters eye showing flashes of impressiveness. The tools are there for the young athlete, just a bit of experience is needed to bring it all together.
It’s only been a weekend into the Spring Training season and already we have a lot to note. Rymer Liriano is aching to earn his way into the big leagues, Hermosillo and Jones own worlds of potential, and Ohtani has the stuff to be a legitimate super-star.
This weekend was the best way to set the tone for the first full week of Angels Spring Training.