Opening Day is just a couple of days away, which means the Spring Training position battles are over, and the 25-man roster is nearly set. The Angels entered Spring Training with almost no questions surrounding their crop of position players, but there were quite a few players fighting for a spot on the pitching staff. Here’s how everything turned out and what the 25-man roster will probably look like come Opening Day.
C.J. Cron 1B/DH
In his third year in the majors in 2017, Cron produced his best season yet, hitting .278/.325/.467 (115 wRC+) and showcasing improved defense, though he was limited to just 116 games due to an injury. With Luis Valbuena set to begin the season on the Disabled List, Cron will likely receive the bulk of the playing time at first as he looks to establish himself as a valuable everyday player in his age-27 season.
Yunel Escobar 3B
Escobar took a step back offensively from his career year in 2015, but he still produced solid results last year. He’s a liability on defense and on the basepaths, but he will hit enough to warrant his role as the starting third baseman.
Danny Espinosa 2B
The Angels acquired Espinosa from the Nationals this offseason to plug the second base hole that has plagued the team for the last couple of years. A career .226/.302/.388 (86 wRC+) hitter, Espinosa won’t impress you with the bat, but he will with the glove.
Jefry Marte 1B/3B
The 25-year-old slugger impressed in a limited role last year, hitting .252/.310/.481 (114 wRC+) with 15 home runs in 88 games. He’ll be in a similar role this year and if he hits like he did in 2016, Marte will find his way into the lineup more often than not.
Cliff Pennington UTIL
Pennington can play any of the infield positions and while he won’t hit much, his defense is good enough to justify being a part-time utility infielder.
Albert Pujols 1B/DH
Pujols is entering his age-37 season and coming off his third foot surgery in five years with the Angels. He remains a productive, yet unspectacular, part of the lineup and will look for a similar season as last (111 wRC+).
Andrelton Simmons SS
He led American League shortstops in Defensive Runs Saved last year despite only playing 124 games. Simmons is just that good.
Kole Calhoun RF
A master of consistency, Calhoun has averaged 3.8 Wins Above Replacement per season over the last three years. 2016 saw him reach career-bests in several categories including OBP, BB%, runs, and K%.
Cameron Maybin LF
The Angels are banking on Maybin being the left fielder they’ve been searching for. He had a career year with Detroit in 2016, batting .315/.383/.418 (120 wRC+) while collecting 15 stolen bases.
Ben Revere OF
Revere dealt with an oblique injury for most of last season, which caused him to have his worst offensive year. From 2012-2015, however, he hit .302 with 142 stolen bases. Revere will be in a fourth outfielder role to start the season.
Mike Trout CF
In 2016, Trout led the league in OBP, stole more bases than he did in the previous two years combined, and finished a homer shy of his second 30-30 season. He won his
fifth second MVP award last year, and he’s still only 25 years old.
Maldonado is an above-average pitch framer and defensive catcher, but he won’t provide much at all at the plate.
Perez is the second half of the all-defense tandem the Angels will have behind the plate in 2017. He’s not a good hitter either, but he was a finalist for the Gold Glove award last year.
Jesse Chavez RHP
The 33-year-old righty will hold the fifth spot in the rotation for the time being. He pitched exclusively out of the bullpen in 2016, but he had a 3.95 ERA in 47 starts (276 innings) in the two years prior and a 2.51 ERA this Spring Training.
Ricky Nolasco RHP
The Angels acquired Nolasco as a part of the Alex Meyer-Hector Santiago swap at the Trade Deadline last year, and he was surprisingly great, pitching to the tune of a 3.21 ERA in 11 starts with the Angels. He’s now the Angels’ 2017 Opening Day starter.
Garrett Richards RHP
Richards was only able to make six starts last year, but after avoiding Tommy John surgery by undergoing stem-cell therapy, he’s now healthy and will be ready to start the third game of the season. He has a 3.11 ERA since the start of 2014, and he struck out eight and walked two in 8 1⁄3 Spring Training innings this year.
Matt Shoemaker RHP
Last year, Shoemaker was the Angels’ most consistent starter; he posted a 3.13 ERA from the start of May to the day a line drive comebacker struck him in the head and ended his season in late September. He’s fully recovered from that scary injury now, and he will start game 2 of the opening series this year.
Tyler Skaggs LHP
Health has prevented Skaggs from truly fulfilling his potential; he has only made 28 starts in the majors since 2014. 2017 presents Skaggs with another opportunity to establish himself in a big league rotation, and the Angels are counting on him doing so.
Jose Alvarez LHP
Alvarez has been a solid middle reliever since joining the Angels’ bullpen full-time in 2015. He is the only lefty in the Angels’ bullpen and has a 3.47 ERA across an average of 62 innings over the last two years.
Andrew Bailey RHP
After bouncing around the majors for a few years, Bailey enjoyed a bit of a resurgence with the Angels when he joined the team in September of last year; he tossed 11 1⁄3 dominant innings, allowing only three runs. The 32-year-old is now set to play a vital role in the club’s bullpen.
Cam Bedrosian RHP
Bedrosian burst onto the scene last year, posting a 1.12 ERA and punching out 51 batters in 40 1⁄3 innings before a blood clot ended his season prematurely. With Huston Street on the DL to open the season, Bedrosian will likely be the closer to start the season.
Bud Norris RHP
Norris signed a minor league deal with the Angels in January, and he went to strike out 17 batters in 12 1⁄3 innings in Spring Training while compiling a 2.92 ERA. He has the ability to be a long reliever, and he can also start games if necessary.
Blake Parker RHP
Parker put together the most impressive Spring Training performance of any Angel this year. He whiffed 21 batters while walking two and allowing just one run in 11 1⁄3 innings.
Yusmeiro Petit RHP
Like Norris, Petit signed a minor league deal with the Angels this offseason and is also capable of going multiple innings out of the bullpen and starting games. Petit has a 3.83 ERA in 303 innings since 2013, and he gave up one run and struck out 13 batters in 14 innings in Spring Training this year.
J.C. Ramirez RHP
After the Angels claimed him off waivers from the Reds in June of last year, Ramirez’s numbers improved greatly; he had a 2.91 ERA in 46 1⁄3 innings. Ramirez had a rough spring, allowing 14 earned runs on 25 hits in 21 1⁄3 innings, though he did punch out 25 batters.
*It is important to note that this roster has not yet been finalized by the Angels. Most of it has been just about confirmed, but the bullpen is still somewhat up in the air. For instance, Norris and Parker are not locks to make the roster, though they do appear the most likely among the remaining candidates. Austin Adams, Mike Morin, and Kirby Yates are among the other relievers vying for one of the final spots.