2018 Los Angeles Angels Depth Chart
The Los Angeles Angels are a team that is heavy in talent, but depth at all positions becomes lacking. Playing a balancing act between top talents Mike Trout and Albert Pujols creates little affordance of electrifying talent at other areas of the diamond. Partner this with the Shohei Ohtani signing and you have a lion share of the cap space being split between these three names. The regards of Justin Upton’s contract are not team friendly either, leaving little to throw at upcoming free agents or other position players. This created the need to move Ian Kinsler at the trade deadline to add some cap relief prior to it becoming an off-season issue. Battling the cap space with league minimum talents leaves a rocky road of approach for the team this season.
|Catcher||Francisco Arcia||Jose Briceno|
|1st Base||Jefry Marte||Jose Fernandez|
|2nd Base||David Fletcher|
|3rd Base||Taylor Ward||Kaleb Cowart|
|Left Field||Justin Upton|
|Center Field||Mike Trout|
|Right Field||Kole Calhoun||Chris Young|
|Designated Hitter||Albert Pujols|
The starting crew is headlined by youngster, Jaime Barria. Barria is only 22-years-old and was the first player in the rotation to claim double-digit wins on the season. A tamed strikeout percentage keeps this righty as a crafty talent to feature upon the starting rubber. The other starters are a makeshift crew that looks to cover for long-term injuries. Tyler Skaggs, Garrett Richards and Andrew Heaney are three players that have spent massive stints on the disabled list. This trio combined for nearly half of all the team’s starts last season, which is a huge blow to the consistency in the starting rotation. All eyes are the prospect Shohei Otani as he has reached limited trips to the mound. The team is being cautious with their 24-year-old, utilizing him in pinch-hit bats or limited time on the rubber. They are currently carrying a 4-man rotation and covering that 5th start with their bullpen. The organization knows it cannot abide by this structure for long, but thankfully their other starters come off the DL shortly.
The play of the infield has been somewhat shadowed by the excitement being built around Albert Pujols final seasons in the league. Pujols is sporting a mere .245 batting average, adding only 19 long balls to his career totals. While these numbers will look like a small clerical error in comparison to his career totals, the veteran is reaching where his skill set has now become leap-frogged by younger players. Andrelton Simmons has quietly pieced together a career season amidst this attention. He is batting .292 with 11 home runs and 70 RBIs. These production numbers are excelled for the 29-year-old that spent a majority of his career in Atlanta. Looking across the infield, the main production comes from players either in their 30s or nearing them. The back-up positions are guys like Kaleb Cowart, a talent that has struggled to find his stroke at the big-league level.
While Mike Trout gains a majority of the attention in the outfield, greater consistencies underly his success. Kole Calhoun and Justin Upton are both very versatile talents. Upton has the defensive range that makes him a force at all positions in the outfield. His arm strength is rarely tested by the opposition and pitchers only dare to take him high and inside. Calhoun is a favorable defensive talent with a positive flow of stamina. He makes high usage rates look like they take minimal effects on his game, which is important for the guys grinding it day in and day out. Trout stills leads the team in all major offensive categories, which is a small peak at the greatness he possesses.
When you add all of their smaller contract guys into the equation, the Angels appear to be a team that is thick in depth. They are very thick in terms of bodies, whether it is veteran players or unproven prospects. The difference maker is owning a HOF-caliber player at each tier of the infield. When people make noise for Trout or Pujols, they open the doors for these utility players to shine or emerge from the shadows. Having a pitcher, catcher, DH, and first baseman in Ohtani is something the team will start to lean on more heavily should they come into contention contact next season. Riding this season out with what they’ve got will help bring a close to 2018 and a fresh start in 2019.