Diving into the depths: Los Angeles Angels
This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Rotation 1. Jered Weaver 2. Joe Saunders 3. Ervin Santana 4. Scott Kazmir 5. Matt Palmer 6. Sean O’Sullivan 7. Anthony Ortega 8. Trevor Reckling 9. Trevor Bell 10. Tommy Mendoza The Angels still haven’t announced any non-roster invites, so their depth chart is bare of retreads. It’d make an awful lot of sense for them to add a veteran or two to battle Palmer and O’Sullivan for the fifth spot in the rotation. Palmer did manage an 11-2 record as a starter last year, but his cutter won’t fool as many hitters his second time around the AL. I really worry about this group. Weaver is the only one of the top four who didn’t battle an arm problem last year, and none of the pitchers after Kazmir seem like decent bets for 2010. Reckling is the most interesting alternative, but he’s probably going to need at least three months in Triple-A. At the very least, the Angels should go sign Jose Contreras. He’ll be dirt cheap, and unlike most of the alternatives, he has a track record of decent results in the AL. Bullpen 1. Brian Fuentes 2. Fernando Rodney 3. Kevin Jepsen 4. Scot Shields 5. Jason Bulger 6. Matt Palmer 7. Rich Thompson 8. Rafael Rodriguez 9. Sean O’Sullivan 10. Trevor Bell 11. Robert Mosebach 12. Fernando Rodriguez While there’s no shutdown reliever here unless Fuentes regains his old form, the Angels have plenty of power right-handers and odds are that a couple of them will step up. I prefer Jepsen. With Palmer penciled into the rotation, Thompson and Rafael Rodriguez would seem to be in line for the last two spots as things currently stand. However, there will be some additional veteran relievers in camp. The way I see it, Thompson would be just fine as a 12th pitcher, but everyone below him belongs in Triple-A.
Catcher 1. Mike Napoli 2. Jeff Mathis 3. Bobby Wilson 4. Ryan Budde First base 1. Kendry Morales 2. Brandon Wood 3. Mark Trumbo Second base 1. Howie Kendrick 2. Maicer Izturis 3. Freddy Sandoval Third base 1. Brandon Wood 2. Maicer Izturis 3. Freddy Sandoval Shortstop 1. Erick Aybar 2. Maicer Izturis 3. Brandon Wood The Angels may have flirted with Adrian Beltre, but all signs point to Wood getting his chance in place of Chone Figgins. Also, Kendrick figures to return to a starting role after being replaced by Izturis against righties down the stretch last season. Izturis should still get plenty of action between three infield spots. Left field 1. Juan Rivera 2. Gary Matthews Jr. 3. Reggie Willits 4. Chris Pettit 5. Terry Evans Center field 1. Torii Hunter 2. Gary Matthews Jr. 3. Reggie Willits 4. Peter Bourjos Right field 1. Bobby Abreu 2. Gary Matthews Jr. 3. Terry Evans 4. Chris Pettit Designated hitter 1. Hideki Matsui 2. Juan Rivera 3. Mike Napoli 4. Chris Pettit There’s been no taker for Matthews’ contract, so it looks like he’ll remain the fourth outfielder. He wasn’t all that bad while hitting .250/.336/.361 with 50 RBI in 316 at-bats last season. With Matthews back, the Angels might as well jettison Willits, who just isn’t good enough defensively to justify a spot. Sandoval, Evans and Pettit would be the candidates to join Matthews, Mathis and Izturis on the bench. I think it’s time Evans gets a spot. He offers power, speed and pretty good defense in the outfield corners. Pettit is the superior hitter, but since he wouldn’t have much of a role in the majors, he’d be better off getting regular at-bats in Triple-A for the first few months of the year.