LA Angels 2021 spring training guide: best infield in the league?
By Brad Senecal
Angels Non-Roster Infielders (Highest Level Player Statistics):
- Phil Gosselin (MLB, 8 seasons): 749 PA .261/.314/.361 10 HR 54 RBI
- Jeremiah Jackson (Rk, 2 seasons): 482 PA .261/.326/.559 30 HR 83 RBI
- Jose Rojas (AAA, 2 seasons): 651 PA .284/.347/.539 31 HR 113 RBI
- Livan Soto (A, 1 season): 282 PA .220/.311/.253 1 HR 20 RBI
- Kean Wong
- (MLB, 1 season): 18 PA .167/.167/.167 0 HR 0 RBI
- (AAA, , 3 seasons): 1425 PA .286/.350/.413 24 HR 157 RBI
The five non-roster invitees provide a mixed bag of experience and intrigue looking to get roster spots. While only one player has a breath of Major League experience, the rest of the group provides promise looking towards the future.
Phil Gosselin is the most experienced of the group, as the 32-year old has played parts of eight seasons in the majors between six teams. Gosselin has proven his versatility with extended playing time at six different positions, a trait Joe Maddon appreciates in a player. While he he’s played more than 46 games one time in his career, 122 games in 2016, Gosselin has shown enough with his bat and versatility that he could warrant a look for a potential bench spot.
The Angels brought back a familiar face this offseason in Kean Wong to a minor league deal. After a brief stint with the Rays, Wong was brought in towards the end of the 2019 season, where he played one game and went hitless in four at-bats. While there is a minimal track record, Wong has shown that he can hit during his three years of triple-A ball, making him a potential value as minor league depth this upcoming season.
Angels: Keep an eye on the young NRI players as promise and potential are relevant within this group.
One of the players that many fans will be looking forward to seeing will be Jeremiah Jackson, the Angles No.4 prospect, according to MLB.com. Jackson represents the future or potential trade chip, hoping that losing a minor league season due to the COVID pandemic will not negatively affect the soon-to-be 21-year old.
As a second-round selection in 2018, Jackson found a power stroke in 2019, hitting 23 home runs in 65 games. While some see him eventually transitioning to second base, he will continue to be an exciting player to keep an eye on, with Jose Iglesias becoming a free agent after this year.
Livan Soto is another name that most Angels fans remember. Soto was a signing from the Atlanta Braves, who were forced to release him for violating the league’s policy on signing International Free Agents. Soto is currently ranked as the Angles No.18 prospect. The 20-year old infielder is coming off a tough 2019 where he only hit .220 when he hit A ball but has continued to progress as a fielder.
Jose Rojas has become somewhat of a cult hero over the past few seasons as there have been times where Angels fans have wished the team would call him up at some point. Looking at his numbers in triple-A, you can understand why. Rojas crushed the ball in 2019, batting .293 to go along with 31 home runs and 107 RBI. Rojas also put in time at first, second, third base, and the outfield.
While never a top prospect throughout his minor league career, Rojas could see time if he can continue his production as a hitter while providing the defensive versatility that Joe Maddon loves.