The final week of the regular season is officially here. The 70-86 Los Angeles Angels won't be playing in the postseason for a ninth straight season, but there are still things to watch for the final week of the season.
The most important thing to pay attention to is how the young players play. Zach Neto, Logan O'Hoppe, and Nolan Schanuel are three rookies who have had excellent seasons looking to finish strong. Ben Joyce and Jose Soriano are two rookie relievers who have been great as well looking to prove they belong in big spots next season for the Angels.
There are also three players to watch who still have something to prove in the final week of the regular season.
1) LA Angels infielder Michael Stefanic still has something to prove in the final week of the season
For the first time this season, Michael Stefanic has been getting a consistent run of starts for the Angels. He had another great year for AAA Salt Lake, but has yet to prove himself at the MLB level.
He's been called up several times this season as the Angels have dealt with so many injuries, but he has yet to play consistently. The result of inconsistent plate appearances was Stefanic recording four hits in his first 27 MLB at-bats this season. One of those hits was the walk-off against the Yankees, but even that came as a pinch-hitter.
The 27-year-old has started five games in a row for the Angels and is proving he can hit at this level. He has eight hits in 18 at-bats since his recall last week, recording hits in each of his five starts. Stefanic has played both second base and third base and has made a couple of really fine plays defensively.
We ,know what Stefanic is at this point. He's not someone who will provide much power, but is a player who should get on base a ton and puts the ball in play at a high level. There can be some value there.
The tricky part of Stefanic's situation is there isn't a starting job for him available. The Angels have Anthony Rendon at third base (when healthy) and have Brandon Drury slotted in at second base. Stefanic doesn't really have the ability to play shortstop, but even that spot is taken as well. For now, he's really just playing to maintain his 40-man spot and fight for an Opening Day reserve role. Continuing to hit in the final week would go a long way for him achieving those two goals.