60 players, 25 spots — welcome to Spring Training

That’s what the Angels will be looking at when they officially report to Spring Training in Tempe, Ariz., on Sunday, the start of one of the most anticipated seasons in club history.

It’s difficult to pinpoint what spots are available and what competitions are open for one simple reason: Trades probably (likely?) will occur at some point. The signing of Albert Pujols created a logjam at the first base/third base/designated hitter spots, but exactly what kind of logjam they’re looking at can’t be known until they see what they have in Mark Trumbo and Kendrys Morales.

Here’s how I’ve handicapped where they stand right now, though …

Rotation

Locks: Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, C.J. Wilson (L), Ervin Santana (likely in that order)
Spots open: Fifth spot
Candidates: Trevor Bell, Eric Hurley, Brad Mills (L), Garrett Richards, Matt Shoemaker, Jerome Williams
Favorite: Williams
Situation: Barring an addition, you can call Williams a heavy favorite in this competition. Basically, after an out-of-nowhere year that saw him go 4-0 with a 3.68 ERA in 44 innings down the stretch, he’s earned it. As is the case with most teams, though, the fifth-starter spot could be a revolving door throughout the year, and it’d be unrealistic to think Williams can give you 30 starts and 200 innings. The Angels will just take what they can out of him. Here, as with the bullpen, there will be a lot of arms that won’t have a chance to sniff the roster no matter how well they do. They’re here either so the coaching staff can get a closer look at them before they get busy with other things, or to just fill up innings with the lighter workloads of spring. That’s the reality of this time of year.
Not named: The fairly young and inexperienced Fabio Martinez-Mesa and Ariel Pena.

Bullpen

Locks: Jordan Walden (CL), Scott Downs (L), LaTroy Hawkins, Hisanori Takahashi (L)
Spots open: Three, at most
Candidates: Bell, Ryan Brasier, David Carpenter, Ysmael Carmona, Bobby Cassevah, John Hellweg, Kevin Jepsen, Michael Kohn, Matt Meyer (L), Francisco Rodriguez, Rich Thompson, Daniel Tillman, Loek Van Mil
Favorites: Bell, Cassevah, Thompson
Situation: Barring the Angels picking up a veteran reliever this spring — and that’s definitely a possibility — these are seemingly the three favorites to fill out the ‘pen, considering their impact last year. Bell, also a marginal candidate for the fifth-starter spot, and Thompson are out of options, meaning they’d have to slip through waivers before being sent down to the Minor Leagues. So perhaps you can consider them near-locks. Cassevah, however, has an option year left. So the Angels do have some wiggle room there for competition — or an addition. Of the remaining group, Jepsen, Kohn and Rodriguez have Major League experience. And Van Mil is listed at 7-foot-1 (I just like throwing that out whenever possible).

Catcher

Lock: Chris Iannetta
Spot open: Backup
Candidates: Hank Conger, Robinzon Diaz, Alberto Rosario, Bobby Wilson
Favorite: Wilson
Situation: This is an important spring for Conger, who needs to prove he’s taken significant steps behind the plate to eventually be an everyday catcher in the Majors. Regardless of how well he plays, though, that won’t happen this year now that Iannetta is on board. So the question becomes whether it’s best for Conger to play sparingly as a big league backup or get some much-needed at-bats as an everyday player in the Minors. The latter makes more sense, which is why I have Wilson — who played 57 games for the Angels last year — listed as the favorite. He’s also out of options.
Not named: The fairly young and inexperienced Jett Bandy and Carlos Ramirez.

Infield

Lock: Albert Pujols, Kendrys Morales, Mark Trumbo, Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar, Alberto Callaspo, Maicer Izturis
Spots open: None (for now)
Situation: The infield is the most tricky aspect of the Angels to pinpoint, because so much of what happens here hinges on Trumbo’s ability to adjust to third base and Morales’ ability to bounce back. Trumbo wouldn’t be a full-time third baseman, per se, but it’s tough to not consider the infield overly crowded if the above-mentioned factors play out. If a spot does come open with a trade, then look for Alexi Amarista, Jorge Cantu and Andrew Romine to have a shot.
Others: Amarista, Cantu, Luis Jimenez, Taylor Lindsey, Efren Navarro, Darwin Perez, Romine, Jean Segura

Outfield

Lock: Torii Hunter, Vernon Wells, Peter Bourjos, Bobby Abreu
Spots open: None (again, for now)
Situation: There are two wild cards at play here. One of them, of course, is Mike Trout. So many factors — his age, his lack of Triple-A experience, the Angels’ current outfield situation — point to Trout starting the year in the Minors for more seasoning. But a guy with Trout’s skill set could be tantalizing, especially if he has a killer March. The other wild card is Abreu, who the Angels would like to move but is owed $9 million on his contract. If Morales becomes an option at DH, there’s really no spot for Abreu (unless he’s riding the bench), and if they can find a club willing to take on a reasonable amount of his salary, then Ryan Langerhans and Jeremy Moore could have a shot. Or, um, Trout.
Others: Kole Calhoun, Doug Deeds, Langerhans, Moore, Matt Long, Trout

Alden 

28 Comments

Jerome Williams should be the fifth starter after what he did for the Angels last season.

I can’t wait for opening day.

I’d like to see Trout in LF on opening day if Wells struggles in spring training. He still has value to this team as a 4th outfielder and DH vs. LH pitching.

If Vernon has a repeat performance of last seasons play the Halos can Not afford to look elsewhere!

Alot of people will disagree with this. But Hunter in the final year of his contract and obvious diminshing skills, will likely not play RF full time which gives Trout alot of playing time there or to give Wells a day off or like the previous post which mentioned Wells struggling and Trout filling in at LF.

Trout back to AAA. In my opinion, not a wise thing to do. We end up with another potential Brandon Wood situation on our hands. And yes I know Wood are Trout are not the same caliber players. Trout has proven himself worthy to play in the bigs. Trout might spend alot of time on the bench and be used in pinch hitting roles.

I do not want to see Trout on the bench….Send him to AAA and if something opens uo, fine. He needs to play every day, just like Conger…..

Could not agree more, Trout will have his day in the sun and will need to spend time in AAA to get playing time. A guy like Trout needs to have consistant playing time.

I would like trout in the of

I personally would rather see Jerome Williams get the 5th spot instead of the Angels going out and getting a over paid A.J. Burnett.

I agree, Burnett stays where hes at. He’s not a Halo anyways. Williams stays and gives us a great talented arm … Saving $$$ too. I liked what I saw from him last season, though brief….and he’s got a great attitude, which is what we Angel fans are looking for representing our Halos.

Where is spooky08?

Who is spooky08.

Williams in the 5 spot, Wilson backing up Ianetta and let Wells have his typical bounce back year. Those fans predicting Torii’s ruination are forgetting he played real well in the 2nd half. Let Richards, Trout and Conger get valuable playing experience at AAA

Let,s go angels!!!

I’d like to see Moore and Trout in the outfield in Anaheim, it would be the best and fastest outfield in the majors. I’m also greedy and want to see Trout play here in SLC for a few home stands.

Hunter & Wells will have great years because the pressure they felt to carry the team last year is gone with Pujols & Morales on the team, not to mention we dont have a hole in the line up at catcher any more. These guys will relax and play better than last year.

Where is spooky.

Spooky has left the building…..

Spooky has left the building

Spring Training. Let the fun begin!

Trout struck out 1 out of 3 at bats in the off season, he’s not ready. Wilson can’t bat his weight.

cantu not even a slight mention..but if your”hitting” coaches correct his stance to the marlinns years pre bad wrist injury cantu could spell relief at3 positions and produce san diego was an aberration (platooned w/ hawpe) and never really given any chance to play over an extended period @s.d. and he is only 30 ,a stong 30….warrants a long look see….laugh , but rememember it here….

Thanks Alden, nice analysis. The battle for the bullpen will be particularly interesting, with Bell and Thompson out of options. Jepsen, Rodriguez and Kohn were rising stars and then seemed to lose their groove. Carmona is an intriguing candidate, he spent most of last year injured, if I recall correctly. I haven’t seen Tillman, however I hear good things through the bush league grapevine. FWIW, having seen Brasier last season at AAA, I think he might open a few eyes at camp this spring. The kid isn’t that big, but he’s a tough competitor and learned a lot over the summer.

At any rate, buenas suerte to all the candidates, and lo siento mucho in advance when I see you here in Salt Lake in April. Knock em dead boys! . .BeesGal

P.S. A belated welcome, Alden, to the Angels beat. I remember enjoying your work for the Rangers. Glad you could come over from the dark side. LOL!

LET’S GO GET EM ANGELS!!!!! send the rangers back to loooooserville!

Everyone forgets that Trumbo is still an option for the outfield. He has said that he feels more comfortable in the outfield than playing third base. Callaspo is the better third baseman. Either way it’s gonna be an incredible season. Can’t wait to buy my World Series tickets at the Big “A”

Wheres Kendrick?

Torri still has something left in the tank, i think its Abreu who’s skills are diminishing now, and we all know bourjos is gorgeous in the OF lol so he’s not going anywhere, Trout still needs more time in the minors but damn he brings a spark to all the other guys when you see a young guy with the talent he has, but what the true concern is, is Morales, and how he bounces back, and if he does bounce back then what do they do with him??? What if Morales can still hit the ball out of the park??? and Trumbo too, will he adapt to third base, cause with the numbers he put up last year, it would be a shame to just give up that kid

Baseball is here! Check out the Unofficial Guide to the Cactus League.
http://www.westsideculture.com/free-spring-training-guide/

We need Trout in OF. Find something else for Wells to do.

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