LA Angels Opening Day: Could this be the best lineup in baseball?
By Alfonso Cerna
No.4 Anthony Rendon-3B
You won’t find many 1-2 lineup combinations better than Trout and Anthony Rendon. During his first season in Anaheim Rendon got off to a slow start, yet he still posted a line of .286/.418/.497 with nine home runs and 31 RBI in 52 games. He was voted the best third baseman in baseball, and his league-leading numbers prove it. Batting a career .309 with runners in scoring position, look for Rendon to drive in plenty of runs this season in the cleanup spot.
LA Angels Opening Day: Justin Upton will be the most important hitter in the lineup.
No.5 Justin Upton-LF
Of all the projected starters, I believe Justin Upton will be the X-factor in this Angels lineup. When he’s on a roll, he can be one of the hottest hitters in baseball. Unfortunately, the Halos have seen the cold side of Upton’s streakiness for the past two seasons. Injuries have played a part in the struggles, but now it appears Upton is fully healthy and ready to go. In 45 plate appearances this spring, Upton is slashing .357/.400/.738 with four home runs and 10 RBI. He’s even got two stolen bases. If the Angels can get Upton to produce at a high-level along with the other big-names in this lineup, it’s going to be bad news for the rest of the league.
No.6 Albert Pujols-1B
Some people might expect Jared Walsh to be in this spot of the lineup while playing first base. He could be, and Walsh will get his share of starts throughout the season. However, given this could be the final season for future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols, I believe manager Joe Maddon will give him the nod on Opening Day. I also believe this based on his solid performances in spring training. In 48 at-bats, Pujols slashed .313/.365/.479 with one home run and six RBI. Don’t expect him to be the dominant slugger he was in the past, but he could still have some production left in the tank. If he struggles, we’ll start to see Walsh get regular playing time at first base.