Can this non-roster invitee make the Angels Opening Day roster?
The Los Angeles Angels made a slew of minor league free agent signings this offseason to try and help with the serious depth issues the Halos have had in recent years. Some of these signings like Taylor Jones, Kevin Padlo, and Jacob Webb had really nice springs. Others did not and were released.
One non-roster invitee the Angels have had with them in Spring Training this season is Jake Lamb. The former all-star has slashed .333/.415/.611 with two home runs and nine RBI in 36 at-bats.
In the Angels most recent set of roster cuts, the Angels sent players down who were performing well in the spring like Mickey Moniak, Ben Joyce, and the aforementioned Webb. Interestingly enough, Lamb was not among those cuts and remains in big league camp. Can he crack the Opening Day roster?
Jake Lamb's path to an Angels Opening Day roster spot is difficult to see
Jake Lamb has performed well this spring with a 1.026 OPS in 15 games. He's primarily a first baseman now but has played a lot of third base in his career and has experience in both corner outfield spots. Lamb's versatility is likely a big reason he's still here.
The issue with Lamb is he's a left-handed hitter who fares much better against righties. He has a .795 OPS against right-handers in his career. That number falls to .591 against lefties.
The reason why this is an issue is the Angels current first baseman is Jared Walsh, another left-handed hitter who crushes righties but is a non-factor against southpaws. So the question is, where does Lamb play?
The DH spot is taken by Ohtani. Third base is primarily Anthony Rendon's spot, and when he's on the bench the Angels have players like Gio Urshela, Brandon Drury, Luis Rengifo, and David Fletcher as capable fill-ins. Despite Lamb's good spring, he's not close to their levels considering Lamb has done nothing at the MLB level since 2017.
The fact that Lamb is still with the team is a bit confusing considering he'd be so low on the depth chart. Even someone like Brett Phillips can come in and play elite defense with great pinch-running ability, Lamb does neither of those things.
The veteran would be nice insurance if a player went down with an injury, but his chances at an Opening Day roster spot feel very slim to me. It's hard to envision a great fit, especially for a guy who isn't on the 40-man roster.