The season starts in three weeks. Are the Angels ready to contend? Let's look at the season ahead of who will bat for the pitcher and sit on the bench ready to pinch hit and supersub it.
Designated Hitter - Your guess is as good as mine.
This is Matt Joyce's job to lose. If he tanks against lefthanded pitching the easiest solution is to put C.J. Cron in as a platoon along with giving Albert Pujols days off in the field by DHing against lefties. Efren Navarro is also in the mix and can play 1B and LF. Joyce will spend time in LF too.
Seems easy enough, right? So what does the 2015 Angels bench look like?
Assume twelve spots for the five starting pitchers and seven relief pitchers. Everyday non-platoon starters are thus:
Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun in the outfield, Albert Pujols, Erick Aybar, David Freese and Chris Iannetta in the infield.
So that makes eighteen.
There should be a platoon in Left with Collin Cowgill and Joyce/Navarro and (we hope he returns in shape) Josh Hamilton. Second Base will be two of four players - Featherston, Giavotella, Green and Rutledge with one a utility infielder.
The easiest way to divvy up the bench would be to platoon LF and DH. Against righties Navarro and Joyce should be in the lineup at either of these positions. Against lefties, Cowgill should be in LF and Cron at DH
With these four, that accounts for spots 19, 20, 21 & 22.
The 2B, whoever he shall be would be spot #23. The Utility Infielder would be #24 and the backup catcher, most likely Drew Butera, would be #25.
This bench is unlike many Mike Scioscia teams in that it lacks a specific pinch runner. Will speed emerge? Cowgill subbing late as a pinch runner on the nights he has not started might be the only option. Meanwhile, the underperformer in all of the above will be sent somewhere when/if Hamilton returns.
BEST CASE SCENARIO: Joyce never faces a lefty.
Worst Case Scenario: Scioscia's roles stay rigid in the face of logic and platoons are eschewed for roles, rigid roles.
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