Don’t look now Angel fans the LA Angels are in first place. Before you get too excited you must realize this is only Spring Training. However, it’s still nice to see the team looking good along with many key players.
The LA Angels and new manager Brad Ausmus are trying to put together a team that will be competitive and possibly get the Angels back to the playoffs. Although Spring Training success does not equate to regular season success, but it still is good to see especially after a tough end to the 2018 season.
Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Kole Calhoun have had good success so far in the 2019 Spring Training. Many of the Angel pitchers are actually doing really well, too. Especially the pitchers at the 4th and 5th starter spots as well as many of the Angel relievers.
The Angels are 9-3 so far and lead the Cactus League by a one-and-a-half game over San Diego. The Padres are another team that is trying to build team chemistry and gain some momentum going into the 2019 season.
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The Angels have had plenty of offense in the first 11 games. In seven of the 11 games the Angels have scored nine or more runs and are averaging 8.9 runs per game. Kole Calhoun is hitting .400 with a homer and three RBIs. Mike Trout has hit two home runs with six RBIs and is hitting .357. Albert Pujols is also off to a good start showing his injuries are hopefully behind him hitting .583 with a homer and an RBI. New catcher Jonathan Lucroy is also looking good so far hitting .364 in 11 at-bats.
Not all the Angel hitters have had as much success as Andrelton Simmons is only hitting .182 and Justin Bour is only hitting .143 in limited at-bats. David Fletcher who is the incumbent for the second base job is hitting a paltry .077 with only one hit in 13 at-bats.
Justin Upton also has not played a game yet due to tendinitis in his knee. Zack Cozart who is hitting .429, but has also been diagnosed with a grade 1 calf strain in his left calf and will likely miss at least two weeks and will possibly start the season on the DL.
With Fletcher not hitting well and Cozart injured, it opens a window of opportunity for Taylor Ward at third base and Luis Rengifo at second base. Both Ward and Rengifo are playing well so far and you could see one or both of them make the Angels Opening Day roster. Rengifo going into Wednesday was batting .273 with three RBIs and one stolen base and played good defense as well.
Taylor Ward is batting .375 with a homer and four RBIs and he has not made an error all Spring so far which is even more important. For Ward this is big after struggling defensively last summer. Rengifo also has not made an error all Spring. If Ward continues he may find himself as the Opening Day third baseman and Rengifo could find himself on the Opening Day roster as well.
On the pitching side Cody Allen and Justin Anderson whoshould anchor the back end of the bullpen have looked very good and have both not given up a run all Spring. Daniel Hudson and Dan Jennings have also looked good so far. As for starters Jaime Barria has looked very good as has Dillon Peters and Felix Pena. Pena has yet to give up a run in 5.2 innings of work. Peters has only given up one run in six innings of work and Barria has a 3.60 ERA giving up two runs in five innings.
The top of the rotation has pitched well this week after a slow start to the Spring. Matt Harvey appeared in his first “A” game of the Spring gave up only one run in three innings of work Wednesday. Trevor Cahill and Tyler Skaggs also had strong outings this week. Skaggs got the win Tuesday pitching three innings giving up only one run and striking out four batters. Cahill gave up two runs in 3.2 innings and struck out three batters on Monday.
The Angels do have an injury in the starting rotation as Andrew Heaney has been put on a hold from throwing due to left elbow inflamation, although it is not thought to be serious. Overall things are going well right now, hopefully it will continue and springboard the Angels into the 2019 season.
We will see what happens in the upcoming weeks and see who wins the position battles.