La Angels Spring Training Roundup (3/3/18)

TEMPE, AZ - FEBRUARY 24: Mike Trout
TEMPE, AZ - FEBRUARY 24: Mike Trout /

This recent week in Spring Training has seen the Angels, among most other teams, begin to field their starters in Spring Training lineups. This past week we’ve seen a lot of Ohtani, we’ve seen Mike Trout back in action, we’ve even got to see surprise breakout performances from players such as Rene Rivera and David Fletcher. One full week into Spring Training and we’ve already been treated to an entertaining Angels team.

This past week with the LA Angels has been a treat; Shohei Ohtani made an incredible offensive debut Monday against the Padres, getting on base three times on two walks and a hit, which also went for an RBI. Though we only saw Ohtani hit twice this week, his second effort at the plate was nullified by Colorado Rockies pitching. Still, seeing such a praised power hitter pull together multiple walks and display a high-end batting eye, going so far as to take a 0-2 count to a walk, is beyond encouraging.

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Even better was Ohtani’s second pitching effort, this time during a B-squad game against the Brewers, one which saw him collect a total of eight strikeouts on twelve total batters faced. That is ridiculous for a 2 2/3 inning, 52 pitch affair. Oh, and he also walked no hitters in that affair. Hows that for improvement from his first showing?

His stat line against the Cubs was reflective of this, 2 K’s in 3 IP while giving up a walk and a hit. Even more reflective of this nature is the way Garrett Richards has been taking to the mound this spring; like a bulldog with an intense competitive flair, much like a fusion of John Lackey and Jered Weaver. It’s been almost half a decade since I’ve seen an Angels team this enjoyable.

Keynan Middleton has shown solid consistency this week, pitching 2 innings while giving up one walk in two games. Noe Ramirez has continued his under-the-radar domination, giving up two hits across 2 IP (in two games) while striking out two. John Lamb had an appearance against the Cubs Friday, pitching 2 innings while giving up one hit across two strikeouts.

Wrapping up the pitching performances, Matt Shoemaker gave up 3 hits in his Tuesday start against the Rockies across 2.1 IP while striking out one on a single earned run. Andrew Heaney put up a similarly encouraging start with 2 IP of two hit, no run ball. Last but not least, Nick Tropeano and J.C Ramirez shared 2 IP of scoreless baseball each during the offensive-powerhouse showing against the Giants on Thursday.

Regarding the Giants game, which ended with eleven total runs plated by the Angels, we saw a lot of offense from plenty of different Angels. David Fletcher, a competing backup infielder, finished the day with two hits and two runs, along with a walk, against the Giants during a week which saw him collect 6 hits, 2 RBIs 4 runs, and 2 BB’s across 8 AB’s.

It’s been a good week at the plate for Fletcher and many other Angels, with notable regulars such as Kole Calhoun  (4-for-4 with an RBI), Zack Cozart (1-for-2 with 2 runs and a walk).

Three players you have to keep your eyes on would be Rymer Liriano, Michael Hermosillo, and Rene Rivera. Rivera for more obvious reasons, offering the Angels strong offense from the catching spot, with his weekly performance of two hits in four AB’s while collecting two runs and a RBI.

Martin Maldonado is an exceptional defender, and with a supporting bat in Rene Rivera, there is a world of success out there for the tandem, should both claim the catching splits going into the regular season.

Speaking of Rymer Liriano, although his week has been somewhat acceptable ( 2-for-9 with 2 runs and one RBI), Liriano is getting a ton of looks. He’s appeared in 4 out of 5 games this week, although Michael Hermosillo saw more time with 10 AB’s in 4 games he’s put up an equally halfway acceptable week with two hits, 1 RBI, and a single run. What sets these two players apart is two vastly different skill sets; Hermosillo commanding the outfield with his defensive prowess while bringing a raw-powered, contact-based batting approach to the squad.

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Meanwhile, Liriano offers great power potential while providing solid defense. Given that Eric Young Jr. will likely maintain the 4th outfielder spot, while maintaining a similar skill set to Hermosillo,  makes it seem as if Liriano would edge out Hermosillo for a roster spot come the end of Spring Training.

It’s been an exciting first week of Spring training; one which featured a cast of kids putting on offensive clinics, a once-in-a-millennia type player making his debut, and a former enemy turned ally.

This is going to be a fun season for Angels baseball.