LA Angels News

With the start of the season upon us LA Angels still have questions.

By David Rice
SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 06: Shohei Ohtani
SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 06: Shohei Ohtani /
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The LA Angels are now four days away from their season opener in Oakland on Thursday.  Some questions regarding the roster are being answered by the moves the team is making, while others are not.

The biggest question over the last couple of weeks of Spring Training for the LA Angels was the fate of two-way player Shohei Ohtani.  Going into Spring Training most people thought he was a lock to make the roster and that Angels were going to accommodate him by going with a six-man pitching rotation.

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However, with Ohtani struggling both on the mound (0-1, 27.00 ERA) and at the plate (.107, 3 for 28) many people were wondering if a minor league stint might do Ohtani some good.  If this happened the Angels would probably scrap the six-man rotation.  Last week it was announced that Ohtani would be on the Major League roster when the team breaks camp on Wednesday, despite his struggles.

So with that being said multiple players saw their window of opportunity close.  Kaleb Cowart, David Fletcher, Nolan Fontana, Parker Bridwell, and Nick Tropeano were all optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake City last Friday.  This most likely gives the infield utility spot to either Jefry Marte who has had a great Spring or Chris Carter, both of whom have not yet found out their fate.

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Catcher Carlos Perez is still officially on the roster, but his chances of making the Opening Day roster are on life support with the emergence of back-up catcher Rene Rivera.  So this is how the infield will look on opening day.

1B – Luis Valbuena who can also play third.  2B- Ian Kinsler, SS Andrelton Simmons, 3B – Zack Cozart, C – Martin Maldonado.  DH/1B Albert Pujols and also Shohei Ohtani at DH.  

Infield Reserves – Jefry Marte (1B/3B) or Chris Carter (1B/DH), C – Rene Rivera

Outfielders – Justin Upton (LF), Mike Trout (CF), and Kole Calhoun (RF). 

Outfield Reserves – Jefry Marte (LF), and Chris Young (All three OF Spots).

Pitching is where things are starting to become clearer, but there are still some question marks.

The starting rotation looks to be as follows, but could change if Andrew Heaney is not able to go due to elbow inflammation.

P – Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs, Shohei Ohtani, Andrew Heaney, Matt Shoemaker, and J.C. Ramirez.  

If Heaney is unable to go look for Nick Tropeano to be recalled from Salt Lake City to fill the spot. If Shohei Ohtani continues to struggle you could see Tropeano take his place as well.

The bullpen is even murkier as there are only six spots up for grabs.  Four players are virtual locks.  Two spots are up for grabs.

Bullpen – Cam Bedrosian, Blake Parker, Jose Alvarez, Jim Johnson are all pretty much locks. 

Potential Relievers – Luke Bard, Noe Ramirez, Blake Wood, and Felix Pena are still on the roster.  Two will make the opening roster, while the other two will be sent to the minors or released. 

My bet is on Noe Ramirez, and Felix Pena mailing the team, but Angel manager Mike Scioscia has not made the final decision.

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As for bullpen roles that’s where things get interesting.  Scioscia has not committed to  anyone as the closer saying it will be a closer by committee.  Blake Parker and Cam Bedrosian look to get most of the opportunities at least early on, but Jim Johnson has the most closing experience with176 saves.

This also means the set-up role could be by committee as well with all three of these pitchers in the mix along with Kenyan Middleton.  Whoever does not get a set-up or closing role will most likely pitch in the 7th inning.  Jose Alvarez will fill the role of left-specialist and could be used in any of the last three innings depending on the match-ups.

Whoever makes the team of the other four pitchers will be the sixth inning/ long man spot.  Depending on their performance in the early part of the season some roles could change.

Next: Is Zack Cozart for real?

Hope this helps you know a little more about your Angels.  Fastenyour seat belt as the Angels 2018 season is about to takeoff.

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