The competition to see who mans the middle infield remains a question for the LA Angels, and so far it's tough to really see who the team wants to stick with. Joe Maddon just announced that David Fletcher will be starting at shortstop come Opening Day, so at least we know the first half of the middle infield picture now.
That still leaves us with the question of second base and so far, almost every player that can play that position has been performing well this spring. While the team has only a few days left to make a decision on what they want to do, there needs to be a serious conversation about these two players.
Matt Duffy needs to be the main guy for the LA Angels.
You just don't sign a guy to a one-year, $1.5 million deal if you're not really considering him making the team, and Matt Duffy is leading the way right now for the LA Angels. He had a decent 2021 which saw him having an OPS+ of 100, 1.5 fWAR (Wins Above Replacement), and a 2 DRS last season (Defensive Runs Saved). He also can play multiple positions which makes him a little more valuable and he's the more consistent hitter with a .287 batting average.
Tyler Wade needs to be the backup guy for the LA Angels.
With Duffy starting at second base for the LA Angels, that leaves Tyler Wade as the backup, which isn't a bad thing considering he has a ton of speed and can play almost everywhere. Acquired by trade from the Yankees, Wade had an OPS+ of 90, 0.9 fWAR, and -4 DRS at short in 2021. The knock on him is going to be his defense, but if Duffy is the main guy already, you're not going to see Wade manning the position a whole lot to make you worry about it.
Jack Mayfield is the odd man out for the LA Angels.
With Duffy starting and Wade as backup, that leaves Jack Mayfield getting cut even though he did an adequate job playing for the LA Angels last season. He had a 78 OPS+, 0.6 fWAR, and -2 DRS at shortstop for the Mariners and Halos in 2021--which is better than Wade. But the lack of offense is what really brings him down. If Duffy is your starting guy and Wade isn't going to see that much time fielding anyways, then Mayfield might have to be the odd man out. It was noted that he does have a minor league option, so he can find his way back with the big league club should something happen.
The competition at middle infield is really heating up as the team gets ready for Opening Day and the coaching staff is going to have to make some tough decisions. They've already cut Andrew Velazquez and Luis Rengifo, so it makes their job a little easier. But all of these guys have shown how they can help the big league club and that's something you have to admire when making these decisions.