Breaking down the LA Angels 40-man roster: Who should stay and who should go?

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim strikes out swinging as catcher Beau Taylor #46 of the Oakland Athletics looks for the ball during the sixth inning of the MLB game at Angel Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Anaheim, California. Ohtani struck out swinging. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim strikes out swinging as catcher Beau Taylor #46 of the Oakland Athletics looks for the ball during the sixth inning of the MLB game at Angel Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Anaheim, California. Ohtani struck out swinging. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) /
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LA Angels reliever
LA Angels reliever /

Cam Bedrosian – 

Cam Bedrosian has been much-improved in 2019 and has given himself a good hence to remain in the Angels bullpen in 2020. Bedrosian has pitched as a middle reliever, an opener and a set-up man and flourished in all of the roles for most of the season.

Bedrosian has gone 3-3 with a 3.23 ERA with a 1.14 WHIP.  He has 64 strikeouts in 61.1 innings of work with opponents hitting .207 against him.  He does have one save as well.

Keynan Middleton – 

Keynan Middleton could fall into the no-brainer category if it weren’t for his injury recovery.  He has now made it back to the majors after a 16-month lay off following Tommy John surgery.  If Middleton is healthy he should be on the Angels roster for 2020 possibly even as a closer over Hansel Robles.

In limited action Middleton has (2.2 innings) Middleton has a 0.00 ERA with a 1.50 WHIP with opponents hitting just .125 against him.  If he be close to this effective in 2020 he will be a mainstay in the back-end of the Angels bullpen.

Brian Goodwin – 

Brian Goodwin should be a member of the 2020 team as he has been effective anywhere the Angels have played him.  He could end up as the starting right fielder to start the season if Kole Calhoun is allowed to walk.  If not he will most likely be the fourth outfielder again.

So far this season Goodwin has hit .286 with 15 homers and he has driven in 43 runs with five stolen bases with a .346 OBP.  He has played well in all the outfield spots mainly as a fill-in for Justin Upton while he was injured the first three months of the season. He seems to come up with some big hits even off the bench like on Friday night when he had a pinch-hit 2-run homer to tie the game.

Justin Anderson

Justin Anderson is a hard-throwing right-handed reliever who an touch 99 MPH on the radar gun, then beat you with a nasty 88-90 MPH slider.  Anderson’s biggest problem is himself and not trusting his stuff.  In 96.2 career innings in the majors he has 67 walks which is very high.  He has also struck out 123 batters which shows you his stuff is there and he has only given up eight homers (1 per every 12 innings pitched), but an ERA of 4.47 in his career is much higher than desire.

Anderson is still a relatively young pitcher so he could come around and with the stuff he has the Angels will be patient with him for now.  The only chance he doesn’t make the opening day roster is injury or a disastrous Spring Training which is possible, but most likely you will see #38 on the Angels opening day roster.

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Noe Ramirez

Noe Ramirez has had an up and down season, but as a whole he has been a decently effective bullpen arm.  In 58.2 innings of work as both an opener and a reliever Ramirez is 4-3 with a 4.30 ERA.  He has 69 strikeouts and only 19 walks is close to a 4 to 1 ratio which is excellent.  His issue is giving up nine homers which is (one per six innings) which is a high rate.

Ramirez’s versatility and competitiveness is what makes him valuable. Being that he was a waiver wire pick-up two years ago from Boston, any value you can get out of Ramirez is a bonus.  He will most likely be a part of the Angels bullpen in 2020 unless he just tanks in Spring Training next season.

Luis Rengifo

Luis Rengifo has done a very good job since being pressed into service when both Tommy La Stella and Zack Cozart went down.  He is one of the Angels top prospects due to his many tools.  Rengifo can play second and short very well defensively.  On offense Rengifo has some pop with seven home runs which if he played the whole season would he would have around 15 homers, not bad for a middle infielder.

Rengifo also has good speed even though his stolen base numbers (1) don’t show it, he can steal some bases as evidenced by his 130 swipes in four years in the minors. Give him some time to develop and he will be a very good middle infielder.

The only thing stopping him from being on the Angels roster to start the season is a logjam in the infield.  David Fletcher and Tommy La Stella are also fighting for the second base spot. Both Fletcher and La Stella can play third as well which could make it easier for Rengifo to make the roster next Spring especially if Zack Cozart is not ready come Opening Day.

Felix Pena – 

Felix Pena has tremendous stuff which he shows it from time-to-time. However, an injury derailed his 2019 season, but he should be recovered in time for the 2020 season.  The question with Felix Pena will he be in the starting rotation or end up in the Angels bullpen.

This season he pitched in 22 games going 8-3 with a 4.58 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. He had 101 strikeouts in 96.1 innings and a .219 opponents batting average. Pena was part of the special night honoring the late Tyler Skaggs when he and Taylor Cole combined for a no-hitter by pitching seven hitless innings allowing only one walk.

Pena started his career as a reliever, but the Angels converted him to a starter in 2018.  However, depending on who the Angels acquire in the off-season will determine Pena’s role in 2020 assuming he makes a full recovery. However, the Angels will almost assuredly keep Pena at least for the 2020 season to see how he bounces back from his injury.

Kevan Smith

Kevan Smith is a decent offensive catcher, but terrible defensively.  Smith however has not had a great offensive season hitting .230 with four homers and 14 RBIs.  He is a decent back-up catcher and is probably the best of the bunch of catcher right now.  I’m not a big fan of Smith, but I think the Angels will keep him over Anthony Bemboom and Max Stassi.

Things could change if the Angels pursue a front-line catcher or even a catcher like Martin Maldonado who is coincidentally available via free agency.  We will have to wait and see.

Matt Thaiss

I think Matt Thaiss, despite his sub .200 batting average is ready for the majors.  Where the Angels will use him 2020 is undecided.  He will most likely platoon with Albert Pujols at first base and also play some third base and maybe DH.

Defensively at first base Thaiss is strong, but no so much at third base.  Thaiss is hitting .184 with six homers and driving in 19 runs. Thaiss may have been promoted a little too soon but there was a need at the time.

The Angels will most likely ride with Thaiss as the season starts.  although the numbers game in the infield may push him out to the minors if he does not start to hit.

Patrick Sandoval

Although he is not totally tearing it up in the majors for the Angels Patrick Sandoval has still shown enough in the past month.  Patrick Sandoval has made seven starts going 0-3 with a 5.28 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP.  Sandoval has struck out 34 strikeouts in 29.1 innings of work with 13 walks and a .259 opponents batting average.

Sandoval will most likely make the 2020 Opening Day roster either as a starter or as a reliever as he has shown enough promise to do that.  Depending on what the Angels do in the off-season will go a long in determining what the Angels will do in the 2020 season.