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Everything you need to know about the Angels spring training in 2016

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Your Halos are back!

Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a long, hard winter for Angel fans. Hopes of acquiring a superstar left fielder were dashed and fears that the prime years of baseball's best player will be wasted away by our misguided owner are all but confirmed. But today is not a day to grumble about our underwhelming offseason. No! Because today ends the longest part of the year for us all: the offseason is over and spring training is here! While none of you need me to tell you why today is the best day of the year, read on for a catch-all on the Angels' 2016 spring training.

Where

Tempe Diablo Stadium, located at 2200 W. Alameda Drive in Tempe, AZ, is the gorgeous facility that houses our Angels every spring. The stadium is just a 15 minute drive from Phoenix, as this handy map will show you.

Important dates to know

TODAY - Pitchers and catchers begin their work outs

February 23 - Position players report

February 24 - First full squad workouts

March 2 - First spring training game vs. the San Francisco Giants

March 31 - April 1 - Freeway Series at Dodger Stadium

April 2 - Freeway Series at Angels Statium

April 3 - Final exhibition game vs. the Cubs at Angels Stadium

April 4 - Angels home opener vs. the Cubs

Positional Battles

While the starting line-up appears all but set, there will be no shortage of competition for the bench and pitching staff to keep us engaged all spring long.

Back-up outfielders

While Daniel Nava has not been officially named the starting left fielder, he is as close to any outfielder on the team not named Mike Trout or Kole Calhoun that is virtually guaranteed to make the team out of spring training. He certainly shouldn't take that for granted, as there will be plenty of guys looking to take that job out from under him.

Craig Gentry, the 32 year-old with a career OPS+ of 86, appears to be the front-runner for the fourth outfielder job. As a plus-glove at all three positions, he can provide value as a late-inning defensive sub for Nava and a pinch running specialist. Minor league free agent Rafael Ortega brings a similar skill set to the table, though at age 24 he provides much more upside than the veteran Gentry. The recently released ZiPS projections actually peg Ortega as the Angels' third-best outfielder going into this season, predicting a 1.5 zWAR on the strength of 10 defensive runs saved. We should temper our enthusiasm, however, as Ortega would have to hit much better than his projected 75 OPS+ to earn enough playing time and provide that kind of value.

Gentry heads into spring as the favorite here, as his veteran status and career .274/.354/.366 line against lefties makes him a suitable platoon partner with Nava. If Ortega, owner of a whopping 6 MLB at bats, can re-capture his early minor league upside and flash some on-base talent (he owns a career 11% walk rate in AAA), he could make the decision a tough one.

Utility guys

Cliff Pennington is most celebrated around these parts for simply not being Taylor Featherston. On paper, he won't provide any more value to the Angels this year than Featherston did last year, though his veteran know-how will hopefully lead to less cringe-worthy moments than we saw from the mis-cast rookie last season. He has also posted a walk rate above 10% last season, so he won't be an automatic out when he happens to get the occasional plate appearance.

Pennington has a two-year contract, making him a virtual lock to make the squad. Competing with him for playing time as the 25th man on the roster will be Rey Navarro, a 26 year-old slick-fielding short stop who had his first taste of the big leagues last year with Baltimore. Jefry Marte, a corner infielder who made his debut last year with Detroit and showed some promise by slugging .413 in 90 PA, will compete with Ji-Man Choi to fill the void left by Albert Pujols the first month of the season. The rule 5 selection has yet to taste the big leagues but has shown a sharp eye in his minor league career, with a .404 OBP and 13% walk rate.

Marte's power and ability to play third base will give him the edge over Navarro and Choi heading into spring, though Choi has also played a bit of left field and bats from the left side, making him a tempting option to keep around on a squad that is deficient in both of those categories.

Starting rotation

The spring battle destined to get the most attention will be who comprises the starting rotation after ace Garrett Richards. Declining former ace Jered Weaver and re-habbing lefty C.J. Wilson are the elder statesmen of the staff, making it all but a given that veteran-friendly manager Mike Scioscia awards them both spots in the rotation, regardless of their spring performance. Both are in the last seasons of their contracts, providing plenty of motivation to show they have something left in the tank. Hector Santiago, entering his third year with the club and earning All Star status last season, seems likely to earn spot in the rotation short of a disastrous spring session.

Andrew Heaney is the favorite for the fifth starter spot, though in a just world he would be granted the designation as the #2 after posting a 3.49 ERA over 105.2 innings as a rookie in 2014. Tyler Skaggs will be taking the mound for the first time since his 2014 Tommy John surgery. The team would be wise to take their time with the 24 year-old lefty, making him a long shot to start the year with the big league club. Matt Shoemaker took a step back after a great 2014 campaign, looking to re-establish himself as a solid mid-rotation arm. Nick Tropeano is the least likely to win a spot here, though most projection systems peg him out-pitching the rest of the rotation thanks to his promising SO/W ratio last year, though those numbers are likely to drop with extended exposure to major league hitters.

Bullpen

The area of the team that is most up in the air would have to be who fills out the pen after relief aces Huston Street and Joe Smith. Fernando Salas makes $2.4 million and has been a favorite of Mike Scioscia's the last two seasons, so he is safe. Holdovers Mike Morin, Cory Rasmus, Cam Bedrosian and Jose Alvarez will join newcomers Al Alburquerque, Rob Rasmussen, Deolis Guerra and Christian Friedrich for the other 4-5 bullpen openings. Also, don't discount at least one of the runners-up in the rotation battle sticking around in the pen.

Schedule

The Angels will play 36 games this spring, with nearly all of them broadcasting on FSW and AM830.

Date Opponent Location Time TV/Radio
3/2/2016 Giants Scottsdale 12:05 PM FSW, AM830
3/3/2016 A's Tempe 12:10 PM FSW, AM830
3/4/2016 Cubs Mesa 12:05 PM FSW, AM830
3/5/2016 Mariners Peoria 12:10 PM FSW, AM830
3/6/2016 Royals Tempe 12:10 PM FSW, AM830
3/7/2016 Reds Goodyear 12:05 PM
3/7/2016 White Sox Tempe 12:10 PM FSW, AM830
3/8/2016 D-Backs Scottsdale 11:10 AM FSW, AM830
3/9/2016 Dodgers Tempe 12:10 PM FSW, AM830
3/10/2016 Giants Tempe 12:10 PM FSW, AM830
3/11/2016 Dodgers Glendale 12:05 PM FSW, AM830
3/12/2016 Giants Tempe 12:10 PM FSW, AM830
3/13/2016 Rangers Tempe 1:10 PM FSW, AM830
3/14/2016 Reds Tempe 1:10 PM FSW, AM830
3/15/2016 Mariners Tempe 1:10 PM FSW, AM830
3/16/2016 Indians Goodyear 1:05 PM FSW, AM830
3/17/2016 Rockies Scottsdale 1:10 PM FSW, AM830
3/18/2016 Royals Surprise 1:05 PM FSW, AM830
3/18/2016 Rockies Tempe 1:10 PM FSW, AM830
3/19/2016 Brewers Tempe 1:10 PM FSWI, AM830
3/20/2016 Rangers Surprise 1:05 PM KTXA, AM 830
3/21/2016 Brewers Phoenix 1:05 PM FSWI, AM830
3/22/2016 Bees (AAA) SLC 3:05 PM
3/22/2016 A's Tempe 1:10 PM FSW, AM830
3/24/2016 White Sox Glendale 1:05 PM FSW, AM830
3/25/2016 A's Tempe 1:05 PM FSW, AM830
3/26/2016 Padres Tempe 1:10 PM FSW, AM830
3/27/2016 Padres Peoria 1:10 PM FSW, AM830
3/28/2016 Cubs Tempe 1:10 PM FSW, AM830
3/29/2016 Indians Tempe 1:10 PM FSW, AM830
3/29/2016 Padres Peoria 1:10 PM
3/30/2016 Indians Tempe 1:05 PM AM830
3/31/2016 Dodgers Los Angeles 7:10 PM PT, AM830
4/1/2016 Dodgers Los Angeles 7:10 PM FSW, AM830
4/2/2016 Dodgers Anaheim 6:05 PM FSW, AM830
4/3/2016 Cubs Anaheim 12:05 PM FSW, AM830

Roster

It should be a crowded locker room the first few weeks of camp.

# Position Player DOB 40-man? 2015 Club
- RHP A.J. Achter 8/27/88 No Rochester (AAA), MIN (MLB)
This waiver claim is likely AAA bullpen depth.
62 RHP Al Alburquerque 6/10/86 Yes Detroit (MLB)
The veteran fireballer hopes to find a spot in the pen and earn the whole sum of his $1.1 million dollar deal.
86 RHP Victor Alcantara 4/3/93 Yes Inland Empire (A+)
Ranking fourth among Angels prospects according to Baseball America, this hard thrower should start in AA.
48 LHP Jose Alvarez 5/6/89 Yes Angels (MLB)
Useful swingman likely to make the squad.
68 RHP Cam Bedrosian 10/*2/91 Yes SLC (AAA), Angels (MLB)
Still trying to translate minor league dominance to big league consistency
- LHP Tyler Deloach 4/12/91 No Arkansas (AA), SLC (AAA)
Soft-tossing lefty will likely fill out the Bees rotation.
- LHP Christian Friedrich 7/8/87 Yes Omaha (AAA), Kansas City (MLB)
Former first-round pick will look to catch on as a LOOGY.
62 RHP Deolis Guerra 4/17/89 Yes Indianapolis (AAA), Pittsburg (MLB)
Rule 5 pick will either mop up or head back to the Pirates.
28 LHP Andrew Heaney 6/5/91 Yes SLC (AAA), Angels (MLB)
Young lefty will still have to earn a spot in the rotation, despite a solid rookie campaign.
- LHP Lucas Luetge 3/24/87 No Tacoma (AAA), Seattle (MLB)
Another random lefty destined for Salt Lake.
- LHP Greg Mahle 4/17/93 No Arkansas (AA)
Reliever with solid peripherals will likely make the jump to AAA this season.
- RHP Yunesky Maya 8/28/81 No Licey (DOWL, Doosan (KBO)
Has not appeared in the majors since 2013. Owns a career ERA of 5.80 over 59 IP.
- RHP Kyle McGowin 11/27/91 No Kansas City (MLB)
Starter with a decent fastball. Will likely pitch in AAA this year.
64 RHP Mike Morin 5/3/91 Yes SLC (AAA), Angels (MLB)
The change-up artist struggled in 2015 despite improving his rate stats.
- RHP Ramon Ramirez 8/31/81 No Tijuana (AAA), Quintana Roo (AAA)
Who?
46 RHP Cory Rasmus 11/6/87 Yes SLC (AAA), Angels (MLB)
Looking to re-establish himself after an injury-wrecked 2015.
57 LHP Rob Rasmussen 4/2/89 Yes Buffalo, Tacoma (AAA), Toronto, Seattle (MLB)
Hard-thrower with command issues will battle it out with the rest of the lefty relievers in camp.
43 RHP Garrett Richards 5/27/88 Yes Angels (MLB)
The default staff ace.
59 RHP Fernando Salas 5/30/85 Yes Angels (MLB)
The veteran will fill in for low-leverage innings throughout the year.
53 LHP Hector Santiago 12/16/87 Yes Angels (MLB)
Hector rode a hot streak into the All Star game last season.
52 RHP Matt Shoemaker 9/27/86 Yes SLC (AAA), Angels (MLB)
The Bearded One had a rough sophomore season and will have to fight for a spot on the big league roster.
45 LHP Tyler Skaggs 7/13/91 Yes DNP
The young lefty begins his road back from Tommy John surgery.
38 RHP Joe Smith 3/22/84 Yes Angels (MLB)
The Angels' best reliever the last two seasons.
- LHP Nate Smith 8/28/91 No Arkansas (AA), SLC (AAA)
Finesse starter will provide depth in AAA.
16 RHP Huston Street 8/2/83 Yes Angels (MLB)
Veteran closer will attempt to keep hitters off balance another year.
35 RHP Nick Tropeano 8/27/90 Yes SLC (AAA), Angels (MLB)
NiTro finished strong for the Halos in 2015 and will fight for a spot among the starting 5.
36 RHP Jered Weaver 10/4/82 Yes Angels (MLB)
The Angel great will battle father time in what could be his last season pitching at the Big A.
33 LHP C.J. Wilson 11/18/80 Yes Angels (MLB)
Hoping for a solid season in a contract year.
47 C Jett Bandy 3/26/90 Yes SLC (AAA), Angels (MLB)
Third on the catching depth chart after another solid minor league season.
- C Juan Graterol 2/14/89 No Charleston (A), Trenton (AA), Scranton (AAA)
The Angels have lots of catchers.
- C Stephen McGee 2/7/91 No Okla. City (AAA), LA Dodgers MLB)
You need a lot of catchers in spring training.
58 C Carlos Perez 10/27/90 Yes SLC (AAA), Angels (MLB)
Seized the starting job as a rookie in 2015.
18 C Geovany Soto 1/20/83 Yes CHW (MLB)
Veteran backstop is the perfect back-up for Perez.
- C Michael Strentz 11/10/91 No Inland Empire (A+)
Future bullpen catcher.
- C Taylor Ward 12/14/93 No Orem (RK), Burlington (A)
The controversial first-round pick had a solid debut season.
- C Wade Wass 9/23/91 No Burlington (A), Inland Empire (AA)
Decent walk rates the last two years but old for his level.
- SS Roberto Baldoquin 5/14/94 No Inland Empire (A+)
The Cuban import had a rough first year stateside. He will see some time with big league camp before going back to A-ball.
51 1B/LF Ji-Man Choi 5/19/91 Yes Tacoma (AAA)
The rule 5 selection might fill in for the ailing Albert Pujols to start the year.
22 3B Kaleb Cowart 6/2/92 Yes Inland Empire (A+), Salt Lake (AAA), Angels MLB
The fallen prospect had a bounce-back season and will fight for a bench role.
24 1B/DH C.J. Cron 1/5/90 Yes SLC (AAA), Angels (MLB)
The slugger goes into spring for the first time not having to fight for a job.
6 3B Yunel Escobar 11/2/82 Yes Washington (MLB)
Angels are hoping his big 2015 was no fluke.
12 2B Johnny Giavotella 7/10/87 Yes Angels (MLB)
Last season's cult hero will get the starting job again in 2016.
- UT Sherman Johnson 7/15/90 No Arkansas (AA)
The walk machine is a potential future lead-off hitter.
13 3B Kyle Kubitza 7/15/90 Yes SLC (AAA), Angels (MLB)
Could be a make-or-break season as he was underwhelming in both the majors and AAA.
19 1B/3B Jefry Marte 6/21/91 Yes Toledo (AAA), Detroit (MLB)
The right-handed swinging corner infielder had a power spike in 2015.
20 UT Rey Navarro 12/22/89 Yes Norfolk (AAA), Baltimore (MLB)
Slick fielder will battle for the 25th spot on the roster.
7 UT Cliff Pennington 6/15/84 Yes Toronot, Arizona (MLB)
The veteran infielder is just happy to be here.
- UT Gregorio Petit 12/10/84 No Tampa (A+), Scranton (AAA), NYY (MLB)
A long shot that Billy Eppler likely took a liking to last year in NY.
5 1B/DH Albert Pujols 1/16/80 Yes Angels (MLB)
Fingers crossed...
2 SS Andrelton Simmons 9/4/89 Yes Atlanta (MLB)
The defensive wizard will transform the Angels' infield.
- 2B Alex Yarbrough 8/3/91 No SLC (AAA)
A brutal first year in AAA took a toll on his prospect status.
- OF Quintin Berry 11/21/84 No Pawtucket, Iowa (AAA), CHC (MLB)
Defensive specialist brought in to push the rest of the outfield competition.
- OF Andrew Brown 9/10/84 No SK (KBO)
Minor league veteran was just OK in his tour of Korea.
- OF Nick Buss 12/15/86 No Reno (AAA)
Someone has to play in Salt Lake.
56 OF Kole Calhoun 10/14/87 Yes Angels (MLB)
One of the few sure things on this squad.
54 OF Todd Cunningham 3/20/89 Yes Gwinnett (AAA), Atlanta (MLB)
Switch-hitting defensive specialist with decent on base skills.
3 OF Craig Gentry 11/29/83 Yes Nashville (AAA), Oakland (MLB)
Has the inside track on the fourth outfielder position.
- OF Chad Hinshaw 9/10/90 No Arkansas (AA)
Speedy outfielder with on-base skills should get bumped to AAA.
25 OF Daniel Nava 2/22/83 Yes Pawtucket (AAA), Boston, TB (MLB)
Patient switch-hitter is looking to re-establish his career after a lost 2015. Front runner for left field.
39 OF Rafael Ortega 5/15/91 Yes Memphis (AAA)
Good defense, a left-handed bat and minimal competition give him good odds of seeing some action this year.
27 OF Mike Trout 8/7/91 Yes Angels (MLB)
World's greatest weather man.