The Los Angeles Angels play their first Spring Training game at 12:10 PST and 1:10 MST today against the Seattle Mariners. Tucker Davidson will be on the mound. The lineup doesn't include the likes of Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, Taylor Ward, or Anthony Rendon, but it does include many important pieces to the 2023 Angels. It also includes players who are fighting for spots either now or in the future.
This is a fun and exciting group the Angels have for their first game, let's take a look at it.
First LA Angels starting lineup of spring will give players an early chance to prove themselves
Not a single one of the nine players in this lineup has a guaranteed starting spot on the 2023 Angels. We know players like David Fletcher, Luis Rengifo, Gio Urshela, and Brett Phillips will make the team, but how much will they play? Those guys are all infielders and will be competing with Anthony Rendon, Jared Walsh, and Brandon Drury for playing time.
Matt Thaiss is out to try and make the roster in what could be his final spring with the Angels. Thaiss is out of options and if he doesn't outplay Logan O'Hoppe, he'll likely be DFA'd and could find himself in another organization. Regardless, if he doesn't make the team, he's going on waivers.
Jo Adell and Mickey Moniak are both out to prove that they've improved over the offseason. Adell in particular reported in phenomenal shape, let's see if it translates to the field. Both Adell and Moniak will likely begin the year in AAA but with a good performance in the spring, who knows what could happen? They're one injury away from being called back up and with the team. Whoever performs better between the two will likely get that call first.
Can Brett Phillips hit any better than he did last season? It's hard to be much worse, but the Angels will need him to be at the very least a below-average hitter instead of a dreadful one to justify rostering him. Hopefully the work he put in with new Angels coach Trent Woodward worked for him.
When the starters come out, we'll get to see some fun players replace them. Zach Neto has his first chance to impress Angels fans when he replaces Fletcher at shortstop. Michael Stefanic can try and force his way into the conversation of making the team despite all of the infielders the Angels have. Even Luis Barrera can try and make the conversation for a fourth outfielder spot a little interesting.
This Angels lineup is nothing like the one we'll see in the regular season, but it's a fun one with a lot of intrigue. Players are out to prove themselves, so why not bunch them all up in the same lineup. It should be a fun one.