First Base –
Going into camp it looked to be a two-person race for the starting first base role, but the emergence of Matt Thaiss the Angels first round pick out of Virginia in 2016 made things interesting. Thaiss started hot batting over .500 for the first couple of weeks in the Spring. He also showed superb defense and was definitely pushing both Albert Pujols and Justin Bour.
Thaiss cooled off some as he is now hitting .333 with a home run and nine RBIs. While Bour’s batting average wasn’t stellar (.250) he did manage to hit four mammoth home runs and also driving in eight runs. What is most impressive is his .386 OBP courtesy of his eight walks which is one of the tops in the Spring.
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The incumbent at first is 39-year old Albert Pujols who is fresh off surgery during the off-season and looks good so far. In Pujols is hitting .350 (14-for-40) with three homers and six RBIs plus an OBP of .409. Hopefully it will carry into the 2019 season and Albert will bounce back nicely.
Most likely it will be a platoon situation with Pujols starting against lefties and some righties. Bour will start against most righties, but Shohei Ohtani when he returns will take some starts from both Pujols and Bour at DH. For now Pujols and Bour will alternate at DH and first base, although catcher Kevan Smith and even outfielder Peter Bourjos may get some opportunity at DH or even Justin Upton if he is not totally healthy.