LA Angels Spring Training Weekly Roundup (3/19/18)
By Ryan Falla
This third week of Spring Training for the LA Angels has brought plenty of new insights regarding the team individuals; some great and some disheartening. It’s time to unpack the last week in LA Angels Spring Training.
Did you know that Shohei Ohtani’s position on the Opening Day Roster is being openly discussed? The LA Angels have noted that Ohtani is no lock to make the Major League Roster, and given his performance this past week you can’t blame them.
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Given Ohtani’s performance with his last start, it seems it would be better for him to work at a level he can actually compete consistently against before attacking Major League talent. Ohtani may have had a career deciding start with his appearance against the Colorado Rockies, 1.1 IP of 7 hit, 7 ER baseball is what Ohtani brought to the field this past Friday.
It’s been rather unfortunate watching him skid across each and every start; usually Ohtani is able to show off some electric stuff, but this past Friday he was all hot-air. He put up a good 1st inning before utterly imploding/exploding simultaneously, in his 2nd inning of work Ohtani was batted around like a little league pitching machine.
Everything he threw, those hitters knew exactly what was coming; it really seemed like the opposing hitters were keyed in on his slider, its lofty break and often poor placement has allowed these hitters to tee off on Ohtani. All seven runs he allowed came in the 2nd inning and saw the Rockies enjoy a merry-go-round off Ohtani before he finally got a single out and was pulled from the game.
It’s not all bad, in some ways we are getting the Ohtani performance we all looked forward too. Except this time it came from Nick Tropeano. Against the Rangers this past Sunday, Tropeano put on an ace-of-all-aces level performance. Pitching 5.1 innings, Tropeano allowed no runs off nine strikeouts and two walks. Nick Tropeano is coming off an big injury from 2016, and added to that he has had three inconsistent, but decent years in the Majors.
Tropeano’s true talent level may be muddled a bit from lack of consistent work, yet showings like this are exceptional for both player and fan confidence. He may not level out as an ace on the mound, though his showings have been extremely encouraging this Spring, and if he did happen to reach a new plateau of performance it will come as no surprise.
On the other hand, Matt Shoemaker had a much-needed bounce back start of 7 K’s and 1 ER across 5.0 IP. Even if it’s coming together slowly, it’s still coming together.
Meanwhile, the Angels hitting situation looks as good as ever, even Albert Pujols is looking like he deserves the bat in his hands. The Angels 1st baseman saw 4 AB’s this week, pulling in a walk and two RBI’s on top of two hits in two appearances this week.
Regarding other notable Angels hitters:
Ian Kinsler came away with an encouraging week, even for an athlete as talented as Kinsler. In 10 AB’s this past week, Kinsler collected 3 hits, 4 runs, and 2 walks and an RBI. Kinsler’s ability to contribute all over the stat-board, especially from the lead-off spot, make him one of the more valuable hitters on the team. Despite the incredible hitting value this team carries with the likes of Trout and Upton, having Kinsler setting the table will bring a plethora of opportunities for success.
Mike Trout saw nine AB’s this past week while pulling together a stat line of 9 AB’s, 3 runs, two hits, and two walks. Not the most Mike Trout stat line, though it’s still very solid. Trout is swinging the bat healthily and that’s the most important factor.
It’s been an encouraging Spring Training so far, from both the developing talents and the mainstays. Of course is concern to be had regarding some factors, maybe a few spots less standard in concern than others, but it isn’t anything the Angels can’t grapple with.
Next: Did the Halos Miss Out on Jake Arrieta?
This current week is going to be huge for the Angels players, jobs will be earned, pink slips will be distributed soon; it’s coming close to “put up or go home” time, and currently there are a few Angels caught in the middle, “home” being the Minor Leagues.
Be sure to stay tuned and keep an eye on your favorite players this week! You might see some special things!