We're officially one week before Opening Day. It's been way too long since we've seen Los Angeles Angels games that count, and I couldn't be more excited for Taylor Ward to step into the box for the first at-bat of the season in Oakland.
With another week left before Opening Day, there're still some competitions that need to be decided on. Who will nab the other catcher spot alongside Max Stassi? Who grabs the last reliever spot? Who's the sixth starter? Who's the starting shortstop? Most of the roster is set, but those are four glaring questions that need answers.
Opening Day rosters are very hard to predict, and this Angels roster in particular is very deep with a lot of viable options. Without further adieu, let's give this a shot.
Angels 2023 Opening Day roster predictions: Two-way players (1)
Shohei Ohtani is returning from an MVP performance at the WBC. He struck out Mike Trout to end it, and is set to compete for another AL MVP award. He's going to pitch a minor league game tomorrow and will take the ball on Opening Day.
Angels 2023 Opening Day roster predictions: Starting pitchers (5+Ohtani)
Patrick Sandoval, Tyler Anderson, Reid Detmers, Jose Suarez, Tucker Davidson
The first five starters have been solidified all spring. We now have what is likely going to be the order. Shohei Ohtani is starting on Opening Day followed by Patrick Sandoval and Tyler Anderson who will make his Angels debut to finish the series in Oakland. Reid Detmers opens a crucial series in Seattle followed by Jose Suarez and then Shohei Ohtani again, as Sandoval preps for the Home Opener.
Yes, this means the sixth starter won't start a game the first turn through the rotation. I do expect him to make that first start during the first homestand of the year, however. The man for that job I still believe is Tucker Davidson.
The southpaw is coming off of his first rough start of the spring, but the numbers were a bit inflated due to a runner reaching on a wild pitch strikeout which extended the inning. Regardless, it wasn't a great start for Davidson who will hopefully get back on track on Sunday at Dodger Stadium.
Davidson has looked much better this spring than he did as an Angel to finish off the 2022 campaign. He's walked just three batters in 13 innings pitched to go along with 19 strikeouts. That'll work. He has not given up a single home run in his five starts, another encouraging sign.
14 hits in 13 innings pitched isn't ideal, but eight of them came in that aforementioned last start. For the most part, he's been really, really good.
Davidson being out of options is the biggest reason why he'll make the team. Griffin Canning can be sent down and be insurance if there's an injury or if Davidson struggles. Losing an arm like this who has looked good for the most part to roster a guy who hasn't pitched in a MLB game since July of 2021 isn't the best decision. Start the year with Davidson, and if he struggles then DFA him.