LA Angels Spring Training Recap: Angels 10, Giants 3
By Ryan Falla
Was this a LA Angels game or an Inland Empire 66ers game? With names like Brandon Marsh, Jo Adell, and Luis Rengifo you would think this was a 2018 MiLB game with the Angels Class A Advanced affiliate. Instead what we saw was a glimpse into the Angels future, and it was a very bright look indeed.
Could the LA Angels have kicked off the 2019 baseball season on a stronger foot? Not only did they show off the stars of the Angels future, they did so in grand fashion. The grandest fashion to be exact. Taylor Ward continued his 2018 success with a grand slam in his first at-bat, and if that’s a sign of things to come then this will be a very good season indeed. Today was a display of youth as we saw a parade of top prospects and deep organizational talent contribute greatly to this lopsided victory.
Angels 10, Giants 3
Winning Pitcher: Dillon Peters (LHP) – 2.0 IP, 1 Hit, 1 K
Losing Pitcher: Chris Stratton (RHP)- 1.0 IP, 2 Hits, 2 Runs, 1 BB, 1 K
The Angels nabbed the winning pitcher in this game, Dillon Peters, earlier this offseason in a trade that sent Angels prospect Tyler Stevens to the Marlins for Peters. There was a lot of wonder at exactly what Peters could do given his MLB track record of a 6.10 ERA in 59.0 IP across two seasons. Although he’s had a rough go of it in the MLB he is still just 26 years of age and the Angels clearly feel they can push him in the right direction.
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Today was a very good showing for Peters as he looked in control of the game through the first two innings of the game. The only thing more encouraging than this solid appearance by Peters was the Angels offense coming out of the gate strong. Young stars like Matt Thaiss and Taylor Ward brought big offense to the game with Thaiss hitting a 2 RBI double in the 1st while Ward made magic with a 4th inning grand slam. There was a lot of talk last season regarding Taylor Wards offensive potential and burgeoning power, then lo and behold he kills a pitch for a grand slam in his first real at-bat of 2019.
We couldn’t have asked for a better opening for the young kids.
Taylor Ward, as we noted earlier, came away with a huge grand slam that put the Angels up 7-0 in the 4th inning and kept them cruising the rest of the day. Ward saw 135 AB’s at the Major League level last season, and though he only came away with a .178 BA he showed more than enough talent to warrant growing confidence in his abilities. If Ward can lock into the approach he showed today then we can very well expect him to become a key hitter in the Angels 2019 lineup.
Jo Adell, the Angels Top Prospect and future All-Star outfielder, saw two at-bats which ended in outs both time. His first at-bat was very encouraging, despite hitting into a double-play Adell was in control of the strike-zone, taking his at-bat all the way to 3-1 before swinging at a pitchers pitch and grounding into a DP. He didn’t see as many pitches in his 2nd at-bat, though Jo Adell is a quick adjuster and will settle into a more patient approach at the Spring trails on.
Matt Thaiss, the young 1B prospect, who is noted for his consistent contact ability, came away with two hits in this contest. The first being a 1st inning double that put the Angels up 2-0 and the second being a little shooter up the right side of the infield. Matt Thaiss has slowly develop past expectations and is looking more like a J.T Snow than a James Loney. Will he contribute in 2019? That depends on the health/performance of Pujols/Bour, if either player fails to perform we’ll be seeing a lot of Thaiss in 2019
Peter Bourjos made his grand return to his original organization with two hits and an RBI. He looked as locked in as could be, which is a great sign for the Angels organization and fans alike as he can provide much-needed outfield depth. His offense has always been on the low-end of the MLB spectrum, but if he can return to just a semblance of offensive form he will make a truly dangerous weapon off the bench.
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Jared Walsh came into the game as a defensive replacement at 1B and took the opportunity to show off his skills at the plate, collecting one hit while also taking a walk. It was a solid showing for Walsh as he looked in control of his at-bats despite an errant swing or two. The most encouraging note was the amount of pitches he saw in each at-bat, if Walsh can consistently work pitchers for deep at-bats there will be no end to the success he can bring the Angels.
Greg Mahle, the 25-year-old left-handed pitcher, had a great day on the mound as he struck out 2 in 2.0 innings of work. He hasn’t had the most Major League success, but with the grit and determination he showed today there might just be a spot in the bullpen for him. We’ll have to see a great deal of consistency from him this Spring, but if we do there’s a solid chance he’ll end up in the big league ‘pen.
The Angels will return to your TV’s tomorrow for two Spring contests; one 12:15 PM PT against the Cincinnati Reds on Fox Sports West as well as a contest against the Los Angeles Dodgers at 12:05 on SNLA.