We have a LA Angels two-way player alert! Jared Walsh, the big-hitting left-handed first baseman, came into the 8th to pitch a perfect inning! Walsh has been touted by Eppler as a guy he really thinks could pitch his way into a bullpen role, so to see Walsh perform so well in his first appearance is a fantastic sign of things to come.
Yes, the LA Angels lost to the Rangers, but that doesn’t matter because there was so much to be excited about in this game. That’s what Spring Training is about, getting excited for the possibilities that lie ahead.
On that note it looks like Jared Walsh is becoming more than just a simple possibility each and every day. Spring Training is about finding the bright spots and taking that into the season and if Walsh can continue being the bright spot that he is there’s no doubt he’s MLB bound.
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Walsh wasn’t the only young pitcher to flatter in today’s contest; last years rookie breakout reliever Justin Anderson appeared for one inning of work and cruised through it with one strikeout.
His command was tight on the mound with breaking pitches, including a slider, that were very on point. He’s another big bright spot that we have the luxury of knowing can actually perform at the big league level.
I don’t know about you guys, but this is the brightest looking Spring Training I’ve ever seen for this team.
Angels 6, Rangers 10
Winning Pitcher: Drew Smyly (LHP): 1.0 IP, 0 Hits, 0 Runs
Losing Pitcher: Tyler Skaggs (LHP): 1.2 IP, 2 Hits, 4 Runs, 2 Walks, 4 K’s, 2 HR’s
Tyler Skaggs couldn’t get out of the second inning after giving up two home runs and walking two batters. That’s not the most encouraging thing, however he did come away with 4 K’s early in the game and looked good up until that second inning. It’s really a matter of what you value more, the positive outcomes or the negative results.
Given that it’s Spring Training you can’t get too caught up in pitchers making mistakes. I prefer to see that Skaggs came away with 4 good looking strikeouts and I’m looking forward to seeing how he builds up on that. It’s always easier to build upon the positives than to try and erase the negatives.
We learned earlier in the Spring that Skaggs was learning a lot from new Angels pitching coach Doug White. In fact Skaggs said that he’s learned more in one session with his new pitching coach than he had his whole previous career with the Angels. That says a lot, both that the Angels we’re stuck in fossilized ways (Scioscia) and that the new coaching staff is pushing to take the team into the future.
Doug White came to the Angels from the Astros system, in fact he was their bullpen coach in 2018 and we’ve already seen exactly how far ahead in the future the Astros are with their coaching and developmental ways. Given that the Angels have a ton of fresh youth that is still unlearned these steps taken towards a stronger developmental/coaching program couldn’t have come at a better time. Just look at how the relievers have been pitching as of late.
Thing’s might be looking up in a huge way for the Angels pitching staff.
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Jared Walsh is the biggest stand out of the game simply because of how unknown his talents were and how strong his debut performance was. Walsh had a clean 8th inning with only 13 pitches thrown. You could tell that he was still looking for the right release point as he missed high and low a few times, but other than that he was on top of his at-bats.
His fastball zipped very hard for a 92mph pitch, the ball was fierce coming out of his hand. A couple times he had the hitter swinging silly at pitches off the zone and a few other times he just blew his fastball past hitters. Walsh clearly has the stuff to compete as a relief option going into the season and with his two-way status as a power-hitting, defensively gifted 1st baseman, we might be seeing a under-the-radar team MVP coming up this season.
Justin Anderson is another pitcher that looked ahead of the timetable. Steady control is the first thing you look for in Spring Training, it doesn’t have to be there 100% but you do need to see that there is a strong sense of command. Anderson showed that off today and likewise showed everyone how ready this bullpen is for the season to come.
There are a lot of things you can’t predict in baseball; injuries, freak slumps, slow starts, but the only thing you can predict is readiness. A lot of pitchers are showing themselves very ready for the 2019 season and after today you can add Justin Anderson to that list.
Dustin Garneau is the offensive hero of this game, in fact he was almost the sole RBI contributer until the Angels pulled together two more runs in the 9th. Garneau came to the Angels on a minor-league deal after seeing only three MLB Plate Appearances with the White Sox in 2018 and is being looked at as a depth options.
It’s still great to see players making noise for themselves and Garneau made big noise today with a Grand Slam. A pinch hit slam nonetheless. I should also mention he was pinching for Mike Trout. If he can provide value with his bat off the bench I can see him getting some looks in 2019 as a legitimate depth option.
The Angels will return for another Spring exhibition tomorrow against the Royals. Gametime is at 12:05 PM PT and you can catch the game on Fox Sports West.