The LA Angels are hopeful that their off-season moves will equate to a much stronger line-up and an increased run production. The Angels are seeing a preview of coming attractions over the last few games.
The LA Angels got Ian Kinsler to lead-off and hopefully set the table for Mike Trout, Justin Upton, and Albert Pujols. They also signed Zack Cozart to round out the infield and hope that he will strengthen the back end of the line-up. The wild-card in all of this is Shohei Ohtani.
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The Japanese phenom is hoping to be the designated hitter in 80 to 90 games and if he pans out at the plate he could really bolster the line-up from the left-side of the plate. The rest of the line-up is starting to come around and hit.
Ian Kinsler hit his first home run of the season with a .381 batting average. Justin Upton hit his second homer of the Spring Sunday with nine runs batted in and a .292 batting average. Luis Valbuena also hit two homers with five runs batted in with .281 batting average.
Mike Trout hit his first homer of the Spring over the batter’s eye on Saturday and has raised his average from .125 to .238 with a homer and and four runs batted in. Kole Calhoun is on fire hitting .476 with five runs batted in. Zack Cozart is struggling a bit on the offensive side with a .217 batting average, but Cozart has been very versatile in the field playing both third base and shortstop in the absence of Andrelton Simmons who is day-to-day with a strained left shoulder.
Back-up catcher Rene Rivera, who the Angels also signed this off-season has done very well this Spring as well. Rivera is batting .391 with one homer and five runs batted in. Albert Pujols is starting to come around as he has raised his Spring average to .222 with six runs batted in.
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What’s even more encouraging is the starting pitching is looking pretty good especially Andrew Heaney who is 1-0 with a 1.08 ERA striking out 12 batters in 8.1 innings. Garrett Richards is also been great going 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP striking out 14 batters in 12.2 innings. Finally J.C. Ramirez is looking really good striking out 11 batters in 9.2 innings with a 3.72 ERA and a 0.52 WHIP.
Nick Tropeano, Shohei Ohtani, Tyler Skaggs, Parker Bridwell, and Matt Shoemaker have struggled, but have all had at least one solid outing this Spring. Three of the five are slated to be in the Angels potential six-man rotation. However, if they don’t come around the Angels could go back to a traditional five-man rotation, but Ohtani will be the key to this scenario.
The Angels are hoping for a special season in 2018 and they have the players to make that happen we will just have to see how it all pans out.